Spring is a time to re-emerge after winter and get ready for summer. Feeling fresh after the cold months and going into summer with a clear mind and healthy body is great! But over the past years, the popularity of cleansing your body from apparent “toxins” has surged. There are countless products, diets and practices marketed to help you detox your body.
While a medical detox can save lives by cleansing the body from an overdose of drugs or poison, there is no reason to “detox” your body if you aren’t a recovering addict. We might be faced with some toxins in everyday life but generally, our bodies have evolved to handle them well.
Detox proponents say that most of your problems - feeling tired, having a bad mood, difficulty losing weight and so on - are caused by toxins in your body. To get rid of this built up of chemicals they recommend several methods. A popular method is a juice or water cleanse. Some detox diets allow a very restricted amount of food. Almost all detox diets are extremely low in calories. Then there are more advanced techniques of cleansing the body like intestinal cleansing. Intestinal cleansing is supposed to get rid of parasites and accumulated fecal matter that somehow got stuck in your intestines. Other methods like foot detox or hot/cold treatments claim you can just excrete toxic substances through your skin.
A magic cure to all of our problems would be great. And this is exactly why the detox industry is so successful! But unfortunately, the vast majority of detox diets are not backed by any science. Evidence has shown over and over again that these diets and products are just a waste of time and money. Dietary cleanses can actually be dangerous if done without proper supervision from a qualified professional. You will lose weight if you eat extremely little food for a week or two, however, most of it will be water. Another thing that will happen in your body is preservation of energy - if you restrict food your body thinks you are starving. As a result it will hold onto any source of energy and become more efficient at storing it as energy (fat). Studies have shown that detox diets can lead to lowering your basal metabolic rate, which results in rapid weight gain once you start eating normally again. You also put yourself at risk for nutrient deficiencies and, if the cleanse includes laxative products, dehydration, electrolyte depletion and even impairment of bowel function. Intestinal cleansing can also disturb your natural gut flora. Not to mention that if you ask any gastroenterologist, they will tell you that there is no such thing as fecal built up or toxic sludge in your intestines.
The Best Detox System
It is true that we are faced with toxins in everyday life. So if detox practices aren’t effective - how do our bodies protect themselves from harmful substances? We often forget how amazing our bodies are at keeping us alive. Here is how your body is protecting you:
The liver is the body’s main filter. It neutralizes harmful chemicals and prepares their elimination from your body. The liver also regulates the metabolism of drugs which makes it one of the most important parts of your body’s defense system.
The skin is your largest organ. It’s main function is providing a barrier against harmful substances. However, the skin is a one-way defense system-you can’t sweat out toxins (think about how dangerous that would be)!
The intestines screen out unwelcome visitors before nutrients are absorbed into the blood.
Your immune system works 24/7 to protect you. This efficient defense network screens blood plasma, lymph and even the spaces between your cells for substances that need to be eliminated.
The respiratory system does amazing work to excrete foreign substances. You know the fine fine hairs in your nose? They are there for a reason! They are a defense mechanism. They can trap dirt and other substances that you don’t want to inhale. If anything makes it through this barrier, your lungs will produce mucus and eliminate it.
The kidneys are very efficient in filtering out any waste from your body. Why do you think urine is used to test for toxins like drugs in your body?
The bottom line is that your body is incredibly efficient at filtering out toxins (or detoxing). All it needs from you is a proper support in the form of good food and an active lifestyle.
Heart health is a hot topic these days, and rightfully so! I created this beautiful, dark purple oat bowl so that you can nourish your body and heart.
Oats are one of the most convenient sources of fiber, and provide the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which may help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Three grams of this fiber are needed daily as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol for this effect. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease (610,000 annually), so I always make sure to emphasize heart healthy habits with all of my clients.
A heart healthy diet includes whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Here is a fun combination of oats with fruits and berries to help start your day with lots of colors (including foods with a variety of color means more variety of nutrients), vitamins and minerals.
In this recipe, I also incorporated one of my favorite trending foods, Maqui berry powder. I love not only the color but also that the Maqui berry is an exotic fruit from South America. These wild, dark purple berries have been used for thousands of years. They add a beautiful purple color to your food have a subtle tart and sweet taste that can go with both sweet and savory dishes.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe. Personally, I love it! It has just the right amount of sweetness and provides fiber and complex carbs from oats, berries, nuts and chia seeds. For more information about the nutrition benefits of oats, visit QuakerOats.com and check out this video for more about oats and heart health.
A heart healthy diet should include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, lean protein and legumes, and should limit fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and sodium. This recipe per 1 serving provides about 2g soluble fiber from oats. Experts recommend that to maintain good health, no more than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fat, and no more than 20-35% of daily calories should come from total fat.
Perfect Purple Oats Bowl Recipe
1 C almond milk
½ C oats
½ C frozen mixed berries
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp agave
1 tsp maqui berry powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Toppings: ½ sliced banana, ¼ C blueberries, 2 Tbsp goji berries and 2 Tbsp of pecans
Bring almond milk to a gentle boil along with salt
Add the oats and allow to cook over low heat, covered, for 5-7 minutes
Add the frozen mixed berries and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until oats are soft
Turn off heat, and add the chia seeds, maqui powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract and agave, and stir until everything is combined
I love Ukrainian food. It reminds me of my childhood. Ukrainian cuisine is fascinating: it developed over centuries and was influenced by the history of the country. Having been occupied by Poland, Austria and Russia, many dishes are inspired by these periods in the country’s history. Even though many dishes have been adapted from other countries over the years, Ukrainian food is unique in preparation methods. Ukrainian cuisine mainly stems from peasant dishes and is centered around regional grains and vegetables. Many of the ingredients used in Ukrainian cooking are secretly superfoods. Here are my top five favorite ingredients!
Beets are one of the most popular ingredients in Ukrainian cuisine. They are also one of my favorite vegetables (coincidence?). Beets are a delicious source of complex carbohydrates. They are also high in nutrients such as folate, iron and vitamin B6. And they can even help lower blood pressure, if eaten regularly! Beets have a high concentration of nitrates. When eaten, dietary nitrates are converted to nitric oxide. This compound helps dilate blood vessels and causes blood pressure to drop.
My favorite herb! It’s very popular in Ukrainian cuisine: you will find it in almost any dish. Besides being a source of vitamin A and C, dill has anti-bacterial properties similar to garlic or ginger. Additionally, dill is a carminative, which means it helps to relieve gas. Dill is amazing for digestion in general: it increases absorption of nutrients, and because it has anti-bacterial properties, it can be helpful for stomach issues.
An ancient grain that is becoming more popular in the US, buckwheat has been used Ukraine for centuries. Buckwheat is naturally gluten-free and low in calories but high in protein. With a low glycemic index and high fiber content, it’s a great source of energy. Buckwheat is a great complex carb for diabetics, as the nutrients will be absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than some other carbs. This will prevent sugar spikes and help regulate blood-sugar levels throughout the day. And if that’s not enough reason to add it to your diet, buckwheat also has many compounds, such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and folate that are beneficial for skin and hair health.
Cabbage is truly a secret superstar. It’s low in calories, packed with nutrients, and easily accessible. Cabbage is high in vitamins C and K and. It also contains powerful antioxidants, like sulforaphane or kaempferol that have been proven to reduce inflammation. Cabbage is full of insoluble fiber, which keeps the gut flora healthy and promotes regular bowel movements.
Pickled (aka. Fermented) Foods
Pickled foods are popular in Ukrainian cuisine, mostly due to geographic conditions: there used to be limited access to fresh produce during the winter. So, people started preserving foods for the winter and today, even though access to food is easier year-round, these foods are still an essential part of many dishes. Fermented foods are packed with probiotics. Probiotics are amazing for gut health and have many other benefits such as reducing cardiovascular risk and promoting skin health!
This post is sponsored by Quaker. All opinions are my own.
Are you in need of a comforting, nourishing brekkie in this winter weather?
If you find yourself struggling in the mornings, here’s your perfect answer in the form of a savory and warm breakfast bowl!
You guys, I’m not kidding, this bowl is DELICIOUS. It allows me to help start my day with the fiber, vegetables and high-quality protein you want. It’s definitely my new favorite winter brekkie.
Oats are one of my favorite sources of complex carbs, which can help provide lasting energy. The soluble fiber in cooked oats may help slow digestion and the release of glucose into the bloodstream, thus providing a slower supply of energy. This bowl is an awesome way to get some vegetables, vitamins, additional fiber and to bulk up your oatmeal. If you have kiddos, this is an excellent method to sneak them those veggies - they’ll never know! The edamame and egg both add protein, and finally, the avocado and cheese provide a source of fat.
I love adding veggies to my morning routine because they not only make my body feel good but also helps me ensure I’m on track to meet my servings for the day! I personally aim to get 6-8 servings of veggies / day (a serving is 1 C of chopped veggies or 2 C of leafy greens) but if you aren’t getting many in right now, a good goal to aim for is between 2 and 3 cups of fruit and vegetables per day and then build from there.
Basically, this bowl is morning perfection for me. Did I mention it’s delish? Tell me if you make it and make sure to snap pics - it’s beautiful, too!
Savory Zucchini Oatmeal Bowl
½ C oats
½ C shredded zucchini
1 C water
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Handful of spinach
¼ C edamame beans
1 poached or fried egg
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ C alfalfa sprouts
Add oats, zucchini and water into a pot and bring to a boil
Lower heat and let simmer until the oats are creamy
Mix in cheese and season to your liking
In the meantime, cook the egg
Add spinach to a bowl, add the oatmeal and top with beans, cooked egg, avo and sprouts
CBD is a huge craze in wellness, and experts are saying it could really help a lot of people.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is an extract produced from the marijuana plant, but it can’t get you high because its’ levels of THC are really low (less than 0.03%). It comes in a few different forms, the most popular being pills, oil you drop under your tongue, oral spray, or topical gels and balms. It might seem a bit “woo-woo,” or even a little sketchy, but CBD is actively being researched and has shown some promising results.
With my nutrition counseling clients, I focus on their holistic health. This means taking into consideration a lot more than just how food affects their well-being. So many people struggle with sleep issues, anxiety, and chronic pain, and these can have a profound impact on health in the short and the long term. CBD is an exciting avenue to explore that shows a lot of promise. Here are three ways CBD can complement healthy lifestyle choices.
You might have heard me talk about it before, but getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to optimizing your health. Disrupted sleep has major impacts on hormones that affect your hunger and eating habits, your blood sugar, and inflammation. Studies are starting to show that taking CBD before you go to bed may improve the quality of your sleep.
Did you know your emotional stress levels have a HUGE impact on your risk for chronic disease? There are a lot of ways you can reduce your anxiety, including yoga, meditation, therapy, and mindful practices. Some people may require psychiatric meds, and that is OK - there is no shame in seeking medical treatment for anxiety. CBD could be a complement to medicine your doctor prescribes (talk to your doctor before adding CBD to a medication regimen), but may also be effective for reducing your anxiety in combination with the other self-care practices mentioned above.
Pain is stressful, and can inhibit daily activities including regular exercise for a lot of people. Topical CBD balms and gels have shown promising results in reducing arthritis symptoms, and oral CBD extract or oral sprays may also be very helpful in reducing pain for other conditions. The opioid addiction epidemic in the US is also a problem - CBD may help patients with chronic pain need to rely less on opioids for relief.
Current research is showing that CBD is safe for use in most people. However, there could be interactions with certain drugs or nutrients, so it is important to speak with your doctor or registered dietitian about proper dosing. The FDA has approved one specific CBD product for the treatment of epilepsy, but carefully monitors the claims that other CBD companies make about their products to protect public safety, and it is still illegal to sell CBD across state lines or in states where marijuana products are not legalized. More clinical research is definitely needed to prove the benefits of CBD. When buying CBD products you can consult your healthcare provider and follow guidelines such as these to make sure you a purchasing a safe, high-quality product.
Disclosure: I collaborated with Justworks on this post.
“How did you grow your business so quickly in two years?” I get asked this a LOT and I’m so excited to share my insights with other entrepreneurs!
First, I can tell you right now that you won’t grow quickly without help. Get a system in place to manage and pay your staff, like Justworks. As a business owner, you’ve got way more important things to do than spend hours and hours figuring out benefits, payroll and compliance, am I right?! Justworks is the complete solution for all of this - ensuring you are covered legally and that you and your employees are supported, paid on time and even get all your questions answered about things like health insurance and 401ks. How cool is that? With a system like this in place, you have the time and energy to focus on what’s really key: following your passion and growing it.
I also recommend bringing on interns and eventually hiring your best interns as your staff.
The next key piece of advice I have is to focus on multiple streams of income.
With Justworks handling the back-end tasks, you have more time to focus on different avenues. My business isn’t built on just counseling or just working online. I have a mix of all of my passions: seeing clients at my office, media & communications, writing, and brand collabs.
Initially, not all of these streams were producing $. Which is why I worked part time at a dialysis center while I built my practice. After a year and a half, I was busy enough that I took the leap to full time entrepreneur and now I get to spend blissful mornings working from home in my pjs (just kidding…most days I get dressed after a few hours ;) lol).
Finally, make it FUN
This is just my personal philosophy. I spent almost 10 years working as a dietitian for other people while I love my career, plenty of days there were tedious tasks that weren’t super fun! Say what you want about work not always having to be a blast - but you know what? Life’s too short to be just getting by and not loving your job. I am so happy with what I do right now that I can’t imagine ever going back to working for someone else, and with the right systems in place to take care of the tedious HR tasks, it all feels manageable.
Let me know if you have any other tips on how you #WorkFearlessly in the comments below! I’d love to hear them.
Your digestive system is always working, and what we eat affects how well this system works. Keeping it healthy is important - but how do you help support it? A diet rich in fiber, a non-digestible carbohydrate, is important to help keep us feeling our best and keep things moving through the digestive tract. Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and experts recommend eating at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber from those sources a day — did you know that most Americans don’t eat enough fiber?
How Oats Can Help Support Digestive Health
In addition to being one of my comfort foods, oats are also a good source of fiber – a serving of rolled oats provides 4 grams. There are a few types of oats to select from, including quick, old fashioned and steel cut.
No matter which type you choose, each variety of Quaker Oats – instant, quick, old fashioned and steel cut – are 100% whole grain, and ounce per ounce, they all provide similar benefits of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
My Favorite New Breakfast Recipe
One of my favorite things about oats is that in addition to being delicious and versatile, they are also very easy to prepare. I usually don’t have a lot of time to make breakfast in the morning, just like many of my busy clients. Having a quick to-go breakfast option is ideal for busy mornings. My favorite oat recipe takes less than five minutes and will help provide some of the benefits of oats!
Loaded Lemony Overnight Oats
Serving Size: 3
● 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
● 1 ½ cups rolled oats
● Juice of ½ lemon
● 1Tbsp maple syrup or agave
● 1 Tbsp chia seeds
● 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
● 2 Tbsp dried cherries, unsweetened
● 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
● 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
● ⅛ tsp salt
● Combine all ingredients
● Divide evenly between 3 sealable containers
● Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight
● Enjoy in the morning!
Want more nutrition inspiration? To help people get real about nutrition, Quaker teamed up with Rosario Dawson to encourage people to start taking their nutrition into their own hands. Visit QuakerOats.com to see what happens when Rosario gets real with real people about their nutrition and learn more about the benefits of oats and digestive health!
“Sugar is addictive”“Cut out all sugar!!”“Sugar feeds cancer”
Whoa, those are some strong statements. Are any of them true or is cutting out sugar necessary?
The short answer is not really.
Metabolically, all of the carbs in the foods you eat - grains, fruit, and starchy vegetables included - break down into sugar molecules called glucose in your gut. This is because your body’s most efficient source of energy is glucose. While large amounts of added sugar in your diet can cause diabetes and displace more nutrient dense whole foods, a little sugar in your life keeps things sweet.
“Sugar is addictive”
Humans are evolutionarily wired to like high-energy foods; that desire has kept us alive. Some studies show that eating sugar lights up the pleasure centers in your brain, similarly to how a drug might. This makes sense - finding pleasure in a high calorie substance will help us prioritize what to eat to survive. Now, we aren’t cavemen anymore, so sometimes this can get out of hand. But guess what also gives us a dopamine response? Music. Hugs. Laughter. Real addiction is serious, and involves dangerous withdrawal symptoms and behavioral changes. The current science does not support the idea that sugar is actually addictive.
“Cut out all sugar!!”
What might make sugar feel addictive is actually its’ restriction. Cutting out dessert can lead to increased sweet food cravings, which might lead you to binge on more cookies or ice cream than you ever would have eaten in the first place. Allowing yourself to mindfully enjoy dessert will help your brain realize that this food is not “forbidden” and therefore there’s no need to seek out as much sugar as possible all in one sitting. Balance is possible!
“Sugar feeds cancer”
Cancer metabolism is highly complex; you should seek the support of an oncology dietitian during your treatment, but the truth is that any food will “feed” cancer. Metabolic changes occur that increase the supply of glucose to the cancer regardless of what type of food you eat. More importantly, any food will feed YOU. Clinical outcomes are much better when a cancer patient is well-fed before and during treatment. Food that tastes good is really important with metabolic shifts, nausea, and taste changes during cancer. There are ways to alter your diet to prevent or treat cancer that include sugar in a balanced way.
Find the sweet spot
In my practice, I use Intuitive Eating to help my clients work towards balance with their food cravings and being able to enjoy ALL their food, even if they do have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Do you need help finding this balance? Do you have more specific questions about sugar?
Schedule a FREE 15 minute call with me to see how we can work together towards helping you build some healthy habits that still give you room to enjoy your food.
Looking for my take on artificial sweeteners? Stay tuned for another blog post all about sugar substitutes!
Packed with root vegetables, borscht is a classic seasonal dish eaten during the colder months in various parts of Eastern Europe, including my home country of Ukraine. This bright magenta soup gets its color from beets. The anthocyanins and betalains in beets are responsible for their scarlet hue, and are also immune-supporting antioxidants. Interestingly, beets contain natural nitrates, which can help increase blood flow to muscles for athletes and also help with lowering blood pressure. Beets are also high in vitamins A, C and the minerals iron and magnesium. Looking at the amazing nutrients in this traditional soup, plus the tasty additions of fresh dill, parsley and sour cream, it’s no wonder it serves as a staple. After eating a bowl of borscht, you’ll feel incredibly rejuvenated - this is a soup you can’t go without.
The world’s most rejuvenating soup.
Makes: 8-10 servings
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hr 45 mins
8 C water
4 C low sodium vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 large or 4 small beets, washed and chopped
1 large potato, washed and chopped
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small head of cabbage, washed and cut into thin, 2-inch long strips
2 tomatoes, washed and finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh dill
Optional for serving: Organic sour cream or plain yogurt
Optional for serving: Dark rye bread
Bring to a boil water and vegetable broth over high heat in a large, gallon-sized pot.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute beets, potato, carrots and onion for 10 min in olive oil.
When liquid boils, add sauteed root vegetables, cabbage, and tomatoes to the pot.
Add salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Allow liquid to return to a boil and then reduce the temperature to low. Simmer the borscht for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the beets and potatoes are soft (easily pierced with a fork).
Cut up 1 bunch of fresh parsley and 1 bunch of fresh dill and add to hot borscht.
Optional: Turn off heat and allow soup to sit for 1 hour, or let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. This allows the flavors to meld, but the borscht can be eaten immediately after cooking. It tastes even more amazing the next day!
Remove bay leaves and eat the borscht warm with a dollop of organic sour cream or plain yogurt and dark rye bread. Enjoy!
A “city break” - the British term for a weekend spent in a new city - is an ever-popular choice for tourists looking for a quick getaway. But how do you stay healthy during the few days you spend in a busy city? Here are six essential tips that’ll help you do just that.
Avoid junk food during the flight
When you’re on your flight to your destination, try to avoid eating too much junk food. Eating a lot of sugary snacks or simple carbs while you’re traveling can lead to peaks in your blood sugar followed by significant lows, which often comes with mood swings or feeling sluggish – this is not the best way to start off a vacation.
Eating too many unsatisfying foods during the flight can also lead to unmet cravings. Try and snack healthily, and make the most of the on-flight food – some airlines are now offering great options but what I always recommend to my clients is to pack a healthy lunch or dinner (like a sandwich) that they can carry on with them.
Eat a hearty, healthy breakfast
Exploring your surroundings will require plenty of energy, so it’s crucial you’re getting a good amount of carbs, protein and fiber in your first meal. Wake yourself up and prepare for the day with a sustainable and hearty meal, and then you’ll be ready for your adventures. This will help you stay in the moment, instead of being distracted by a rumbly tummy. Fuel up with more delicious eating experiences along the way, listening to your hunger to gauge if a snack or a full meal would better suit your needs.
Try to avoid relying on taxis, Ubers or public transport during your trip if your level of mobility allows. Although it’s a practical, sensible choice in some circumstances, walking will act as a form of exercise while also saving you money and allowing you to explore the city on your own terms.
Walking is one of the best way to discover hidden treasures within the city that weren’t previously on your radar. Whether you’re in New York City, Paris or Bangkok, there’s always an abundance of incredible things to be uncovered simply by being spontaneous and walking through different neighborhoods to see what you can find. For those that can walk, the fact that it’s a bit of exercise is simply a bonus.
If you’re unable to walk long distances due to an illness or disability, then certainly don’t overdo it – Insurancewith has many tips on how to navigate a holiday with a medical condition.
Drink plenty of water
Carry around a bottle of water with you throughout the day to stay hydrated. There are plenty of potential factors that go into a city break which may leave you not only thirsty, but actually dehydrated – the heat, constant walking around and not drinking enough fluids.
Soft drinks and alcohol can be somewhat dehydrating; water is the best option to keep on top of your health and ensure you can get through the day feeling your best.
Alternate between alcohol and water
It’s also important to drink water if you’re on a boozy night out, or enjoying a few cocktails with your travel partners. Alternate between water and alcohol in order to remain on top of your game – succumbing to the effects of alcohol while you travel could lead to unpleasant issues, such as dehydration and heatstroke.
Make sure you’re wearing sunscreen
Last but certainly not least, make sure you’re applying sunscreen throughout the day – even if it isn’t sunny. UV rays can still penetrate clouds and burn you if you aren’t protecting your skin, and going without sunscreen while spending a majority of your time outside could cause skin damage or illness.
Make sure you’re applying a layer of sunscreen every hour or two – it only has to be on the exposed parts of your body, especially your face.
Do you have more good travel tips? Share them in the comments below!