BLOG & RECIPES

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Happy Summer! I try to stick with most of my healthy habits in the summer but sometimes it is sooooo hard! I don’t know about you, but I tend to drink more alcohol in the summer. We get together with friends and family more in the hood, at the pool and at the beach. Plus, a cold drink just seems to taste better in the summer! Of course moderation is important, (and so challenging sometimes!) but the quality of what you are drinking is important too. Don’t get sucked into making frozen drinks with a store bought mix. The ingredients are downright scary and they have loads of added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Try this simple recipe that uses high quality and super healthy ingredients and tastes fresher and more delicious than any mix!

Piña Coladas

Serves 4

1 can full-fat coconut milk (I like Native Forest Brand because they use BPA free cans)

2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup honey (preferable local and raw)

2-3 cups ice

6-8 oz. rum

Blend well and serve with umbrellas and lime slices, if desired. Enjoy!

Pi

 

 

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Ahhhhh summertime!

There is nothing better. The kids are out of school, it’s time for beach vacations, the hectic pace of life slows down…I like to get into a carefree frame of mind for the summer. But, I still don’t let my guard down when it comes to protecting myself and my family from the sun and from dangerous chemicals.

Have you given any thought to the kind of sunscreen that you use lately? There are some pretty scary ingredients in most of our favorite brands of sunscreen. Our skin is our largest organ and anything that we put on it is absorbed and can affect our health. Some functional medicine doctors that I trust believe that chemical sunscreens are contributing to the rise in skin cancer. Another contributing factor to skin cancer may be that many people are deficient in Vitamin D which is sometimes caused from using so much sunscreen. Low Vitamin D is linked to many types of cancer. Make sure you get yours tested the next time you go to the doctor.

But isn’t getting sun dangerous?

We all know that too much sun exposure can be dangerous. So what is the solution?  In my opinion, the best option is to get a small amount of sun exposure each day (my dermatologist does not agree) without sunscreen to get some Vitamin D and then try and stay out of the sun as much as possible during peak hours. Of course that is easier said than done especially when you are at the beach or the pool. For times when we do need sunscreen, I do my very best to find some of the safer options. Finding safe sunscreens (that we like to use) is not always easy. There are 2 basic types of sunscreen – chemical and non-chemical (mineral). Mineral sunscreens physically block the rays with ingredients like Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Yes, it’s the same idea as the white nosed lifeguards but most of them today are not that white! I have tried so many and lots of them are very thick and hard to apply and do still leave your skin with a slightly whitish tint. That is not a problem for little kids because they don’t notice but don’t try and get your teenagers to use it. No way!

How do I choose?

The best resource is Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen Guide. revised sunscreen This year, they rated 1700 sunscreens and you can go to their website to find out how each one is rated for safety. They also have an app so that you can scan barcodes when you are at the store. They rate them from 1-10, with 1 being the best. sunscreenI was discussing with my dermatologist a few years ago how it is hard to find a non-chemical one that my teens will use. She suggested that I try some of the sunscreens that are not mineral but have better ratings. For example, this Banana Boat Sport Spray scores a 5 (moderate risk) while this Coppertone Sport Spray that I used to buy has a score of 7 (high risk). I now use this Neutrogena Beach Defense stick instead of this Coppertone one that I used to buy. There is a wide range of scores in each brand, so you really have to look up the specific one you are buying. For young kids, I would suggest finding something that has a score of 1 or 2 to be extra cautious. The Honest Company makes some good ones that have a score of 1 and you can sometimes find them at Costco.

My faves.

My absolute favorite non-chemical facial sunscreen (for me) is TIZO 3 Solar Protection. It is tinted so there is no white glow and it gives your face a matte finish almost like a really nice foundation. It is a little pricy but it lasts forever and it is so worth it to me. I just found a mineral spray sunscreen at Target called Bare Republic and it has a 3 rating! It goes on a little white but it is not bad at all. We also like this Alba Sport Sunscreen Lotion.

Something else to consider is the danger of inhaling spray sunscreens. I would love to stop using them altogether but I know it is hard to give them up. I usually make my kids use a lotion first and then use a spray to reapply. Be sure to never spray directly on your face and do your best not to inhale them. I tell my kids to hold their breath, spray their body, then step out of the cloud to breath. Many sprays have worse scores than lotion for that reason.

Hope you have a safe and happy summer!

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any condition. It is based solely on my opinion and is not meant to take the place of any advice from your doctor.

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Sugar is everywhere. It’s not only in obvious places like our pastries and desserts, but it is also in our coffee, cereal, soup, even in salad dressings! And I’m talking about significant amounts of hidden sugar. Guess why food companies add so much sugar to foods? So they will taste really good and make you want more of course! It looks like it is working. And our health has never been so bad.

Most of us get much more sugar in our diets than we realize. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar per year, much of which is hidden in processed foods.

“I eat really well but I can’t give up sugar.” I hear this all of the time from clients. We all know that sugar is not a health food and that it can lead to diabetes and weight gain, but most of us don’t know all of the other ways that it can affect us. And keep in mind, processed flour (even whole wheat flour) has the same effect on the body as sugar so try and get your whole grains from less processed grains like quinoa or brown rice. Here are a few things that you might not know about sugar.

  • Sugar is toxic to the liver.
  • It causes inflammation in the body which is linked to all major diseases.
  • Sugar feeds cancer cells.
  • Sugar contributes to belly fat which is the most dangerous place to have excess weight.
  • Many experts now believe that it is the sugar, not the fat, that contributes to heart disease.
  • Sugar is highly addictive, maybe more so than cocaine! Therefore, it is very easy for people to over consume and not have control of their eating.
  • There are no nutrients whatsoever in sugar and it can strip your body of nutrients.
  • Sugar can damage your metabolism and weaken your immune system.

So you can see why it is important to kick sugar to the curb and swap it out for healthier alternatives. The cravings will go away.  And please don’t think it is wise to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners. They affect your health in many negative ways as well.

I’m not about deprivation. Not in the least. I like a sweet treat as much as the next person. There are so many delicious, healthy ways that you can eat a little something sweet without the sugar bomb! I make sure that what I’m eating regularly isn’t going to negatively impact my health. I choose things like a small piece of dark chocolate, a few dates with almond butter, a chocolate smoothie or a dessert that is sweetened with a small amount of a healthier natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup.

Once you start switching to healthy sweeteners and naturally sweet foods like fruit, you’ll notice that you have fewer and fewer cravings for sugar. You’ll also find that you’re tasting the natural sweetness of fruits and vegetables. Your taste buds really do change. Suddenly, the sweet foods that you used to enjoy start tasting too sweet.

Getting off of sugar will help you to ditch the afternoon energy crash, stabilize your blood sugar and create a more alkaline environment that your body will thrive in.

Try this chocolate smoothie when you crave something sweet. Or, make it for your kids after school and they will be so pumped!!

Chocolate Smoothie (makes 1 serving)

1 small frozen banana
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
1/4 cup raw cashews (optional but gives the smoothie more thickness and protein)
1 cup almond milk
1 cup ice
1 pitted date
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds or hemp seeds (optional)

Blend well and add a little more almond milk or water if needed for desired consistency.

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