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Plants for Cancer

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Last month I received an invitation to attend a lecture presented by a doctor who is currently treating patients with plants rather than prescriptions.

Say what?!

Upon receiving the invitation, I immediately cleared my schedule, I just had to check it out!

The doctor’s name is Dr. Ron Weiss and he is the founder of Ethos Health in NJ. Dr. Weiss’ practice resides on a 342 acre farm that produces organically grown produce to a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Pretty amazing concept! You can check him out here on the Today Show.

For this particular discussion, Dr. Weiss focused on foods that are proven to prevent breast cancer, a topic that is close to my heart and my mother’s survival story. Dr. Weiss dove right into the facts and explained how a deficiency of nutrients and toxicity are the root causes of most diseases, particularly cancer. To reverse these conditions, we must change the internal environment so the cancer can no longer survive. His philosophy is based on “thriving not surviving”.

I hear you doc!

Among the many preventative foods, Dr. Weiss discussed sulfur rich foods such as leafy greens, and antioxidant fruits like dark berries. When Dr. Weiss mentioned the powerhouse flaxseed, I immediately thought of my clients and followers.

Have you ever had flaxseed?

Although flaxseeds have been consumed for over 6,000 years, we have just begun to explore their benefits, including cancer prevention. Flaxseeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as fiber and protein. However, the real benefit of flax, when it comes to cancer, is it’s the #1 source of lignans in the human diet.

Why is this fancy word, ‘lignans’, important to know? Simply put, lignans and the bacteria in your gut are besties and get along real well.

Between the two, lignans and bacteria, your hormones are regularly balanced throughout your body. Certain cancers such as breast cancer, are greatly affect by hormones. For breast cancer in particular, the hormone estrogen actually feeds cancer growth, but by keeping the estrogen levels low, you literally starve the cancer cells.

For preventive measures, Dr. Weiss recommended taking at least 2 tbs. of group flaxseeds a day. Flaxseeds are great in breakfast cereals like oats and when added to smoothies.

A few notes to consider with flaxseeds:

  • The fat content is very fragile so you never want to heat it on high heats
  • Best when stored in the fridge to maintain freshness
  • Ground flaxseeds are better for absorption than whole seeds
  • Below is a superfood smoothie recipe using this powerhouse seed.

Chocolate Cherry Bomb

1/2 c. frozen cherries

1/2 c. frozen blueberries or mixed berries

1 date, no seed

1 tbs. raw cacao powder

2 tbs. fresh ground flax seeds

1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk

Add contents to blender and mix until thick smoothie consistency. Use spoon or straw and enjoy!

Grilling N’ Chillin on the 4th

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The 4th of July is the official kick off of summer, weekend packed with friends, family, laughter, memories, and plenty of food. While the weekend may start off with a bang, by Tuesday, we are struck by the hangover of unhealthy food choices and guilt. Hey friends, it doesn’t have to be this way, we just need to make a few adjustments.

But first, let’s face the facts- food is the main focus of social gatherings, it’s a way to bring people together and create memories. Think of all the great times you’ve had in your life, between holidays, birthdays, and weddings, the menu is always important. That being said, there is no need to equate guilt and stomachaches with the holiday cheer. Let’s give this 4th of July a little facelift with some healthy options.

Surviving the BBQ

Ditch the bun– The 4th of July would not be complete without a sunny barbecue. Turn on the grill and toss on some of your favorite meats. Whether you are a fan of the sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, or chicken, the problem is not in the protein, but rather with the fixings. Look around the table, the condiments take up more room than the meal itself! Let’s start with the bun. These processed breads cause huge spikes in our insulin levels and contribute to weight gain and inflammation. The spikes in our blood sugar levels lead us straight to the lounger for an afternoon nap.

This holiday, let’s skip the “sugar” buns and the nap, and spring for some fresh lettuce wraps instead. I know this may sound un-american, but the juicy burger is delicious between two huge pieces of crispy iceberg lettuce! Before no time, you will be asking for lettuce wraps at your local burger joint.

Grill More Veggies– Let’s face it, it doesn’t take much to throw a couple of burgers and chicken breasts on the grill, but once you make room for the veggies, you are suddenly fully committed and named the seasoned grill master. Veggies are too often overlooked on the grill, but let’s change up the flavor to your spread this holiday. While a variety of vegetables are enjoyable on the grill, I highly recommend portobello mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and squash. To grill the veggies, simply season with salt, pepper and olive oil and grill until tender and a little charred. A whole new world to BBQ’ing!

The Sides

Sub out the slaw– A classic side dish to all cookouts is the mayo filled cole slaw that someone has generously picked up from the local deli. Tasty, yes, but the heavy mayo weighs us down. Try subbing out the creamy dressing for something light and fresh this season. Simply use a bag of cole slaw mix and add your own twist with this dressing:

3 tbs. rice wine vinegar

1 lime, squeezed

1 tbs. honey

2 tbs. tamari or soy sauce

3 tbs. sesame oil

1 tbs. fresh ginger

1 tbs. olive oil

fresh black pepper

Add some sweetness– We can’t talk about cole slaw without mentioning its partner in crime, potato salad. Comfort food to say the least, but let’s kick it up a notch by adding some color and nutrition with sweet potatoes rather than the basic white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, giving them that vibrant orange color which is important for keeping your immune system strong. While the barbecue is going, try grilling the potatoes before tossing them in some Dijon mustard, honey, and balsamic. Not only is this dressing more flavorful than simple mayo, but it will also add some nice color to the plate. Always eat your colors.

The Snacks

Changing of the chip– Before the feast begins, it is common to pick on some snacks to hold you over. With the classic potato chips, you can’t just have one, and before you know it, without realizing, you have taken down half a bag to yourself. As innocent as this may seem, many of your favorite chips are laden with cheap canola and hydrogenated oils.

Between the oils and sugar, chips are addictive! This beach season, let’s upgrade the chip to other crunchy foods such as sliced carrots, cucumbers, and celery. If you are not ready to give up the chip, find brands that use quality ingredients such as coconut oil or olive oil and avoid the cheap stuff.

Add in the dip  What’s a chip without the dip? Fresh is always best, so show off those host skills by serving a freshly made salsa or guacamole. These dips are a great source of healthy fats and some colorful veggies. If time is not on your side and you are trying to stay out of the kitchen, pick up a pre-made hummus or guacamole with quality ingredients and no added sugars or preservatives.

Rather than sacrificing your health this 4th of July, celebrate your country in style. Cheers to new healthy family traditions!

Breaking Up With Your Scale

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The scale is like a bad relationship. You know those relationships that we hang on to, “sticking it out”, hoping that one day the outcome will change. Some days you feel good, but for the most part, you feel miserable.

Think of me as your close friend, the honest friend who speaks up, encouraging you to ditch the relationship.

Hey you, it is time to break up with your scale and move on.

Here’s why:

It’s stressing you out!

I am all for tracking results, and I understand the need to weigh yourself at a yearly physical or maybe once a month to see where you “weigh in”, but weighing yourself every morning, multiple times a day, is destructive. No, you did got gain a pound from your cup of coffee.

Your weight will fluctuate throughout the day due to a variety of factors such as hormones, time of day, digestion, exercise, and how well you slept. Similar to that toxic relationship, on a “good” day, you radiate confidence, but the minute the scale tips too much to one side, you find yourself cursing, swearing you will never eat again. Get off this roller coaster of emotions.

The scale cannot track health.

Sure, it is nice to lose a pound or two, but that doesn’t necessarily allude to better health. Congratulations! You lost 5 pounds this week. But are you starving because you haven’t eaten, exhausted from exercising twice a day, and “backed up” from not going to the bathroom? Is that a sign of better health?

It’s a liar.

You hop on the scale and see you have lost 1 pound. “That’s all!?” The next time you are at the grocery store, grab a pound of meat and place it on your body. It’s a big chunk of meat! Now imagine losing 2 or even 3 lbs., that’s a lot so be proud! You see, the scale is not showing you how amazing you feel with more energy, deeper sleeps, clearer skin, and increased strength. What a liar!

Instead of playing the number game with the devious scale, try this…

Chase health.

Your new goal is to be the healthiest version of yourself.

Enjoy the foods that give you energy. Boost your immune system to feel your best. Avoid sugary foods and sleep like a baby. Find an exercise or movement you enjoy and do it daily because, hey, it’s fun. Eat vibrant, colorful food for radiant, glowing skin. Drink water and give yourself an internal bath. Take a picture of yourself every 3 months and notice the difference. Become the strongest you’ve ever been both physically and mentally.

When you become the healthiest version of yourself, weight loss is a side-effect. Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself.

In the meantime, take out that scale and reenact the printer scene from the movie Office Space. Pictures and video submissions are greatly appreciated.

Here’s to new relationships,

Donnie

P.S. If you haven’t already make sure to join us in the FB group where you can connect with other like-minded people looking to be their healthiest and break up with their scale.

We would love to have you!

[Recipe] Breakfast in a Jar

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I feel I’m a little late to the party with these breakfast jars, but overnight oats are the beez-neez!! I must have recommended them hundreds of times to clients as a way to save on time in the morning, but never gave them a real go. Who doesn’t love a time saver, bomb meal in the morning?

I’m a big fan of oats, but have always gone the extra step and boiled them. However, this week I took my advice and explored different options for making overnight oats.

The process is simple. You are basically soaking the oats overnight in a type of liquid such as almond milk, coconut milk, or even water and the liquid breaks down the oats to the same consistency as if you were to cook them. The one ingredient that is important is to add some chia seeds or flax seeds. This thickens up the oats to a more pudding like consistency, plus you are getting in some real healthy Omega-3’s and quality proteins.

The fun part is there are endless combinations you can add to them from nuts, seeds, fruit, sweeteners, spices, and superfoods.

Who are these jars of love good for?

*That person who is in a rush out the door in the morning

*Kids who are normally cereal eaters and need a healthy option. They are fun to make and eat!

*People who work out in the morning and looking for a good post-workout meal

*Anyone looking to try something new for breakfast

Here are the two recipes I tried, but go ahead and throw your own twist on them

Coconut Mango Oats

Ingredients

1 c. rolled oats

1 c. of coconut milk or almond milk (my homemade almond milk recipe)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 banana, ripe

2 tbs. chia or flax seeds

1/2 mango chopped (I used frozen chunks)

2 tsp. shredded coconut

Directions

In a large bowl mash the banana. Then add in oats, milk, chia or flax, cinnamon and mix well together. If still too thick add more liquid.

Once well incorporated fold in chopped mango’s. Spoon mixture into mason jar or tupperware and store in fridge overnight.

In the morning, top off oatmeal with more mango and shredded coconut.

Banana Chocolate Oats

Ingredients

1 c. rolled oats

1 c. of coconut milk or almond milk (my homemade almond milk recipe)

1/2 banana, ripe

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cocoa powder

1 tsp. maple syrup

2 tbs, chia or flax seeds

(optional) chopped dark cherries

Directions

In a large bowl mash banana. Then add in oats, milk, and rest of ingredients and mix well together. Fold in chopped cherries if using.

Spoon into mason jars or tupperware and store in fridge overnight.

Enjoy!

I was lost and starving

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The other day, I drove upstate New York to meet someone (my wife is selling everything we own on craigslist). It was good to get out of the city for the day and slow down.
By the time I arrived, I was starving and curious to see what the town had to offer.
Much to my surprise, my choices were limited.
There was a Taco Bell, a Wendy’s, and an all you can eat Chinese Buffet (learned my lesson on that one too many times).

As my stomach rumbled, I continued to drive in hopes of finding a healthier option. Fast food options doubled, along with my frustration. (Did I mention I also got lost? Because I did.)

In situations like this, I typically do a little research on my phone to find healthy restaurants in the area or resort to exploring the nearest grocery store.

In my opinion, times have to be pretty desperate to hit up T-Bell for a chimichanga or Micky D’s for a salad. So the grocery store it was!

The Apple Farm grocery store was “bare essentials” to say the least, but their prices were phenomenal.

I left with a pint of blueberries, a pack of dried figs, and a few rolled grape leaves stuffed with rice.

Yes, I know, a random lineup, but it was real food and enough to hold me over until I got home.

The total cost, $4.97! I almost considered moving there just for the prices.

Was my lunch ideal? Probably not.

I ate enough figs to exceed the recommended daily sugar doses, but my choices were absolutely better than my other options.

The point is this, life is always changing and never perfect.

We must be able to adapt to wherever and whatever circumstances are thrown at us. Often, people beat themselves up for failing to go “all-in” 100% of the time.

Perfect is overrated!

Rather than focusing on how we “cheated”, we must do the best we can with what we have. That’s what produces results.

If the majority of people in our country were able to eat healthy 70% of the time, even 60% of the time, we could dramatically change the health crisis of our nation.

Let that sink in for a second.

We don’t need a huge overhaul in our lives to make changes, just a few minor adjustments over a long period of time.

Where does that start?

By eating real food that is as close to the Earth as possible as often as possible.

With this, we eliminate all the hidden preservatives, sugars, chemicals, and additives that are causing all the health issues we are suffering from.

Sound too simple? I know. We love complicating things, but try it for yourself.

Look at your plate. Where can you make an adjustment?

Try it with your next meal and start there.

Here’s to not being perfect,

15 Tips to a Better Night Sleep

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Sleep. We love it,  we want more of it, we never seem to get enough of it. No matter how hard we try to “catch up”, if we don’t manage our sleep routine, we feel the ramifications.

We have all done it… miss sleep to cram in some extra work, stay up late to watch our favorite show, lose track of time at dinner with friends. Our only wish the next day being that we went to sleep a little earlier.

Getting some quality Z’s is one of the simple and most effective things we can do for our health, yet somehow we take it for granted.  

As the Irish proverb goes, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything”. Treat yourself to some rest by giving a few of these tips a try.

1. Go to sleep early– get into bed 30 minutes earlier. You’ll be glad you did the next day.

2. Install DVR– record your favorite shows and watch them the next day, commercial free!

3.Turn down the lights– dimming the lights lets the body know bed time is near.

4. Limit the screen time– set a time to shut off electronics. The bright lights cause stimulation to our body, signaling that it is still daytime.

5. Download F.Lux.com– it’s a app, get it. It eliminates the problematic lights on the screen that can keep us up.

6. Chill out with the caffeine– if you think those three cups of coffee during the day are not affecting your sleep, you are kidding yourself.

7. Drink some tea– herbal teas like peppermint and chamomile have relaxing effects and are great before bed.

8. Keep it cool– keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Ideal temperature is around 68.

9. Drink some magnesium– add a magnesium powder to your nightly ritual. This is a natural relaxant and aids in deep sleeps. Don’t overdo it or you will be running to the toilet. I like the brand Calm. 

10. Soak up the sun– exposure to sunlight during the day helps balance out hormones that aid in sleep, especially melatonin. Otherwise, add in a Vitamin D supplement. 

11. Have more sex with your partner– sex can make you sleepy by releasing a chemical called oxytocin. Go do it!

12. Limit your food intake– late meals can keep you up at night due to digestion. Try not to eat 1-2 hours before bed.

13. Wear socks to bed– don’t ask, just give it a try. Studies have shown that socks on the feet can help circulation, enabling you to fall asleep easier.

14. Curl up with a nice book– reading in bed causes the mind to relax and keeps excessive thoughts at bay. Stick to old fashion (real!) books as the lights from E-readers will keep you up.

15. Go to sleep– yes, go to sleep! There is nothing on and you are not missing anything. Go!

You Won’t Believe What I Add To My Guacamole

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Super Bowl Sunday is just days away with the younger vs. older quarterback showdown. Personally, I like Peyton Manning and hope he ends his career on top.

While many will be glued to the TV in hopes that their team wins (or at least some good commercials play), a smorgasbord of football foods will be served.

A random Wikipedia fact, but did you know that over 8 million pounds of guacamole will be consumed on Sunday? That’s cray-cray!

I am an avocado junkie myself and can easily eat guacamole by the boat load. While many people buy the store bought stuff, I am a big fan of the homemade fresh and delicious guacamole.

I will admit, I have thrown down for the conventional guac on occasion when I want something quick, but homemade guac is so easy to make.

AND when you make your own you will be sure to leave out the preservatives like sodium benzoate, soybean oil, citric acid, and sugar that is often found in the store bought products.

Yuck, not in my guac please!

We want the good healthy fats of real avocados.

Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or attending one, be the person who brings the amazing party dip with this fresh recipe.

Another health tip, instead of serving guac with chips, trying slicing big chip size pieces of carrots for an added crunch minus the extra calories.

The best guacamole I’ve ever had was during a recent trip down to Costa Rica where I learned about a little secret ingredient: a hardboiled egg. Sounds random, but give it a shot.

It was avocado-this-world!!! (Was that cheesy?)

Ingredients:

* 3 avocados (pitted and peeled)

* 1 lime

* 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

* handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

*1 jalapeño, seeds removed, and chopped (keep in seeds for added heat)

* 1 Roma tomato chopped, seeded

* 1/2 teaspoon of cumin

* 1 hard boiled egg, white only (optional)

* big pinch of sea salt

* fresh ground pepper

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, add avocados and mash with fork or potato masher. For a smoother consistency, you can also place the avocados in a food processor and run on low. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and mix thoroughly. Add in the remaining ingredients and season to taste.

For another great Super Bowl starter check out my Buffalo Cauliflower Bites recipe here. Guaranteed to be a hit.