How a Gratitude Journal Can Reduce Stress

journalHow many of you are participating in the current Gratitude Challenge making its viral debut through Facebook? If you are, I’m sure you are noticing a difference in your mental clarity and overall sense of wellbeing. That’s because when we take a few minutes each day to allow ourselves to feel grateful for the many simple blessings in our lives, we reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins (feel good hormones), and that’s good for both the mind and the body!

Many scientific studies, including research by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude have more energy and focus than those who don’t.

So, I’m challenging all of you to start a gratitude journal. Don’t stop after the five day gratitude challenge is over – keep going! This simple practice takes only a few minutes each day and can make a big difference in your health and wellness.

I keep my gratitude journal on the bedside table and write at least three things I am grateful for that day just before slipping off to sleep. It’s a good practice to help you get better sleep as well!

Give it a try for six months and track the difference in your health, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Best of Health,


Help For Your Immune System

Kids are back to school and the sniffling, sneezing and coughing has begun already! Take heart, help is on the way!

There are a few easy things you can do to quickly beef up your immunity and lose that spring cold. Firstly, take some extra vitamin C. Then eat foods with lots of vitamin C. Here are your top ten choices and the amount of vitamin C they provide:


Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers. Green chilies provide more vitamin C than any other food with 182 mg in a half cup chopped, and 109 mg in a single green chili pepper. Red chilies provide 108 mg per half cup chopped, and 65 mg per pepper. You can add them to soups, stews and salads.

Guavas come in second with 377 mg per cup, and 126 mg per fruit. Add one to your smoothie!

Yellow Bell peppers provide 341 mg per pepper, and 95 mg in 10 sliced strips.

Kiwi fruits are delicious and make a great addition to any fruit salad or dessert. They provide us with 164 mg per cup, 84 mg per fruit.

The one we all know and love, Oranges, provide 98 mg per cup, and 83 mg per orange. Clementines or tangerines provide 36 mg (60% RDA) per fruit.

Strawberries also provide 98 mg per cup of slices, and 11 mg in a single large strawberry.

Papaya provides 87 mg per cup cubed, and 188 mg in a medium sized papaya.

Broccoli provides 81 mg per cup chopped.

Kale provides 80 mg per cup of chopped. In case you missed it, here’s a link to a fabulous recipe for Raw Kale.

And last but not least, raw Brussels sprouts provide 75mg per cup, 16 mg per sprout.

Best of Health,


Healthy Tangerine Peel Tea

tangerinesI have tried this tea and it’s delicious!

Peel an organic tangerine taking care to retain the white pith. Let the peel dry naturally, over night. Insecticide sprays are widely applied over citrus crops, so organic fruits are best. In fact, anytime you need the peel or zest of a citrus fruit, it’s a good idea to go organic.

In the morning, boil a cup of pure water, tear off a couple of small pieces of the dried Tangerine peel and place in the cup of hot water and seep for 2-3 minutes.

You can also make a pot of this tea and then cool it for a lovely cool citrusy delight after a day out in the hot sun.

Dried tangerine peel will last for at least two months if kept in a dry sealed container and store it in a dark, cool place. The skin inside tangerine peels contains large amounts of hesperidin. Hesperidin is a flavonoid responsible for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. The highest concentrations of other healthy compounds such as tangeretin and nobiletin are also contained in the skin of the peel.

A Canadian study publicized in 2004 showed that tangerine peel has 20 times the antioxidants than found in the juice and helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.  According to Master Lin of Spring Forest QiQong, the peel of an organic tangerine also helps, relieve stress, detoxify the liver, balance blood sugar. Nice!

A May 2011 study published in The journal of the American Diabetes Association, found that a flavonoid in tangerines called nobiletin significantly reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome and prevented obesity in a group of rats eating a Western diet high in fat and sugar. According to the researchers, nobiletin inhibits the genes responsible for producing fat. I recommend including one in your daily smoothie!

A powder can also be made by drying the skin inside the peel of a tangerine which can then be added to your daily smoothie to boost the nutritional value of your drink and allow you to maximize the nutritional benefits AND eat the entire tangerine.

Best of Health,


Should Diet Soda Be Banned?!

We have been hearing for years that diet soda is bad for us, yet I know several people who still drink several cans daily. YIKES! I’m hoping this blog post will help them make the switch away from soda today.

According to a study that was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, daily consumption of diet soda is linked to increased risk of heart attack or stroke. An analysis of data gathered from more than 2,500 participants in New York City looked at the relationship between drinking soda, regular or diet, and cardiovascular disease risk. I will clarify that the research showed that drinking regular or diet soda occasionally found no increase in risk. But, compared to those who drink no diet soda, people who drink them daily were 43 percent more likely to have a heart attack, stroke or other vascular event. The researchers said that the reasons for this association are unclear and that more research is planned.

So I’ve found a substitute for all you die hard (pun intended) diet soda drinkers. Zevia is sweetened with Stevia and has 0 calories and very little carbohydrate, depending on the flavor. Stevia is a natural sweetener that doesn’t have the same effects on the body as other sweeteners. They have a dozen flavor choices, including ginger ale, orange, cola and more. Zevia is about $1.00 + per can, which may be steep for some, but it’s certainly better for your health than diet soda (or regular soda for that matter!). Drink up, but be healthy!

Best of Health,


Yummy Curried Coconut Chicken

This recipe is from my friend Dr. Mark Hyman's bestselling cookbook "The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook."  The fat from coconut is very healthy and carries the flavors and aroma of the curry. I love cooking with coconut oil and this is one of my favorite recipes from Mark's cookbook.


2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

½ inch of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 garlic clove, minced

3 scallions (green parts only), minced

1 tsp. minced fresh parsley

2 tsp. curry powder

½ tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tbs. unsweetened coconut milk

4 (5 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a baking sheet with the oil and set it aside.

2. Combine all ingredients except for chicken in a bowl and mix well. Place chicken breasts in the bowl and toss them in the marinade until evenly coated. Allow the chicken to sit for 10-15 minutes.

3. Remove chicken breasts from the marinade and place them on the baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and bake until the juices run clear, 20-30 minutes. Any leftover chicken can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

** Each serving has 189 calories, 2 g of saturated fat, 82 mg. cholesterol, 33 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate and 221 mg sodium.

Best of Health


High Intensity Interval Training Is FUN!

Did you ever have one of those days when you want to do so much, but can't figure out how to fit it all in, and end up just feeling discombobulated?!

Well, today was one of those days for me. I wanted to get some outdoor exercise, but I also wanted to walk down to the beach and do some grounding, and I wanted to get some gardening done. I could take 30 - 40 minutes out of my work but had no idea which activity to choose.

I thought, “just get out there and do something!”

So, I put on my walking shoes and out the door I went. I headed for the peas and began picking them while doing some squats. That felt good!

Then I decided to walk around the yard and pick up all the branches that had fallen from last night's storm and while I was doing that, I realized I could do some HIIT using the steps to my Yoga studio. So I walked around the yard for a two minute warm up, then ran up and down the steps for 30 seconds, followed by a slow recovery walk, including some backwards walking (which is also great exercise) for 90 seconds; then I repeated the 30 second mad stair dash until I could barely breathe... (That's really what should happen when you are doing high intensity interval training). I repeated my backwards walking for another 90 seconds, then jumped up onto the first step and hopped back down for 30 seconds. I repeated that exercise twice, with a cool down between sets, it was fun!

Next, I fast walked down to the beach, took off my shoes, and walked on the beach to restore my energy and while I was there, wonderful things happened. There was a little boy in the water who seemed upset about a dead fish on the shore, so after a few minutes and the second time he mentioned it to me, I stopped and said that if he wanted, we could bury the poor fish. He seemed to feel better about that so I helped him dig out a rock, put the fish into the hole and then pile some rocks on top of it. He was satisfied with that and went back into the water, continuing to chat on and on with me about his favorite movie. I'd made a lovely connection and perhaps a friend for life.

Soon after, I noticed a woman about my age attempting to get into a kayak. She was a little nervous about it and asked her friend not to laugh when she flipped over. I walked over and explained how she could get into it on the sand where it wouldn't tip her into the water, then how to use her paddle to push herself into the water smoothly. She did it and was very happy to have learned a new technique!

black and yellow feather

On my way back up the beach toward home, I found a bright yellow and black feather. Feathers are good omens. Native Americans believe they are messages from angels - I'll take that! It is possible to do everything you want to do when you just start somewhere! What a lovely afternoon break.


Best of Health


Exciting research out of Japan is good news for all of us Baby Boomers!

The chief physician at Kariya Toyota General Hospital in Kariya City and his colleagues evaluated three separate case studies involving one of my favorite spices, turmeric and found this herb to have fabulous therapeutic value. In each case, turmeric was shown to relieve dementia symptoms and improve overall cognitive function.

In their report’s summary the authors state "In a study involving three patients with Alzheimer's Disease, whose cognitive decline and Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia were severe, exhibiting irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, supplementation with turmeric powder capsules for over one year was found to be associated with improvement in symptoms,"

"Total score on the Neuro-Psychiatric Inventory-brief questionnaire decreased significantly in both acuity of symptoms and burden of caregivers after 12 weeks of treatment," they added. "Score on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) went up five points (from 12/30 to 17/30) in one of the cases, and the other two cases were able to recognize their family within one year of treatment."

I know this only with three people, but having watched my mom suffer with this disease, I understand the importance of ANY such findings. Turmeric is a great tasting spice and you only need a small amount to reap these benefits – less than a teaspoonful!

Earlier research published in the journal Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, which I have previously written about, corroborates these findings. "Due to various effects of curcumin, such as decreased Beta-amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decreased microglia formation, the overall memory in patients with AD has improved."

I have been adding turmeric to the brown rice I eat almost daily for quite some time now, as well as sprinkling it on chicken, fish, and hard boiled eggs. If it helps me keep Alzheimer’s from knocking on my door, Yipee!

Best of Health,


Safe Summer Grilling

grilled veggiesMuch has been written about grilling your meat, chicken, etc. on high heat, however, that’s the way to get those lovely grill marks and that delicious charcoal taste, right?

Well, the problem is that the high temperatures convert proteins in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish into heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are chemicals that have been linked to a number of cancers including breast, colon, stomach and prostate cancers.

Secondly, when all that fat or juice from the meat drips down to the heat surface on a grill, smoke is produced. This smoke contains potential cancer-causing chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). As smoke rises up past the food, the carcinogens can be deposited on the surface of the meat.

Here are some tips for getting your grilled food fix without as much risk!

1. Use a marinade. Research published in the Journal of Food Science found that marinating meats (or pork or chicken) can reduce the HCAs by as much as 70%. Marinades with lots of spices (which contain antioxidants) are particularly good. Here is my sister’s own marinade which also happens to be my favorite! Crushed garlic (at least 1 Tbsp), ¼ cup Olive Oil, ½ cup Sesame Oil and ¼ cup Soy sauce.

2. Chose lean meats so there is less fat to drip down on the fire.

3. Include lots of vegetables on the grill- they’re not subject to HCA or PAH formation, and they provide lots of antioxidants to help protect our cells and DNA from damage.

4. Flip your food often. My son thinks I flip mine too much, but I have found that to be the best secret in cooking it perfectly – I flip fish or chicken every couple of minutes, and Dana Farber recommends flipping burgers every minute. Since I do not eat burgers, I haven’t tried this, but give it a shot and let me know! 

Best of Health,


Fabulous Summer Smoothies!

sun over waterWhen Mother Nature pours on the heat, there’s nothing I like better than a cool, refreshing smoothie!

I know some of you would rather have an ice cream cone, but give this smoothie a try before you give up on them completely and run out to the “Ding Dong cart.”

This smoothie uses frozen banana chunks, which can be made any time you have a banana or two that are starting to get brown spots (this is the time when they are the sweetest). Simply peel and cut them into chunks that fit into an ice cube tray, freeze them and then remove from the tray, place in a freezer bag and toss them back in your freezer until you're ready to use them. Frozen bananas will keep for about three months.

This smoothie also has no dairy in it, yet tastes creamy and delicious. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

1 ½ cups frozen blueberries (or strawberries or any berry that you like)

1 cup frozen banana chunks

½ - 1 cup almond or coconut milk

Use stevia to taste if you need sweetener

Combine all of your ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Stop the blender every once in a while to scrape down the sides and push any of the unblended fruit into the blades with a rubber spatula. If you like a thicker smoothie, use less almond milk, a thinner one, use more. Play with it till it's just right for you!

This wonderful treat has only 213 calories per 8 oz. serving, and depending on which non dairy milk you choose, less than 2 grams of fat. A much healthier alternative to the same amount of regular vanilla ice cream which has over 500 calories and 34 grams of fat...

Enjoy this heavenly summertime drink!

Best of Health,


Hamburgers And Coconut Milk?

I have been putting coconut milk in several recipes lately, enjoying coconut milk ice cream, and using coconut oil for cooking, but I would never have thought of adding coconut milk to hamburgers!

Dr. Carolyn Dean did though, and her recipe is here.

Dr. Dean is a medical doctor, naturopath, herbalist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, lecturer, consultant, and author/coauthor of 20 books including: How To Change Your Life With Magnesium, Future Health Now Encyclopedia, Death by Modern Medicine: Seeking Safe Solutions, The Magnesium Miracle, The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, IBS for DUMMIES, IBS Cookbook for DUMMIES, and Hormone Balance.

Try Dr. Dean’s hamburger recipe, and let me know what you think!

Best of Health,


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