Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Natural High Diet

If you want to lose weight, start by feeding your brain.  Achieving high energy, mental alertness and an optimistic outlook is the best way to gain control over your eating. A diet that makes you feel naturally high also raises your fat-burning metabolism and contributes to high self-esteem as you begin to feel and eat better.

This is the advice from nutrition experts Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford, coauthors of the book Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition and Mind/Body Techniques To Help You Feel Good All the Time (Penguin Putnam). In it, they present the perfect brain-food diet based on extensive research in the areas of nutrition, psychology and neuroscience.

Statistics show that most of us are exhausted, stressed and depressed. To combat this, we turn to a variety of boosters to get us through the day (and night). We gobble a muffin with coffee in the morning to get a rush, sip a soda or have a cookie to overcome the afternoon slump and wind down at night with a cocktail. This often adds up to excess calories, weight gain and feelings of hopelessness.

What we are unknowingly doing, say Cass and Holford, is attempting to regulate our moods and energy with substances that work only in the short term -- but lead to caffeine lag, blood sugar drops, tiredness and an unhealthy cycle of bad foods.

Here is a highly effective weight-loss diet the experts recommend:

Eat a serving of high-quality protein three times a day

Higher quality protein is better absorbed and more efficiently utilized, so you will need to eat less of it. Adequate protein promotes good moods. However, too much protein encourages fat storage, so use moderation. Good examples of high-quality protein foods are seafood, poultry, lean red meat, soy, low-fat yogurt, rice with beans and rice with lentils.

Eat cold-water fish three times a week 

This is one of the best sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid crucial to optimal brain function. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and cod.

Eat two eggs a week, or sprinkle lecithin granules on your cereal, salads or vegetables

These are the best sources of phospholipids, which help you metabolize fat and enhance your mood and mental performance.

Eat one serving of low-Glycemic Index (low-GI) complex carbohydrates at every meal

Complex carbohydrates are long chains of sugar molecules strung together that are digested slowly and help prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels that can cause depression as well as cravings for sugar and alcohol. Complex carbohydrates also help raise serotonin levels, which calm you down and lift your mood. Good examples of low-GI foods are whole grains, bran, beans, apples, cherries, dried apricots, plums and pears.

Eat one or two servings of antioxidant fruits and vegetables with every meal

These replenish the body and brain with oxygen, giving you energy and combating illness. Antioxidant-rich foods include prunes, berries, kale, spinach, broccoli and alfalfa sprouts.

Have a heaping tablespoon of ground seeds a day 

These provide you with the needed energy and essential fat to keep your body and brain churning out maximum energy. In a blender or coffee grinder, grind half flaxseeds and half sesame, sunflower, hemp and pumpkin seeds. Keep in a sealed glass jar in refrigerator and add to your salads, sprinkle over vegetables or cereal, or have in a shake.

Feel good!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Disease and Cure

Did you know that the human body is built to be self-healing?  It is, when given what it needs to work out the imbalance -- pure water, whole food nourishment, proper rest, clean air, prayer/meditation, sunshine -- see archived posts for more. Reframing the way we may have been taught to view and understand illness/disease/imbalance is important to having a deeper understanding of how our bodies work and how we can heal ourselves.  

We view disease as an imbalance caused by deficiency/inflammation.  Balance ("cure") is restored when the client/patient learns about and takes responsibility for the imbalance.  For this illustration, the word "stress" indicates "disease", "disorder", "complaint", etc.

Cure involves:                                     
1. Locating and identifying the source of the stress/imbalance                             
2. Understanding the cause of the stress/imbalance (genetics, diet/lifestyle abuse, emotional stress, etc.)
3. Understanding of how to remedy it   
4. Doing what is necessary to relieve/eliminate symptoms (making lifestyle adjustments)     
5. Maintaining responsibility for the stress/imbalance process and his/her health                                               
There are no magic bullets to achieving, maintaining and enjoying vibrant health. When we reach homeostasis (balance), life is easier and more enjoyable.



Friday, June 26, 2009

Hummus Recipe

We love this easy, good-for-you recipe.  Hummus is packed with protein, takes only minutes to make and is easy to transport to BBQ's and picnics.  

LNH always suggests using organic ingredients, when available. Organic chickpeas and EVOO are available at Trader Joe's. 


• 1 1/2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas plus 1/2 cup bean liquid

• 3 cloves garlic, peeled

• 1/4 cup sesame tahini (ground sesame seeds)

• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

• Juice of 1 lemon

• 1 tsp. sea or himalayan salt

• cayenne pepper or paprika

• pine nuts

Serving options:

• celery stalks

• lettuce leaves

• carrots

• cucumbers


• Place the chickpeas and garlic in a blender or food processor

• Puree until the beans to break down

• Add a quarter to half of the reserved liquid or water, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and salt 

• Continue to puree well blended and the mixture has a smooth consistency

• Chill for a least 2 hours

• Serve on a bed on a lettuce or in your favorite bowl

• Garnish with a drizzle of EVOO

• Sprinkle of cayenne pepper or paprika

• Top with pine nuts

Serve as Dip for carrots, cucumbers and other favorite produce.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

Enjoy a peaceful weekend.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dry Brushing and Your Skin, Liver, Lymph and Digestion

We love dry brushing.  People say they feel more 'alive' when they dry brush.  They also notice many health improvements.  Here's how it works:

Excretion: Your skin is one of four avenues of elimination.  No other organ is more busy in discharging impurities from the body than the skin. Next in line are both the lungs and the kidneys. Like the lungs, the skin absorbs oxygen and expels carbon dioxide and water vapor, and like the kidneys, it excretes organic and saline matter in a solution. The entire surface of the skin is impregnated with millions of sweat glands which constitute a vast drainage system whereby the blood, via perspiration, purifies itself of poisonous waste that it has collected from the cells.

Blood Circulation:
There are approximately 17 sq. feet of skin surface. When tiny capillaries are fully dilated, it presents 6 times the capillary surface are of the lungs. This vast blood mini vessel network is required for: 

1) nourishing and oxygenating the skin tissue

2) regulating body heat (the blood is cooled when it moves through the surface capillaries)

3) distillation of waste matter from the blood

4) the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and atmosphere


The skin’s blood vessel network is as crucial as the heart for normal circulation. The vast storage capacity of the skin’s blood vessels enable them to act as blood reservoirs which release or store blood as needed.

Lymph Circulation:
The lymph vessels transport excess, waste-charged fluid away from the intracellular spaces and return it to the bloodstream. Lymph acts as a go-between medium for the transfer of vital materials from the blood to the cells, and for cellular debris away from the intracellular environment into the blood. Thus, the blood feeds the lymph, and the lymph feeds the cells, making the drainage of intracellular lymph one of the most crucial of all the body functions. The superficial lymph vessels terminate just below the outer layer of skin and inter join freely with the deeper lymphatic vessels. Any blockage at the superficial lymphatic level will result in congestion throughout the lymphatic system.
Skin-brushing is an excellent way to stimulate the activity of the entire lymphatic system.

Bio-energy Conduction:
“Aliveness” derives from the presence of high-vibratory, vital energy within an organism. This energy, or natural force, which fills the universe is referred to in traditional neuropathology and homeopathy as Vital Force and in Chinese medicine as Chi.  Chi is also related to the kidneys.

Chi is the fundamental energy which sustains life and is present in the vibratory, biological processes of every cell. Chi is not synonymous with the metabolically generated energy derived from the oxidation of glucose. Rather, it is the force that animates the metabolic processes which ultimately yield caloric energy. Chi differentiates life from death; it circulates through channels, or meridians, throughout the body. Being an essential matrix for the Chi channels, the skin is a crucial medium for Vital Chi movement. The places at which the various channels and vessels reach the skin’s surface are the pressure points used in acupuncture and acupressure. Aside from the Chi which courses through the channels, a superficial portion of Chi (which the Chinese refer to as Wei Chi or Guardian Chi) flows outside the channels in a non-differentiated layer beneath the skin. The Wei Chi serves as a defensive perimeter protecting against environmental influences such as varying weather conditions, pathogenic microorganisms, pollutants, emotional stresses derived from human interaction and other external challenges.

Dry Brushing: Let's Get Started!

1. Purchase a natural (NOT a synthetic) bristle brush. 

2. Purchase a brush with a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body. Best-case scenario would be one that had a removable head with a strap for your hand.

3. Skin brushing should be performed prior to your bath or shower on bare, dry skin.

4. Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. If you are feeling ill, do it twice a day until you feel better.

5. Begin brushing your skin in long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction. Always brush towards the heart. Try and brush several (3-5) times in each area, over-lapping as you go.

6. Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken.

7. After brushing your skin, rinse off in the shower. Paavo Airola, author of Swedish Beauty Secrets, recommends alternating temperatures in the shower from hot to cold. This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bring more blood to the outer layers of the skin.

8. After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oil, such as almond, jojoba, sesame, grapeseed or coconut. We suggest Blissentials™ Therapeutic Essential Oil Blends because they are high quality, organic and wildcrafted.  Go to:  http://www.blissentials.com

9. Don’t forget to clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing, dry your skin brush in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.

10. For a thorough lymphatic cleansing, perform skin brushing daily for a minimum of three months.

Caution: Do not brush on or over skin rashes, wounds, cuts, infections, poison oak or poison ivy.

It takes approximately 3 minutes to dry brush, and it's worth every second to reduce the environmental toxic burden on the body.  Some people feel better in a day or two, but like any well designed program, allow 21-30 days to see and experience changes.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Body Detox: What's the Story?

My friend, Julie* called yesterday.  We hadn't been in touch in months, so it was a fun surprise.  While we were catching up, she confessed she had some concerns about a cleansing program she had started. She told me that had done this for years and had never experienced trouble before and didn't understand why she was having trouble. When she told me what she was doing a "fast", her symptoms, discomfort and concerns all made sense. 

Perhaps in an ideal world without environmental challenges, stress, and processed foods, cleansing wouldn’t be necessary. But that is not the case for most of us.  We’re most likely exposed to toxins and stress each and every day of our lives. Reducing the impact of those toxins on a daily basis makes sense, especially if you live in or near a big city (pollution and stress), are exposed to second-hand smoke, or eat fast food or convenience (packaged/processed) food.  You are also at risk if you’re one of those people who works in a stressful occupation, or runs non-stop all day and well into the evening.

Our bodies are constantly adapting to our lifestyles and the environment.  They can become depleted and unbalanced due to stress, malnutrition (a quality issue, not a necessarily a consumption issue), lack of exercise, improper breathing (lack of oxygen), environmental toxins, etc.  When I asked Julie* what was going on in her life, she told me she had just been laid off (big stress), she started back to school (stressful for anyone!), and because she went back to school, the state cut off her unemployment benefits (yikes!).  You can imagine how she was feeling. She was looking for an inexpensive way to make her body feel better, so she fasted.  No juicing, no water, nothing.  

Many factors determine how and when to build the body up and how and when to break the body down.  Julie* was not in a position to fast, and her body let her know it ---big time!  Safe and efficacious body detox programs range from eating detoxifying foods (previously posted), using non-invasive ionic foot baths, and implementing simple daily lifestyle changes/adjustments to colonics to guided herbal programs lasting a month's time.  The more involved the cleansing program, the more the body must be properly prepared.  It's always best to confer with your practitioner BEFORE starting a cleansing program -- even if you've done them before. Your needs may (probably) have changed, and you should use a program which will yield the most success and avert a 'healing crisis'. 

Note: LNH does not suggest fasting programs which do not nourish the body and could put the body at risk. 

* name was changed to respect privacy.

Here are some ways you can start to get yourself on track:

• Consume healthy food choices, including plenty of high quality organic, fresh, uncooked vegetables, and avoiding foods that don’t promote health – sugar, corn syrup, all sodas processed foods, artificial sweeteners, food additives, preservatives and grains

• Exercise for 30-60 minutes per day

• Drink plenty of pure water daily

• Enjoy 20 minutes of sunshine daily

• Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night

• Breathe!

• Nourish your spirit - pray, meditate, read, commune with nature, etc.

If these changes may still might not be enough to catapult you to the level of health you desire, talk to your practitioner.  It could be that you're ready to go to the next level, integrating more changes into your lifestyle which will promote more vibrant health. 

When discussing your health, it's important to become familiar with how your body works.  Your body is constantly working to eliminate toxins through your lungs, kidneys, digestive system, and especially, your liver.

Know Your Liver – a Critical Organ to Protect

Your liver weighs approximately four pounds, and is the second largest organ of your body (your skin is the largest), and its largest gland. It performs more than 500 separate jobs, and is critically involved in every aspect of your metabolism. It’s the central ‘chemical laboratory’ of your body, producing chemicals you need to survive, such as bile, albumin, blood clotting factors, cholesterol, and Vitamin E.

Every minute of every day, your properly functioning liver eliminates small amounts of toxins, heavy metals, bacteria and other impurities from your blood before returning it into circulation. A healthy liver utilizes complex enzymatic processes to metabolize toxins so they can be easily excreted from your body.

Perhaps its most important function is the secretion of bile. Normally, your liver secretes about a quart of bile a day. The function of bile is to carry processed non-functional, non-nutrient environmental compounds and their metabolites, as well as compounds your body normally makes such as cholesterol, to your intestine – where they’re carried out of your body. This fluid is stored in the gallbladder and released as needed for digestion.  Bile is essential to break down fats into small globules, and also helps absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and helps assimilate calcium. It converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. The liver also promotes intestinal peristalsis and normal bowel function.

Your liver plays an important role in fat metabolism, and production of cholesterol, lipoproteins, and phospholipids. In a complex process catalyzed by a series of enzymes, your liver converts amino acids (proteins) and lipids into glucose.

Your liver helps regulate normal blood sugar levels, by creating glucose tolerance factor (GTF) from chromium and glutathione. Sugars not needed immediately are stored in the liver and converted back into sugar when needed for energy. Excess food is converted to fat in the liver and carried to your body’s fatty tissues for storage. When needed, it provides energy for the brain, heart and muscles.

Your Liver – Your Body’s “Detoxifier”

In addition to its important digestion and energy production functions, your liver treats 1.4 liters of blood per minute, acting as your body’s garbage disposal, or "detoxifier". It eliminates various harmful chemicals from your body, such as:

• Ammonia produced from protein digestion and bacterial fermentation of food in the intestines

• Insecticide residues

• Chlorine, alcohol, and other harmful chemicals

Your liver combines these toxic substances with less toxic ones, then excretes them via the kidneys. So for the liver to function properly, you must also have capable kidney function.  

It's also important to understand the importance of the Intestinal Tract:

The Colon/Intestinal Tract - Your Body’s Second Brain

• A well-functioning intestine equals an effective immune system, enabling you to live optimally and with pep.

• Eighty percent of your immune system is in the intestines. 

• It’s the nutritional uptake center of your body. Keeping it healthy will keep you healthy!

• Your intestinal nervous system contains just as many neurons as the nervous system in the spinal cord. Because it uses these to communicate with the cells in your body, some people call it your “body’s second brain”.  It truly has great impact on how the rest of your body functions.

• The process of digestion involves performing 28,000 different chemical reactions – making it critically important for you to support your intestinal health and help it usher toxins out of your system.


The term probiotics comes from the Greek, “for life”. Probiotics support your best immune health by replenishing microflora in your intestine for optimal balance, supporting bowel and intestinal health, and optimizing vitamin and mineral absorption from a healthy diet. 

Ways to Show Toxins the Door

• Fiber -- for two reasons:

You could be taking in more toxins than you realize – through pesticides on your foods, by eating unhealthy convenience food loaded with preservatives, drinking chlorinated water, smoking or alcohol use, auto exhaust and other environmental pollutants, skin care products, and your own metabolic wastes.  Although normally present in small amounts, it’s easy to see how toxins can accumulate over a period of time (just as the pollutants in our rivers accumulated over time). Trapping and binding toxins secreted through the bile for transport from the body is crucial for effective support of your body's internal detoxification and cleansing functions. If the impurities are not bound by fiber, they become subject to re-absorption and recirculation by your body, ending up where they started, leaving you no better off.  Fibers trap toxins in the gastrointestinal tract, binding them and their metabolites for transport from your body. Dietary fibers are capable of absorbing non-functional metals, environmental pollutants and even impurities your own body creates in your GI tract.  

• Your detoxification program should include an exercise program that creates profuse sweat. There are only a few ways you can show toxins the door, and the skin one of four avenues of elimination.  Exercise that creates a large amount of sweat is a very effective way to facilitate toxin elimination. If you’re not engaged in an exercise program that causes you to sweat on a regular basis, consider starting one today.

• Additionally, it’s the job of your liver and colon to force toxins to exit your system. Removing toxins and cleansing your intestinal tract can then set a healthy stage for reintroducing beneficial microflora, which is critical to good overall health.

Just as periodic dredging of a navigation channel in a river is done to clean it up, conscious commitment to cleaning your internal organs and digestive system on a regular schedule makes good sense.  It helps you get rid of the ‘sludge’ of toxins and other non-helpful things that build up in your system over time. Those who cleanse say they have more energy to perform normal daily activities.

People note that their health was also supported in these respects:

Healthy skin, hair and nails

Calm stomach

Enhanced outlook on life

More relaxed overall

Improved memory skills

• Decrease in general body pain

• Improved general health condition, daily activities and physical activities.  Go to http://www.lagunanaturalhealth.com for more information.

Cleansing is an important part of self-care to promote normal intestinal tract function and provide digestive support.  

Cleansing the body, especially the liver and colon, is vital to achieving and maintaining vibrant health.  


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dr Perricone's 3 Day Face Lift Diet

Dr Nicholas Perricone has a 3 Day Face Lift Diet that is fabulous!  Try it in advance of an event for which you need to look your absolute best.  I'm willing to testify to it's efficacy.  I tried it before a high school reunion (hey, why not?)  My skin was glowing and my body became more lean in just 3 days! I wonder why I don't do this all the time -- and then I remember that I'm not perfect, but I CAN manage 3 days!

Here's the menu from his book:
Dr Perricone's Three-Day Nutritional Face-lift™ aids in the elimination of puffiness, increases contours, firms jaw line, etc. You must eat salmon twice a day for the ideal effects of the DMAE, astaxanthin and the essential fatty acids in the salmon to take effect.This will increase radiance, glow and firmness to the skin. Wild Alaskan Salmon is far superior to farm-raised salmon. For convenient online access to the best wild Alaskan salmon, organic berries and more we recommend Vital Choice Seafood* (www.VitalChoice.com)


• 3 egg omelet and/or 4-6 oz. grilled salmon.  I do not recommend smoked salmon or lox on the three day diet because of the salt intake.

• 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal (not instant). Cooked oatmeal is a great source of fiber, low glycemic carbohydrates.    

• 2" wedge of cantaloupe (very hydrating to the skin) or 1/3 cup fresh berries - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries are high in antioxidants.

• No juice, coffee or toast.  If you normally drink large amounts of coffe, drink black or green tea to prevent caffeine withdrawal.

• 8 -12 oz spring water


• 4-6 oz. grilled salmon. Option: you can also use canned salmon and mix a little mayo and fresh squeezed lemon

• 2 cups green salad made with romaine lettuce or other dark leafy greens. Dressing: extra virgin olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon to taste

• 1 kiwi fruit or cantaloupe and berries as above

• 8 – 12 oz. spring water


• 1 apple

• 2 oz. slice of turkey breast or 6 oz. plain yogurt

• Small handful of hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds. Great source of fatty acids and folic acid


• 4-6 oz. grilled salmon

• green salad as described above

• ½ cup steamed veggies. Especially asparagus, broccoli, spinach, etc. NO root vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, etc

• berries

• 8 – 12 oz. spring water

Before Bedtime Snack

• 1 pear or apple

• 2 oz. slice chicken or turkey breast or 6 oz. plain yogurt

• Small handful of hazelnuts, walnuts or almonds. Great source of fatty acids and folic acid

* LNH Note:  We also suggest Trader Joe's Wild Caught Alaskan (Sockeye) Salmon.