What's In Your Morning Cup?

What was the first thing you drank this morning?

If your answer is coffee, I have news for you about conventional coffee. Even if you only consume organic coffee, you might want to know why it’s a healthier choice.

Coffee is one of the most traded products in the world – with over 12 billion pounds of it being produced annually – and as a result, conventional-grown coffee is among the most heavily chemically treated ‘cash crop’ in the world. Research has shown that conventional coffee can contain upwards of 500 added chemicals, some of which are toxic to our bodies. Why are these chemicals used on cash crops to begin with?

Our economic system is driven by mass production in order to meet a demand. Therefore, farming methods have been developed to maximize production. Farmers spray synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides (many of which has been banned in certain nations) on their crops. What results from this is the non-organic conventional coffee that many of us are used to drinking on a daily basis.

Not only does the consumer suffer from drinking conventional non-organic coffee – especially on a daily basis – the farmers who have to live around it do too. They are exposed to high levels of chemicals while spraying and handling their crops. Furthermore, surrounding communities are exposed to a high level of chemicals which have passed through their air and water supply. Overall, this mass-production, chemical method is detrimental to our personal health and to the health of the environment.

What Can I Do?

For those of us who are consummate coffee drinkers, we recommend the following:

1. Drink Organic Coffee – There aren’t any chemicals used in producing organic coffee. These beans are grown with organic fertilizers, like coffee pulp or compost. Additionally, these beans have many healthy antioxidants.

Choosing this option has the additional benefits of emitting less carbon dioxide into the air. All in all, your health, the health of the farmer and our environment benefits from purchasing and consuming organic coffee.

*Side note* To guarantee that the farmers have been paid fairly and treated well through the trading process, choose ‘Organic Fair Trade’ coffee beans whenever possible.

2. Consider Green Tea – Green tea does contain caffeine however it has about 35% less caffeine than coffee. It is also extremely rich in polyphenol compounds, which are antioxidants that help to protect the cells of our bodies from the damage caused by toxins in our food, water and air.

*Side note* When choosing a green tea, it is also very important that you choose an organic brand.


Remember, knowledge is powerful, so please share this information with everyone who will benefit from it.

Yours in Vibrant Health,

Dr. Salzarulo

If you would like more frequent holistic information such as this, we invite you to join our Vibrant Health Newsletter.

Superfoods Edition: Chlorella

“Nature’s Multivitamin”

Being that we are imperfect creatures, many of us may not consume enough fruits and vegetables daily – which means we are missing a lot of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for our vitality. Our solution for improving this? The inclusion of Chlorella, “nature’s multivitamin”, in our diet.

What is Chlorella?

Chlorella is a dark-green micro-algae that is the world’s richest natural source of chlorophyll. Chlorella is rich in protein (approximately 60%) and is an amazing source of vitamins and nutrients containing all of the B vitamins, vitamins C, E and K, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and iron, 19 amino acids (including all essential amino acids), beta carotene and lutein. Chlorella is also rich in nucleic acids, which helps your body’s own natural defense system.

Our bodies are constantly exposed to harmful environmental toxins every day. Over time, the toxic build-up in our system slowly tears away at our health. Chlorella’s most outstanding feature, one that sets it apart from other “superfoods,” is its proven ability to assist the body in detoxifying harmful air, water, chemical and “heavy metal” pollutants – precursors to many of today’s common degenerative disease conditions. It has been used by physicians and dentists worldwide in natural detoxification protocols.

Additional Benefits:

In addition to its detoxification abilities, there is evidence to show that chlorella promotes T-cell activity, thereby enhancing the immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses more effectively. Chlorella has also been known to increase the growth of “friendly” bacteria in the digestive tract, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, balance sugar high/lows (as seen in diabetes and hypoglycemia), promote healing of intestinal ulcers, diverticulosis, Crohn’s disease and other degenerative diseases.

Product recommendation:

Chlorgen capsules and in powder. Chlorella can also be taken in powder form.  I recommended 1/4 teaspoon of Chlorella 2 times per day, increasing to 1/2 teaspoon 2 times daily over a four week period. Chlorella powder can be added to your green drink or green smoothie. The powder can also be mixed into your salad dressing or added to hummus or your favorite nut butter.

What are your thoughts on Chlorella? Do you use anything to supplement your healthy diet? Please share below.

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Superfood for your Sweet Tooth

Chia seeds have their origin in Central America and served as a critical part of the Aztec diet. They come from a green plant with blue flowers called Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help reduce inflammation and high cholesterol. These magical seeds are also loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber, 18% of the recommended amount of calcium, 35% of phosphorus, 24% of magnesium, and 50% of manganese.

Chia seed are relatively tasteless so you can feel free to add them to smoothies, salads, yogurt, cereal, vegetables or any other food you want to. Chia seeds are very absorbent so when soaked in liquid they develop a gelatinous texture making it a great addition to a variety of foods.

For Your Sweet Tooth

We are often asked by our patients who are following the Body Ecology or Anti-Inflammatory Diets, “What can I do to satisfy my sweet tooth and still maintain my healthy diet? ” Chia pudding is a wonderful and delicious option!

Vanilla Chia Pudding
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, hemp milk, almond milk or coconut water
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash of cinnamon
Stevia for additional sweetness to taste (optional)

In a small bowl or jar combine the first four ingredients. Give it a good stir and refrigerate for at least one hour. After the first thirty minutes stir the mixture thoroughly so it doesn’t clump together. Before eating, mix in stevia to taste, if using. Makes 2 servings.

Chocolate Chia Pudding
4 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, hemp milk, almond milk or coconut water
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt (optional)
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Stevia for additional sweetness to taste (optional)

In a small bowl or jar combine the first four ingredients. Give it a good stir and refrigerate for at least one hour. After the first thirty minutes stir the mixture thoroughly so it doesn’t clump together. Before eating, mix in cinnamon and stevia to taste, if using. Makes 2 servings.

Pesticide Load in Food

Why Should You Care About Pesticides?
There is growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can adversely affect people, especially during vulnerable periods of fetal development and childhood when exposures can have long lasting effects. Because the toxic effects of pesticides are worrisome, not well understood, or in some cases completely unstudied, shoppers are wise to minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible.

Will Washing and Peeling Help?
Nearly all of the data used to create these lists already considers how people typically wash and prepare produce (for example, apples are washed before testing, bananas are peeled). While washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. Peeling also reduces exposures, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the peel. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

How This Guide Was Developed
The produce ranking was developed by analysts at the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on the results of nearly 43,000 tests for pesticides on produce collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

2013 RANKING from Worst to Best

(Worst)1. Apples
2. Strawberries
3. Grapes
4. Celery
5. Peaches
6. Spinach
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines – imported
9. Cucumbers
10. Potatoes
11. Cherry tomatoes
12. Hot peppers
13. Blueberries – domestic
14. Lettuce
15. Snap peas – imported
16. Kale / collard greens
17. Cherries
18. Nectarines – domestic
19. Pears
20. Plums
21. Raspberries
22. Blueberries – imported
23. Carrots
24. Green beans
25. Tangerines 26. Summer squash
27. Broccoli
28. Winter squash
29. Green onions
30. Snap peas – domestic
31. Oranges
32. Tomatoes
33. Honeydew melon
34. Cauliflower
35. Bananas
36. Watermelon
37. Mushrooms
38. Sweet potatoes
39. Cantaloupe
40. Grapefruit
41. Kiwi
42. Eggplant
43. Asparagus
44. Mangos
45. Papayas
46. Sweet peas frozen
47. Cabbage
48. Avocados
49. Pineapples
50. Onions
(Best) 51. Sweet Corn

Houseplants for Air Purification and Healthy Living

One of the best ways to reduce stress levels, release tension, and breathe purified air is to live amongst nature.  It is sometimes difficult to find time to spend outdoors in the park, so luckily we can bring nature to our homes in the form of houseplants.

Among many other benefits, houseplants can help purify the air in our homes by converting the CO2 we breathe out into oxygen. Aside from just the benefit of releasing oxygen, some houseplants actually aid in the removal of harmful airborne toxins that can be inhaled in our home environment. Some of the harmful toxins that can be inhaled from the air are formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, ammonia, and xylene and trichloroethylene from the air.  These toxins may come from paints, plastics, furniture, rugs, synthetic fibers, cleaning solutions, detergents, plywood, synthetic fragrances, varnishes, etc.

Below you can find a list of some of the best houseplants, their benefits, and how to take care of them. A study done by NASA suggests that you should have one 6-inch plant for every 100 square feet of space.

Toxins and their Sources

Benzene – glues, paints, furniture wax, and detergents

Formaldehyde – plywood, particleboard, pressed wood products

Trichloroethylene – disinfectants, dyes, rug cleaners, paint removers, spot removers, adhesives

Ammonia – animal waste, fertilizers, cleaning products

Xylene – synthetic fragrances, paints

Peace Lily

The Peace Lily is a large green leafed plant, and blooms a beautiful and simple white flower. Is capable of absorbing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, ammonia, and other toxins. It is a low maintenance flower, and is a common houseplant.

Peace lily’s do well in shade and lower temperatures. Find a spot for your peace lily that is not in direct sunlight. Water it weekly so that the soil is always moist however be careful not to over water it, there should never be standing water. Mist the leaves several times a week and make sure they are dust free for optimal air purification. Monitor your plant and make sure to trim any unhealthy leaves.

English Ivy

English Ivy is one of the most effective plants for absorbing formaldehyde.  It is also recommended for removing allergens like mold. English Ivy is well adapted to living indoors and is grows well in low-light. You can grow it as a hanging or floor plant.

English Ivy should be placed in bright indirect light or in a place with low light. Allow the first two inches of soil, but not more, to dry between watering. Trim any unhealthy leaves and long stems with no leaves.

Weeping Fig

The weeping fig is a beautiful small tree that can be tricky to take care of. However it helps eliminate toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.

The weeping fig should be potted in a large pot and placed in filtered sunlight. Once you place it you should not move it except for occasionally turning it so a new side faces the sunlight. The tree should be kept evenly moist and not soggy. The weeping fig also has a tendency to drop its leaves, but this is often because the plant goes into shock after being moved or transplanted.

Dracaena

The Dracaena is best for removing xylene, trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde, which can be released from lacquers and varnishes.  The dracaena comes in a variety of sizes and colors, a popular choice being the red edged dracaena.

There is a dracaena for every lighting situation so feel free to pick the type that suits you best. Keep the soil damp, and never let the water saucer be filled. This plant can grow to be the height of the ceiling, so make sure you place it in a room with ample space.

Bamboo Palm

The Bamboo palm is effective at eliminating formaldehyde, xylene, carbon monoxide, and toluene. Along with purifying air, it releases moisture, which is beneficial for the winter months.

Place your palm in bright, filtered sunlight and keep the soil moist. Make sure there is air circulation where the plant is places. Occasionally mist the leaves to avoid spider mites.

Philodendron

This plant has beautiful heart shaped leaves and is easy to care for. They are particularly good at removing formaldehyde from the air. These plants can live for many years when properly cared for.

The philodendron grows best in moderate sunlight. The soil should be kept moist, not over watered, and be allowed to dry out between waterings. They will be dried during the winter months. Yellow leaves are signs of overwatering and brown leaves are signs of underwatering.

Aloe

Our beloved summertime sunburn friend does more than just heal cuts and burns. Aloe can purify the air from pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde, which are often byproducts of chemical cleaners.

Aloe plants should be planted in full direct sunlight. The soil should be moderately moist. Although the aloe plant is adapted to survive a drought, water should still be provided weekly. If there are many harmful chemicals in the air, the aloe leaves may develop brown spots, in which case you might want to get some more house plants.

Golden Pothos

The cascading vines of the golden pathos help remove formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and carbon monoxide from the air.

The golden pothos is easy to care for and a very resilient plant. It can grow in any lighting condition except direct sunlight. You should water it when the soil becomes dry to the touch. Trim the vines when the plant becomes too big.

Chinese Evergreen

This tropical plant is efficient in removing formaldehyde and benzene from the air.

These plants grow well in dark areas of filtered sunlight. They should be planted in well draining soil and should be kept moist to mimic the humidity of the tropical rainforest. Water moderately and allow the soil to almost dry between waterings.

Rubber Tree

Rubber trees are easy to grow and help eliminate formaldehyde ad carbon monoxide. The leaves are a beautiful dark and shiny green and some varieties can have purple undertones.

They can be grown in bright filtered light. They should be watered moderately and pruned as necessary. To optimize air purification, wipe the leaves as needed.

Please note that some of these plants have pet warnings…

Peace Lily – Toxic to cats and dogs

English Ivy – Toxic to cats

Weeping Fig – Toxic to cats and dogs

Dracaena – Toxic to cats and dogs

Bamboo Palm – non-toxic

Philodendron – Toxic to cats

Aloe – toxic to cats and dogs

Golden Pothos – Toxic to cats and dogs

Chinese Evergreen – Toxic to cats

Rubber Tree – Toxic to cats

Further research is also recommended.

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a versatile oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts that can be used for cooking, body care, and maintaining overall health. Coconut oil has three fatty acids, caprylic, capric, and lauric acid that have antifungal properties and are often recommended for anti-candida diets.

Coconut oil has a variety of health benefits including:

  • Increases good HDL cholesterol
  • Leads to efficient burning of energy due to the break down of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)
  • Antioxidant properties

Coconut oil can be eaten by itself or used in a variety of dishes. If taking coconut on a daily basis, two tablespoons are recommended. Coconut oil is naturally saturated which allows it to have a greater heat capacity than most other oils. It is an excellent choice for cooking, however no oil should be used with a high flame.  It has a mild coconut flavor that is delicious with most dishes. Coconut oil can also be applied to the skin as a moisturizer or the hair as a hair mask.

One great way to incorporate coconut oil into your diet is to add it to smoothies. Here is one great recipe to get started:

Banana Coconut Smoothie:

1 cup kale

1 Banana

1/3 cup Goji Berries

2 tablespoons Chia Seeds

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

Add water or coconut water until almost all the ingredients are submerged and blend!

Food of the Week: Flax Seeds

flax seeds

A little Background…

Flax seeds originated in the area between from the eastern Mediterranean and India, and were first cultivated in the early civilizations in Mesopotamia.

Health Benefits

Flax seeds are a great plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids (“essential” meaning they must be consumed because our bodies don’t make them) play an important role in the anti-inflammatory system of our body. Flax seeds also have a high concentration of lignans, which are fiber-like compounds that provide antioxidant and anti-cancer protection Flax seeds are a complete fiber, containing both insoluble and soluble fiber type. Another unique feature of flax seeds is their content of mucilage, which is a gel-forming fiber that can help soothe the intestinal tract and assist it in escorting toxins out of the body.

How to Enjoy

Flax seeds are an inexpensive way to invest in your health. It is very important to eat only ground flax seeds; since the body cannot digest or absorb the nutrients from the whole seeds. Ground flax can be added to smoothies, salads, soups, cereal and a variety of dishes. One way to remember to eat flax seeds is to use a large peppershaker and fill it up with flax seeds and keep it at your dining table or in the kitchen. This way you can easily sprinkle the ground seeds onto your meals. You can also ground flax seeds in a high spend blender such as the nutribullet, blendtech, and vitamix. Other brands of high speed blenders can also be used to ground flax seeds.

Lip Balm

Book

Just like it is important to consider what you put in your body, it is important to consider what you put on your body. Commercial body care products are often filled with chemicals and toxins that can be harmful to our health and environment. Luckily there is a fun and simple alternative — creating your own products. Not only will you know exactly what you are putting on your skin, you will also feel a sense of satisfaction from being self-sufficient. Your journey into natural body care can be a lot of fun and will yield amazing results as you nurture and respect your body. One wonderful book filled with body care recipes is Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair by Dina Falconi. This book includes recipes for facial products, hair care, lip care, and more.

The following is a lip balm recipe from Dina Falconi’s book:

All Purpose Lip Balm

A light, nourishing, healing lip balm for any time of year

  • 3 oz. expeller canola pressed oil
  • 1 oz. calendula-infused olive oil (preferred) or plain olive oil
  • 1 oz. wheat germ oil
  • 2 oz. beeswax
  • 56 drops anise, fennel, mint, grapefruit or other essential oil

Put a pot filled 4 inches high with water on the stove over medium heat. Fill a heat-proof measuring cup with the liquid oils, then grate or cut small pieces of beeswax and add it to the oil. Place the measuring cup in a hot-water bath and heat until the beeswax has thoroughly melted into the oil, stirring it well with a chopstick. When pouring the melted beeswax and oil combination into containers, add 2 drops of essential oil per ¼ oz. lip balm, and place lid immediately on the container to prevent the evaporation of the essential oils. This recipe makes enough lip balm to fill 28 ¼ oz. containers, which are great to give as gifts.

Earthly Bodies and Heavenly Hair:

http://www.botanicalartspress.com/books/earthly-bodies-and-heavenly-hair-natural-and-healthy-bodycare-for-every-body-by-dina-falconi-alan-mcknight-illustrator-david-goldbeck-photographer.html

http://www.amazon.com/Earthly-Bodies-Heavenly-Hair-Bodycare/dp/1886101043/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380158083&sr=8-1&keywords=earthly+bodies+and+heavenly+hair

Food of the Week: Goji Berries

Goji Berries

A little background…

The goji berry is native to southeastern Europe and Asia. The goji berry, or wolfberry, is a bright red berry with tiny yellow seeds inside. Goji berries have been cultivated along the Yellow River in China for over 600 years. They are sometimes referred to as “Red Diamonds” due to their immense nutritional benefits. Traditional herbal uses of the goji berry include strengthening the liver, purifying the blood, and protecting healthy vision.

Health Benefits

Goji berries are a fantastic source of antioxidants, which help protect our health at the cellular level from free radical damage. Goji berries also contain polysaccharides which help to support and balance the immune system. Goji berries are also packed with 18 amino acids, 8 of which are essential amino acids. They also contain vitamins B1, B2, B6, and E and up to 21 trace minerals including iron, selenium, and calcium. Goji Berries contain the highest amount of vitamin C by weight than any other food. It is also high in anthocyanins (a bioflavanoid) which help protect blood vessel from oxidative damage.

How to Enjoy

Goji berries are usually sold in their dried form and can be found at health food stores. They make a gret addition to salads, trail mix, cereal, oatmeal, or smoothies. Goji berries are also great to eat on their own and have a sweet flavor. You can also make goji berry tea by steeping 1-2 tablespoons in about a cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Body Brushing

Dry brushing cleans the lymphatic system. Lymph is considered part of our immune system and is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste.

Proper functioning of the lymphatic system is critical to the body’s ability to detoxify and regenerate tissues, filter out foreign substances, and maintain a healthy immune system. If lymph circulation stagnates, toxins accumulate and cellular functioning is compromised, opening the way to physical ailments.

What You Need To Do Dry Brushing:
To dry brush, use a soft natural fiber brush with a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body. One with a removable head with a strap for your hand is a good choice. Here’s a picture of what you are looking for

*A short-handled brush works just as well.
Available from health food stores or your local co-op. Rite Aid sells a great and affordable brush made by Eco Tools.
www.earththerapeutics.net is a great site for affordable brushes.

How To Dry Brush:
• Always dry brush before you shower or bathe because you will want to wash off the impurities from the skin as a result from the brushing action.
• Brushing in circular motions, starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, from the hands towards the shoulders, and toward the heart on the torso to help drain the lymph.
• Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet.