May 29, 2010

Health on the Go

Having cravings during the middle of the day can lead you to the vending machine for an unhealthy snack. These foods are easy to take with you and have numerous health benefits! Remember to buy organic as much as possible.

  • Peppers: A very low calorie snack that’s loaded with vitamins C, A and K. You can eat them just like you would an apple. Be sure to wash them thoroughly if not buying organic as they are one of the most pesticide contaminated vegetables. 
  • Avocados: An absolute superfood, avocados are loaded with healthy fats, fiber and lots of other nutritional benefits. They are great to peel with your finger or a knife and eat just like you would a push pop. 
  • Tomatoes: Did you know that tomatoes are actually berries, but were ruled a vegetable by the supreme court in 1893? Eat tomatoes like a fruit, raw, making them a great on the go snack that is loaded with cancer fighting lycopenes and anti-oxidants. As lycopenes are absorbed better with fat, enjoy tomatoes with healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados or nuts. 
  • Cucumbers: Containing high amounts of water and nutrients, cucumbers are also a very alkalizing vegetable which can help regulate your body’s pH balance. Take a peeler with you and eat them like you would a banana! 
  • Raw Nuts: As nuts are full of healthy fats and don’t need to be refrigerated, they make a great snack since they contain a lot of calories in a single handful, (but they are good calories don’t worry). Just make sure not to over eat as the calories will really start to add up. You can take nuts anywhere you travel, but be sure to be conscious of people with nut allergies as they may be life threatening.

May 24, 2010

Sleep Yourself to Better Health

This article was originally posted on

For thousands of years humans have been synchronized with the cycle of the sun—the circadian cycle. It has only been in the past 100 years that this cycle has really changed. With the invention of electricity, the typical hours people are awake and asleep has shifted.

When sunlight hits the body it tells us that it is daytime. As fluorescent lights, televisions and computer screens flicker on and off between 60 and 120 beats per second, our bodies interpret these lights as morning sunlight, keeping us awake. No matter what type of light it is, the stress hormone cortisol is released. This hormone wakes us up and helps prepare our bodies for the day, so cortisol drastically increases in the morning and then slowly decreases throughout the day until sundown. This gradual reduction of cortisol throughout the day is what prepares our bodies for sleep. To help reduce the amount of cortisol, it is important to prepare your body by lowering the lights and winding down before bed.

In order to allow your body full recovery time during the sleep cycle, reduction of cortisol is essential. Stimulants such as caffeine, sugar and tobacco all increase cortisol. It has been shown that caffeine has a half life of six hours. So, if you drink a cup of coffee at 4 p.m. with 400 mg of caffeine you will still have 200 mg of caffeine in your system six hours later at 10 p.m. Due to caffeine’s long lasting effects, try to avoid it after lunch and in the evenings.

Here are other tips to lower cortisol and sleep better:

  • Shut down your computer or T.V. an hour before bedtime 
  • Turn off main lights in your house an hour before bed and use only dim lamps or candles
  • Remove night lights from your room and use dark curtains or blinds to block any outdoor light 
  • Don't work from your bed, keep it for sleeping as your body will associate work with bed and increase your stress level.
  • It is important to take care of your body as any form of physical stress will lead to an increase in cortisol 
  • Sleep in temperatures of 70 degrees or cooler
  • Wake up naturally. I personally use the Soleil SunAlarm clock, which is an alarm clock that simulates the sunrise in the morning (also available at Kehres Health).
  • Ideally, aim to be in bed by 10 p.m. and to sleep by 10:30 p.m.
Following the proper sleep cycle, our bodies should be ready for sleep around 10 p.m. Throughout the day our bodies go through a variety of physical and mental stressors, and sleep is the time to rebuild and repair our muscles and brain. Between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. our bodies do most of the muscle repair, and after 2 a.m. mental repair takes place. If you go to bed at midnight, you will miss two hours of physical repair potentially causing you to wake up feeling tired and even sore, as your body didn’t get to finish repairs from the night before.

The more you can do to get back in sync with the sun’s cycle, the better sleep you will have and the more energized and restored you will feel the next day.

May 15, 2010

"I Can Do Anything Good!"

Being thankful and having a positive attitude is contagious. Surround yourself with positive people and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

I challenge you to watch this video and not walk away with a positive attitude!

May 13, 2010

Friday Favorite: Avocados

Recently I was in Mexico for vacation, one of my favorite things about traveling is enjoying the foods of different cultures. In Mexico, they typically use a lot of fresh fish and local vegetables in their cooking.

One of my favorite meals on the trip was the fresh fish ceviche made with grouper, raw vegetables and avocados in lime juice. My other favorite meal was guacamole made with local avocados mixed with peppers, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and lime.

Both of these meals are a way to eat raw vegetables and a variety of other nutrients – especially monounsatured fat. There are types of healthy fats, monounsaturated fat for example, found in coconut oil, raw nuts, avocados and other foods can actually help reduce cholesterol levels. The lutein in avocados, a member of the carotenoid family, is found to be a natural anti-oxidant and great for maintaining eye and skin health.

As most Americans lack fiber in their diet, avocados are a great source ranging from 11 to 17 grams of fiber per avocado depending on the type.

Take a tip from the Mexican culture and try making guacamole with fresh avocados, using them on salads or even just peeling and eating raw avocados for a great heart healthy snack!

May 6, 2010

Go Nuts for Coconuts!

This article was originally posted on

In the 1930s, a dentist by the name of Weston Price traveled the world and found that when cultures followed traditional diets, their overall health was significantly better than those that followed the diet of modern civilization. While traveling throughout the South Pacific, Dr. Price found that people eating diets high in coconut were extremely healthy, with virtually no cases of high cholesterol or heart disease, despite the high concentration of saturated fat.

Natural saturated fats like those found in coconuts, real unpasteurized butter or free range eggs have unfortunately been given a bad name due to the low-fat diet craze. Healthy fats are crucial as they are used to make our cells, hormones, vitamins, energy for our brain and other crucial components of the body—given they are the correct types of fats. Eliminating fats from our diets can have a devastating effect on our health. Just be sure to differentiate saturated fats found in fried fast foods from saturated fats in their natural unprocessed forms which are found in nature.

Coconut oil is also the best oil to use when cooking at high temperatures. All oils have a "smoke point," which is the point when a good oil can turn into a bad oil. High temperatures can cause oils to become rancid and lose their health benefits. Luckily, coconut oil has a much higher smoke point than other oils, so it is one of the healthiest options to use in the kitchen because it can stand the heat.

Not only is coconut oil a phenomenal source of fats, but it's one of the best lotions to use. Keep in mind the advice if you can't eat it, then don't put it on your skin, as your skin absorbs chemicals from lotions. An all-natural alternative to skin lotion, coconut oil has been shown to help protect skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. With its anti-aging benefits, coconut oil also helps improve the appearance of skin. Even more, coconut oil is a nourishing conditioner for your scalp and hair, and it can be a natural remedy for dandruff.

When buying coconuts, make sure to look for organic ones, and when purchasing coconut oil, look for organic extra virgin and cold pressed. When you smell the coconut oil, it should smell just like fresh coconuts. Coconut oil can be found at most grocery stores or health food stores.