Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oooh La La Oils!

Amazing how time flies, even when you're not having fun!  Can't believe its been almost a year since my last post but at long last I feel inspired and MUST share my new obsession.
This is Big.....yet so incredibly simple.....and life-changing! All my peeps....young and not as young..... will want to know about this.

OK, so it is pretty well known that I have been going more natural....earthy....crunchy....
some say "hippie" but it just makes sense to lessen the toxic, chemical load in our lives.
I have cleaned up my food act alot and have turned my attention to cosmetics and skin care.  Our skin is our largest organ, that gets exposed to and absorbs so many harmful,
yucky unpronounceable toxins - all claiming to moisturize, hydrate, smooth and cleanse.
Meanwhile, we are loading up our exposure to more chemicals and irritants that may do
more harm than good.  So what is a girl to do to avoid chemical contact....besides
living with elephant skin and looking much older than we feel?

Aaaaah, I have found the solution!  I did not discover it but came across this natural method of cleansing and moisturizing that has been around forever but evidently kept secret by estheticians.  It seems that it is very simple to get that wonderful, fresh-from-a-facial glow and dewy complexion - at home!  The Oil Cleanse Method (OCM) is
THE WAY to cleanse, hydrate, balance sebum (body's natural oil), clear up acne, roscea,
splotchiness, dry patches, AND look years younger and healthier!!!

Here is the short story on OCM:  Cleansers will strip our faces of sebum which causes our skin to either over produce or be depleted of natural oils.  When using organic, botanical oils instead of commercial cleansers (full of irritants, fragrance & chemicals) you can cleanse pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the
dirty oil with beneficial ones that heal, protect and nourish your skin.

Oil Cleanse Method:  Mix Castor oil with either Grapeseed, Jojoba, Almond, Coconut or Avocado oil, depending on skin type, along with some healing essential oils like lavender, frankincense, geranium, chamomile, ylang ylang or jasmine.

    Put a small amount of oil blend (quarter size) in your palm, rub together with hands and gently apply to your face and neck, rubbing in well.  Keep massaging for a few minutes to dissolve the dirty oil that has hardened with impurities, stuck in the pores.

     Wet a wash cloth with hot water and place over your face until it is room temperature.  Steaming your face like this helps pull out impurities from pores and removes dead skin cells.  Rinse cloth again and repeat, gently wiping face thoroughly.

    You do not need to use any other cleanser or makeup remover, and should not need any night cream or moisturizer.  If you have very dry areas, just dab a little of the oil blend on and rub until it is absorbed into the skin.

    OCM should be done at night.  There is no need to wash your face in the morning, just
rinse and apply sunscreen and/or a little natural oil if needed.

   If you google Oil Cleanse Method, there are all kinds of articles and blogs that give the
basic formula of blending oils and tips.

   There is nothing I like better than to come home after a long day of sweaty workouts to a relaxing soak in the jacuzzi tub.  I have also concocted some wonderful sea salt and sugar scrubs with the oils that feel heavenly in the steamy water.  I also do my facial cleanse in the tub, taking more time in the massaging and steaming process.

   After an oil scrub and cleanse, your skin feels aMAZing, and so rosy, silky smooth and soft!  Of course, if you have a man to appreciate (i.e. take advantage of) how fabulous you look, smell and feel.....even better!!  I settle for comfy pjs, homemade popcorn and reality tv.....and a great night's sleep!  (I like to use lavender essential oil in my bath and cleansers/scrubs because of its healing and calming, stress-relief effects)

   If you decide that you also want to try OCM, I have made some jars of oil blends (my
daughter calls me "Rafiki", the kooky medicine monkey from Lion King) for oily, acne-prone, normal and dry, aging skin.  That way you can test it out before buying all the stuff.  We also carry NOW brand oils and essential oils.  Make sure you use products that are organic and cold-pressed... avoid any synthetics that will irritate skin.

   Nothing like being a ~somewhat~ Natural Woman.



Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Eggscellent Adventure


    Now that we have started a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) at Trim Up where we get fresh, organic, cage-free eggs from a local farm each week, I have been learning all there is to know about the egg.  I had been aware that eggs are not the problem in raising cholesterol and can attest to that - I eat about a dozen eggs a week and my cholesterol is lower than ever (180 last October).  But I have realized that all eggs are not created equal and will pass along what I have learned.

    1)  Organic, cage-free (pastured) eggs are superior
                > Non-organic chicken feed is loaded with pesticides from GM (genetically modified) corn
                > Free-range eggs have a better nutritional profile, mainly because of the hens' better diet:
                          1/3 less cholesterol
                          1/4 less saturated fat
                          2/3 more vitamin A
                          2x more omega-3 fatty acids
                          3x more vitamin E
                          7x more beta carotene
                 > Fresh eggs do not need to be refrigerated because the enzymes on the shell are still intact.
                      Refrigeration will lesson the nutrients and protein.

     2)  Omega-3 eggs are the least healthy
              > This is because they typically come from chickens that are fed poor quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized.  And omega-3 eggs don't last as long as other eggs.
                  (this was disturbing to learn since that is all I have eaten for years....they make them sound so healthy on the carton!)

      3) Don't over-cook your eggs
               > Organic, pastured eggs (ONLY) can be eaten raw to get the most health benefits
               > For those who can't do the "Rocky" thing, poached or soft-boiled is the next best method
               > The worst way to cook eggs is in the microwave
                  So, keep the yolks runny to keep the cholesterol from oxidizing that can be harmful and to maintain more of the nutrients.

       4) There is more to an egg than just protein
              >  Egg yolks also contain potent antioxidants ( 2 yolks contain antioxidant properties equivalent to half a serving of cranberries and twice as many as an apple
              >  Protein in cooked eggs convert to peptides to lower blood pressure
              >  Eggs are part of a heart-healthy diet (although yolks are high in cholesterol, numerous studies have confirmed that they have nothing to do with raising your cholesterol levels

     If you don't get eggs from a local farm, the best eggs to buy in a grocery store are labeled Free-range, Organic (sometimes Sam's and Costco carry them), although they originate from a factory farm and are not the most humane treatment of hens.

     Now aren't you glad that you know all about the egg?


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

No canaries in the kitchen!

  Aaah, yes, the cast iron skillet your grandmother used to have to whip up some cornbread!  It seems that this heavy-duty, no frills, basic cookware is now a popular alternative to teflon, non-stick pans that have been the standard in most American kitchens.  Yes, they are VERY heavy to lug around, especially for the weak of wrist (rememba, "now I can pick this pan up" commercial for pain relief? haha).  But they have two things going for them that is making their comeback:

         (1)  they are one of the few non-toxic choices for cookware
         (2)  they are pretty cheap

  Let's look at the facts:

         "In two to five minutes on a conventional stovetop, cookware coated with Teflon and other non-stick surfaces can exceed temperatures at which the coating breaks apart and emits toxic particles and gases linked to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year, according to tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group." (from EWG website) 
   Here is some other popular cookware and their potential hazards:

 Aluminum  -  a reactive metal and suspected casual factor in Alzheimer's disease

Stainless steel  - potential likelihood of metal leaching into your food and allergen issues, especially if
                scratched from cleaning with abrasive materials

Copper - due to the possibility of copper leaching, recommended to never have direct contact with your

 Calphalon (anondized aluminum) - claims that a protective coating protects from leaching nickel but should not be used if surface is worn or scratched

  "Greenie" non-stick - they are easy to scratch, coated aluminum or stainless

  So, that does not leave us with much to cook with!  Here is what the experts say are the safest choices:

   Glass is best for both microwave and oven.

   Cast Iron  (but make sure you purchase it already seasoned or season it yourself before using, to keep it from rusting and sticking and to lower the amount of iron leached.  Also, do not get very wet by boiling water in it or soaking in water)

   Ceramic   I have recently purchased a set of Xtrema ceramic cookware for its high ratings and features,
                   that Dr. Mercola recommends

               " Xtrema cookware is made of inorganic non reactive natural minerals that make the product environmentally friendly. This cookware clearly addresses today’s growing desire for a healthier cooking alternative to metal cookware and their coatings, which can eventually deteriorate and peel or flake off into foods. Xtrema also provides greater functionality in terms of usage with multiple cooking appliances. Xtrema can be used safely and effectively in the oven, microwave, toaster oven, broiler, stored in the freezer or refrigerator or used to serve food right on the table."

       click for more info:  extrema website


   Here is what I think of the ceramic cookware:

    >  supposed to be the healthiest cookware
    > very easy to clean - nothing will scratch it
    > maintains heat longer
    > food tastes better cooked in it
    > has a 50 year warranty

    > very expensive
    > can easily chip, need to handle and store carefully
    > handles get very hot ( but they do include covers)
    > skillets are slightly raised in the center, making some foods hard to cook evenly
      > takes longer to heat up initially

Since I needed to replace my worn out calphalon and am trying to eat healthier,  it was important to me to have the safest cookware there is.  I am generally pleased with the Xtrema but ended up buying a cast iron skillet to cook pancakes,etc easier.  Hopefully they will keep improving the non-toxic cookware if there is more public demand. 
My suggestion to anyone wanting to upgrade to less toxic cookware:  buy the standard, inexpensive cast iron skillets and/or griddle and then a few of the pricier ceramic pots for stovetop.  And use glassware for baking. 
       And let the canaries sing!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Let's Get The Lead Out!

Saturday's wellness event also included Dr. Rashid Buttar, an internationally known physician who happens to reside in Charlotte.  He is somewhat of a medical maverick, going up against our country's system of allowing us (among many other things) to continue to be exposed to toxic metals (vaccines, dental fillings, etc).  People all over the world come to his clinic in Cornelius seeking alternative treatment for cancer and other chronic diseases.

Dr. Buttar's book "The 9 Steps to Keep the Doctor Away" tells us the secrets of longevity and health; primarily detoxification of our bodies, a regulated immune system, and optimal hormonal balance.  (I got an autographed copy!)

In his talk, Dr. Buttar went over the 7 main toxicities that we are exposed to and adversely affect our health. He feels that if you can effectively detoxify your body, disease can not exist.  Here are the highlights from
his lecture.

Seven Toxicities:

     1) Heavy metals
           > Mercury is still found in vaccines and silver dental fillings (even though we are led to believe
> Autism is brought on by being genetically unable to detox mercury           > Hepatitis B vaccines given to infants are unnecessary and their undeveloped gastrointestinal systems are unable to handle the vaccine
          > There is still mercury in vaccines (although the FDA allows the label to not have to list it)
          > Alzheimers is also caused by mercury and can be treated with detoxing

     2) POPs - Persistent Organic Pollutants (i.e. air pollution, etc)

     3) Bacteria, Yeast, parasites (these suppress the immune system)
           > Taking daily probiotics is recommended

     4) Energetics (radiation,etc)
           > There has been a 500,000% increase in electromagnetic power in the past 20 years because of cell phones, computers and other electronic devises
            > You don't want to live or work in close proximity to big power lines
            > Keep cell phones out of the bedroom when sleeping (we charge ours in the bathroom) and for a better night's sleep, unplug all electronics in your room

      5) Emotional/Psychological Wellness
           > Your body will be out of balance when emotional issues are not dealt with, resulting in physical ailments, depression and compromised immune system
           > The first thing Dr. Buttar tells cancer patients who come to him for treatment, is to address this area and work on any deep-seeded issues, to be able to heal
           >  It is important to let go of anger and forgive everyone who has "wronged" you.....not for them, but for your own well-being.

      6) Food Toxicity
             > Any food that is processed, pasteurized, hydrogenated, fried or altered artificially (GMOs)
               He believes that raw milk is ok to drink

       7) Spiritual (your relationship with God)
             > Differences in religious views has always been a source of emotional and physical conflict. 
             > Bottom line is - when you fell so strongly about your religion that you impose your beliefs onto others, it becomes a toxic situation to your body.

Dr. Buttar is continually being harassed by medical and government organizations, accused of being "irresponsible" with his holistic methods of healing. He has spent $14 million to fight such lawsuits but is willing to fight the fight because of all the people who need and want his help. It takes brave professionals like him who have an inside view on what is really going on in the field of medicine and food industry, to present Americans with the truth. There is so much corruption and dishonesty with big business making huge profits at the expense of our health!

p.s.   I am obsessed with the one silver filling in my mouth and can not wait to get it removed!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Green Smoothie Girl Groupie!

Last Saturday I attended a wonderful holistic health event in Cornelius with Robyn Openshaw (aka Green Smoothie Girl) and Dr. Rashid Buttar (Center for Advanced Medicine).  Both speakers shared their own personal stories of how they became involved in the crusade for natural healing, especially through a whole foods, plant based diet.  Much of the information presented on how the SAD (Standard American Diet) is making us sick, how proper nutrition can keep chronic disease away, and the benefits of detoxification was not new to me but I did learn some things.  And I left very inspired and motivated to try even harder in my wellness journey, particularly with more mindful eating with less animal protein.

I thought Robyn would be promoting the Blendtec with demos in ways to use it for blending and juicing but she only showed how to make one basic green smoothie.  She spent most of the time talking about her personal experiences that led her to the raw food diet and how a plant based diet can change your health and your life.  She drinks one quart of green smoothie every day and her children drink one pint.  One quart gives 12-15 servings of fruit and vegetables (the average American gets 1-2 servings per day).

Robyn's mantra is that spending 10 minutes a day in the kitchen (making your smoothie) can add hours to your day because you will have more energy, need less sleep and will be more productive and focused.

Robyn is a single mom to 4 children, and talked a bit about how young moms are the most powerful people on the planet.....decisions they make on their children's nutrition and eating habits can change the course of their lives in many ways.  It truly is the most important aspect of general health and the the gift that keeps on giving!  She started the strict vegan diet for the whole family when her baby boy was chronically sick with severe asthma....soon after he got off all meds, started to thrive in good health and is now getting ready for college with a full baseball scholarship.

A few helpful tidbits that I got from Robyn: 
  > you can use dehydrated greens (Ormos is one brand) and mix a tsp with water for times when you are not able to blend your own smoothie
 > she recommends a combination of 1/3 water, 1/3 greens and 1/3 fruit for beginner blenders; adding some stevia for a more pleasing taste
  > you can add a few drops of essential oils to the smoothie (lemon oil is a natural fat burner & appetite suppressant)
> hemp and chia are the most nutrient dense seeds and also help with mood - good to add to the mix

 I tried her Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie recipe and it was surprisingly very good!  It is a delicious way to incorporate the goodness of raw veggies and the power of nutritious coconut that will start your day off right and sustain you until lunchtime.  Greens can be a little hard to swallow first thing in the morning!

                                     Hot Pink Breakfast Smoothie

  1 1/2 c. coconut water (raw from a coconut, or you can find this in cans or cartons)
  1 large carrot, cleaned and cut into small pieces (or 5-6 baby carrots)
  1/2 of a medium beet, raw, peeled
  1/4 c. cashews, raw and unsalted
 1/4 c. chopped dates (or 5 whole, pitted)
  2 tsp. vanilla extract
 12 frozen strawberries
 (makes one quart, about 400 calories)

   To view a Youtube of Robyn preparing this smoothie, click here:


   I will never be a vegan, and can not even imagine totally giving up fish, eggs, butter, yogurt and cheese but people like Robyn who are bringing attention to how critical good nutrition is for the sake of our health and wellness, are so admirable.  Moving towards a more plant based, whole foods diet can be life-changing and like Robyn, I have an increasing desire to help others learn about this more natural, holistic way of eating and living.
   Next blog:  Dr. Buttar!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Truth about Milk!

There is a very interesting book that came out about 6 years ago called "The China Study" by Dr. Colin Campbell.  I first heard about it at a fitness conference last year and just got through reading it.  Even though it was a national bestseller, I doubt that too many people have read it or even heard of it, unless they are in the nutrition field.

The China Study details the connection between nutrition, cancer, heart disease and diabetes.  Early in his career, as a researcher with MIT and Virginia Tech, Dr. Campbell worked to promote better health by eating more meat, milk and eggs -- "high-quality animal protein ... It was an obvious sequel to my own life on the farm and I was happy to believe that the American diet was the best in the world." (he was raised on a dairy farm) 

Later, he was a researcher on a project in the Philippines working with malnourished children, to determine why so many Filipino children were being diagnosed with liver cancer, which is an adult disease. The primary goal of the project was to make sure that the children were getting as much protein as possible.   Dr. Campbell states, "In this project, however, I uncovered a dark secret. Children who ate the highest protein diets were the ones most likely to get liver cancer..." He began to review other reports from around the world that reflected the findings of his research in the Philippines. He started an in-depth study into the role of nutrition, especially protein, in the cause of cancer. The research project culminated in a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, a survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan. This became known as The China Study.

The findings were undeniable "People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease ... People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored," said Dr. Campbell. 
It was also found that the casein, the main protein present in cow's milk, was the most carcinogenic animal product, promoting cancer growth as well as increasing blood cholesterol and artery plaque.

Americans drink the most milk, as we are told that we need to for strong bones and teeth, but we also have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world.  Animal protein is highly acidic, which means our blood and tissues become more acidic.  In order to neutralize the acid, the body pulls calcium from the bones, which weakens them.  This has been documented as early as 1920 and studied in detail since the 1970's.  But the dairy industry continues their marketing campaign to get us to keep drinking milk!  (by the way, you can get more calcium from a cup of greens than a cup of milk!)

The information disclosed in The China Study, although based on thousands of scientific and reputable studies, unfortunately will not make headlines in our local newspapers. It is too controversial and would have too negative of an impact on big business.  As Dr. Campbell relates, "After a long career in research and policy-making, I have decided to step 'out of the system'. I have decided to disclose why Americans are so confused," said Dr. Campbell. "As a taxpayer who foots the bill for research and health policy in America, you deserve to know that many of the common notions you have been told about food, health and disease are wrong. I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. You need to know the truth about food, and why eating the right way can save your life."

Bottom line is:  consuming too much animal protein is shown to promote cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity while plant protein will protect your body from disease and cancer.    Since I have had skin cancer, I stopped drinking  milk after hearing this report last year and have not had any more places pop up in 1 1/2 yrs when I was regularly going in to the dermotologist to have something removed about every 6 months.  We all have the ability to have cancerous cells based on the amount of  exposure to toxins, etc. but it is WHAT YOU EAT that determines if the cancer grows and spreads.  I don't miss dairy milk one bit and love almond milk (it has more calcium than dairy) plus it doesn't bloat..  Another change I made is to eat more meatless meals and much  smaller portions of animal protein.  I also drink green smoothies almost every day.

Those who want to improve their health with better nutrition, especially if you have had cancer, with a bonus of weight loss, make this your summer read!  It may not be as exciting as "50 shades of grey" but could it change your life!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hot Flash Havoc!

         I am so excited about going to the Menopausal Event next week at the Mint Museum where the documentary "Hot Flash Havoc" is being shown. Finally, the taboo subject of "the change" is being addressed and promoted as an important health topic. The evening includes a cocktail reception, informative yet entertaining movie plus dessert and open discussions with a panel of doctors. My own GYN, Alyse Kelly-Jones, is one of the doctors who specializes in women sexuality and hormone replacement and is with Mintview OB/GYN, one of the sponsors of the event.

          In my business, I have the pleasure of meeting lots of women over age 40. Some are still raising children, others are empty-nesters, some work long hours while others are retired or happily unemployed. One thing we all have in common is HORMONES....and we are all affected by the lack of or imbalance or surges of them. I have noticed that the various physical, mental and emotional challenges we all normally face in life can become overwhelming once we enter the menopausal zone and our hormones go crazy.

          This can be a tough age group as far as motivating to take better care of their health with exercise, particularly weight training, and nutrition. I know from personal experience how menopause can make you feel so tired, sluggish, unmotivated, depressed and anxious. The lack of sleep can really take its toll on your energy and mood, weight gain is depressing and you feel like your body is betraying you! It becomes difficult to cope with demands of a job, family and relationships. Many doctors want to put women on anti-depressants when instead they should be testing their hormones.

        I started peri-menopause in my mid-30's and reached full menopause at 40 yrs young! Luckily my GYN (Alyse) specialized in natural hormone replacement and started treatment that improved my symptoms in just a few days. I had always been fit and healthy but began having joint pain (had to take Celebrex), hot flashes, disrupted sleep, dry skin, hair loss, 20 lb weight gain, anxiety, confusion and memory lapses. I needed and wanted to lose weight but was so unmotivated to exercise or eat properly. Obviously I was in desperate need of my hormones because after Dr. Kelly-Jones gave me an estrogen patch and testosterone cream, I started feeling better almost immediately!

        I have adjusted my doses of hormones over the years but plan to continue HRT because I want to be "whole" and healthy! When women come into Trim Up and talk to me about where they are with fitness and health, I hear so many similar stories of osteopenia or osteoporosis, bone fractures, surgeries, weight gain, etc. So many talk about how they "used to be" so athletic, fit, active but have declined in health and physical fitness over the years. Some medical conditions can not be helped, but the majority of women's health issues can be managed or mproved with exercise, proper nutrition and HRT. And for women who are suffering from hormone imbalances, if treated first with HRT, they would be better equipped to take care of themselves with diet and exercise.

        It is certainly about time for women to hear the truth about the importance of balanced hormones and how our bodies and health are forever compromised without normal levels of hormones. The media only seems to give outdated, inaccurate information on HRT that scares women.  I hope all women who are close to the peri-menopausal stage or already well past menopause, will take this opportunity to get informed about their options with HRT.
                                                            Wednesday, May 30th
                                                                The Mint Museum
                                              $25 (proceeds to March of Dimes)
  To purchase tickets:

          See you there!