Thoughts on trends impacting our ability to thrive!
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In the month of April, we acknowledge National Autism Month and the population of Americans on the autism spectrum. As we pause to reflect on this condition, what becomes most alarming is how quickly the statistics are rising: about 1 out of every 68 children in the USA is now “on the spectrum,” a figure unbelievable to many of us. And though baby boomer children were not affected in such numbers, many of us boomers are parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to special needs children and young adults.

But young people aren’t the only ones experiencing an unusual surge in brain disorders. The number of adults in their ’40s and ’50s diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment is also rising, and so is early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s in people in their ’60s and ’70s. For those of us treating these populations, the questions we keep asking are why are these brain disorders occurring in such numbers, and what are the biological mechanisms in cells, organs, and systems that contribute to these conditions? And, just as importantly, why is it happening now? It is easy to try to blame genes, but as the truth of science bears out, it’s impossible to have a genetic epidemic.

For almost twenty years, I have described my work with clients as “working in the trenches.” In an attempt to dig for information, I have pursued an extensive amount of postgraduate education to uncover as much as I can about the causes that might predispose and contribute to an individual developing these conditions. These causes are seemingly countless, but they fall into three main groups:

  • 1. Genes and genetic variations
    2. External influences like environmental toxins, infections, and allergens
    3. Internal influences specific to the gastrointestinal system, like the gut bacteria, the endocrine glands (which produce hormones), the immune system, and the processes of detoxification

Clean up your environment:

  • Reduce your exposure to toxins by creating an organic yard, if you have one. Substitute chemical weed killers (which have been linked to Parkinson’s) with homemade alternatives, and replace chemical fertilizers with organic compost.
  • Replace harmful household cleaning supplies with nontoxic and environmentally friendly alternatives. Or just make your own—this simple tutorial is a great place to start.
  • Avoid the use of aluminum pots, pans, and foil. The jury’s still out on whether aluminum contributes to Alzheimer’s, but it’s smart to stay on the safe side.
  • Replace plastic storage and beverage containers with glass alternatives, which do not contain BPA or other harmful chemicals.
  • Use Hepa filters in your air conditioning unit and when necessary as free-standing air purifiers.
  • Double-check the ingredients in your cosmetics, perfumes, and personal care products. Search for them in this database, and if some of them are dangerously toxic, replace them with healthier alternatives.

Clean up your diet:

  • Choose organic fruits, vegetables, and grains when you can—especially when you’re buying produce on the Dirty Dozen list.
  • Choose hormone-free, antibiotic free, and organic meat and dairy products when available.
  • Reduce your intake of refined, processed, and modified foods.
  • Avoid foods containing hydrogenated fats.
  • Avoid foods and beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Avoid foods containing artificial sugars, dyes, flavors, and preservatives.

Clean up your gut and balance your immune system:

  • Refer to my article on maintaining a healthy colon and check into your bowel habits.
  • If tolerated, add fermented foods and drinks (like yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha) to your diet.
  • Support your gastrointestinal microbiotia and function with viable strain probiotics.
  • Add healthy sources of fiber such as flax, chia, and hemp seeds to your diet.
  • Add healthy fats to your diet, including cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and nut and seed oils.
  • Augment your dietary fat intake with a high-quality omega-3 supplement.
  • Reduce your intake of sugars and refined grains.
  • Treat signs of inflammation with effective botanicals such as turmeric and bromelain.
  • Treat infections naturally and without antibiotics when possible; however, always follow the advice of your doctor.
  • Follow these tips on how to raise your immunity.
  • Add blended green drinks and juices to your diet. Try this simple recipe if you’re not sure where to start.

By slowly and consistently integrating these suggestions into your lifestyle, you will begin the process of building healthy internal and external environments that reduce your risk of having a brain “under siege.”

(Original Post on Boomshop)











March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and at this time of year, many of us are reminded to schedule colonoscopies for the early detection of colorectal cancer. But colonoscopies aren’t the only tool we have for maintaining the health of the colon. By understanding how the colon works and making a handful of small lifestyle changes, we can help to prevent colorectal dysfunction and disease they start.

I always find it interesting when I bring up the subject of a client’s bowel habits. Unless the focus is on a specific bowel-related symptom such as constipation, diarrhea, cramping, urgency, flatulence, or a disease or syndrome of the bowel such as colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or irritable bowel syndrome, many clients are unaware of their elimination patterns and the quality of their stool, which I prefer to refer to as “poo.” When advising these clients, I am often reminded of one of my all-time favorite quotes: “No one thinks straight when his mind is focused on the toilet,” from the book The Second Brain by Michael D. Gershon, MD. It’s essential to pay attention to our daily elimination and the quality of poo, even if we’d prefer not to think about it. After all, our poo reflects not only the health of the colon, but also the health of the whole body, mind, and emotions.

Understanding the Colon
To recognize the central importance of the colon to the body and mind, let’s briefly review its structure and function.

The colon is made of several parts: the ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid colons, as well as the rectum and the anus. Like the rest of the bowel (except for the stomach), the colon resembles a garden hose, and food, liquids, and waste are moved through it. The colon and the small intestine are occupied by an estimated 100 trillion organisms, which weigh in at about 3.5 lbs. Particularly significant is the Bifido bacterium species, as it supports the integrity and health of the colon through several mechanisms.

The colon is primarily responsible for maintaining the body’s fluid balance. It is also the site of the body where fiber, small amounts of water, and vitamins blend together with mucus and the local bacteria, thus initiating the formation of fecal matter. As the feces move through the colon, the majority of water and some of the vitamins and electrolytes are reabsorbed. The movement of the fecal matter through the colon exposes the Bifido bacteria to the undigested fiber, which they ferment to produce a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes the cells that line the colon. The fecal matter is finally moved into the rectum and eliminated by the anus.

When the health and function of the colon is compromised, toxins from our waste are reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This has both a local and a systemic impact. Symptoms local to the colon range from gas and constipation to candida overgrowth, diverticulitis, and more.

Now that we understand what the colon does and how it works, let’s move on to determining the health of our colon. One indication of a healthy colon is healthy “poo,” which takes on the following attributes:

Color: Should be medium to light brown
Shape: Should be log-like and shaped like an “S”
Size: Should be about 2 inches wide and up to 18 inches long
Void: Should be gently eliminated and sink to the bottom of the bowl
Texture: Should be uniform throughout with no evidence of undigested food
Flush: Should disappear upon flushing
Smell: Should have a “poo,” not “repulsive,” odor
Frequency of Elimination: Daily

If your stool, process, or pattern of elimination does not measure up to the above suggestions, then you may need to adjust your diet and other lifestyle habits to ensure the health of your colon and to reduce your risk of colorectal dysfunction and disease.

Simple Solutions for a Healthy Colon
As you embark on the process of increasing both the health and performance of your colon, follow the simple steps highlighted below to achieve the long-lasting health of your bowel and to prevent bowel-related disease.

Ensure adequate hydration—Drink at least 8 glasses of pure unflavored water a day. In addition, for each caffeinated or alcohol beverage you consume, drink an additional 16 ounces of water.

Eat enough fiber—Consume a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber from fresh vegetables, small portions of fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Start or end your day with our fiber-rich gruel recipe at the bottom of this page. Just don’t let the word “gruel” scare you—it actually tastes good, we promise!

Consume natural laxative foods—Garnish your meals with natural laxatives such as organic apples, pears, grapefruit, blueberries, figs, and dates, as well as flax, chia, and hemp seeds.

Add a probiotic to your regimen or eat cultured foods—Rotate a Bifido-bacterium-rich probiotic and cultured foods like yogurt, kimchi, or kombucha into your weekly routine.

Drink a half glass of aloe vera juice at bedtime—Aloe vera juice increases peristalsis, the movement of food and waste through the digestive tract.

Take a magnesium supplement—Often referred to as the forgotten mineral, magnesium citrate acts as a natural stool softener, encouraging easier elimination.

Move your body, move your bowels—Daily exercise, such as walking or light jogging, will help to stimulate a bowel movement. Too much sitting will suppress it.

Soothe your stress—Stress can have a direct impact on your bowel habits. Incorporate meditation, yoga, and other forms of decompression into your lifestyle.

Yum Yum Fiber Gruel
Not only does this recipe contain enough fiber to get you moving, it’s also an excellent source of omega-3s, healthy fats, and protein. Eat it daily for maximum benefit

  • Soak together overnight in a glass bowl:
    2 tbsp milled organic flaxseeds
    2 tbsp organic chia seeds
    2 tbsp organic unsweetened desiccated coconut
    8–12 oz water OR 4–6 oz coconut water + 4–6 oz water

In the morning:
Serve cold or heat gently, and then add:

  • ½ chopped organic apple or ½ cup organic blueberries
    1 tsp organic coconut butter or regular butter
    8 chopped organic raw almonds or walnuts
    Cinnamon to taste

(Original Post on Boomshop)











Have you ever found yourself eating an entire tub of ice cream because you felt sad? Have you ever finished a bag of cookies, crackers, or chips because you felt mad at something or someone? Have you ever felt so happy at a special occasion that you decided to have a second piece of cake, or a third?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may have a tendency toward emotional eating. If so, you’re not alone. This type of disordered eating behavior is so common that we don’t even think of it as disordered. Of course I like to eat sweets when I’m upset about something, you may be thinking. Everyone does. This may be true, but it’s all too easy for these relatively innocent behaviors to become habitual, and to overwhelm our attempts to eat healthfully on a daily basis. After all, every day comes with its little joys and its little stresses, and if we let these joys and stresses dictate what we eat, we’ll have a hard time reaching our wellness goals.

And emotional eating doesn’t just affect the body. It can affect the mind as well. When we eat to relieve our boredom, soothe our stress, or alleviate feelings of loneliness, we’re merely putting a temporary bandage over the problem, not working to resolve it. When we’re done eating, the problem is still there—and now it’s compounded by guilt and self-admonishment. Once we realize how much junk food we’ve consumed, and how rapidly, we feel bad about ourselves. This, in turn, can make us restrict our diets too harshly, which can then trigger the desire to eat more junk food due to feelings of deprivation. And so a vicious cycle ensues.

So how can you break this vicious cycle that so many of us get into? I recommend that my clients follow these 3 simple steps to create a more stress-free relationship with food.

Step #1:

As you recognize your pattern of emotional eating, try not to feel alone or isolated. Eating emotionally is not at all uncommon; in fact, most of us do it. There is nothing strange or shameful in your eating habits.

Step #2:

When you have a minute, take out a notebook and pen and do this simple exercise. It’ll help you identify which emotions cause you to eat, and to determine what you can do to break the link between feelings and food.

Draw a vertical line down the middle of a page. On the left side of the page, write down all the things that prompt your desire to eat. At the top of the page should be “hunger,” and below it should be all the feelings that cause you to eat impulsively: anger, sadness, happiness, boredom, loneliness, stress, etc. Once this column is complete, use the right side of the page to match each trigger feeling with a corresponding healthy action, so that when the trigger feeling arises, you have a healthy action that you can turn to, instead of turning to food. This healthy action could be calling a friend, taking a walk, drinking a cup of your favorite tea, or anything else that might make you feel better and forget about your trigger feeling. Once your list is complete, keep it near at hand so when the negative emotion arises, you’ll have a resource to rely on.

If referring to this list doesn’t work every time, don’t sweat it. The more aware you are of your emotional-eating triggers, and the more practice you put into changing your behaviors, the easier it will be to transform your harmful habits into healthy ones.

Step #3:

Seek all the help and support you need to overcome your emotional eating. For some people, it’s very difficult to embark on this journey on their own. Some clients need the simultaneous support of both a clinical nutritionist and a cognitive behavioral therapist to break their emotional eating habits and to build a healthier relationship with food. Others require at least some proactive help from friends and family. So whatever path you take, make sure you have people to rely on. After all, social support not only helps us change our habits, but it can also make those pesky trigger feelings seem less overwhelming—and maybe not so bad after all.

(Original Post on Boomshop)













It happens every year. When the holiday season arrives, our healthy eating and exercise habits rapidly take a backseat to a host of temptations. The month and a half of festivities from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a minefield of refined carbs, simple sugars, unhealthy fats, alcohol, and processed foods. Over time, the consumption of these harmful food groups leads to weight gain, gastrointestinal discomfort, unproductive sleep, fatigue, increased inflammation, and a general loss of health, vitality, and productivity. It also weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to winter colds.

On the other hand, there is no need to completely abstain or deprive oneself of these simple pleasures and indulgences. After all, the holiday season comes only once a year, and it should be a season of happiness, togetherness, and, yes, special treats. The goal here is to strive for balance. This can be easily achieved when we thoughtfully prepare a range of healthy appetizers, starters, and sides to complement a holiday meal.

We hardly need to overthink the process. Our market basket at this time of the year is brimming with a range of phytonutrient-dense greens, powerhouse cruciferous vegetables, rich and velvety squashes, and sweet fruits that can easily be prepared into delicious and nutritious crowd-pleasing dishes. If we start our meal planning with fresh, whole foods, we’ll be able to pour that second glass of eggnog without a second thought.

Here are 11 great recipes to get you started.


Maple Spiced Nuts and Seeds


  • 1 lb unsalted raw nuts and seeds (I love a mix of almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds)
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    2 tsp chipotle powder
    Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a bowl, combine maple syrup, chipotle powder, salt, and pepper. Add the nuts and toss well to coat.

Spread the nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 6–7 minutes, stir, and bake for an additional 6–7 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl to cool.

Curried Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Dip


  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
    1/4 cup red lentils
    1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
    1 tsp ground cumin
    2–3 tsp curry powder (to taste)
    1 whole lemon, squeezed
    Salt and pepper
    1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, toasted


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the butternut squash and 1/4 tsp salt, and cook until the squash is slightly soft. Add the lentils and garlic, and cook until the squash and lentils are soft.

Pour off the excess water, and place the contents of the pot into a blender. Add the ground cumin, curry powder, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth.

Pour into a serving bowl, garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, and refrigerate covered for about 2 hours. Serve with fresh raw veggies or bread.

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Quiche


  • 3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
    1 tbsp olive oil
    1 bunch Swiss chard, washed carefully and coarsely chopped, with stems removed
    1 tbsp garlic, minced
    1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, plain or herbed
    1 cup 2% milk
    3 large eggs
    Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the potato slices and a pinch of salt, and cook until the potato is just tender, about 5–10 minutes. When cooked, remove the potatoes from the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chard and cook until wilted, tossing repeatedly, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Coat a 9″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray. Layer the potatoes at the bottom of the pan, and then top with chard and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Whisk together the milk and eggs and season with salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the quiche pan. Cover the pan with parchment paper.

Bake the quiche for about 45–50 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes, cut into squares, and serve.

Sensational Salads

Arugula, Radicchio, Pear, and Candied Walnut Salad

Ingredients for Candied Walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves
    1 tbsp butter
    3 tbsp light brown sugar
    1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients for Dressing

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    2 tbsp walnut oil
    1 tbsp Dijon mustard
    1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Ingredients for Salad

  • 8 cups baby arugula
    2 firm, ripe red pears, sliced

Process for Candied Walnuts

In a nonstick ceramic pain over medium heat, add walnuts, sugar, and butter. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so that the nuts are fully coated but don’t burn. Transfer immediately to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and separate nuts with a spatula, working fast.

Process for Dressing

Stir all ingredients together until well mixed.

Process for Salad

Toss the arugula and dressing in a large bowl, and then add the pears and walnuts. Toss until all ingredients are well coated. Serve immediately or store in fridge.

Mixed Field Greens with Pomegranate and Crumbled Goat Cheese

Ingredients for Dressing

  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    1.5 tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    Note: for a sweeter dressing, add 1/2 tbsp honey

Ingredients for Salad

  • 10 cups mixed field greens
    1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
    1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese
    1 orange, peeled and cut into 1/4″ slices, and then sliced in half

Process for Dressing

  • Stir all ingredients together until well mixed.

Process for Salad

Toss greens with salad dressing. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, and orange slices.

Powerhouse Sides

Braised Red Cabbage


  • 1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
    1 small head of red cabbage, cored and cut into 1/4″ thick slices
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    2 tbsp light brown sugar
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 large green apple, peeled, cored, and diced
    4 cups water
    Himalayan salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot, heat the olive oil, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the cabbage and cook, turning occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted. Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer covered for about 50 minutes, or until the cabbage is tender and the liquid is syrupy.

Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables


  • 1 lb multicolored carrots, peeled and halved
    4 medium parsnips, peeled and halved
    4 golden beets, peeled, halved, and cut into wedges
    1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and cut into wedges
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste


Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Spread onto one or two large baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees F, tossing occasionally until vegetables are tender and browned, about 35 minutes.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Shallots


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until tender and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in pine nuts and serve.

Kale with Red Onion, Pecans, and Raisins


  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
    2 tbsp olive oil
    1/4 cup golden raisins
    1/4 cup chopped pecans
    1 lb Lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
    Salt and pepper to taste


Sauté the sliced onion in olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the raisins and pecans and cook for an additional 1–2 minutes. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry, Pear, and Ginger Chutney


  • 1.5 cups pears, peeled, cored, and chopped
    1 bag fresh cranberries
    1 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
    1/2 cup organic cane sugar
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    3/4 cup golden raisins
    1 cup water
    2 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp ground cloves
    1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced


Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to a glass container and let cool at room temperature, and then cover and refrigerate overnight.


Apple Cranberry Crumble

Ingredients for Fruit Filling

  • 8 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (I like a mixture of Golden Delicious and Granny Smith, but you can use any of your choice)
    8 oz fresh cranberries
    1 1/3 cup organic cane sugar (1 cup if you prefer less sweet)
    2 tbsp cornstarch
    2 tsp ground cinnamon

Ingredients for Topping

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/3 cups light brown sugar (1 cup is enough if you prefer less sweet)
    1/2 tsp salt
    12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, toss all the fruit filling ingredients until well coated. Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, and spread the fruit filling mixture evenly at the bottom of the pan.

For the topping, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then add the melted butter. Mix to combine, and then spread evenly in the pan over the fruit filling.

Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 1 hour, or until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

(Original Posting on Boomshop)











Although many of us associate the word intimacy with sexual relationships, the word by definition actually implies close familiarity, or friendship. The importance of our connections with friends and community cannot be overstated. Equally important is the connection we feel with ourselves.

For many women, the changes associated with menopause can lead to feelings of detachment from themselves and others. Hormonal changes can cause fluctuations in body temperature, mood, and energy, as well as shifts in body composition and weight. These often unpleasant side effects, in turn, can cause a woman to feel anxious and detached, and interfere with her motivation to take care of herself and maintain intimate connections with her spouse or partner, friends, family, and community.

In my work with clients who are going through perimenopause or menopause, I always recommend some simple steps they can take to celebrate themselves, reduce menopause-related stress, and reconnect with the important people in their lives.

Take two 10–15 minute time-out breaks a day. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the everyday stresses of life, find a quiet space where you can sit and breathe deeply for ten or fifteen minutes. Reinvigorate your body and soothe your mind with a cup of calming tea, like chamomile, valerian root, or ashwaganda. Try to empty your mind of clutter and reflect upon your positive self. Focus on the unique things you have to offer to yourself and to others.

Take two 15-minute walks per day. Take a walk to reduce stress and get in touch with the world around you. Spending too much time indoors can exacerbate a sense of detachment, and can make negative thoughts snowball inside your mind. Getting out into the fresh air helps you expand your horizons and get a glimpse of the bigger picture.

Early morning walks are particularly beneficial. Getting into the habit of walking as soon as you get out of bed will let you take advantage of the serenity of the early morning, and kickstart your circulation and metabolism for the day.

Create a positive and nurturing environment when you eat. Choose vital, earth-based ingredients for your meals to avoid post-meal sluggishness or sugar fluctuations. Eat quietly and indulge in the sensory experience of each bite. By focusing on your meal, anxious thoughts will subside, and you’ll come away from the table with a clearer, calmer mind.

Prepare for sleep. Try to avoid using any gadgets or watching TV for an hour or two before bed. When your bedtime nears, take a twenty-minute soak, put on comfy clothes, dim the lights, and do some simple stretches while breathing deeply. Preparing properly for bed will make you more likely to enjoy a deeper, more relaxed sleep, which in turn leads to a more positive outlook in the morning.

Schedule a pamper-me day once a month. If you have trouble finding time for yourself, schedule a “me day” once a month and clear your calendar to make sure that your responsibilities don’t interfere with it. Spend the day by indulging in your favorite relaxing pursuits, such as hiking, swimming, yoga class, or meditation. Follow your activity with an hour-long massage to work out any pent-up stress in your muscles. End the day by lighting some candles, turning on soft music, and enjoying some at-home spa treatments. Massage your hair with hydrating coconut oil and wrap in a towel for 20–30 minutes. Prepare a soothing face mask with 2 tbsp of honey and 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Take a long bath in bathwater infused with your favorite essential oils, and then exfoliate your skin with a natural loofah sponge.

Some of us tend to feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. But remember, if you are feeling stressed and disconnected from yourself, the connections that other people have with you can suffer as a result. By helping yourself, you help them—and you help your relationships as well.

(Original Posting on Boomshop)










(Part 3 of a 3-part series)

Bathing suit season is fast approaching, and many of us are feeling compelled to go on a “diet” to lose the weight we have gained over the winter. But why gain weight in the first place if we feel compelled to lose the pounds later? Of course, this question is easier asked than answered, but I believe we owe it to ourselves to try.

Part 3 of our spring series is improving our habits for better health (if you haven’t yet, check out part one and part two), I’ve chosen to explore this often complicated subject. It may be challenging, but it is possible to examine our harmful eating patterns, understand how they contribute to weight gain and poor health, and finally eliminate them. When working with clients, I often ask them these 7 questions to get them started on the path to improved eating habits, and I invite you to join in as well. After all, why wait?

Do you eat when you aren’t hungry?

If we all paused to ask, “Am I physically hungry?” before we put food in our mouths, would we always eat? The answer for many would be no. Sometimes we feel compelled to eat because we feel some emotion, such as happiness, sadness, anger, or boredom, or because we feel out of control or associate food with a particular situation.

I often suggest to my clients this exercise: sit quietly in an area removed from eating triggers and food, fold a piece of paper in half vertically to create two equal columns, and write in the left column all the reasons why they make unhealthy food choices. Then, in the right column, match these reasons with practical strategies they can take to avoid these choices. I ask them to keep this piece of paper with them and review it when they find themselves at an “eating crossroads.” This allows them to acknowledge what motivates them to eat and to employ their own strategies to change their behaviors.

Do you eat frequently throughout the day?

To be successful with maintaining a healthy weight, it is best to eat three modest meals and two healthy snacks at regular intervals through the day. This prevents us from getting overly hungry and overeating when meals are delayed. Make certain that your meals and snacks contain enough protein and healthy fats to keep you full and satisfied. Avoid grazing on processed, refined grains or fruit-based snacks.

Do you ride the blood sugar rollercoaster?

By consistently keeping our blood sugar and insulin levels in a healthy range, we can help to prevent extreme fluctuations in energy levels and lessen our risk of developing metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance, two of the primary conditions associated with increased diabetes risk and its complications. Also, by controlling blood sugar, we can prevent the cravings associated with extreme blood sugar fluctuations. And maintaining healthy levels allows our bodies to transition from a fat-building (anabolic) state to a fat-burning (catabolic) state, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

To reach this state, we need to avoid refined, processed starches and sugars, and focus on incorporating sufficient protein, vegetables, and healthy fats in all meals and snacks. In addition, moving our bodies throughout the day helps to keep blood sugar and insulin steady and healthy.

Are you expending enough energy?

Exercise and movement throughout the day are critical for burning calories and boosting metabolism. It’s well known that dieting without exercising isn’t enough to lose weight. When we diet, we shed muscle as well as fat. This loss of muscle mass makes the body go into conservation mode to prevent starvation, which decreases our metabolic rate. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate a combination of aerobic and resistance training into our daily routine, not only to expend energy, but also to build lean muscle mass, change our body composition, and improve metabolism.

Do you order from the menu when you eat out?

You can still indulge in the sensory and social experience of eating out without sabotaging your effort to achieve a healthy weight—as long as you are willing to forgo the menu. When you sit down, ask the wait staff to skip the breadbasket and instead bring you a tossed salad (without croutons, cheese, or fruit), and a large glass of club soda or spring water with lemon or lime. Request grilled vegetables as well, if possible. This will satisfy your immediate hunger and need to graze. Then ask the wait staff which proteins they are serving that are lean and prepared in a clean way—grilled or baked, without heavy oils. Ask which side dishes accompany the entrees and compose your own meal. For instance, you could order a half portion of grilled salmon with asparagus and broccoli sautéed with garlic and olive oil, if these options are already in the kitchen.

Do you know which foods to include in a weight loss diet?

There’s a lot of conflicting weight loss advice and research out there, which means it’s difficult to judge which foods will help us achieve a healthy weight and which will not. So where do you start? I suggest you begin by incorporating the following food types in your diet.

  • Protein. Try to include lean protein (eggs, fish, or lean meats) at all meals and snacks. Protein shakes and bars (selectively chosen for their composition) can also be used.Healthy oils and fats. Try to include lean protein (eggs, fish, or lean meats) at all meals and snacks. Protein shakes and bars (selectively chosen for their composition) can also be used.

    Green, leafy, and cruciferous Vegetables. Whether you eat them juiced, raw, steamed, roasted, and grilled, try to get at least 2 servings of each per day.

    Other non-starchy vegetables. Color the plate to resemble a rainbow.

    Lean soups and broths. Try to include lean protein (eggs, fish, or lean meats) at all meals and snacks. Protein shakes and bars (selectively chosen for their composition) can also be used.

    Wild rice, red quinoa, and legumes. Mix together 1/3 cup cooked wild rice, 1/3 cup cooked red quinoa, and 1/3 cup of a legume of choice with fresh herbs, sautéed onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and 1/2 cup chopped broccoli. Serve with a mixed green salad. This is a great meal substitution for vegetarians.

    Adequate hydration. Sip hot or iced herbal teas infused with sliced lemon, lime, ginger, orange, and fresh herbs such as tarragon throughout the day.

    Dark Chocolate. Finish your day with 2 squares of 70% or more dark chocolate (about 100 calories) and a calming cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or lavender. Savor the moment and indulge in the sensory experience as the chocolate melts in your mouth.

(Original Posting on Boomshop)












Many of us only consider a trip to a spa when a special event is coming up. But why wait for that special occasion when you can create an easy, inexpensive spa experience at home with food you already have in your kitchen? Follow these 5 easy steps to create a relaxing, revitalizing spa evening for yourself that even the pros would envy.

Step 1: Treat yourself to a smoothie that contains ingredients that improve the health of your skin.

It wouldn’t be a spa experience unless you started with a drink designed to improve the health of your skin. These two smoothies are rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, which battle the aging effects of free radicals and work to plump the skin. Pick your favorite of these two smoothies and enjoy it while taking a relaxing rest before starting the spa treatments.

Green Goddess Smoothie

Blend together the following ingredients and chill before consuming:

Cucumber 3–4 inches peeled and sliced
Celery 2 stalks cut into chunks
Baby spinach, kale, or chard 1 packed cup
Dandelion leaves ½–1 cup
Ginger 1” peeled chunk
Milled flaxseed 1 tbsp
Chia seeds 1 tbsp
Sprouted raw pumpkin seeds 2 tbsp
Avocado 1/3 of whole
Coconut water 8 oz
Spring water 4 oz


Very Berry Smoothie

Blend together the following ingredients and chill before consuming:

Berries 1.5 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries
Baby spinach 1 packed cup
Organic plain fat-free Greek yogurt or kefir 1 cup
Milled flaxseeds 1 tbsp
Chia seeds 1 tbsp
Hemp seeds 2 tbsps
Coconut oil 1 tsp
Coconut Water 4 oz to dilute (optional)
Ice Optional

Step 2: Give Yourself a Sea Salt Body Scrub

A full-body sea salt scrub is a popular – and expensive – treatment in spas worldwide, but particularly easy to do at home. It effectively removes dull, dead skin cells, revealing the vibrant, smooth, soft skin underneath. Plus, the rubbing improves circulation, giving the skin an added glow.

To create the salt scrub, pour 1 cup sea salt into a bowl and drizzle in a light oil like almond oil. Mix with a spoon, continually drizzling until the mixture takes on the texture of a paste. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for scent – we particularly love peppermint, sandalwood, and lavender. Take a shower or bath to moisten the skin, and then rub all areas of your body with the paste in a circular motion. When done, shower to rinse off the salt. Note that this scrub is too harsh for facial skin.

Step 3: Exfoliate Your Face with an Almond Meal Scrub

This recipe is particularly simple. Put some finely ground almond meal into your palm and wet with water until it forms a paste. Dampen the skin on your face and rub the paste gently into your skin in small circles. Rinse with water. Like the sea salt scrub, this scrub will slough away dead skin cells and improve circulation for a wonderful glow.

Step 4: Enjoy a Yogurt & Honey Mask

This balancing mask uses the probiotic power of yogurt to keep healthy microbes present in your skin, and accesses raw honey’s wealth of benefits. Honey is a natural humectant, helping the skin to absorb and retain water, and it is a known antioxidant that can fight pro-aging free radicals. Also, honey is often used for healing, making it perfect to help speed along the skin’s recovery process if it’s recently experienced a sunburn or an acne breakout.

To make this mask, mix 1/4 cup full-fat yogurt with 1 tbsp of raw honey. Apply it to the face and let sit 5–10 minutes. Rinse off with water.

Step 5: Moisturize with Healthy Oils

High-fat oils help to boost the fatty acid and moisture content of the skin, which promotes smoothness and plumpness. To make a homemade oil moisturizer, mix equal parts avocado and almond oils and apply to the skin sparingly. These two oils have low comdogenic ratings, so they won’t clog pores, and they will leave your skin feeling moist and smooth.

(Original Post on Boomshop)











The availability of dietary supplements has grown significantly over the past two decades, mostly because of the growing body of research that shows their contribution to health, healing, and vitality. Dietary supplements have long ago left the realm of “alternative medicine” and in fact are now being marketed and sold by pharmaceutical companies as a way to help prevent health issues before they start.

Unfortunately, not all supplements are created equal. The quality of the raw ingredients, processing standards, packaging, and storage all contribute to the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of supplements. Also, the nutrients in some supplements come in forms that are not easily accessed and absorbed by the body, and so may not provide the health benefits their labels suggest. With this in mind, we at the BoomShop will soon be proud to offer a professional line of dietary supplements that represent the highest standards of the nutriceutical industry with regards to quality, efficacy, and research—so you know your body is getting exactly what’s on the label.

Choosing a trusted brand is only half the battle. With so many different types of supplements on the market—vitamins, minerals, herbals, botanicals, oils, powders—which ones are really important to take, and why? In my work as a clinical nutritionist, I highlight these four main reasons for baby boomers to consider supplements, and give them a little insight on where to start.

1. To Achieve a Basic Nutrient Foundation

Although a healthy, balanced, organic diet rich in essential macro-, micro-, and phytonutrients should form the foundation of our wellness, many things actively deplete our nutrient status: aging, loss of cellular and system function, past and present stressors, and the continuous growing burden of environmental toxins. Because of this constant nutrient depletion, I recommend a few standard supplements to the majority of my clients as their “basic health insurance policy,” even if they have an otherwise good diet. These include:

A multivitamin/mineral complex designed to meet basic nutrient needs.

Essential fatty acids to help us achieve the 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio necessary to fight inflammation. Inflammation is the cornerstone of all illness, particularly the chronic degenerative conditions associated with aging, and most Americans don’t get the proportion of fatty acids that their cells need to reduce it.

Vitamin D3 to build bone strength, regulate immune function, support neurological health, and help balance mood. The role of this vitamin in many aspects of our health cannot be overstated, and many of us have trouble getting enough from direct sunlight alone. If you work indoors or live in a cloudy, rainy climate, supplementation of vitamin D3 is especially important.

A probiotic supplement to support the microbiome in our gastrointestinal tract. The 100 trillion organisms that form this biome affect almost every aspect of our health, and it’s important to support it by building and maintaining “friendly” bacteria. Alcohol, a poor diet, hormone replacement therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and antibiotics destroy this friendly flora, skewing the balance of our microbiome and compromising our health.

A plant-based antioxidant supplement to fight the aging effects of free radicals. The process of aging begins when free radicals, or “scavenger molecules,” damage cell membranes and DNA. This leads to a cascade of events culminating in inflammation. The use of plant-based nutrients and antioxidants, known as phytonutrients, has proven to be extremely effective at protecting cells from free radical damage, reducing the symptoms of inflammation, restoring cell function, and slowing the effects of aging.

2. To Correct Metabolic, Cellular, and System Imbalances

As we get older, our cellular and systems metabolism can become sluggish or unbalanced, which can lead to symptoms of aging and illness over time. Symptoms that may point to this type of imbalance include:

  • Decreased energy
    Elevated blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol
    Altered bowel function
    Loss of bone density
    Changes in body composition
    Hormonal shifts manifesting in hot flashes and night sweats
    Cognitive changes, including issues related to memory and word retrieval

The strategic use of dietary supplements can be a very powerful tool in rebalancing and supporting these cellular and systems functions, promoting healing, good health, and a great quality of life.

3. To Maintain a Health Reserve

Aging does not necessarily imply illness—it is simply part of the journey of life. In fact, it is possible to age without illness or to compress illness to the very end of life. To help ourselves achieve this, it’s essential to maintain a good health baseline, or “health reserve.”

As we age, our demand for nutrients rises. There are a number of reasons for this: long-term stress, a loss of nutrient reserve, and decreased metabolic function. If we work to increase our supply of nutrients, our metabolic function will reach a more optimal state. The strategic use of supplements in conjunction with a good diet has been shown to play an important role in maintaining our health reserve and avoiding illness over time.

4. To Promote Vitality and Quality of Life

Quality of life depends on many things—diet, exercise, sleep, social connections, and emotional and spiritual health. All of these aspects can be compromised if we are ill or experiencing discomfort. This is why it’s especially important to live in a health-conscious state and use whatever tools we have at our disposal to support and promote a healthy, vital life that we’ll love to live for years to come.

(Original Post on Boomshop)






Itchy eyes, runny nose, frequent sneezing, nasal congestion, sinus pressure—these symptoms sound familiar to those of us who dread the coming of fall and the ragweed pollen that arrives along with it.

Commonly referred to as “hay fever,” these symptoms can start as early as mid-August and linger through September and October. Besides causing the itching and the sneezing, hay fever can also compromise the immune system, making us more vulnerable to other illnesses as well.

So what can we do about it? Understanding how the allergy response works is a good place to start. Pollen is recognized by the immune system as an allergen and is labeled as an intruder. In response to the “intrusion,” the immune system releases several chemicals, including histamine. The release of histamine results in the familiar symptoms many of us experience. In addition to histamine, other molecules such as leukotrienes are released, which trigger the inflammation we experience as congestion.

1. Avoid Symptom-Aggravating Foods

Certain foods cross-react with ragweed pollen and may trigger or aggravate ragweed allergy symptoms. If you are having symptoms, try to avoid symptom-aggravating foods like bananas, zucchini, cucumber, and melons, and don’t take chamomile or Echinacea in any form, such as tea or tablets.

Many individuals may also find that removing dairy (especially cow milk products) and grains (especially wheat and other grains containing gluten) reduces the need to medicate. Also, limiting your nut intake to Brazil, pistachio, pecan, almond, and hazelnuts may reduce the intensity of symptoms./p>

2. Get the Right Nutrients

Several nutrients can alleviate allergy symptoms and reduce the symptoms of inflammation. Through diet, teas, or supplements, try to boost your intake of these potent nutrients:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation
    Probiotics, which support and rebalance the immune system
    Vitamin C, which offers antihistamine support
    MSM (Methylsufonyl Methane), which exhibits anti-histamine potential when taken with vitamin C
    DAO (Diamine Oxidase), the actual molecule (enzyme) that breaks down histamine
    Stinging nettles, which reduce symptoms of allergies
    Quercetin, a potent natural anti-inflammatory that reduces allergy symptoms when combined with stinging nettles

3. Keep a Healthy Home

When we first start feeling allergy symptoms, our instinct may be to take refuge indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air can be full of pollen too. Protect your living space and breathe more easily indoors by taking these simple steps:

  • Continue running the air conditioner even if the weather is cool
    Use HEPA filters in the bedroom and living room
    Consider replacing carpets and curtains—which attract and hold pollen—with wood or bamboo floors and blinds
    Vacuum and dust frequently
    Use anti-allergy mattress and pillow covers

In addition to making these small changes to diet and lifestyle, consider using a Neti pot when severe congestion hits. This ancient Ayurvedic nasal irrigation tool is becoming more and more popular worldwide for its ability to clear the nasal passages and reduce pressure. Afraid to use it, or not sure how it works? We’ve found this how-to video to be very helpful

(Original Post on Boomshop)



For many of us, July 4th marks the beginning of the summer BBQ season and the opportunity to indulge in the flavors we associate with summer. Taking from the concepts I have introduced since spring, it is easy to approach the BBQ from a healthy perspective and not lose sight of our journey toward healing, health, and vitality. Here are my simple tips to keep your BBQ safe and healthy, as well as recipes that will put you well on your way to hosting a cookout that leaves you and your guests thoroughly satisfied, not sluggish.

Replace heavy starches such as buns, breads, and potatoes with lighter alternatives. Instead of serving burgers on buns, try wrapping the burgers in soft lettuce leaves and garnishing with thick slices of beefsteak tomato, grilled onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Leave breads and crackers off the dip tray and substitute with fresh slices of vegetables. And if you want to avoid filling up on the empty calories of French fries, potato chips, and potato salad, prepare a more nutritious but equally filling dish with a healthy grain as its base. I particularly like making this quick salad of black wild rice and red quinoa: soak and cook equal amounts of black wild rice and red quinoa, add rinsed black beans, and then mix in chopped grilled vegetables such as zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, onion, peppers, eggplant, and broccoli. Dress with olive or avocado oil and freshly chopped herbs, and season with Himalayan salt and black pepper.

Skip the mayo. Store-bought mayonnaise is full of vegetable oils and preservatives. For a fresher, lighter alternative, make your own simple homemade topping. Use olive, avocado, or walnut oil as your base and then mix in lemon juice and either white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar. Then infuse this mixture with finely chopped or pureed herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or dill, and season with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. If you really can’t imagine life without mayo, try making your own—it’s easier than you might think. In a food processor, add one large egg yolk and ½ tsp salt and push the button to blend. While blending, drizzle in 3/4 cup of olive oil very slowly, bit by bit, until it emulsifies into a soft cream. Add 1 minced garlic clove to transform your mayo into aioli.

Marinate meats before cooking. Though we all love the taste of scorched BBQ, burned meat can form cancer-causing compounds in the body. Marinating meat before cooking helps it avoid direct contact with the flame, as the sugars in the marinade will burn while the meat will not. When cooking poultry, simply keep the skin on while cooking and remove it before eating to avoid the char.

Keep yourself hydrated. Between the heat and the alcohol, it is very easy to dehydrate at a summer BBQ. For each glass of alcohol you drink, remember to compensate with 12–16 oz of unsweetened water or herbal tea. Prepare your favorite herbal tea in a large quantity the night before your BBQ and allow it to cool at room temperature before placing in the refrigerator. Add in a few complementary fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and serve to your guests in a beautiful glass pitcher.



Serve an abundance of fresh, locally grown market vegetables.There is no better way to get all those important health-promoting antioxidants and phytonutrients than to eat an abundance of locally grown produce. I love to serve some combination of these 6 produce-rich dishes:

Garden Salad with Figs & Goat Cheese Carefully wash and dry a mix of greens and herbs including locally grown lettuce, spinach, arugula, kale, dandelion, basil, and parsley. Place in a bowl and top with shavings of fennel bulb. Mix together a strong-bodied unfiltered virgin olive oil with lemon juice, Himalayan salt, and pepper, and add to the salad. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, walnuts, and sunflower or pumpkin seeds, and then garnish with sliced fresh black mission figs and honey goat cheese.

Baked Tomato Salad In a baking dish, mix together a collection of summer tomatoes, including a variety of heirloom, grape, yellow, purple, orange, and other varieties. Cut the large tomatoes in half. Add some sliced purple onion and whole peeled garlic cloves. Drizzle generously with a strong-bodied unfiltered virgin olive oil. Season with Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 350 degrees till tomatoes are just softening and serve warm.

Homemade Warm Salsa Cook some fresh corn on the cob and then remove the kernels. Combine the corn kernels with diced zucchini, summer squash, red onion, mixed peppers, mushrooms, and eggplant. Toss with olive or grapeseed oil, fresh herbs, Himalayan salt, and pepper. Sauté in a pan on the grill burner and serve warm.

Alternately, serve this salsa as a starter by spooning it into endive leaves and sprinkling it with fresh goat cheese, or use it as a topping on freshly grilled fish, poultry, or meat.

Grilled Lemon Fish with Fresh Herbs. Replace heavy turf with lighter surf by swapping out burgers for grilled fish. Start with a whole fish like red snapper or branzini. Keep the head and the tail on—if you’re not sensitive to the sight—but make sure the fish is gutted and properly cleaned. Stuff the cavity with chopped fresh herbs and slices of lemon, sweet onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Season the cavity and the outside with freshly ground Himalayan salt and pepper. Brush with grapeseed oil, which tolerates high heat, and grill on a wood plank or in a fish basket. Serve with homemade salsa or pesto.

Freshly Picked Berry Bowl Craft a beautiful berry bowl to finish your meal with a burst of color. Mix together a variety of freshly picked berries like blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries with a dash of white balsamic vinegar and an unexpected sprinkling of chopped fresh mint leaves.

Fun Fondue Melt dark chocolate in a fondue pot over a small burner at the BBQ table, and serve with a variety of fresh, well-dried berries for dipping. Dark chocolate has significantly less sugar than milk chocolate varieties, and will satisfy your sweet tooth without the sugar crash. Find dark chocolate too bitter? Serving it with extra-sweet berries will balance out the bitterness and have you coming back to the fondue pot again and again.

(Original Post on Boomshop)