Friday, December 9, 2016

How Clean Is The Air In Your Home? And, Is It Affecting Your Fertility?

How The Air We Breathe Affects Our Health

Photo credit: Christa Meola

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time you know how I feel about environmental toxins-- they are serious health dangers.  I consider it one of my primary missions in spreading health information to educate as many people as I can about how the chemicals in our environment and the pollutants in our air can seriously harm our health (and therefore, our fertility).  

In my home we avoid as many noxious chemicals as we possibly can-- from laundry detergent to hand soap to what we clean with, we are non-toxic.  Another thing we take very seriously, is the air we breathe-- not only for our little one but for my and my husband’s health.  My husband has a history of sinus issues, and I have a history of asthma and allergies. Also, we are planning to expand our family in the coming year, so we take our home environment (and, its air quality) very seriously.  Did you know that in a recent study, George Washington University found that there are over 45 different toxic chemicals in most floor samples? Yes, that’s how toxic the air in your home can be.  Even more, research shows that exposure to environmental air pollutants affects reproductive functions, negatively affecting both male and female fertility and the health of a woman’s pregnancy and the health of the baby.  That is why we now have an Intellipure Ultrafine (link to: unit in our home.  If you aren’t familiar with Intellipure, it is a part of the Healthway brand that is based in smalltown Pulaski, New York (I personally LOVE that all of these units are made here in the U.S. and not in China like most all other similar products).

I was introduced to the Intellipure Ultrafine home unit through some of my research on how to minimize in-home air pollutants. What intrigued me the most was that this at home unit was able to not only purify the air, but capture (and filter out) mold, bacteria, viruses, dust mites and all those toxic chemicals that come from furniture and paints.  And… it’s virtually silent! Previous to getting the Intellipure Ultrafine, we had a hepa filter, but when I discovered that the Intellipure Ultrafine unit captures particles 40 times smaller than what the hepa could catch, I made the switch.

In-home air pollution is a serious matter--affecting everything from our immunity to our fertility.  Since we have gotten ours, the air feels cleaner, lighter and my husband hasn’t had a single sinus issue (and, I hope it’s helping keep our fertility in check!).  If you take environmental toxins as seriously as I do and you want to do all you can to maximize your health, getting a top-of-the-line at-home air purifying system is supremely important.  In my professional and personal opinion, the best one on the market is the Intellipure Ultrafine unit.  

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HealthWay Home Products and includes my honest and true opinion.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

How I Make My Homemade Bone Broth

It was time to make some bone broth again.  So, I figured I'd make a video for you on how I do it. This way you can have my step-by-step instructions when you are ready to make yours.

I love bone broth for a million reasons- and everyone in my family drinks it, including the baby.  It's an all-mighty health elixir that I recommend you consume 4 ounces of a few times each week. It will help improve digestion, boost your immune system, amp up collagen production in your skin, help you sleep better, balance your hormones and bring you back to health after a bad cold.   

How I make it at home is a little different than how some of the recipes tell you to do it.  I actually keep mine as a chicken soup instead of separating out the broth.  It's just easier that way for my life.

Have a fantastic day!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What's The Best Oil To Cook With?

Recently, I was asked: what's the best oil to cook with?

One would think any oil suffices for cooking. That's SO not the case.

Non-processed and organic saturated fats (the kind that are solid or semi-solid at room temperature) are typically the best for cooking at high temperatures, as they will not go rancid nor oxidize.

You see when an oil goes rancid or oxidizes, it produces free radicals. Free radicals are the ANTI anti-oxidant. Where anti-oxidants help prevent signs of aging like wrinkles and heart disease. Free radicals--the ANTI anti-oxidants-- actually cause premature aging and diseases.

When cooking at high temps or with a high flame you should use a good, hearty saturated oil or fat that will remain stable when being heated and not produce any free radicals. Such fats are butter (yes butter--good organic butter, preferably from grass-fed cows, is actually healthy for you), coconut oilsesame oil or ghee. (Read more about fats, oils and the myths about cholesterol here ; it's a long and somewhat boring article, but it's definitely educational.)

When using a low flame, or baking-- monounsaturated cold- pressed, organic, extra virgin olive oil is a good choice. Olive oil will go rancid and create free radicals at high temperatures (or with a high flame). A good general rule of thumb: if you’re cooking with MORE than a medium flame on the stove-top: DON’T use olive oil. Use organic coconut or sesame oil, butter or ghee instead.

I've made this little, easy cheat sheet for you to look at so you can know what to cook with when.

• Eggs: when pan-frying eggs, use organic butter, ghee or coconut oil to cook. *DO NOT use olive oil to cook eggs.
• Chicken: grill, bake or cook on the stove-top. Use organic butter, ghee, coconut oil or olive oil (when baking or using a low flame on the stove-top) to cook.
• Fish: broil, steam or grill. Use organic butter,ghee, olive or coconut oil to cook.
• Meat: pan-sear, grill or broil. Use organic butter, ghee or coconut oil to cook. *DO NOT use olive oil to cook meat.

Heres another tidbit for your cheat sheet... when buying oils, its important that you only purchase oils that have these three terms on the label: cold-pressed, organic and extra virgin. This ensures that the process at which the oil was made for you did not use harsh chemicals (like hexane) nor high heat (which robs the oils of their naturally occuring nutrients).

Did you notice that canola oil wasn't mentioned at all? That's because canola oil is so refined and chemically processed that it really isn't that healthy for us-- and, why use it when we have other options to choose from. I personally wouldn't recommend cooking with it, ever. For more information, read this article.

This should go without saying, but avoid at all costs cooking with any of the following commercial vegetable oils: cotton seed oil, soy oil, corn oil, canola oil, hemp oil and grapeseed oil; all margarines, spreads and partially hydrogenated vegetable shortenings. They're over processed, offer us zilch for nutrition and are just gross.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Natural Ways To Fight A Cold

As the seasons are changing and many of you are trying to fight off that welcome-to-fall sniffle, I thought it would be great to bring back one of my most popular blog posts (I have updated it with some new information):

The 10 Best Natural Way To Fight A Cold: 

1. The Basics:

  • Drink plenty of water--about half your body weight in ounces--each day.  
  • Eat a clean diet full of vegetables (green and orange ones are particularly great this time of year), animal protein (pastured & grass-fed is ideal) and low sugar fruit like berries, apples & pears (limit to 1-2 pieces per day).  Limit your grain intake to one organic non-gmo serving per day. Avoid added sugar as this suppresses the immune system. Interesting fact: 1 teaspoon of sugar suppresses the immune system from 2-6 hours!!
  • Sleep 7-8 hours each night. Ample sleep is especially imperative as we head into the colder weather.
2.  Use Your Neti Pot.  At the first sign of a cold do a nasal rinse with bottled or purified water, at least once a day but twice per day is ideal. If the Neti Pot isn't for you, try this: get some eucalyptus essential oil from the local health food store, and to a pot of boiling water add 5 drops and then steam over the hot water. The eucalyptus will open your sinuses right up!

3.  Take Extra Vitamin C & D. Both of these vitamins are best when they come from food sources, however supplementing during cold season isn't a bad idea either. Try for 5,000 ius of vitamin D daily (1 teaspoon/8 capsules of cod liver oil pills with give you around 2000iu's).  To get some extra Vitamin D, take a few drops of this brand. And for the vitamin C, aim to get in about 3,000-5,000 mg/day. Get your vitamin C from fruit like blueberries and oranges and veggies like bell peppers and kale.

4.  Eat Garlic. Garlic is a potent cold and flu fighter. Thanks to an oily compound called allicin garlic has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. For the ultimate cold fighting beverage, dice up a clove or two and add it to a mug of hot water along with freshly squeezed lemon, a few shavings of fresh ginger and a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. 

5.  Drink hot water with fresh squeezed lemon juice. If your body can't handle the garlic, or you have a hot date on your agenda, skip the garlic in the above recipe and drink 3-5 mugs per day of hot water w the juice from half of a lemon squeezed into it. Add some ginger and clove to it for extra cold fighting bang.

6.  Take Cordyceps. This is one of my favorite all time immune enhancing fungi. I recommend it in capsule or tincture form. This is my favorite brand.

7.  Take Probiotics. These natural good for you bacterial strains are one of the best immune enhancers put there. A great way to get probiotics in is thru eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and greek yogurt. In addition I recommend that you take one ir two capsules per day of probiotics made by MegaFoods, HMF or Garden Of Life.

8.  Eat homemade chicken soup AKA bone broth. For those of you who know me well or are a patient of mine, you know that I am all about bone broth! It is the ultimate in immune enhancing.  Follow my favorite recipe and boost not just your immune system but your overall health.

9. Exercise. This is to keep your immune system up- if you are sick, rest up and listen to your body. But for optimal health you should be exercising 3-5 days per week for 30-45 minutes.

10. Meditate. Daily. 5-15 minutes of daily meditation will keep you healthy--mentally, emotionally & physically. Check out my video on how to meditate & take some much needed mental downtime as 60-90% of all doctors visits is for a stress related disorder! For guided meditation, great app to try out is Headspace.

Good luck fighting off your winter cold this year!  Share this post with whomever you think could benefit!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Why You Might Want To Eat Your Placenta

Recently, I was asked by one of my favorite blogs, Well Rounded NY, to write a piece on the pro's of consuming your own placenta after giving birth.  Here's what I had to say:

I am due at any moment with my first child. Part of my birth plan is to keep my placenta so that I can have it encapsulated to consume as part of my postpartum recovery regimen. 
As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a women’s health and fertility expert, I have been recommending postpartum placenta consumption for over a decade. Most women in my practice look at me like I’m crazy when I encourage them to keep and encapsulate their placentas, but there are many reasons to do so.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deepak Chopra on Fertility & Trying To Conceive

Are You Trying Too Hard To Get Pregnant?

Have you been trying to conceive with so much effort that its exhausting you? Well, you’re not alone.  In my clinic, this is the topic of conversation more often than not.  Then add to it all of the lifestyle modifications people like me recommend to women who are trying to get pregnant—and, suddenly the whole process becomes even more daunting. 

As a practitioner who has helped hundreds of women conceive, I have to admit—I want to wave a wand and make it easier for every couple out there facing fertility challenges.  I’m 11 years into practice and even though I am admittedly one of the most glass half-full people you’ll encounter, seeing couples struggling to conceive hurts my heart.  I see my primary job as focusing on my patients wellness, not their illness, but sometimes this whole getting pregnant process takes a lot longer—and is filled with a lot more trauma—than I feel is necessary.  Which is why I’m constantly on the quest to finding ways to simplify it all.  Lately I’ve been saying things like, “Just have more sex.  Focus less on the baby making part and more on the fun and intimacy with your partner part…”  However, I will compassionately add, “I know that’s easier said than done.”  And, it is.

Recently, I had the opportunity to discuss the topic of fertility with Deepak Chopra, a man I hold in tremendously high regard, not only as one of my spiritual teachers but as a scientist who is always on the cutting edge.  We chatted about quite a few things, from logistics like ovarian reserve to the current fertility research to autoimmune diseases.  But the part of the conversation that I believe was most insightful was when I asked him his thoughts on his latest age reversal research and how that research could apply to fertility—since most of the western medical world see’s infertility as an age related disease.  He said how living what he considers the ‘5 Pillars’ of health can help deter the aging process and although it hasn’t been specifically researched this could help fertility.  His ‘5 Pillars’ are very in line with my general lifestyle recommendations for not just my fertility patients, but all of my patients, they are:

1.     Get Ample Sleep, ideally 7-8 hours
2.     Eat real food
3.     Meditate
4.     Move
5.     Be conscious, which in simpler terms mean to be present in this moment now.

After we discussed the ‘5 Pillars’ he went on to mention a premise he discusses in just about every one of his books and lectures: letting go.  He said, “They have to learn to let go…”  I joked and said, “you come to my office and tell my patients to let go…”  Joking aside—being  I have studied his teachings for so many years, I completely got what he was saying.  He’s not really implying you ‘give up’ or ‘throw in the towel’ on your fertility journey.  Rather this ‘letting go’ notion is more about accepting or surrendering to where you are currently—in the present moment—and while doing that, you faithfully remain in a state of knowing that you can have all you desire.  With this faith and knowing, you then let go or detach from all you want (to get a deeper understanding, I highly recommend reading the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra). 

I’m sure to a lot of you this sounds way too esoteric. But, really it’s simple.  Often this is how I explain it—when you go on Amazon to place the order for whatever it is you want, you expect it to arrive.  You click purchase, close the page and don’t think about HOW it will get to you or really WHEN.  You just know at some point it will arrive.  With intention setting, it is much the same.  The HOW’s and the WHEN’s don’t matter as much as the expectation you have that it will arrive.  That, is my interpretation of the notion of letting go. 

This may all sound a bit oversimplified to you.  However, there has to be something to this letting go process.  How many times have you heard stories of couples who ‘gave up’ and took a break from trying to conceive and wound up pregnant? Or what about the ones who decide to adopt and then suddenly wind up pregnant?  Or another one I see often clinically, is natural conception right after a failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) attempt.  The statistics are hard to find to support such incidences, but I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories.

That is the reason why one of the positions I take in the clinic and in my latest book, Yes, YouCan Get Pregnant, is to adopt the approach that you are on a ‘self-love health mission’, rather than on a get pregnant now mission.  By this I mean that you should embrace the recommended lifestyle changes like meditation and sleep and eating a nutrient dense diet that is free of processed and chemical laden foods because ultimately it is good for you and for your health.  And, ultimately a body in good health, that is regularly menstruating and ovulating, should be able to conceive (even over the age of 40!).  The science supports that mediation reduces stress and therefore can increase fertility.  That ample sleep improves health. That chemicals in our foods negatively affects our hormones.  That exercise is good for us and helps us live longer.  So, why not look at all of these lifestyle adjustments as a way to improve health and well-being and more importantly as a way to deter or even reverse the aging process.  When we take this approach to health and healing, it can take some pressure off of the task of getting pregnant.  When we are living our life from a place of choosing to feel good through being healthy and having faith in our body, letting go of the end goal—be it pregnancy or fighting the aging process—achieving the end goal often comes to us with ease. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Joy To Your Baby (a WRNY feature)

Just as what we eat transforms into nourishment for the child growing in our womb, what we think and feel can become part of our developing baby. As a practitioner of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM), I am trained to see how our emotional state affects every aspect of our lives—and, when we are pregnant this is no different. In fact, from a TOM perspective, when we are pregnant, emotions not only affect our health and wellness, they affect the health and wellness of the baby growing inside our belly. There are the negative emotions like fear, sadness, anxiety and just general worry. And then there are the positive emotions of courage, peace, ease and joy. They all affect both you and baby positively or negatively… read more here!