Thoughts on trends impacting our ability to thrive!
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It only takes one quick glance in the mirror for us to recognize the physical changes we are going through at this time of our lives. But beyond the image in the looking glass, I encourage us all to contemplate what is going on beneath the skin. The emerging aches and pains that many of us experience might be indications of inflammation and the degenerative joint and bone conditions known as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

I believe that a clear understanding of these conditions and their symptoms, triggers, and aggravators can help us to eliminate the risk factors that cause them. Through education, minor lifestyle changes, and a healthier diet, we can promote joint and bone health and achieve better overall vitality.

Understanding Inflammation

In the broadest sense, the aging process is triggered by a burden of free radicals that exceeds our bodies’ antioxidant potential. This initiates the genetic activation of the inflammatory response, which leads to symptoms of redness, swelling, heat, and pain, and eventually the loss of integrity and function. We can therefore define the aging process as a chronic and self-perpetuating inflammatory response, and understand that if we reduce inflammation through diet and lifestyle habits, we can slow the processes of aging.


Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of adult arthritis. A degenerative process, it is commonly the product of certain health issues that many of us experience as we get older, such as:

  • Wear and tear, injury, and repetitive motion
  • Genetics
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having diabetes, which increases our risk of developing joint problems
  • Diminishing synovial fluid (a substance that protects our joints)
  • A deficiency of the nutrients required to support and promote the integrity of connective tissue

Typical symptoms include stiffness and pain; redness, warmth, and swelling at the joint; and a loss of mobility, motility, and range of motion. And although the knees, hands, hips, and vertebrae are most often affected, osteoarthritis can affect any joint.


Osteoporosis, like osteoarthritis, is a degenerative process associated with aging. Although osteoporosis can affect any bone, it most commonly occurs at the hip, the vertebrae, the ribs, and the wrists, and most typically affects postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis is caused by a loss of bone density, which results in weak, brittle bones and a heightened risk of fracture. Multiple health issues can lead to a loss of bone density and osteoporosis. Here are 5 major risk factors:

  • A poor diet. A strong, healthy bone density is maintained when the bones receive an adequate supply of specific amino acids and minerals. Bones begin to degenerate when these nutrients aren’t present in sufficient amounts.
  • A lack of weight-bearing exercise. Bones need a certain amount of medium-impact exercise in order to stay healthy. Walking, jogging, and weight lifting all help.
  • Certain medications. Consult with your doctor to find out if any of your medications are adversely affecting your bone density.
  • Excess dietary protein and sodium intake, both of which have been linked to osteoporosis.
  • A lack of sun exposure. Adequate sun exposure is essential to bone health for two major reasons. First, it allows the skin to produce vitamin D, which helps our bodies absorb calcium. Second, it allows a form of vitamin K2 to transport calcium into the bones.

The most obvious symptoms associated with osteoporosis are a loss of height, a stoop, or a fracture. However, because the process is silent and occurs over time, it is important for all boomers, regardless of gender or race, to be assessed on a regular basis.

Joint and Bone Restoration

Considering the fact that it is possible to age successfully and avoid these degenerative conditions, my suggestion is to be proactive.

For years I’ve been giving my clients specific dietary advice on how to prevent inflammation, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis. I’ve created this master checklist for you so that you can start taking charge of your bone and joint health right now.

Remove the following from your diet:

  • Refined grains (particularly wheat and wheat products)
  • Refined sugars
  • Fruit juice
  • Chemically modified fats (like hydrogenated oils and trans fats)
  • All additives (for example, preservatives, food coloring, and both natural and artificial flavors)

Pack your diet with veggies. Eat an abundant amount of leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and other nutrient-dense vegetables. Enjoy these any time of day as crudités, soups, salads, or vegetable smoothies/juices. Incorporate them into your meals by steaming, roasting, or baking them, according to your preference.

Colorize your plate. Rotate red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple fruits and vegetables into your diet to maximize your intake of a variety of nutrients. See if you can eat all the colors of the rainbow in a single day.

Add cold-pressed organic virgin olive oil and other healthy fats to all your meals and snacks.

Eat plenty of omega-3-rich fish and seafood, particularly wild-caught salmon.

Limit your red meat intake. And when you do eat red meat, choose only grass-fed/pastured bison, buffalo, lamb, and beef.

Eat whole eggs or egg whites for breakfast. Choose pastured organic eggs if possible.

Eat a vegetarian dinner twice a week. A combination of wild rice, organic legumes, and quinoa makes for a filling, hearty meal and a rich source of protein. Organic-legume-based pasta can also be the foundation of these meals.

Make your snacks count. Munch on crudités with a bean dip or guacamole, snack on small portions of organic legumes or corn chips, or enjoy small amounts of nutrient-dense nuts and seeds (like Brazil nuts, almonds, macadamias, pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds).

Cook with healing herbs and spices. Many deliver a power punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory constituents that promote the healing process. In particular, turmeric/curcumin, cayenne, ginger, rosemary, garlic, and the herbs suggested in my most recent blog post should be incorporated into the menu.

Supplement appropriately to reduce inflammation and rebuild your connective tissue.

Try the green juice and bone broth recipes below. Add to your menu as snacks or part of the meal.

Green Juice Recipe

This powerhouse blend of fruits and vegetables boosts your antioxidant and nutrient intake to fight free radicals and inflammation. I suggest consuming it regularly for maximum benefit.


  • Makes about six 8-oz glasses of juice
  • 1 whole green apple or pear
  • 2 whole English cucumbers
  • 6–8 large stalks celery (or more to taste)
  • 1 large bunch kale
  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • 1 large bunch romaine lettuce
  • ½–1 peeled lemon
  • Parsley to taste (be generous)
  • Peeled ginger to taste (be generous)


Add all the above ingredients to your juicer, and let it work its magic. (We recommend the Fagor Slow Juicer if you don’t have one.) Drink and enjoy!

Bone Broth Recipe

Homemade bone broth is rich in gelatin, which promotes healthy joints, as well as essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. And it isn’t as intimidating to make as it seems—this recipe requires only 5 minutes of prep time. Drink it on its own or use it as a base for soups and stews.


  • 2 lbs of beef, lamb, turkey, or chicken bones
  • 1 onion, peeled (rich in sulfur)
  • 8–10 cloves of garlic, peeled (exhibits antiviral potential)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (alkalinizes the body)
  • 1 tsp Celtic salt


Place all ingredients in a slow cooker on high and cook for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and cook for an additional 8–10 hours. Strain, cool, and store in glass jars.

One Last Word

As I sit and write out this information for you, I find myself chuckling and thinking about how wonderful it is to age with grace and dignity, in spite of the physical changes we may be experiencing at this time of our lives. When I ponder these changes, I first try to focus on the marvelous experiences that the years of my life have provided me, before I allow myself to think about the losses and the few aches and pains I have experienced in this period of transformation. Approaching life in this way encourages me to be proactive about my health, so that I can mature with the grace and dignity that I see and admire in some of my clients.


(Original post on BoomShop)














In my last blog post, Tips for Better Brain Health, I suggested that we clean up our diets and our home environments by eliminating harmful toxins, thereby improving the health of our brains. This month, I’m taking this concept a step further by encouraging you to grow your own organic vegetables and herbs.

You may be asking, Why should I grow my own, if I already buy organic? There are many reasons. In addition to the incredible burst-in-your-mouth flavors of homegrown produce, the nutrition profile of garden-to-table veggies that have not been transported or placed in storage can’t be beat. Growing your own produce eliminates the need for packaging and the petroleum required for shipping, and it offers an enjoyable outdoor hobby as well.

I realize at this point you may still be hesitating, thinking you absolutely do not have the space, time, or green thumb. But let me assure you that gardening doesn’t require any of these. Eight years ago, when my husband and I moved into our first house, I encouraged him to build aboveground organic vegetable boxes. We now produce the most incredible-tasting summer vegetables and herbs, and it hasn’t required anything more than willingness and a commitment to our health. The time requirement has been much less than expected, and, having started from scratch, we both learned how to garden surprisingly quickly.

Getting Started

There are many websites that offer good information on how to start gardening, but if you get bogged down in the details, you’ll never jump in. The trial-and-error process has been more valuable to me than any one resource. Over time, I learned a lot, and I’ve found that these simple rules are enough to get started:

  • Start with organic or non-toxic produce boxes or containers. Using off-gassing plastic containers can contaminate your produce. Use untreated wood, natural ceramic pots, or canvas growing bags instead.
  • Don’t overcrowd the plants. Be sure to use containers with plenty of room for what you’re planting.
  • Ensure proper drainage to prevent your plants from rotting.
  • Plant non-GMO and organic when possible, for maximum health benefit.
  • Use organic potting soils specific to vegetables and herbs when building your garden beds/boxes/planters.
  • Use organic fertilizer at the start of the planting—not too much, not too little, but just enough.
  • Use an organic or non-toxic mulch to cover the soil when the plants are growing.
  • Pay attention to siting. Some plants love sun, while others love shade. Be especially thoughtful when placing large plants like tomatoes, which can cast shade over neighboring plants.
  • Water your plants according to their specific needs. For extra nourishment, use the water (at room temperature) from steamed vegetables on your plants.
  • Weed and clean your garden regularly. Weeds, of course, crowd out your plants and steal their nutrients, but did you know that fallen leaves can cause produce to rot and create fungal problems? Keep a tidy garden to keep these problems at bay.
  • Save your used tea leaves and coffee granules. Spread them about ¼-inch thick on the soil once a month to increase acidity.
  • Plant marigolds between your vegetables. They’re easy to grow, provide a beautiful pop of color, and even help to keep away harmful insects and hungry rabbits!
  • Don’t strive for perfection. Tractor-driving farmers require their rows to be perfectly straight, but fortunately you do not! Make sure there is enough room around each plant to allow it to grow, but beyond that, it doesn’t matter if your rows even resemble a straight line.

The easiest and most nutritious limited-space vegetables to plant are:

  • Lettuce—Easy to plant and extremely quick growing, lettuce is a great choice for beginning gardeners. Plant a variety of types and colors (dark green, red, and purple) for a bountiful salad bowl throughout the season. Stagger your plantings for a consistent supply, and choose cut-and-come-again varieties that grow their leaves back after you harvest them.
  • Kale—This powerhouse of nutrition can be used in so many ways, including (my favorite) as a blended juice; blanched, cooled and chopped into a salad; or as crispy kale chips hot out of the oven.
  • Tomatoes—An extremely versatile vegetable, tomatoes can be eaten fresh throughout the season and then savored in the fall and winter in the form of homemade sauce and purees. Plant at least two varieties: one for eating immediately and one for preserving.
  • Broccoli—Perhaps one of the best sources of nutrition for our health (in particular for our immune systems), broccoli is surprisingly easy to grow in containers.
  • Carrots—Rich in beta-carotene, vitamins, and minerals, carrots are great to snack on with a healthy dip.
  • String beans—These are extremely easy to grow, and delicious sautéed or in a stir-fry.
  • Bell peppers—Go for the bright colors. Bell peppers are amazingly versatile, finding a place in snacks, pureed soups, sauces, stir-frys, and grilled skewers.
  • Peas—Rich in protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins, peas are easy to grow, sweet to taste, and great to munch on.
  • Celery—This common vegetable is a great source of naturally occurring sodium and an excellent addition to an “alkalinizing” green juice blend, salad, or snack. It’s also a remarkable source of luteolin, a potent phytonutrient with anti-cancer potential.

The Benefits of Homegrown Herbs

Flavor-boosting herbs are easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, particularly in pots and containers. Plus, growing our own can save us a lot of money at the grocery store—in fact, a fully grown herb plant at the nursery can be cheaper than a small bundle of herbs in the grocery aisle.

But that isn’t the only reason to plant them. What many of us don’t know is that herbs are extremely nutritious. They exhibit natural antimicrobial benefits, are excellent sources of antioxidants for the body and the brain, and offer additional support and protection to our immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and detox system.

Here are some versatile and easy-to-grow herbs that can be used fresh or dried for the winter:

  • Rosemary is a rich source of phytonutrients that exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial potential, as well as essential oils, vitamins, and minerals. Rosemary is also used to support optimal brain and immune function.
  • Basil contains the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the aging eye from free radical damage. Basil also contains several essential oils, such as limonene and terpineal, which offer support to the immune system as antibacterials and anti-inflammatories.
  • Thyme offers one of the highest antioxidant levels of all the herbs, and it is prized for the antimicrobial benefits of its essential oils. Thyme also contains a good number of vitamins and minerals.
  • Oregano. This herb has long been used to treat gastrointestinal symptoms, bacterial infections, and fungal infections, and it’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals. And like basil, it’s a rich source of the eye-protecting phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin.
  • Parsley and cilantro are rich sources of polyphenols, which have strong antioxidant potential and contain essential oils, vitamins, and minerals. Cilantro has been used through history for its digestive tract support and deodorant properties. Parsley should be enjoyed as a garnish and not consumed in large amounts, due to its high oxalate content and its potential to increase uterine stimulation and bleeding.
  • Mint grows like a weed but heals like a medicinal herb. Mint is prized for its calming and soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract and its cooling effects on the skin. Mint is another herb that offers a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-exhibiting phytonutrients. Brewed with a blend of ginger and rooibos tea and a few sprigs of tarragon, it helps make a refreshing summer drink.

So put your hesitations about gardening aside, and indulge in the gifts of Mother Nature by planting your own vibrant, vital market basket! The benefits you will yield will far outweigh the effort. Vegetables and herbs are low in calories but bountiful in their nutrient potential, delivering a healthy amount of vitamins, minerals, and fiber and a wide range of antioxidant and immune-boosting phytonutrients. In addition, you will also enjoy a much reduced produce budget, no wasteful packaging, and less time on the couch!


Good luck and be healthy!


(Original posting on Boomshop)