SEED CYCLING

 
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Seeds in the diet might be one of my favorite ways to support hormone balance. Why? because it's easy and it can be a way to establish healthy routines that end up improving your overall wellbeing. All my female patients & clients get instructions for seed cycling.

The key players are: flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Flax seeds contain lignans which increase the liver’s production of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which binds free estrogen, DHT (the active form of testosterone that often is responsible for symptoms such as acne, hair loss, increased facial hair) and testosterone— and therefore reduces the effect of these hormones.

Incorporating flax seeds into the diet improves the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrogen:16-alpha-hydroxyestrone,  promoting the 2-OHE pathway. This is important because an improved 2:16 ratio decreases risk of estrogen sensitive cancers.

Consuming ground flax seeds is also helpful to manage “estrogen dominant” conditions by modulating estrogen levels and improving things like: uterine fibroids, PMS, heavy periods, endometriosis, irregular periods, PCOS and hot flashes.

Flax seeds have been shows to increase ovulation rates, lengthen the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and increases the progesterone to estrogen ratio.  

Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacins which function as mild 5-alpha reductase inhibitors which is helpful for preventing testosterone from becoming dihydrotestosterone (DHT— that active form mentioned above).

Ok so finally, the instructions of how to seed cycle:

  • For the first half of your cycle (assuming an average 28 day cycle: day 1-14. day 1= first day of bleeding), you incorporate 1-2 tablespoons of flax seeds and or chia seeds into smoothies/salads/whatever. This is to support healthy estrogen levels. 

  • During the second half of your cycle, incorporate 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin, sesame and/or sunflower seeds to support healthy progesterone levels. 

  • That’s it!

Be sure the seeds are freshly ground. This is important because when you buy them already ground, chances are they're already rancid =/

If you have irregular cycles, you can do this according to the lunar cycle: 1st half = new moon to full moon, 2nd half = full moon to new moon. 

Need more support or have questions about hormone health? Contact us for a 15 min complimentary consult.

 

WAYS TO MANAGE INFLAMMATION

 
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Inflammation can arguably be underlying the root of most, if not all, chronic disease. I even find it to be a culprit for most hair and skin concerns! So in my practice, I use one of the basic tenants of naturopathic medicine: removing the obstacle to cure which often comes in the form of identifying the triggers for inflammation and removing them to allow the body to start healing itself.

So what is inflammation? It is a process that happens to help protect your body from infection, illness or injury. When your body is trying to fight infections, more immune cells are produced as part of the inflammatory response. It is essential for survival but that chronic, or ongoing, inflammatory chemical signaling is what is problematic and can lead to or manifest as:

  • fatigue

  • weight gain/loss

  • joint pain

  • allergies

  • skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis

  • sleep disruption

  • gas/bloating/constipation/diarrhea

  • mood changes

  • hairloss

  • acne

  • decreased tolerance to certain foods aka food sensitivities

  • development of autoimmune disease

  • hormone imbalances

  • PMS

  • accelerated aging (internal and external!)

    ETC

And for the most part, inflammation is something you can control by modifying your diet and lifestyle. Common triggers include

  • gluten! -we can talk more about gluten in another post but basically there’s value in avoiding gluten (but not in buying processed, gluten-free versions of everything ..such as donuts or cake. Sorry to burst your bubble but gluten free donuts *aren’t* health foods

  • dairy

  • sugar

  • conventional meat 

  • fragrances and chemicals in various household supplies and cosmetics 

  • and something less commonly addressed with regard to inflammation: chronic stress and suppressed emotions 

Therapeutic supplementation can also be beneficial. (But of course, they will work best if you incorporate change in your daily life primarily!) These are some general nutrients that can be helpful for general inflammation however, as mentioned it is important to identify the source causing inflammation as well.

  1. Turmeric

  2. Quercitin, antioxidants

  3. High quality fish oil with high levels of EPA

  4. B6

  5. Magnesium

  6. CoQ10

You can find all of these and other favorites in my online dispensary (discounted through Jan 2019!)

How do you know if you’re inflamed? Well you might be experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above. You can also have your doctor run a lab marker called CRP which assesses inflammation.

If you’d like to work together to tackle some of your health goals, feel free to email for more information.

 

HOW TO NOT SMELL (TIPS FOR SWITCHING TO A NATURAL DEODORANT)

 
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Over the years, I have made many attempts with using natural deodorants— trying different brands, DIY homemade versions, rocks, pastes, gels, etc.. And at first they’re alright but after about a week or 2, I always feel like I sweat more and would end up going back to a conventional deodorant + anti perspirant formula. KNOWING that what makes the anti-perspirant work is the aluminum zirconium but I always justified it, “Well if I’m taking care of all these other areas— diet, skincare, supplements, exercise— then I can have my ‘guilty pleasure’ chemical deodorant+anti perspirant,” right??

WRONG

A little over a month ago, I tested my hair for heavy metals + mineral status and had aluminum and zirconium show up IN MY HAIR! It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me because I was well-aware that I was using something, almost daily, that contained aluminum but something about seeing it on paper, seeing that my lifestyle, genetics, etc wasn’t enough to keep it from accumulating to a more alarming level really triggered the need to change something.

Why is aluminum a big deal?

It is a considered a genotoxin ( a chemical that can cause changes to a cell that may lead to cancer) and a neurotoxicant (substance that negatively affects the nervous system). These can lead to changes in the brain impairing memory, energy, kidney and liver function (2 key organs for elimination of wastes). Studies do not state that it is carcinogenic (causes cancer) or that it causes Alzhiemer’s but regardless— the changes it causes to the brain and elimination organs get in the way of optimal function and as decreased efficiency and function starts occurring in the body, that’s when you pave the way for chronic disease.

The other concern (and the reason why after 1-2 weeks you cant handle natural deodorants and want to switch back to a conventional formula) is this: the anti-perspirant effect comes from aluminum’s ability to block sweat from being released from the sweat gland. Sweat is one of the ways the body eliminates waste and toxins through the skin (another key organ for elimination- I’ve now named 3 elimination organs affected by aluminum). By using anti-perspirant regularly, you’re holding on to this waste; when you make the switch, if you’ve noticed an increase in sweat (and stench ..gross but lets be adults) after a week or so it’s because you’re now releasing what you had been blocking off… yes, even more disgusting.

So now what?

It can be so uncomfortable but I came across a few things that helped the transition and might be helpful for you too if you decide it’s time.

  • Axillary detox: I thought this was fake when I first heard of it but it’s not! and it works! Mix some apple cider vinegar and bentonite clay, 1 teaspoon each + water to get to whatever consistency you like. Apply over the axillary (armpit) region, wait 10-20 min and rinse off. The idea is you’re drawing out waste and impurities to minimize that discomfort of increased sweat (and smell) when switching

  • Chlorophyll: you can get drops to put in your water or capsules, to alkalize your body and aid in more efficient elimination of waste

  • Probiotic and probiotic containing foods to build intestinal health with good bactiera that help prevent the absorption of toxins from the digestive tract.

  • More of these foods: flax seeds, chia seeds, leafy greens, buckwheat, brown rice, broccoli— all of these help the liver and digestive system efficiently remove waste

  • Tea: dandelion tea, green tea, rooibos tea. These are antioxidant and detoxifying.

I posted the natural deodorants that I like best on social media and products I like including the chlorophyll, probiotic and herbal teas are all available on my curated dispensary. If you want more information about doing a hair mineral analysis or a medically guided biotransformation program, contact us: info@drmusavvir.com

References: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5651828/#R4 , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16045991

 

MY FAVORITE BEAUTY TOOL

 
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If you've been following along with me on social media, you probably have seen that I am soon releasing my first product (!!)

This is really exciting and special for me because it's something I have been wanting to do but wanting to do in a way that felt right for me. With the growth of clean beauty products and the trend of cosmeceuticals, it was important for me come out with something that wasn't just a trend.. and furthermore something that was in line with my philosophies.

So why a gua sha?

The practice of healing massage has been around for centuries and even something I grew up with. My mom and all her sisters were (and are) avid skincare enthusiasts; they taught me from a young age that when it comes to skin, prevention is KEY. They taught me how to massage serums and creams on the face, the appropriate pressure, the correct direction and technique to prevent wrinkles (and to always, always wash my face at night, of course).

When I learned about gua sha, the practice of using a tool to massage the skin, all those memories and lessons came flooding back because many of the techniques are the same-- all using the basic principle of "up and out." But what makes gua sha even more fascinating is its long-standing use and practice of massage techniques that not only addresses skin concerns but also addresses organ imbalances according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

So for example- losing volume under the eyes and mid face which can give a "sagging" appearance; you can use a gua sha regularly to lift and tighten the skin but you can also use it along the stomach meridian on the body! Which, according to Traditional Chinese medicine is weak or imbalanced when you see that aging pattern. The light pressure in correct directions also helps promote movement and drainage of lymph (our body's filtration system). Taking it a step further, you can apply dietary and lifestyle principles to strengthen that organ system really taking a whole-body, slow beauty approach to aesthetics. 

(OK but what is gua sha??)

The practice of gua sha, a scraping massage, is said to improve signs of aging because the act of scraping is stimulating circulation bringing a fresh flow of blood and oxygen to the skin. This influx of nutrients, known in Traditional Chines Medicine as "Qi," enhances the skin's quality, reduces clogged pores, helps control acne, tightens the skin and promotes a radiant complexion

Traditionally gua sha was practiced in Ancient China using tools made out of the bian stone. This stone has rich history in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is said to have been the precursor to acupuncture. It was formed when a meteorite collided with the Earth and was used therapeutically when doctors in Ancient China noticed that musicians who played instruments made out of that stone were living longer. The stone is said to have over 40 trace minerals, has therapeutic healing properties from the infrared and ultrasonic pulses it created and from the negative ions it produces. Basically translates into an antioxidant or anti-aging effect that helps with pain, stress and wrinkles. 

For this reason, I have chosen to have my first product, a gua sha tool, made out of the bian stone which you can purchase here. I also chose bian over other stones because from my experience, it’s far less fragile— I have owned many gua shas in the past, all of which broke fairly quickly :( The design and thickness make it versatile for both use on the face and body.

The anti-aging and wellness benefits appear over time with regular and long-term use however there are some immediate benefits:

  • decreased muscular or sinus tension/pain

  • decreased puffiness (perfect after a night of drinking.. or eating too much gluten!)

  • refreshed and glowing face

 

MY TOP TRAVEL TIPS

 
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It's finally summertime and that usually means well-deserved travel and fun. Travel and fun can make tough to maintain usual health and wellness habits though. Over the past few months I've been doing my fair share of running around and travel; as I prepare for my upcoming trip to LA I thought I'd share some of my tips to maintain wellbeing when usual resources or routine aren’t readily available.

Before I get into the tips of how to [try to] stay healthy while  traveling, I think its worth noting that much of these tips stem from minimizing stress in the body. And stress can be ANYTHING your body perceives as stressful; so that can include poor sleep from jetlag, poor quality or inflammatory foods (i.e. sugar and alcohol!), chemicals in the environment i.e. cigarette smoke, air fresheners/fragrance, smog... it doesn’t necessarily just have to be a mental feeling of “I'm stressed.”

Travel/moving/being out of your element is a stress to the body and finding ways to minimize that is KEY to staying in balance.

I put together a list of a few tips that I used to make traveling an overall healthier experience to stay well and glowing.

1.     Keep healthy snacks on hand. While airports and airplanes are getting better about including healthier options, they’re still not wide spread (and often not good + expensive!). Since being stressed uses up nutrients and effects the balance of good bacteria in your gut (which is important for immune function), having nutrient-filled foods will help your body deal with stress better. Conversely, eating poorly will create more inflammation, and therefore stress, on the body. If you’re going on a road trip, then all the more reason to make sure you well-equipped to avoid fast making any regrettable fast-food stops.

2.     Bring a jump rope and resistance bands. It’s like having a portable gym and especially useful if you don’t have access to a gym. Getting your blood flowing and breaking a sweat regularly is key for helping your body deal with the effects of stress.

3.     Be strategic with your supplementation. If you don’t have a condition that requires you to bring all your supplements/medications, I recommend including at least these 3:

  • A travel friendly probiotic to help maintain a healthy digestive tract which will keep your immune system healthy. Here is one I commonly take and recommend for travel.

  • Electrolytes to help you stay hydrated. I like these because they also contain ionic trace minerals. (Tons of different flavors to choose from)

  • Antioxidants to help you deal with the effects of stress because stress causes damage to cells known as “oxidative stress;” so antioxidants are basically anti-oxidative stress! This is one of my favorite antioxidant supplements. (Use code SUPERNADIA for 20% off!)

My favorite, clinical-grade supplements can be found here in my curated online dispensary. Get the access code when you sign up for my newsletter, and for the rest of summer get 20% off all supplements!

4. Focus on hydrating, antioxidant skincare. Especially if you're traveling via airplane travel can be dehydrating; when skin becomes overly dry it typically compensates by overproducing oils which leads to acne. Pollutants can further irritate the skin. To minimize the amount of products I'm carrying, I recommend products that are both hydrating and loaded with antioxidants such as a sheetmask or mist. And don't forget SPF!

5. Pack a silk pillowcase. This will help keep your hair "fresh" longer and your skin more hydrated because cotton pillowcases draw the moisture away from your skin and hair. The fibers from the silk keep the products you apply where they are supposed to be rather than on your pillow allowing you get the most out of your products. They also help prevent tugging so you minimize the formation of fine lines and wake up with a smooth, rested face. 

Follow along on social media to see some my favorite brands and products I'll be taking with me!

 

REASONS TO SUPPLEMENT

 

Nutritional supplementation can be a touchy issue-- some people are all about it, others don't see the need and some will argue we can get everything we need from eating & living well... That may have been the case in the past but the sad reality is that's no longer true. 

We are exposed to more chemicals than ever before which deplete nutrients and have left the soil where we grow food devoid of minerals and nutrients that were so abundant before. 

Then there's modern lifestyle that needs to be factored in; we're constantly on the go, stressed and as a results not absorbing nutrients as efficiently, eating processed foods that are fast and convenient, excessive caffeine consumption to keep us going.. all of which further deplete nutrients! 

As if that's not enough, as a society, we take medications for EVERYTHING and many of these deplete nutrients. One common example: PPI's (proton pump inhibitors; a class of medication commonly given for acid reflux) and metformin (medication given for diabetes, PCOS) both deplete B vitamins. 

All that to say: we could probably all use some supplementation. If you need a place to start, check out my post on magnesium and browse my curated online dispensary. Need further support? Schedule a complimentary consult and learn more about customized supplement packets tailored to your needs. 

 

SUMMER COLLAGEN BOOSTING SMOOTHIE

 

I think one of my favorite things about summer is keeping cool and refreshed with a nice smoothie. Spring and summertime bring about so many delicious seasonal crops that are naturally cooling and refreshing to the body (and detoxifying as well!)

This recipe is my go-to during warm weather with ingredients focused on cooling the body while nourishing healthy glowing skin and boosting overall wellbeing by supporting the body's own detoxification pathways. 

INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Raspberries: great source of antioxidants, particularly ellagic acid which is known for its anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. Also helps to preserve your existing collagen!

  • Apples: great source of a fiber called pectin (it's highest levels are found in the skin so make sure you leave that on!) which helps with digestion and supports weight loss.

  • Cucumbers: VERY hydrating for the body, made up of 95% water. Hydration is crucial for plump, glowing skin. Also high in fiber and helps fight inflammation.

  • Collagen powder: the building block for healthy, firm skin/hair/nails; for healthy digestive lining, for healthy joints. (optional; be mindful collagen usually comes from cows so if you have a dairy sensitivity finding a marine or plant based source might be a better option for you!)

  • Coconut water: a great source of electrolytes to help keep the body balanced and hydrated during times of high heat and sweating.

  • CBD oil: to promote a calm mood, reduce inflammation and some report improvement of acne as well!

RECIPE

In a high-powered blender, mix in:

  • 1-2 handfuls of raspberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1/2 an apple with the skin (i prefer green apples for their tart flavor)

  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon, fresh

  • 1/4 cucumber with the skin

  • ~1 cup of coconut water (add more or less depending on desired thickness)

  • 1 scoop collagen

  • 1-2 dropperfuls CBD oil (I like the one from CW Hemp; you can purchase that from my online curated dispensary)

Blend till smooth and enjoy!

 

YOUR PERIOD, HORMONES & DETOXING

 

When you think of hormones and your period, what's the first hormone that comes to mind? Most people think of estrogen. When we have too much of this floating around, there's a group of fairly common (not to be confused with normal!) symptoms that, collectively, are known as "estrogen dominant symptoms." You see things like: PMS, heavy and/or irregular periods, cramps, endometriosis, breast lumps or tenderness, weight gain, migraines, acne correlated with your cycle. 

Too often, I hear from women that have had these symptoms dismissed because blood labs came back "normal." But here's the thing about estrogen: your hormone levels in the blood may be normal BUT hormones need to be metabolized (or broken down) and taken out of the body (this is what detoxification does or is supposed to do).. If your hormones are being broken down and recirculating in the body rather than clearing out, you will experience the symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. 

So who or what is responsible for clearing out hormone byproducts? Your digestive process, namely your liver. If you didn't know, you don't need green juices or specials teas to "detox" --your body is so amazingly designed that it has built-in detoxing abilities. The liver, being the main detoxification organ, is basically a filter but when we overload it faster than we can clear things out, it starts to "back up" and not work as efficiently. And you end up seeing issues such as hormones recirculating in the body. It is important to nourish the liver and give it what it needs/remove what it doesn't to get it working efficiently again (not sipping juice and tea all day long --the detoxification process actually needs adequate protein intake as fuel).

The other part of all this is that these re-circulating hormone breakdowns end up messing with the intricate feedback, or communication, between your other hormones like your thyroid. Or vice versa-- your thyroid could be off and messing with your other hormones (not just estrogen). Without a thorough intake and the right testing, this can be missed and you're left confused and chalking up these symptoms as "normal" for you.

A little story for you:

Before starting my medical career, I was starting to experience things like PMS & cyclical migraines which I had NEVER experienced before! And I distinctly remember my mom forcing me to go see a doctor and me finally going and being brushed off-- "it's normal, it's just due to your period." That stuck with me because I knew what normal was for me and my normal, thank God, had never included pre-menstrual symptoms. Once in school, I started to see the connection between food, my hormones, my emotions, the importance of testing and individualized treatment. What worked for me may not work for you.

It pains me to see women given the wrong advice or not thoroughly listened to to find the source of their concerns. Some tips: 

  • Do your research but also be careful with webMD and the internet; it's a slippery slope

  • Work with a doctor who gets it

  • Follow your gut instinct- if something doesn't feel right, you don't need to just accept it

If you're interested in discussing a bit further with me, feel free to schedule a 15 min consult with me; they're always complimentary! 

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY SKINCARE ROUTINE

 

If you know me or follow me, you know I am a skincare junkie! (Post coming up soon with some of my favorites). But the most important part of my skin routine and obsession is not what I am putting on myself, but rather what I am putting in myself. 

The topical aspect is, without a doubt, important but what I feel is equally or more important is to maintain the integrity of the key elements that provide structure and youth to our skin: collagen and hyaluronic acid. Both of these can be found in serums to apply topically but they can also be taken internally.

Collagen and hyaluronic acid are found in the layers of the skin and give it that elasticity and hydrated plumpness that make us look young and glowy. This is one of the main reasons I take collagen peptides DAILY. And hyaluronic acid as well. Our diets contain *minimal* amounts of collagen and the minerals that help form collagen (i.e. silica). Taking hyaluronic acid helps to hold and absorb water as an internal hydrator. Bonus-- both of these have benefits in other parts of the body such as connective tissues and joints. Lastly, I take antioxidants which help to combat oxidative stress (oxidative stress causes inflammation which speeds up the breakdown of collagen; you don't want this).

My favorite brand for these "skincare products" is Neocell because they have a variety that contains each of those ingredient components; either in an individual product or all in one. For antioxidants, I really love Super Maqui because maqui berry is the most powerful antioxidant (even more than acai and blueberries!).

There are other herbs and vitamins & minerals we can get into for skin; more and more herbs are getting labeled as "skin" or "acne" herbs but this can get tricky. Because of their potent and variant actions, it's best to use them when specifically prescribed to you by a knowledgeable practitioner. 

Want a customized skin and supplement plan created just for you? Contact us for consultation information. 

**No payment or reimbursement from these brands. Genuinely like and use them :)

 
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TOP 5 IMMUNE BOOSTING TIPS

 

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is especially true during cold and flu season. 

In the U.S., the flu is most common in the fall/winter months, peaks between December and February but can last until May. So basically, it's not over yet. The best way to keep healthy is to equip your immune system with the nutrients it needs to do its job and keep you from getting sick in the first place. Here are some herbs, nutrients, tips to keep in mind during cold and flu season.

1. HERBS

  • Elderberry: contains vitamin C, antiviral. Elderberry syrups can be bought at your local health food store, best to take as directed every 2-4 hours at the first sign of a cold

  • Astragalus: anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, antiviral

2. VITAMINS

  • Vitamin A: helps maintain healthy respiratory lining; studies have shown vitamin A supplementation to reduce incidence of respiratory infections

  • Vitamin C: Antiviral. 1 gram per day to prevent, 6 grams per day at the first sign of a cold

  • Vitamin D: studies have shown vitamin D supplementation to reduce incidence of cold and flu symptoms

3. MINERALS

  • Zinc: reduces the incidence of colds, also reduces the length of time a person may have a cold

4.  FOODS

  • Bone broth cooked with garlic, onion and mushrooms

  • Honey, especially Manuka

  • Probiotics/probiotic containing foods i.e. pickled or fermented cabbage, etc

  • Antioxidants/antioxidant containing foods i.e. green tea, berries

  • Avoid: dairy, sugar, alcohol

5. LIFESTYLE

  • Wash your hands often!

  • Stay hydrated

  • Listen to your body, rest as needed-- stress weakens the immune system

These are general tips I use but please remember, everyone is different and some may require different or more specific dosages; for more specific recommendations consults may be booked in person or via secure video conferencing, contact us here for appointment information.

All supplements can be purchased in my curated online dispensary. For your access code, subscribe to my newsletter and it will be sent to you right away!

 
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WARMING BEAUTY TONIC

 

Seems LA is *finally* getting the memo it's winter.. so I had to swap out my usual smoothie for something a bit more warm and nourishing.

As it is, cold foods/drinks are not the best for your digestive health, but when it's cold outside, it's particularly important to incorporate warming elements to the diet for healthy digestion (which is the basis of optimal wellness... and glowing skin ;)

I put together what I've coined a "warming beauty tonic" with lovely ingredients to support healthy digestion, glowing beautiful skin and an overall warm feeling. 

INGREDIENT HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Green tea: wonderful antioxidant, provides calming energy in the form of L-theanine

  • Dandelion: considered a cooling herb but great for digestion and liver health; improves the efficiency of waste removal from the body which is key for healthy skin

  • Ghee: good source of fat to provide sustained energy. Also key for healthy skin

  • Collagen: the building block for healthy, firm skin/hair/nails; for healthy digestive lining, for healthy joints. Basically, my favorite ingredient to put in everything!

  • Lucuma: natural source of low-glycemic sweetener (i.e. doesn't spike your blood sugar and drop it down quickly), full of minerals and antioxidants. Nutty, maple type flavor.

RECIPE:

  • Steep green tea, dandelion (either loose leaf or tea bags: I used organic green tea dandelion tea bags from Traditional Medicinals. I like a stronger flavor so used 2 tea bags.)

  • 1 Tablespoon ghee (for this particular tonic, I used a ghee infused with raw honey and a range of amazing herbs from Flora Ex Machina.)

  • 1 scoop of collagen powder (I love using Neocell for collagen; they have a wide range of products including marine sources of collagen for vegans. I like to use their Derma Matrix Collagen Skin complex because aside from collagen it contains vitamin C, which is necessary for collagen to form, and hyaluronic acid which hydrates the skin. For purchasing, I usually go to my nearest health foods store or get it delivered from Thrive Market)

  • 1/2 teaspoon Lucuma (I use the one from Moon Juice)

  • Once tea has steeped thoroughly, remove the tea bag(s)/strain the tea and blend with the ingredients above. Because of the fat from the ghee, you'll notice it's frothy like a latte :)

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Enjoy! 

 

TIPS TO BREATHE EASY

 
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Whether you live in areas that are experiencing brutal cold right now or in California where it's unseasonably hot and extra polluted due to the fires; your lungs probably need a little TLC.

The inclement weather can produce harsh and dry conditions that can trigger respiratory issues such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, nosebleeds and even dehydration (that is often felt on the inside and visible on the outside i.e. dry skin patches). We can become more vulnerable to illness in dry weather conditions because breathing dry air causes the normally thick and sticky mucus, that is supposed to trap infection, to become dried out --therefore making it easier to catch a cold or other respiratory ailments. And adding pollution to the mix doesn't help the situation.

Below are 5 tips to take care of your lungs and prevent respiratory illness:

  1. Humidifier: this will help add moisture back in the air. Especially helpful if you've been running the heater which is adding continual hot and dry air in your home.

  2. Nebulized glutathione: adds moisture while coating and delivering antioxidants that protect the entire respiratory tract. You can read more about glutathione here. Your local integrative practitioner should be able to write you a prescription for a nebulizer or if you live in the LA area you can book an appointment with me for this treatment.

  3. Salt inhaler: cleanses breathing passages, my favorite inhaler is this one. I like to add one or two drops of an essential oil such as frankincense.

  4. Take N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC): this is one of nutrients necessary to make glutathione while also helping to protect the lungs, break up mucus and prevent the flu.

  5. Stewed pears: This is one of my go-to recipes in times of extreme dry, cold weather or when I have a cold. It is soothing and hydrating to the lungs (which become greatly affected by dry weather and pollution) ..plus very easy to make. Find the recipe here.

 

 

STEWED PEARS: A RECIPE FOR DRYNESS

 
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The perfect recipe for dry/cold weather; stewed pears are an excellent way to hydrate and nourish your lungs which will bring back moisture to respiratory pathways and re-hydrate you from the inside, out.

If you are suffering from a dry cough, dry sinuses or extra dry skin, this easy recipe is for you.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium ripe pears

  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root

  • 1 clove

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional: Please note that while pears are hydrating, they are also cooling so if you suffer from chronically cold and/or feet you should add cinnamon as it is a warming spice)

Instructions

  • Chop pears into cubes and place in a saucepan with little water (so that the cubes are not fully covered)

  • Add the ginger/clove/cinnamon and cook over medium heat until soft (10-15 min) or until you get the texture you like best

 

ESSENTIAL FOR BASICALLY EVERYTHING

Magnesium is arguably one of the most essential minerals because of its various roles that have effects on every part of the body; it is needed by EVERY cell in the body. Its roles range from enzyme activation, muscle relaxation, cofactor for production of glutathione (which is the body's main antioxidant), adequate hydration, improves sleep quality and mood, helps prevent clot formation, inhibits fat formation.. ETC ETC. The list really does go on!

I truly believe there is no person that would not benefit from increasing magnesium intake. Especially because approximately 80% of people are deficient in magnesium. One of the reasons being that our soil is more mineral deficient than ever therefore making our food supply deficient. Not to mention, the standard american diet is lacking magnesium-rich foods, primary source being leafy greens, coupled with processed foods stripped of their nutrient content and a lifestyle that depletes magnesium (i.e. lots of coffee and lots of stress). 

Another reason for deficiencies being common is that routine bloodwork does not test for magnesium deficiencies and therefore subtle early signs of magnesium deficiency go unnoticed. 

Here are a few common signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency: 

  • muscle cramping

  • muscle twitching (eye twitching too)

  • muscle tension

  • menstrual cramps

  • migraines

  • restlessness

  • anxiety

  • poor sleep

  • abnormal heart rhythm

  • +more

While I do feel most, if not all, people should take a magnesium supplement, there are magnesium-rich foods that can be added to the diet as well:

  • seaweed

  • chlorophyll-rich foods (greens are the most concentrated source)

  • aduki and black beans

  • nuts and seeds

  • and my favorite: CHOCOLATE *however the therapeutic effects come from consumption of cacao

Magnesium is a safe to supplement; should you buy one ensure it says "albion minerals" which basically means it is of high quality, is bioavailable and third-party tested. You can also get it in through the skin by taking epsom salt baths (which is really great for muscle cramping!). Shop some of my recommended brands from my curated online dispensary

Needless to say, magnesium is definitely in my top 5 for supplement recommendations-- you can read about the other 4 I typically recommend here.

If you're curious about your magnesium and nutrient status, book a free 15 min consult with me to learn about how you can check your micronutrient status.

QUICK TIPS FOR LONG LOCKS

 

Trying to grow hair out after a bold cut can be frustrating (I can't be the only one who has gone through this!) But there are a few things you can do to move the process along ..besides waiting.

A couple things to keep in mind as far as hair-- #1 it is made of protein. #2 in order to nourish extremities (the furthest parts of our body; away from the center) we need good circulation. That should help provide context for some of the tips that might seem out of place. 

  • Drink collagen RELIGIOUSLY! I originally began recommending this to patients (and even for myself) to address digestive concerns but glowing taut skin and longer hair were nice added benefits.

  • Brush your scalp nightly. This helps stimulate circulation.

  • Eat enough. This is huge; as mentioned above hair is made of protein. If you are not eating enough, this will affect hair loss/growth. It is also important for digestion to be optimal in order to absorb and assimilate the nutrients (that's another reason collagen is important)

  • Optimize hormone levels. Less than ideal thyroid and adrenal health negatively affects hair (perfect example: high stress can cause hair loss; adrenal glands deal with stress)

Try these tips out, let me know how they work out for you. If you need more customized support, contact me for consult information.

 

 

WHY YOU NEED B12

 

B12 is necessary for energy production in the cells, neurological heath (brain and nerves), supports sleep, mood immunity, metabolism and adrenal health. It's available in foods, animal sources tend to have higher amounts of B12 per ounce, however approximately 30% gets destroyed during cooking and depending on your digestion you may not be absorbing whatever is left. In order to absorb B12 you need adequate levels of stomach acid and good intestinal health.

Certain lifestyle factors and medications can also deplete B12. People who take medications to manage symptoms of their poor digestive health, such as a proton pump inhibitor for heartburn (which is one of top 3 most prescribed medications) likely have low B12 because this drug decreases stomach acid levels and depletes B12. Also, if you consume a lot of alcohol and/or coffee you deplete your levels much quicker.  A common symptom of B12 deficiency is numbness/tingling of hands, legs or feet. 

When would you consider getting a B12 shot? If you are a vegan/vegetarian, consume alcohol and/or coffee on a regular basis, have symptoms of digestive discomfort such as heartburn, gas, bloating --you could likely benefit from a shot. Typically a smaller dose is given unless you have labs indicating a deficiency in which it is determined you need a higher dose. If you don't have access to a doctor who gives nutrient injections, there are supplement options which are better than others. Make sure you look for the form that is methylated; next to B12 it should say "methylcobalamin" in parenthesis.

Interested in getting a shot? Contact me for scheduling information

 

SHOP SMART --WHEN (AND WHY) TO BUY ORGANIC

 
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Is there really a difference in buying organic vs not?? There's a lot of information out there making sound arguments for both pro and anti organic. I'm not going to try to sway you one way or another, just going to share information and resources for you to make an educated decision next time you're shopping.

The organic label: when you see this, it means that the growth and production of the food item was done via approved methods. (i.e. grown without genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, sewage sludge, pesticides, etc). 

The problem with all that stuff is that it decreases some of the health benefits (i.e. less beneficial microbes because of chemical farming killing destroying soil health) and can cause health issues too. Research shows that pesticides and chemicals we are exposed to have an impact on different areas of health (mostly hormone, neurological and immune). For this reason, I like to buy organic when possible. And when it's not possible, I like to use the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen as a guideline.

The dirty dozen is a group of produce items with the highest amounts of pesticide residues while the clean fifteen contains items with a decreased likelihood of containing pesticide residues. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its 2017 lists and their reports found that a single sample of strawberries had over 20 different pesticide residues! No wonder strawberries are number 1 on the dirty dozen; find out the rest by downloading your lists here.

 

SWEET POTATO PROTEIN BOWL

 
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Try this recipe for a nice twist on breakfast. I like this meal because it's customizable to your nutrient needs; you can mix in protein, nuts, seeds, fruit, spices, good fatty oils etc. It will maintain your blood sugar and keep you full for a while. There is also the added bonus of all the benefits from sweet potato-- good antioxidant source, easy to digest, naturally gluten free and a good carbohydrate source. I know many diets can be skewed promoting high fat/high protein, low carbohydrates but balance is key for true wellness; when you go too far in one direction, you start creating imbalances that your body has to compensate for. 

Anyway, back to the recipe! It's delicious and also perfect for busy mornings; the sweet potatoes can be baked and peeled ahead of time so you can just grab a couple, mix in your desired ingredients and you're ready to go!

For one bowl:

  • 1 peeled sweet potato (*roast or boil prior to making your bowl)

  • 1 scoop protein

  • Optional:

    • Any desired toppings. I used chia seeds, hemp seeds, banana, walnuts.

    • 1 tablespoon MCT oil. Studies have shown that consuming sweet potato with fat increases the uptake of beta carotene (the main antioxidant in sweet potato)

 

HERB SPOTLIGHT: ELDERBERRY

 
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Elderberry comes from the herb known as Sambucus nigra or Black elder. It is has many medicinal properties that are especially useful during cold and flu season. The berries are anti-viral and contain high amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants: flavinoids and anthocyanins. The anthocyanins found in the berry have been shown to enhance cytokine production; cytokines are proteins involved in the body's immune response, thereby enhancing the body's defense against infection. Scientists have found that the antioxidant capacity of elderberry is more than that of vitamin C on its own making it useful beyond immune boosting properties. The high antioxidant content helps to improve the tone of blood vessels and crosslinking of collagen as well as help fight against cell damage. 

Conventionally, cold and flu is treated with drugs or vaccines from a class of drugs known as neuraminidase inhibitors. Studies have found the flavinoid content of the elderberries to exhibit this same neuraminidase-inhibiting effect the drugs commonly used making elderberry extract a viable alternative treatment. *From the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine Journal.

I recommend patients take elderberry syrup upon the first signs of a cold coming on as it is most effective when taken in the early stages.

 

 

DISCONNECTING

 
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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, texts, emails, snapchat, you name it; we're tuned into all of it virtually all the time --the one thing we're likely not tuned into: ourselves.

With demands of modern living constantly increasing, it has unfortunately become almost commonplace to see people of all ages everywhere you go with their heads downturned toward their phone, tablet, laptop, etc. And I get it, I'm guilty of it too-- all work/leisure (even shopping!) is conveniently located at our fingertips.. literally. However, in constantly being connected to all these different outlets, we rarely allow ourselves to check in with our needs. We become robotic in a sense: ignoring those around us, doing tasks mindlessly and never fully present to any one situation. 

Right now is the time of year when most of us are operating at a slower pace thanks to the holidays. I encourage you to use this time to develop ways to disconnect and check in with yourself; maybe this can even be a New Year's Resolution ;)

1. Start the day with expressing gratitude. Rather than immediately reaching for your phone upon waking, pray/journal/meditate on thoughts of gratitude for the new day. You'll be amazed at how such a small thing can shift your attitude and perspective. 

2. Keep electronics away while interacting with people. Give 100% of yourself 100% of the time. Anytime you have to split your focus, you're probably not fully present or engaged and you can end up really missing out. Life is short; emails/texts/social media can wait but time with those close to us does not wait.

3. Shut off all electronics before bed. This is HUGE. We don't realize how big of an impact electronic use can have on the quality of our sleep leaving us inadequately rested ..which in turn affects every system in our body. Use this time to read a favorite book, wind down with a bath or deep breathing, put on your favorite mask.. get creative!