In recent years, the low fat diet trend has lost a lot of steam. These days, many health authorities no longer recommend restricting dietary fat indiscriminately. Having said that, there is still a fair share of disagreement about what exactly constitutes healthy lipid sources. Just about everyone agrees that hydrogenated fats (aka trans-fats) are harmful. Likewise, most nutritional experts recommend seeking out omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in cold water fish, grass fed meat and select seeds, including flax, hemp and chia. On the other hand, saturated fats and vegetable oils tend to fall into the “questionable” category.
Tags: Fibromyalgia, Inflammation, Olive Oil
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 3 Comments & Updates
There’s no doubt it: green vegetables are at the peak of their popularity. They are the rock stars of the produce section! These days, nutritionists are quick to recommend them as a healthy part of just about any dietary plan, whether gluten-free, low carb or macrobiotic. Finding greens while eating out is no problem either. Most restaurants from fast food chains to gourmet eateries now feature chard, dandelion leaves, kale or spinach as side dishes and, sometimes, even as primary components of a main course. And, of course, you’ve surely seen countless juices in your local markets or natural food stores that proudly proclaim their “greenness”. There is a lot of good to be found in this trend. However, the benefits can be even greater if you make more greens at home.
Tags: Avocados, Mint, Spinach
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 4 Comments & Updates
It’s cool, chocolatey and undeniably good for you! Of the three claims I just made, the first two probably won’t raise any eyebrows, but the latter one may ruffle a few skeptical feathers. After all, ice cream isn’t something you’ll find on most lists of wholesome dietary options. Even health food store varieties are probably best enjoyed as an occasional treat if only because of their sugar content. Today’s culinary creation is an exception to the status quo.
Tags: Chocolate, Coconut, Stevia
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 6 Comments & Updates
My fifth and final Expo West entry is geared towards healthier pleasures. These days, there are many faux-health foods on the market. Terms like “All Natural”, “Gluten Free”, “No Sugar Added” and “Non-GMO” are appearing on labels at an alarming rate. In some instances, this is the result of a positive shift in product composition which has largely been driven by consumer demand. So that is good cause to pat ourselves on the back. But, having said that, many of these so-called functional foods aren’t actually as health promoting as they may seem.
Tags: Coconut, Gluten, Onions
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates
The sub-title for this blog is, “Make It Better!”. Year-in and year-out, the one thing you can count on at Natural Products Expo West is a certain degree of flash and showmanship. Many of the exhibits are quite extravagant. You’ll find everything from comic book characters to marching bands all vying for your attention. But, oftentimes, some of the better products aren’t represented in this category. Instead of following the latest trends, they simply build upon traditional wisdom and aim to improve upon it in one way or another.
Tags: Broth, Prunes, Soy
Posted in Bone and Joint Health, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 5 Comments & Updates
Last month, I joined approximately 77,000 other members of the natural health community in Anaheim, California. Natural Products Expo West is an ever expanding mecca for exhibitors of all sorts of holistically-inspired body care, foods, household goods and supplements. All told there were over 3,000 exhibitors presenting their respective wares. At the same time, there was also a broad array of educational presentations on topics ranging from sustainable agriculture to the future of probiotics.
Tags: Almonds, Beets, Organic
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 5 Comments & Updates
Why would anyone actively avoid eating fruit? For some, this question can be answered in one word: sugar. Most fruits contain a significant amount of naturally occurring fructose and glucose. But, much like other whole foods, fruit also features additional components. Fat, fiber, nutrients and a long list of phytochemicals dictate the blood sugar response and overall health impact of any given fruit. For instance, avocados are rich in both fat and fiber, which makes them an ideal choice for those concerned about blood sugar fluctuations. However, the reality is that most fruits do not contain much fat. Therefore, fruit selection ought to focus on fiber, nutrient-density and phytochemical content.
Tags: Blueberries, Kiwi, Strawberries
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Product Reviews | 6 Comments & Updates
This is a follow up to my recent review of Always Hungry?, Dr. David Ludwig’s powerful, new diet and wellness book. In today’s blog, Dr. Ludwig is kind enough to clarify and expound upon some key points he originally made in the book. Specifically, I asked questions on the subjects I thought you would be interested in knowing more about. But, if I missed something, please let me know in the comment section below. I’ll do my best to get the answers. Lastly, before delving into the Q&A, I’d like to point out the above photo. Dr. Ludwig is seated next to his talented wife, Dawn Ludwig, a gourmet, natural health chef and creator of the delicious recipes contained in the book.
Tags: Inflammation, Insulin, Ketogenic
Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Interviews, Nutrition | 7 Comments & Updates
Every once in awhile I get the undeniable urge to share something that’s a little “out there”, even by my standards. Usually, this comes about as a result of some mad chemistry experiment in the Healthy Fellow kitchen or lab. But still, don’t dismiss today’s recipe right off the bat. Although this unconventional meal may sound a bit unusual, it just might fill an important role in your quest for genuinely healthy “fast food”.
Tags: Avocados, Fish, Pumpkin Seeds
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes | 7 Comments & Updates
The importance of gut bacteria has become a red hot topic over the last several years. Best-selling books by the likes of Drs. David Perlmutter (“Brain Maker” ), Gerard Mullin (“The Gut Balance Revolution”) and Raphael Kellman (“The Microbiome Diet”) have ushered in a new era of “probiotic-medicine”. In previous decades, research on gut microbiota primarily focused on bacterial imbalance (aka dysbiosis) and its role in digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. These days, specialists in the field are closely examining diversity and quantities of gut bacteria in relation to diseases ranging from depression to obesity. However, along with these exciting new findings comes many questions about how to practically manipulate gut microbiota.
Tags: Berries, Prebiotics, Probiotics
Posted in Food and Drink, Mental Health, Nutrition | 18 Comments & Updates
These days, many nutritionists are no longer recommending a low fat diet as the be-all and end-all for promoting health. I agree! It’s absolutely fine, and, even advisable, for most people to eat moderate to large amounts of healthy fats. Foods such as avocados, grass fed meat, nuts, omega-3 eggs, seeds and wild fish can be enjoyed regularly without any sense of guilt or lingering uncertainty. But, the thing to keep in mind is that the components of any given diet do not exist in isolation. The health effects of dietary fat are influenced by the composition of your overall diet. For instance, a potato chip snack which is high in carbohydrates and fat will affect your body much differently than avocado slices wrapped in prosciutto. A typical serving of the latter may contain an equivalent amount of fat, but is much lower in carbohydrates and a richer source of protein.
Tags: Cholesterol, Inflammation, Macadamia
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition | 7 Comments & Updates
In part one of this column, I mentioned that Parkinson’s disease (PD) is in the news on a weekly basis. Since writing that first piece, several articles about PD have appeared in various publications. Time magazine reports that diabetes drugs “may offer hope for Parkinson’s disease treatment”. EurekAlert, an influential science news resource, describes mounting evidence supporting the use of low-dose lithium to reduce involuntary muscle movements – a common side-effect of carbi- and levo-dopa treatment. There’s even a story about how some PD patients are literally fighting back against the disease by taking part in non-contact boxing.
Tags: CoQ10, Creatine, Parkinson's Disease
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements | 5 Comments & Updates
One of the fastest growing food categories is cow milk alternatives. By now, many consumers are aware of both animal and plant-based beverages that are targeted to those who need or wish to avoid conventional milk. On the animal side of the aisle, you can now easily find goat and sheep’s milk in health food stores and specialty markets. Plant-based “milks” aren’t actually milk at all. But, these fortified drinks made from almonds, coconuts, cashews, hemp and soy can and do substitute quite well for milk under some circumstances. The bottom line is that milk has become a major component in the modern diet, and that has spurred a rapidly evolving revolution in dairy and dairy substitutes.
Tags: Autism, Diabetes, Milk
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 11 Comments & Updates
These days, I don’t how many kids are familiar with old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. At some point in my own life, I heard it or read it and from that point forward, it was mysteriously ingrained in my psyche. That started me wondering about where it all started. Who said it first and why? According to Caroline Taggart, the author of the 2009 book entitled, “An Apple a Day: Old-Fashioned Proverbs and Why They Still Work”, the phrase originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales in the 1860’s. During that era, the phrasing was a bit different: “Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread”. Many years later, I vividly recall attending a presentation by Dr. Julian Whitaker, the famed integrative doctor, in which he proclaimed an apple a day as one of his personal healing traditions. And now, once again, modern science is coming around to offer support for an old fashioned notion.
Tags: Apples, Cancer, Diet and Weight Loss
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Women's Health | 11 Comments & Updates
The consistent, rhythmic beating of the heart is something most of us take for granted. This is not a criticism or judgement. It makes perfect sense that we expect our hearts to keep pumping blood in much the same way as we predict our lungs will help us breathe day in and day out. Likewise, hair and nails grow without any consideration. Even muscles move without any meaningful cognitive incentive. It’s the body’s job to function in a predictable manner and it usually does. That is, until it doesn’t. Atrial fibrillation is just such an example, where the heart decides to occasionally beat to the rhythm of a different drummer.
Tags: Atrial Fibrillation, CoQ10, Yoga
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Heart Health, Nutrition | 13 Comments & Updates
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is estimated to affect between 5 – 10% of girls and women of childbearing age. Signs of PCOS vary, but are typically characterized by several of the following symptoms: acne, abnormal menstrual cycles, hair loss and/or excessive body and facial hair growth, infertility, mood disorders, ovarian cysts, overweight and sleep apnea. The commonality among most of these symptoms is an overproduction of male sex hormones (androgens) emanating from the ovaries. Insulin resistance is another factor in PCOS. Therefore, the conventional treatment of this prevalent condition usually involves birth control pills to moderate sex hormone concentrations, diabetes medications to improve insulin sensitivity and fertility aids for women who have difficulty getting pregnant.
Tags: Exercise, Insulin, PCOS
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Nutrition, Women's Health | 16 Comments & Updates