Keep Your Brain Healthy

Watch this very short intro to Brain Health Webinar

Click on the link below to watch the webinar I did with Dr. Leonaura Rhodes on brain health. It’s full of tips and strategies to keep your brain functioning optimally.

http://www.screencast.com/t/9ryqpk0NR

Oxidation, Inflammation and Toxicity

Learn how these three things cause brain challenges.

Dehydration Makes Brain Challenges Worse

Dehydration make every health challenge worse including brain challenges such as migraines and depression. It even affects ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.

Supplements for Brain Health

Yes, there are some supplements that support brain health. Some of these molecules support detoxification which helps the brain function better. For more information on these, please contact me directly.

Yours in good health,

Geri

 

 

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A Salt Solution

Like saturated fat, salt, a.k.a., sodium chloride has been vilified as a culprit in negatively affecting a number of health issues, the most well-known being hypertension or high blood pressure. And like saturated fat, sodium is a critical nutrient that is essential for life and good health. It tastes good. We like it. We need it. But how much do we need and how much is too much?

Sodium is An Essential Nutrient

Apart from adding flavor to food, salt is necessary for the survival of animal life. Sodium and chloride are the principle electrolytes in the fluid surrounding cells. Sodium maintains blood volume and blood pressure, facilitates contraction of muscles, conduction of nerve impulses and transportation of nutrients to cells. So important is the tight regulation of the body’s sodium and chloride concentrations that multiple mechanisms work in concert to control them.

hamWhen it comes to food, salt and other forms or sodium are often used as preservatives. Salt can be used to brine pickles or to cure meat or fish. Think Smithfield Ham and Salt Cod. It is used as a binding agent, to enhance color or to give food a firmer texture. Some sodium occurs naturally in most foods. However, up to 75 percent of the sodium that Americans consume is derived from salt added during food processing or manufacturing, rather than from salt added at the table or during cooking.

Simply put, if you’re not eating fast food, packaged processed foods like crackers, chips, commercial cheese and breakfast cereals, or a significant amount of food outside of your home, you needn’t worry about your sodium intake for the most part. On the other hand, if you are a regular at the drive through, have numerous restaurants on speed dial, often rely on take-out or pre-packaged meals that are microwave ready, it’s time to take a serious look at your sodium intake.

What is Sodium?

Salt is sodium chloride. The chemical formula for salt is NaCl with equal proportions of sodium and chloride. There are two sources of mass-produced salt: it is either mined from salt mines or rock salt deposits, or distilled from sea water or salt lakes. China is the world’s main supplier of salt. In 2010, world production was estimated at 270 million tons with the top five producers being China, the United States, Germany, India and Canada. Salt is available in various forms including table salt, kosher salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, rock salt and iodized salt. Salt can be unrefined like Celtic sea salt or highly refined and bleached like table salt. Some salt contains additives. More on that later.

Sodium and Disease

While hypertension is the most well-known disease association with sodium, excess sodium intake has been implicated in other diseases including gastric cancer, osteoporosis and kidney stones. While we know that chronic hypertension damages the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys, recent research indicates that high salt intake may contribute to organ damage in ways that are independent of its effects on blood pressure. For example, increased salt intake has been significantly correlated with left ventricular hypertrophy, an abnormal thickening of the heart.

How Much Sodium is Too Much?

Adequate intake (AI) levels of sodium as well as upper limits (UI) were established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute for Medicine in 2004. The UI for sodium is 2.3 grams (2300mg) per day and 5.8 grams (5800mg) per day of salt. The American Heart Association recommends going even lower to less than 1.5 grams (1500mg) of sodium per day for certain groups. Both of these recommended levels are well below the average intake of most people in the U.S. with adult men coming in at 7.8 to 11.8 grams per and adult women at 5.8 to 7.8 grams per day. These figures do not include salt added to food at the table.

What Type of Salt is Best?

Whichever form salt comes in, its’ chemical composition is the same. The amount of salt that you consume is more important than the type. That said, minerals and trace elements are often found to be lacking in the diets of most Americans, so choosing an unrefined type of salt is a better option from a nutritional perspective. Let’s take a look at the options.

What is Table Salt?salt

Table salt is highly “refined”, a word best used to describe manners. When used to describe foods such as grain, sugar and salt, the more refined it is, the more hazardous it is to health. In addition to being stripped of magnesium, potassium and other trace minerals, various additives such as aluminum (a heavy metal associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s) are added to keep the salt from drying out and to prevent clumping; and, stabilizers such as dextrose (a simple sugar most often made from corn) are common additives which affect color so bleaching agents are used to make it white.

Is Sea Salt a Better Option?

Sea salt is unrefined salt produced through evaporation of ocean water or sea water from saltwater lakes, or collected in man-made pools near protected shorelines and is minimally processed. Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits by industrial processes that strip most of the minerals present in it. The major difference between sea salt and table salt is in their mineral composition.

Depending on the water source, sea salt contains important trace minerals and elements. These naturally occurring minerals add flavor and color. Because table salt is stripped of most of its’ minerals during the extraction process, it contains 99.9 percent sodium chloride as compared to sea salt, which contains only 98 percent sodium chloride. What makes up the remaining 2 percent? Not only trace minerals but upwards of 80 important minerals including iron, sulfur, and magnesium. Its’ trace mineral content is what gives sea salt more flavor and less “saltiness” than its more refined counterpart.

Is Kosher Salt Really Kosher?

Kosher salt has a larger grain size than table salt and therefore more surface area. It can be derived from both sea water and salt mines. Typically found to be less “salty” than table salt, kosher salt has a mild but bright flavor and is usually free of additives (but not always). Both of those properties make it a better option than table salt.

Does Himalayan Salt Really Come from the Himalayas?

Himalayan salts come from natural salt deposits located in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. Mined in both Tibet and Pakistan, the salt crystals formed from salt water that was once a sea in the area. Historical records show that people have been extracting salt from these underground deposits since 320 BC. This salt is known for color and flavor. While this salt is most often found as “pink”, crystals can also be red, off-white or transparent.

salt shotBecause of its age (estimated at 250 million years) and method of extraction (by hand), Himalayan salt is completely devoid of toxins or pollutants. The texture of Himalayan salt and its mineral taste are more noticeable when kosher salt sized crystals are used.  Upscale restaurants use small blocks or slabs for broiling and grilling foods. The salt flavor is infused during the cooking process by keeping the food in contact with the surface of the salt slab.

Buyer Beware: Himalayan Pink salt is often rock salt that comes from Australia, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Poland, Utah and Hawaii. Its pink color comes from the iron oxide present in the salt.

Rock Salt is a Rocky Road!

Rock salt is the mineral form of sodium chloride. Also known as “halite”, it is used industrially in a wide variety of manufacturing applications. At home, rock salt is used for making homemade ice cream, pickling and curing, and for making “salt” crusts for meat or fish. A word to the wise for cooks using rock salt: be sure to purchase food-grade rock salt. Sold in both grocery and hardware stores, it is most often used to melt ice on roads, driveways and walkways. Rock salt used for this purpose may be treated with chemicals.

Sea Salt….A Better Option

The quality of sea salt varies tremendously. If it’s white like table salt it may have been bleached. Good quality sea salt contains microscopic amounts of sea life, which provides natural iodine. It will be gray in color and even slightly moist. While sea salt contains minerals which add flavor and color, by weight, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium. However, because of its’ stronger flavor, you needn’t use as much.

Good sea salt comes in a variety of coarseness levels, some of which require a salt grinder. Salt grinders differ from pepper mills in that the blades of salt grinders are ceramic rather than steel to resist salt’s naturally corrosive properties. Dry out the salt gently before grinding.

Celtic Sea Salt….Is Perhaps the Best…. And My Personal Favorite

Naturally harvested in Brittany, France, this delicious salt is my personal favorite. Celtic sea salt contains all 82 trace minerals, its’ natural state preserved by the 2000 year old Celtic harvesting method still used today. It contains no chemical additives or preservatives.

Light grey in color, Celtic sea salt is dried only by the summer wind and sun. Also called “grey” salt, this salt is famous in the culinary world and is considered by many to be the best quality salt available. While best used in cooking, it is utterly sublime when lightly sprinkled on grilled or roasted meats, fish and vegetables. It adds tremendous flavor and a bit of crunch. If you prefer it finely ground, be sure to use a ceramic grinder and only grind as much as you need. To keep it from clumping, add a few grains of rice.

The Salt Solution 

The easiest way to reduce sodium intake is to eat less processed foods. Cook and eat more meals at home where you control what goes in and what doesn’t. Salt is an acquired taste. A little salt in cooking goes a long way. Adding a touch of salt during the cooking process typically means less salt at the table. Spices and fresh herbs enhance the flavor of food as does a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Properly seasoned food shouldn’t need additional salt added at the table.

The bottom line is this: if you don’t have a medical condition that is exacerbated by the use of salt, there is no reason to restrict it in your diet. Unless of course, you are eating packaged, processed and fast food on a regular basis. However, if you’re a regular reader of my  newsletter, chances are you love good food that is healthy and often enjoy cooking at home. You will never regret splurging on some really good quality sea salt. Enjoy!

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Balance is an important concept. When it comes to the body, balance is what helps our bodies function properly. For example, we know that when the body works hard it must also get sufficient rest. When the body inhales, it must also exhale. When the body consumes calories, it needs to burn them as well. And we know that since the body is able to produce toxins, it must also be capable of eliminating them.

The body is an amazing creation. An assortment of vitamins, minerals, sugars, amino acids, fatty acids and various trace elements are responsible for helping it grow and function properly. The reason for this is simple: Each of these components was designed with a special purpose. Working alone or in conjunction with other components, the body is able to wake up and do all the daily activities we take for granted.

What does all this have to do with understanding pH balance? Well, even though the body is made up of an assortment of components, every single one can be categorized as either a basic substance (also known as alkaline) or an acid substance. Having equal amounts of acids and alkalines will define what is meant by the term, pH balance.

Acids and alkaline substances are interesting in that their characteristics oppose each other and complement each other, often at the same time. A healthy body must have a balance of acids and alkalines. Getting the proper balance isn’t that difficult for those who eat a nutritionally-balanced diet. Unfortunately, most people don’t do this. When pH levels inside the body are not in balance, a number of health issues can result.

What is Acidic or Acid?

Whether or not a substance is classified as an acid has to do with what happens when the substance dissolves in water. If the substance releases hydrogen ions, it is considered acid. The number of hydrogen ions that are released is what determines whether a substance is more acid or less.

Another way to identify an acid is by tasting it. Most of us automatically classify lemons, rhubarbs and vinegar as acidic solely because of the way they taste. We don’t realize that strawberries and tomatoes and plenty of other foods are acids too. The only reason foods that are classified as acids don’t taste acidic is because they do not release as many hydrogen ions as do other noticeably acidic foods.

Besides taste, acids have another noticeable characteristic. By nature, acids are harsh and can even be corrosive. Water, which dilutes a substance, is what helps acids assume this corrosive power. When we eat, water appears in the form of saliva.

Many cleaning products on the market today get their power from acids. We have come to believe that these amazing products contain some type of miracle ingredient, but that simply isn’t true. Next time you notice a build-up of calcium deposits on your pots and pans or inside your sink, rub on a bit of vinegar and watch them disappear. Do you know about the cola experiment? If you drop a coin into the soda, after two days, the surface develops scars and pits. What’s more interesting is that a piece of meat will be completely dissolved after this time!

Never rely on taste to determine whether a food is acidic. If you’ve ever eaten meat, you know it does not have an acid taste yet it is an extremely acid food. Taste will fool you. Acids are easily neutralized which will lessen the acid taste, as will eating a combination of foods.

The most reliable way to determine acidity is by measuring a substance’s pH level. There is another way, but that would entail an analysis of a substance’s mineral content. As mentioned in the beginning, minerals are classified as either acid or an alkaline. Silicon, chlorine, fluoride, iodine, sulfur and phosphorus are the acidic minerals. Calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, and iron are alkaline.

Mineral water, which contains minerals, can be either acid or alkaline depending on which minerals are predominant. When calcium and magnesium are present the mineral water is alkaline. Mineral water is acidic when carbon dioxide, sulfur, and chlorine are present. The same logic applies to foods. A hazelnut, which has a high phosphorus content, is more acid than an almond which does not have as much.

What is Alkaline?

When a substance does not give up its hydrogen ions after being placed in a solution of water, it is considered less acidic. In other words, the substance is alkaline. Alkaline substances differ from acids in that they are not corrosive; they are much gentler.

Calcium is the most prominent mineral inside the body. Most of the calcium, about two pounds worth, is found in the skeletal bones. An alkaline is good for alleviating acidity inside the body. That is why milk is often prescribed in cases of accidental ingestion of poisons that are acidic and also why potato juice can soothe an acid stomach. Foods that are alkaline would never pass the acid taste test because they have no acid taste at all.

As with acids, taste should not be relied upon to determine alkalinity. You’d never think of white sugar or bread as acids but in fact neither is considered an alkaline. It is not until the body begins to digest and utilize these foods that their acids are released.

Events:
Come learn how alkaline restructured water provides antioxidants, detoxifies and hydrates.

LUNCH-N-LEARN:

DATE(s): Wed., June 1st, Tues., June 7th, Wed., June 22nd
TIME: 11:30 – 12:30 pm
LOCATION: Gallery of Kitchens
1027 Post Rd. East, Westport, CT 06880

EVENINGS:

DATE(s): Thurs, June 2nd, Tuesday, June 7th, Wed. June 22nd
TIME: 7:00 – 8:00 pm
LOCATION: Gallery of Kitchens
1027 Post Rd. East, Westport, CT, 06880

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Do you use Advil or Alleve? I have in the past but looks like I won’t be anymore! There is new data showing that all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have cardio-vascular risks according to a report in Medscape Medical News. Investigators found little to suggest that any of the investigated options are safe.

Guess what folks? Ibuprofen was associated with the highest risk for stroke (followed by Voltaren). Arcoxia was linked to the highest rate of cardiovascular death followed by Voltaren.

Good grief, isn’t ibuprofen supposed to be one of the safe ones? I’ve had my share of injuries and chronic pain. I took bottles of it when I had carpal tunnel syndrome years ago. And my back injury from the Amtrak train derailment? I can’t even remember what pain reliever I took back then but I know I took alot of something!

Of all the NSAIDs, naproxen seemed least harmful in this study. However, according to Senior investigator Peter Jüni, MD, from the University of Bern in Switzerland, “With naproxen, we tend to need a proton pump inhibitor to protect the stomach. This is far from ideal.”

Here’s the rub. In the United States, an estimated 5% of all visits to a physician are related to prescriptions of anti-inflammatories. And, they are among the most commonly used over-the-counter medications. That means millions of patients with chronic musculoskeletal symptoms are long-term NSAID users.

What’s the alternative? Well, how about old fashioned aspirin? For almost 100 years, aspirin was the pain reliever of choice and for the past few years, it has been mine. According to my friend and colleague Dr. Beverly Marr, of Stamford Healthcare Associates, (voted best chiropractor in Stamford, CT) when prescribed appropriately, it can be quite effective for short term relief of musculo-skeletal discomfort.*

However, for chronic pain, low level laser therapy, also known as cold laser seems to be very successful in treating arthritis, tennis elbow, athletic injuries, soft-tissue injuries and more. Cold laser works by stimulating the cells’ energy production center (the mitochondria) and reducing inflammation, which is what causes pain. Hers is one of the few offices in the area offering this safe, natural alternative to pain medication and surgery.

Other options? Try including some anti-inflammatory foods in your diet such as garlic, onions, turmeric, cherries, cherry juice and dark leafy greens. Increase your omega-3 intake by eating wild caught cold water fish or take a high-quality fish oil. Limit alcohol, coffee, sugar and refined carbohydrates as they are highly acidic. And of course, drink alkaline restructured water.

Restructured water is micro-clustered and offers superior hydration, helping your body get rid of acid waste and cellular toxins, alkalinize, reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals. Many people report relief in as little as three days. Amazing….just from drinking water! Well, the right water. Who knew?

*Always check with your doctor before taking any medication.

“The countless names attached to illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause….too much acid waste in the body!”

Dr. Theodore Baroody, Alkalize or Die

“Cancer cells grow in an ACIDIC environment. Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment.”
Dr. Otto Warburg,
Won the Nobel Prize in 1920 for finding the root cause of cancer

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Acidic foods are widespread in the modern Western diet. When you consume a high-acid diet, you may be jeopardizing the delicate acid-alkaline balance of your body’s chemistry, which may lead to many serious health problems. In order for your body to stay balanced and well, it needs to maintain a healthy pH level of 7.3 to 7.44, which is slightly alkaline.

According to Dr. Susan Brown, author of The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide, the pH balance is necessary for every cell and system of our body. She explains, the body’s pH must be regulated if the body is to maintain a stable internal environment that permits proper functioning of its component cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems.

But how can you preserve such an important balance if you are consuming sugary, acidic, or caffeinated foods and beverages? And what happens when your body’s chemistry drops below the recommended pH?

If your body becomes overly acidic, it may steal alkaline compounds from your bones, leaving them weaker and less healthy. Bones are the “storage tank” for calcium, which controls the pH balance of your blood. This may put you at a higher risk for osteoporosis since the disease is caused by a low level of calcium in the bones.

Your body will do what it must to regulate your pH level, so why not do it a favor by making healthy choices everyday that will support a proper acid-alkaline balance?

This technology produces alkaline water that in the healthy range of 8.0 to 9.5 and can help your body maintain a healthier pH level.

Come see a demo and learn about this amazing technology of alkaline restructured water. Bring your favorite bottled water !

Tuesday, April 12th at 6:30-7:30 PM
Location: Dream Spa, 1220 Post Rd. East, Westport CT

Lunch-n-Learn
Come for a healthy bite and learn how this amazing new technology could change your life or the life of a loved one!

Friday, April 15th at 11:30-12:30 PM
Location: Hudson Valley Bank, 420 Post Rd. West, Westport, CT

Friday, April 29th at 11:30-12:30 PM
Location: Hudson Valley Bank, 420 Post Rd. West, Westport, CT

RSVP Space is limited
Reserve your spot by clicking the link above or
call Geri at 203-454-5560 or Lisa at 800-359-1753

“The countless names attached to illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause….too much acid waste in the body!”
Dr. Theodore Baroody, Alkalize or Die

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Here’s my list of hot and very effective holiday survival tips that anyone can follow and that are guaranteed to keep you smiling when you step on the scale come January 1st.

1. Don’t skip meals and don’t go to a party hungry. Imagine yourself as Scarlett O’Hara and eat a small snack before you go. Have 10 raw nuts or a hard-boiled egg so that you can control yourself in front of tempting treats.

2. Don’t eat like it’s your last meal. Wear great lipstick and something snug around your waistline. A holiday party is no place to be wearing an elastic waistband!

3. Step up the amount of exercise your getting. This is NOT the time to blow off the gym. At a minimum, take a quick 15 minute walk and take advantage of dancing at all the holiday parties.

4. Don’t go on a diet. Make a conscious decision to eat healthy during the holidays. Recognize what you are eating. Pick and choose the healthiest offerings such as shrimp, chicken skewers and vegetable crudités.

5. Pass on everyday foods like crackers and cheese or dips and chips. Save it for special holiday items.

6. Pick your poison. If you want to have a cocktail, skip the dessert. Or better yet, have your alcoholic beverage as dessert so you won’t be tempted to overindulge. You may find that you don’t want it then. Beware of sugary mixers and after-dinner liqueurs.

7. Skip high-calorie beverages like soda, smoothies and coffee drinks which add as much as 250 to 600 calories.

8. Don’t stand next to the food table and never eat while standing up. Keep a glass of sparkling water in one hand and a napkin in the other so you can’t grab anything.

9. If it’s really worth it, allow yourself 3 POLITE bites of it. Pretend you are being filmed for a national TV show while you are having these bites, so make them dainty.

10. In a buffet situation, go with the healthy offerings first and limit the decadent choices to the 3-Bite Rule (see above). Take one plate of food and nibble from that plate.

11. Engage an ally. Have a friend keep an eye on you and gently remind you if you are going over the edge.

12. Keep a food log. Research shows that people who write down what they eat during the holidays stick with their program and don’t add on any holiday pounds.

13. If it’s a potluck, bring one of your favorite healthy dishes. Whenever possible, be the host. When you are the host, it’s easy to sneak in healthy favorites cleverly disguised as holiday fare like roasted root vegetables, rosemary-crusted leg of lamb or smashed sweet potatoes.

14. One over-indulgence does not a binge make! If you blow it with one meal, it doesn’t mean the day is shot. Get yourself together and recommit to healthy eating and sticking to your program.

15. Be mindful. Think how heaping plates and overeating looks to your kids. Children learn from their parents. Is “stuffing your face” an example they should see?

16. If the party’s at your house, send the leftovers home with guests.

17. Reward yourself with whatever is a treat for you for sticking with your commitment.

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Diabetes on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control released an alarming report today stating that by the year 2050, nearly one-third of all adults in our country may have diabetes. WHAT? Are you kidding me?

That means that the current number will double or triple. The number is staggering. Okay…so 1 in 3 of us will be suffering from a disease that is largely preventable. This is really scary because, according to the CDC, diabetes remains the leading cause of new cases of blindness under age 75, kidney failure, and preventable leg and foot amputation among adults in the United States. Does it get any more scary?

Lifestyle Changes Reduce Diabetes Risk

Successful interventions include lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and physical activity. We are not talking about drastic changes here folks. Often just cleaning up your act a little can have a huge effect. What will it take to get folks to drive by the drive-by?

And guess what? Being thin offers little protection if you’re sedentary. While it’s true that being as little as 25 pounds overweight increases your risk of diabetes, THE GOOD NEWS is that you only have to lose as little as 5 to 7 percent of your bodyweight and get 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly to prevent it. That’s only 20 minutes 7 days a week or 30 minutes 5 days per week. That’s walking….not mountain climbing!

Look for These Blood Sugar Markers on Your Blood Test

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO: Get a copy of your most recent blood test. If you don’t have one….get one! It should be a fasting blood test, otherwise the numbers are affected by what you’ve just eaten. There are three numbers that are important for diabetes. The first is glucose. If it’s near 100…not good. Now look for insulin. Many doctors don’t include this on a general blood test but it’s the marker for insulin resistance which is a precursor to diabetes. If it’s high, red flag. The next thing to look for is something called hemoglobin A1c (HgA1c). This marker is a 3 month look back at your glucose levels and is THE marker for diabetes. You want to be under 6. If you are above 5, or if yours has been slowly rising over the past few years…..red flag.

It doesn’t matter if you have a family history of diabetes or you are as little as 20 to 25 pounds overweight, or you have been sedentary for a number of years, you need to know these numbers.

So whether you’re apparently healthy or borderline, it’s a good idea to clean up your act. And if you’re interested in staying healthy or in the latest information on functional nutrition and of course, food…..CALL ME! There is no condition that cannot be improved by improving nutrition.

Yours in good health,
geri

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