20 Reasons to Break Up with Sugar

By Nutritionist and Author, Sara Vance

Sugar.  It is no wonder we love it so.  It’s delicious and sweet, it makes us happy, and gives us a little burst of energy. We celebrate with it, and it is there for us whenever we need it.

At first glimpse, it seems like everything we could want in a relationship.

But everything is not all sweet when it comes to sugar….

 Sugar hides behind the myth that “it is just harmless empty calories.”

I used to believe that myth too.

Sugar is definitely empty calories.  But the part that is the lie is that sugar is “harmless.

Friends. It is a BIG. FAT. LIE. 

Now don’t get me wrong – a little natural sweetness for someone with a healthy metabolism is okay– a square or two of (70% or higher) dark chocolate, a deliciously rich and creamy cacao avocado pudding…

But the problem with sugar is most of us have a hard time getting just a little bit….because:

  • Sugar is hiding in over 75% of all packaged foods, so it is sneaking into our diets all day long. Most people have no idea they are getting 3 times the amount of sugar they should have every day.
  • Sugar is highly addictive – the more we eat, the more we want.
  • The energy sugar delivers is short-lived – it is followed by a crash – so we reach for more of the sweet stuff to get another boost. I call that cycle ‘the sugar rollercoaster” – and the longer we are on that ride, the worst it is for our health.

Woefully, the real truth is that excess sugar has a dark side, a very serious dark side.  Not only is excess sugar the #1 reason for a sluggish metabolism and stubborn weight gain, it is making billions of people sick….including our children.

Chronically elevated blood sugar raises the risk of almost every major disease. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons you might want to consider a “break up”….

 

20 Reasons to Break up with Sugar:

  1. Causes Weight gain
 Especially weight gain in the midsection. When we say we want to “lose weight” what we really mean is that we want to lose fat. But when we are eating too much sugar – our metabolism is in what I call “sugar-burning mode”  which means it is running on sugars – and storing the extra as fat (adipose tissue).  So when the metabolism is in sugar burning mode – it is not burning fat, it is storing it.  This is referred to as “insulin resistance” and leads to stubborn weight gain – and a host of other issues.
  2. Makes you Hungry
 Sweet foods and drinks stimulate our sweet tooth – so the more sweets we eat (even artificial sweetened foods and drinks), the more we want. So eating lots of sugar and simple carbs just makes us hungrier.  Studies show that when meals are consumed with sugary drinks, more calories are consumed.  Poor blood sugar regulation can lead to big swings – causing dangerous highs and lows – the drops in blood sugar can make you feel angry when you are hungry – sometimes called “hangry.” Plus, sugar is highly addictive, so the more sweets that we eat – the more we want.
  3. Lowers Immunity 
Studies show that sugar lowers the white blood cell count and therefore our immune system.  So eating sugar and simple carbs all the time means our immune system is running low all the time.
  4. Mood Imbalances
 Like any other addictive drug, the sugar rollercoaster has a powerful effect on our mood and brain chemistry. When our blood sugar is high, it gives us energy and makes us feel happy. But when it drops, it can make us feel tired, sad and low.  So we reach for more of what gave us that boost – that puts us on a rollercoaster ride that causes our mood to be very unstable.  Over time, these sugar highs and lows can lead to more serious mood disorders.  Sugar also causes an imbalance in healthy gut bacteria, which is tied to anxiety and other issues. Depressed Immune System: A 1973 study out of Loma Linda University found that consuming a glucose solution lowered the effectiveness of white blood cells to fight infection.
  5. Low energy/fatigue
 Sugar and simple carbs does not supply lasting energy – it spikes our blood sugar, which is then followed by a crash.  When we crash, we are going to be looking for another energy boost hungry.  So what do we reach for to get energy again – more sugar or simple carbs because it gives us a quick boost! I call that cycle “The Sugar Rollercoaster, and just like an actual roller coaster – the longer we are on that ride, the more likely we are to get sick.
  6. Inflammation
 The hallmark of most chronic diseases – is chronic and systemic inflammation. A diet high in sugars raises our inflammation, and this can raise our risk of many diseases.
  7. Digestion issues
 Sugars feeds yeast and fungus. So diets high in sugar can sometimes lead to chronic overgrowth of yeast, bacteria or fungus (often this will happen after a course of antibiotics that wipes out the good bacteria.) Other issues in the gut – including bacterial overgrowth, dysbiosis, leaky gut can also be linked to excess sugar intake.
  8. Tooth decay and cavities
 One of the most obvious things we are taught from a very young age about sugar – is that too much of it is not good for our teeth.  The dentist warns our kids about it around Halloween time. But Halloween is not the only time of year that we eat too much sugar. The average person gets at least 3 times the added sugars every single day!
  9. Diabetes (or ‘diabesity‘)
 When we spike our blood sugar over and over, our body eventually becomes less effective at lowering it. This can develop into Insulin Resistance, which is a precursor to Type 2 Diabetes (and possibly Type 3, see Alzheimer’s disease below). Insulin resistance makes our body less able to process sugars – which can lead to fatigue, hunger, and weight gain. But the tricky thing is that insulin resistance often has no obvious symptoms. Which is why many people have no idea that they have it. Insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes, and if not addressed – eventually diabetes. Poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious health issues like nerve pain & damage, kidney failure, loss of limbs, and blindness. Do you remember that Type 2 Diabetes used to be called Adult-onset until a few year ago? They had to rename it – because kids were getting it. Sugar is harming the health of the majority of our youth – and setting them up for a lifetime of health issues.
  10. Heart Disease/Stroke/Metabolic Syndrome
 According to this article on Dr. Chris Kresser’s website – “metabolic syndrome could more simply be called “excess carbohydrate disease”.  In fact, some researchers have gone as far as defining metabolic syndrome as “those physiologic markers that respond to reduction in dietary carbohydrate.”  The American Heart Association published a statement in Circulation, that excess sugar consumption increases our risk of heart attack and stroke. Having impaired blood glucose tolerance was found to increase the risk of stroke by 50%. Even a fasting glucose over 85 mg/dl (considered a “lab normal” level) was associated with an increased risk of cardiac mortality. The worst offender for heart health?  Sodas. Studies have found that men who drink 1 soda a day increase heart disease risk factors by 20%.  And before you pick up a diet soda – realize that drinking diet sodas are linked to a 44% increased risk of heart disease.
  11. Cancer:
 Ninety years ago Nobel Laureate Dr. Otto Warburg discovered that sugar fuels cancer cells. Since then various studies have demonstrated a potent link between sugar and cancer, including that malignant cells die when starved of glucose. Sugar molecules are present in high numbers near cancer cells, in fact – that is one way to test for cancer – you take a radioactive glucose solution, and using a a PET scan – they can see that areas that are cancerous take up more of the solution than non-cancerous areas. But a 2013 University of Copenhagen study found that sugar was not just present in cancer cells – but that it aided the growth of malignant cells. Researchers out of the University of Wurzburg in Germany, concluded that “significantly reducing the intake of dietary carbs could suppress or at least delay the emergence of cancer, and the proliferation of existing tumor cells could be slowed down.” According to the study, “many cancer patients exhibit an altered glucose metabolism characterized by insulin resistance and may profit from an increased protein and fat intake.”  There is currently promising research underway at the Salk Institute in La Jolla led by Dr. Reuben Shaw, PhD. to study the link between diabetes, sugar metabolism, and cancer.
  12. Kidney Disease: 
A recent study found that drinking sodas caused elevated levels of protein in our urine, which can be an indicator of kidney problems. According to a researcher with the study: “There is no safe amount of soda. If you look at the recommended amounts of sugar we can safely consume every day, one can of soda exceeds the maximum level.”  This is one example that shoots a big hole in the age-old adage “everything in moderation.”
  13. Fatty Liver:
 Research is revealing that diets high in sugar (particularly fructose), strains the liver, and is contributing to the development of non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) . The American Liver Foundation estimates that one quarter of Americans have NAFLD, but since there is often no symptoms, these estimates could be too low. Fructose, one form of sugar – is processed differently than glucose. It does not require insulin to get into the cells. It bypasses the pancreas (which releases the insulin) and instead goes directly to the liver to be processed. So because fructose does not spike our bloodsugar like other sugars do, it was originally thought to be a healthier option – because it is lower glycemic. And when taken in small amounts by healthy people – there could be some truth to this.  However – because our liver only has a limited capacity to handle fructose and sugar – and we are eating loads of fructose (often as high fructose corn syrup), we are overwhelming our livers – causing them to get fatty.  Dr. Hyman refers to fatty livers being like “fois gras.”  Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that an estimated one in 10 kids has NAFLD, and 40% of obese kids having it.
  14. Osteoporosis:
 Scientific studies reveal that elevated blood sugar and oxidative stress are contributing factors in the development of osteoporosis (Clarke 2010, Confavreux 2009, Lieben 2009; Zhou 2011).  Advanced glycation end products (AGE’s), the by-products of high blood sugar were shown to impair bone mineralization.  AGE’s also activate a receptor called RAGE, which diverts calcium from the bone, into vascular smooth muscle cells, which can lead to hardening of the arteries/ heart disease. (Study by: Tanikawa 2009; Franke 2007; Hein 2006; Zhou 2011).
  15. Hormone Issues:
 A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that a diet high in sugars, especially fructose, could interrupt our sex hormones, leading to fertility issues, PCOS, and endometriosis. One reason sugar can interrupt hormone imbalance is in part the strain that is put on the liver to metabolize the fructose. The liver is very important for detoxing hormones.  Another way that excess sugar affects hormones is through aromatization – which is the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.  Diets high in sugar and simple carbs can increase aromatization – leading to estrogen dominance conditions in men and women.
  16. Accelerated Aging – Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs):
 We all know that too much sun damage can make our skin look older, and smoking is a definite no no if we don’t want to look wrinkled and have lackluster skin. But one lesson I really wish I had gotten when I was in my teens or 20s to help keep your skin looking baby soft?  Skip the sugar. Sugar creates something called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which damages the collagen and elastin in our skin, and causes our skin to sag and look more wrinkled.  When there is sugar in our bloodsteam, they attach to proteins to form molecules that are called Advanced glycation end products (appropriately the acronym is AGEs).  The more sugar you eat, the more of these AGEs develop. AGEs are known to damage the collagen and elastin proteins in the skin, which is what gives the skin it’s elasticity, and volume, and helps to prevent wrinkles. Sugar affects our skin in 3 ways: When AGEs come into contact with collagen it changes the normally elastic and fluffy collagen and makes it brittle and dry, and that is what leads to sagging and wrinkling of the skin. There are 3 types of collagen – I, II, and III.  The strongest and most resilient type is III.  Sugar changes type III collagen into type I, which is more instable. Sugar interferes with the delivery of antioxidants in the body, so it can leave the skin more vulnerable to damage from the sun. “As AGEs accumulate, they damage adjacent proteins in a domino-like fashion,” explains Fredric Brandt, MD, a dermatologist in private practice in Miami and New York City and author of 10 Minutes 10 Years. The good news?  Although some of the wrinkles are here to stay, a little bit of the damage caused by sugar can be reversed when you give sugar the ole’ heave-ho!  I have experienced this myself personally.  When I gave up sugar a few years ago, I remember noticing some pretty remarkable improvements in the quality of my skin. Not enough that anyone thought I went out and got plastic surgery or anything. But enough that I noticed improvement.
  17. Brain fog, poor memory, Alzheimers: 
Insulin resistance can lead to lower levels of insulin in the brain, which over time could lead to memory problems, dementia, and Alzhimer’s or Type 3 Diabetes. According to Dr. David Perlmutter, author of the New York Times best-seller, Grain Brain – “sugar, carbs, and wheat are the brain’s silent killers.”   A recent study out of UCLA, indicates that added sugars affect memory and brain function – with researchers coming to the rather bold conclusion that “sugar makes you dumber.” Fortunately, the study also revealed a magic bullet that can make your brain work smarter, even reversing some of the negative effects of sugar…omega 3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, fish oils, nuts, and some seeds like hemp and chia).  High sugar diets seem to be linked to poor learning, memory, and recall. But there is mounting evidence that it is also linked to more serious brain conditions – like Alzheimers. According to a study published in August 2013 in the New England Journal of Medicine, “even subtle elevations of fasting blood sugar translates to dramatically increased risk for dementia.” Many researchers are calling Alzheimer’s disease “Type 3 Diabetes,” because they are finding plaques in the brain that look very much like the diabetic plaques.
  18. Sleep issues 
Poor blood sugar regulation can cause your blood sugar to dip in the middle of the night, causing you to wake up.  Some people will also feel shaky – and will need to go get something to eat to stabilize their blood sugar in the middle of the night. Some people with more advanced blood sugar dysegulation might find that they need to get up and go to the bathroom several times at night.  This could be a signal that the kidneys are working overtime due to elevated blood sugar levels.
  19. Thyroid issues
 According to thyroid expert Dr. Izabella Wentz, poor blood sugar regulation can cause thyroid antibodies to spike, and can also weaken the adrenals (which work in conjunction with the thyroid).  She says that researchers from Polland have found that up to 50% of Hashimotos sufferers have impaired carbohydrate metabolism. According to Chris Kresser, “studies have shown that the repeated insulin surges common in insulin resistance increase the destruction of the thyroid gland in people with autoimmune thyroid disease. As the thyroid gland is destroyed, thyroid hormone production falls.
  20. Death of all Causes:
 A study published in JAMA in 2014 linked sugar consumption to an increased risk of death of all causes – in both normal weight and overweight individuals. Those whose diet was comprised of 17-21% added sugars had a 38% higher risk of dying from a coronary event. The risk was doubled for those who got more than 21% of their diet from sugars.

Nope, it’s definitely not all sweet when it comes to sugar.

Because of the increased risk of heart disease from excess sugars, the American Heart Association has come up with recommended limits for added sugar for women & men:

  • Women should get no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day (24 grams).
  • Men should get no more than 9 added teaspoons of sugar a day (36 grams).

 Keep in mind – one 12 oz. soda has on average 10 teaspoons of sugar.

The type of sugar we eat also matters.  Fruit sugar is naturally occurring sugar and comes paired with fiber, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins – we can’t say that for a soda or a Slurpee.  So sugar from whole fruit is better than processed added sugars (which are empty calories).  Choosing natural sweeteners that come paired with minerals – like yacon and coconut sugars are better choices than high fructose corn syrup or beet sugars. But we can even overdo natural sugars.  And when there is insulin resistance, it is good to limit all sugars for a short time to reset the insulin response.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to take back control from sugar!

If you are getting too much sugar – you are not alone.  Most people are getting at least 3 times too much sugar in their daily diets – that doesn’t even take into account all the flour and simple carbs.

The biggest issues that most of us have – is that sugar is highly addictive (as addictive as a drug), and we are eating it often without even realizing it – because it is hiding in most packaged and processed foods.

Just remember that nutrition and lifestyle changes can be very powerful tools to help you change your health and reduce your risk of future diseases.

Chapter One in my book The Perfect Metabolism Plan provides numerous tips for “Breaking up with Sugar” – including some surprising foods that spike the blood sugar, as well as nutritional tips and supplements that help to balance blood sugar, some good alternatives, and more.

If you are wanting a more in-depth program – consider my Break up with Sugar Online course – 21 days to sugar freedom! The next group starts up on Monday, August 8th!!   You will get actionable and sustainable tips to break old habits and form new ones, a support network, over 60 pages of delicious recipes (yes, they are delicious – I am a foodie – I don’t do bland), and the best of all….your tastebuds can even change!! Mine did!!

I used to LOVE my sugar and simple carbs – I was a bonafide sugar junkie for years. But since breaking up with sugar about 6 years ago – the idea of eating a super sweet caramel sundae no longer appeals to me at all!!  Ick! I’d rather have a square of 70% or higher dark chocolate instead now (yes, you can have some sweetness in your life – even if you break up with sugar!!).

 

ABOUT SARA VANCE

sara_vance_blogA nutritionist and the author of the book The Perfect Metabolism Plan, Sara Vance used to be a picky eater, a sugar junkie, and was overweight as a child.  She suffered from a long list of chronic health issues, and aches and pains for decades.

Not getting answers at the doctors’ office, Sara finally found the answers right at the end of her fork, and is passionate about helping others find their answers too.

Sara created The Break up with Sugar program because she knows that getting control of our blood sugar is the #1 thing we need to do to heal our metabolism, but it is also one of the hardest things to do too.  Her next group starts up Monday, August 8th!

Visit: landing.breakupwithsugarprogram.com to find out more.

Nuts For Noodles

By Author & Culinary Chef, Meredith Baird

Poor pasta has gotten a pretty bad rap lately as most of us are actively trying to avoid gluten or refined flours.

What happened to the simple weekday dinner of pasta with some sauce? If you’re seeking to be health conscious, you’ve probably been scouring the internet for alternatives, and not all gluten free alternatives are appealing. Too much rice flour and other refined gluten free flours are still heavy and not much healthier.

Fortunately, pasta is one of our favorite traditional dishes to give an alternative spin – literally – and summer is the perfect time to introduce the kitchen gadget we can’t live without. The spiral slicer.

For minimal investment you can make beautiful noodles out of almost any firm vegetable — zucchini, parsnips, celery root, beets and carrots all work great. These ingredients make the perfect base for adding any homemade pasta sauce, pesto, or even a grilled protein – and are a great way to eat more vegetables. Compromise isn’t even a consideration.

The best time to approach making pasta with vegetable noodles is seasonally.

Since we are here in the heart of summer, it is the perfect time to make beautiful zucchini noodles with fresh herb pesto or heirloom tomato sauce. Or, skip the sauce and just simply toss noodles with tomatoes, herbs, and a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. If you’re looking for something a little hardier, top your zucchini noodles off with something grilled.

For fall, think beet noodles with walnut pesto and roasted mushrooms. Celery root with toasted pumpkin seeds and sautéed kale. Winter, bean ragout with roasted root vegetables, or something creamier and heartier.

The options are endless…

To exercise my not noodle creativity, I’m very excited to have crafted two entrees in collaboration with Beaming.

Zucchini Pesto Pasta – Zucchini and Celery Root Pasta with Pumpkin Seed Cilantro Pesto, Shaved Carrot and Marinated Mushrooms.

This deeply savory and satisfying dish is perfect for spring, summer or fall. Pumpkin seed pesto is rich and flavorful without being too heavy for the summer months – we make it dairy free using miso and nutritional yeast for added health benefit. This dish makes a perfectly complete meal on its own.

Zucchini Tomato Pasta – Zucchini Noodles with Heirloom Tomato Marina, Olive Crumb and Cashew Mozzarella.

Utilizing all of the best ingredients of the season this dish is a spin on the BEAMING classic lasagna – all while being a bit lighter and refreshing. The heirloom tomato sauce has a slightly spicy kick with the addition of cayenne, the cashew mozzarella adds the perfect amount of decadent creaminess, and the olive crumb gives a salty crunch. This combination is seriously craveable!

And if you feel like getting creative at home…

This is one of my favorite recipes to spice it up for summer. It works well as a main course, or can be served as a side along with grill fare.

RECIPE! ZUCCHINI NOODLES with COCONUT ALMOND SATAY

The satay can be kept as a staple in the kitchen at all times. If you don’t serve this as a pasta dish, use the sauce as a dip or spread for crudités and sandwiches. Zucchini noodles work great, but I also like this recipe with carrot or parsnip noodles because of their heartier texture and lightly sweet flavor.

ZUCCHINI NOODLES

5–6 cups packed carrot ribbons, made using a spiral slicer
1 cup shredded cabbage
Pinch of sea salt
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup edamame (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced young coconut meat (optional)
Toss zucchini noodles with cabbage, sea salt and lime juice. Allow noodles to marinate for at least 10 minutes before serving. Combine with edamame and coconut meat.

COCONUT ALMOND SATAY

1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup young coconut meat
1/4 cup water, or more as needed to blend
2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari
1 teaspoon miso
1 tablespoon coconut nectar, maple syrup, or agave 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon minced onion (optional)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add water as needed. It is best to make the sauce at least 1 hour before serving so that the flavors can marinate.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

Torn cilantro leaves
Torn mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)
Toss zucchini noodles, cabbage, coconut meat, and edamame with at least 3/4 of the sauce, depending on how much you prefer. Allow flavors to marinate a few minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro, mint leaves, and chopped almonds.

Makes 2–4 servings.

NEW! Summer Menu

Whether you’re lunching from home, the office or the beach, stop by one of our six cafes and try our new Summer Menu. Brimming with abundance, we collaborated with chef and author, Meredith Baird, to create game-changing Zucchini Pesto and Zucchini Tomato Pastas, plus the sensational Summer Lime Tart that you won’t want to put down. 

About Meredith Baird

With a lifelong passion for a healthy lifestyle and love of plant-based cuisine, mama-to-be Meredith Baird has never been one to take the traditional route.

After graduating with French and Art History degrees she pursued her culinary passions to become a certified raw food chef and instructor.

Embracing the raw food movement gave her a unique set of skills and an understanding of the benefits of plant-based ingredients that stretches far beyond what is typical in most culinary schools.

She is the co-author of three books, Raw Chocolate, Everyday Raw Detox, Plant Food and her recent solo title – Coconut Kitchen.

Her current endeavor is Nucifera Body – a raw, plant-based line of beauty products centralized on the healing properties of the coconut and the belief that what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it.

Meredith believes in living life beautifully by nourishing yourself with life-filled, health-giving foods. Her offerings are designed to inspire and let nature do most of the work.

 

Staying healthy on the road

 

Whether you’re traveling on vacation or for work, it’s not easy to maintain your healthy ways on the road. And unless you’re going on a wellness retreat to Rancho La Puerta or the Ranch in Malibu, you aren’t likely to start a health regime on the road either.

So much of being on vacation is about letting go and enjoying yourself, which often means letting go of your good habits. If traveling for work, it likely involves lunch meetings with el grande sandwiches, pasta salad and afternoon cookies followed by indulgent dinners on expense accounts. If traveling for pleasure, well, it’s supposed to be just that – pleasurable which often means letting go of restrictions and letting yourself have what you want – that’s part of what makes vacations so great right? 🙂

So how do you make good choices while traveling such that you aren’t kicking yourself when you get home and set yourself up to “have your cake and eat it too?”

Since travel involves both how to stay healthy on your way there and then what to do once you get there, we thought I would address both.

GETTING THERE

Whether you’re traveling by plane or auto, the key is to think ahead – yes, just like you planned your trip, you need to give this one a little thought as well. Once you’re dialed in the first time, you’re good to go for all future trips.

If by car:

Avoid the fast food and think ahead. Seriously guys. Aren’t we done with fast food by now?

Well…maybe not if you don’t think ahead — stock up at Whole Foods or whatever natural market you can find everywhere you go. Grab a cooler and fill it with fresh fruit, healthy snacks, trail mix, cut veggies, sliced organic cheese and nitrate-free meats, salad, wraps or any other healthy options that you would eat at home. Easy peasy. Sorta 🙂

If by plane:

While we will acknowledge that the airlines have definitely improved their food options with “healthier snack box options” (albeit we now pay for them), the key is “er” in that you could probably pack yourself some better options. If you happen to be at one of the newly renovated glammed airports with some much better healthy food options, grab yourself a salad, cut veggies or some trail mix. Want to be more in control and make sure you aren’t left eating a bag of Doritos? Here are some great, easy snack ideas to bring with you so you’re well prepared and start your trip off right:

  • Trail mix – Living Intentions has some of my favorites – available at Whole Foods or Beaming or other specialty markets – I love their Mango Fire mix.
  • Apple or pear – low glycemic and the crunch alone curbs appetite.
  • Tea bags of your favorite tea – the warmth of tea will curb appetite and keep you enjoying your movie and not giving into your unhealthy cravings.
  • Kale chips or other veggie chip (Alive and Radiant has some great ones) – just beware, these snacks can pack on the calories so choose a portion control to minimize over snacking.
  • Protein bars – all protein bars are NOT created equal btw and are filled with sugars, hydrogenated oils and GMO processed soy or whey proteins. Before buying your next protein bar, start looking at the ingredients – if you can’t spell or pronounce them or it sounds like it came from a lab, it did! Since I was so frustrated with finding a clean protein bar, I took it upon myself to find the best, most natural ones on the market and now sell these at Beaming. Here are some of my favorites – available online, at all 6 Beaming locations and some at Whole Foods:
  • Beaming Superfood Protein Packs – a delicious, easy way to add 12g of (plant based) protein and tons of nutrition in one fell swoop. Add to water, almond milk or coconut water and you have a protein drink that will keep you well nourished and energized.
  • Water water and more water– will flush the toxins from the air and help minimize swelling, dehydration and exhaustion from travel.

Our top 11 HEALTHY travel tips once you get there:

  1. Scope out the nearby healthy restaurants, cafes, and juice bars. Ask the concierge that may be nearby and definitely take the time ahead of time to scope out some great options.  Healthy is “in” so there are more and more options popping up everywhere – even in smaller towns.
  2. Stock the mini bar from a local healthy market. If the option exists, stock your mini bar from a healthy market such as Whole Foods or other local favorite – grab some green drinks, perhaps some yogurt or hard boiled eggs, avocado, fruit or whatever you may want in the morning to start your day healthy.
  3. Be mindful of portions. Remember, if you’re eating out, the portions are likely double or more what you would eat at home. And since you aren’t the one making the food, its almost certain that they use more butter or olive oil than you would use in a week which means calories, fat, calories, fat.
  4. Pass on the bread at lunch or dinner. Unless it’s the most insanely delicious bread you have ever seen, it’s not worth it. Save your calories for something else.
  5. Drink lots of water before each meal and add lemon to your water to alkalize. I ask for a plate of lemons at every meal. Lemons also help to curb appetite and are optimal for alkalizing your body. As your body is likely fairly acidic from the travel as well as wine, animal proteins, bread and other, the lemon will help to balance your PH.
  6. Drink warm tea during my meals. This is one of my greatest tricks as hot tea will curb your appetite and satisfy the oral need to drink and eat likely resulting in less of both.
  7. Go for salads but beware of the dressing. Yes, salads are a great option but beware of the dressing as it can often have more calories than fettuccine alfredo. Also beware of the nuts, croutons, bacon and dressing served with many salads. I always ask for dressing on the side which allows me to control the amount so its not drenched. I often drizzle lemon and sea salt which allows me to use less dressing, adds flavor and has no calories.
  8. Lean protein and veggies at every meal. You can never go wrong with this choice at least for lunch and dinner. It’s starches like French Fries, bread, potatoes and other calorie rich, nutrition-less foods that get us in trouble.
  9. Have your cake and eat it too….Dessert! Lets face it, it just tastes better on vacation and you’ve earned it! My suggestion – make a choice, perhaps its dessert over the wine or, like me, I love tastes so I will often order the dessert and limit myself to 1 or 2 bites. It’s enough to satisfy and feel like I indulged without feeling like crap because I ate too much and then feel gross. I often think of Kate Moss’s quote – “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” – a quote not to argue over as much as it does make me think twice about how much I really need that dessert….
  10. Choose low sugar alcohol. Whether on vacation or work travel, its likely a part of your dinner and one that we look forward to. Again, everything in moderation. If you’re going to drink, maybe choose vodka, gin or tequila which are low in sugar. More importantly, choose low sugar mixers such as soda, lime and lemon. The less sugar the better which also means no hangover…wink wink.
  11. Nutribullet time for Superfood Smoothies on the road! I know, random that I added one more tip to make it 11 but I couldn’t resist sharing one of my favorite tricks that is a must have for me while traveling! If you can fit it in your bag, it’s worth investing in a Nutribullet allowing you to make smoothies on the road. What a great way to get in your greens and guarantee at least one super healthy meal! Bring Beaming Superfood Plant Protein with Greens and if you can, pick up some almond milk, coconut water and whatever veggies and fruits you love and voila, you have packed your body with protein, superfood greens and so much good that your body will thrive. Just by incorporating something like this or even a green juice each day, keeps your body balanced in the midst of the inevitable and much appreciated indulgences of travel.

Safe travels and enjoy! 

We always love hearing from you so let us know how you stay healthy when traveling. Find these tips healthy, share with a friend?!

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From our gut to yours

From my gut to yours

Did you know that over 80% of us suffer from gut issues? For most of us, this usually translates as poor digestion and in some cases, something you may have recently heard called “leaky gut.” In it’s simplest terms, “leaky gut” is a condition when your gut is compromised as a result of eating too many processed foods, as well as stress and most often from too many antibiotics over the years. The gut then creates “holes” that leak toxins into your bloodstream. Instead of your body absorbing necessary nutrients, toxins leak into the body and vital nutrients are not absorbed properly.

While this post isn’t really about leaky gut, it is intended to help you understand that your gut is the epicenter of your overall health while offering simple ways to help heal it. In most cases, your gut effects everything from how your brain functions, to the effectiveness of your thyroid, to how well you absorb nutrients, to focus and clarity, inflammation, aging and on and on. Even your overall mental spirit is controlled by the health of your gut.

The good news is that it’s fixable with considerable discipline and a few lifestyle modifications.

While our bodies are resilient, we ask a lot of them and eventually our gut can become compromised from eating too many processed foods, drinking too much soda, consuming way too much bread and pasta (aka gluten), eating steroid laden non-organic meats, as well as non-organic fruits and vegetables. And of course stress (not that any of us have any stress in our lives) is equally if not more damaging to our health and especially our gut.

So what to do?

The first step is to start looking at your diet. Be honest and really start to pay attention to this. Read the labels of anything boxed and try to focus more on foods that come from mother nature vs. foods that come in a box. Before running to the doctor (unless its an emergency of course), We always recommend to first consider what you are eating. Healing your gut begins with eating “cleaner” / less processed foods and incorporating more vegetables, little to no processed foods and choosing organic as often as possible including organic, nitrate free meats.

While choosing a cleaner diet, incorporating probiotics as well as probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and coconut yogurt, are all a critical part of the healing process for your gut.

We should mention that healing your gut is a commitment. For those of you who suspect you may have gut issues (remember, over 80% of us do!) such as significant digestion challenges as well as some of the other symptoms I listed above, we highly recommend seeking out a nutritionist or integrative doctor who can help further diagnose what is going on. That being said, in absence of a thorough exam, it’s very safe to say that we can all benefit from incorporating more fruits, seeds, legumes and veggies in our diet as well as incorporating probiotic-rich foods.

By eating cleaner and adding these foods into your diet, you will likely start to see a significant improvement in your digestion almost immediately. Even better, you may start to feel less gassy and bloated and you will quite possibly lose weight too – all with making just a few simple adjustments to your diet. That’s cool stuff  🙂

So let’s talk probiotics. First, we highly recommend incorporating a mega dose of oral probiotics daily, which you can find in any natural health store. Make sure you select a really good one and don’t skimp on price. Second, we recommend that you start eating and drinking more probiotic-rich foods daily like kefir (We love coconut kefir), fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi as well as coconut yogurt. On that note, our new Coconut Yogurt was just released a few weeks ago and is soooo good!! If you’re not near a Beaming in San Diego or Los Angeles, you can find recipes for coconut yogurt online and you may also find it in some specialty natural markets. We want to clarify some confusion that unfortunately, most of the dairy-based yogurts available in grocery stores claim to be probiotic-rich but sadly are not, and worse, are filled with cane sugar and have little to no nutritional benefits.

Try our coconut yogurt … it’s fermented, has little to no sugar, is loaded with probiotics and kefir and tastes amazing.

You can get it at our new Beaming Superfood Porridge Bars as well as our new grab-and-go coconut parfaits with wild berry chia jam and our homemade superfood granola. YUM!!

We hope that this was helpful and as always, we love to support you on your journey to greater health and happiness.

Cheers to you and your commitment to your health.

NEW! Coconut Yogurt

Made with love, our new Coconut Yogurt is prepared daily with the freshest ingredients available. We keep things simple so you can feel good about every bite. Stop by one of our six cafes and try a delicious grab-and-go parfait. Our full Superfood Porridge Bar is available at four cafes: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, La Jolla, and La Costa @ Equinox.

 

VEGAN. GLUTEN & DAIRY FREE. NON-GMO.

Introducing Superfood Coffee®!

Now On Tap: Superfood Coffee® at Beaming!

**FREE Cold Brew or Kefir Soda! June 13-19. 7 to 11 a.m.**

By Blake Lewis, Founder & CEO, Superfood Coffee Co

Hey Beaming Community,

My name is Blake and I’m the founder of Superfood Coffee Co. I’m excited and honored to share that our Superfood Coffee and Kefir Soda are now available in five Beaming cafes: Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Del Mar, La Jolla and La Costa @ Equinox. Awesome, right?!

unnamed-1About Our Journey

We founded Superfood Coffee Co a few years ago with a purpose to create a healthier alternative to traditional coffee. As a small team of three (shout out my co-founders Amanda and Christopher!), we collaborated to combine our passions for superfoods, quality ingredients and innovation to craft the next evolution of beverages. Our main inspiration is fueled by our passion for health, nutrition and overall well being. We like to say that we are Cold Brew and Kefir specialists who are strongly influenced by ancient traditions, and cultures from around the world. As much as we like to explore new ways of crafting beverages, we have two major products at the core: Superfood Coffee® & Kefir Soda™.

Now On Tap

Superfood Coffee® is simple but thoughtful. We start with the highest quality Peruvian coffee beans, infuse them with fresh ground superfoods and cold brew to perfection. Each blend is crafted with two things in mind: flavor and nutritional compounds. Featuring one or two superfoods, revered for their unparalleled medicinal health benefits, and coupled with two or more support herbs, which help to build complexity and depth. To finish it off, we pour through a nitro-tap, creating a naturally creamy and full bodied cup of delicious heaven on earth.

Signature Peruvian Cold Brew Superfood Coffee

Peruvian Coffee + Burdock Root + Roasted Dandelion Root

Created to showcase the beautiful flavor of Peruvian coffee. Smooth and bold to get your day going, enhanced by super roots. Great for coffee lovers.

Pair with: Beaming Carrot Muffin for a yummy breakfast.

Mexican Style Cold Brew Superfood Coffee

Peruvian Coffee + Mesquite + Aronia Berry + Cinnamon + Cocao Bean + Clove + Vanilla Bean + Star Anise + Demerara

Specifically influenced by Mexican culture and tradition. Great pick me up and a delicious coffee, perfect on it’s own. An instant bestie.

Pair with: Beaming Cookie for a fun delicious snack.

Kefir Soda

Kefir Soda™ was inspired by a 3000-year-old “soda” making technique, similar to kombucha, but created with living cultures that grow naturally at most mountain springs at 7,000 feet above sea level. We bathe these Kefir Cultures in only the highest quality water we could find, delivered to us direct from the heart of Palomar Mountain. Once fully cultured, we infuse the Probiotic Kefir Water into our Locally Sourced, Organic Cold Pressed juices. The end product is a deliciously refreshing and bubbly beverage, with no fermented flavor or caffeine. Fully loaded with a full spectrum of nearly two dozen beneficial strains of living bacteria and wild yeast; which are both critical for gut health and immune function. Memorable & addictive flavors with a purpose.

Ginger Raider Probiotic Kefir Soda

Water Kefir + Apple + Lemon + Ginger + Lemongrass

A true friendship of ginger and lemon. Both soothing and energizing, this bubbly beauty is one you’ll dream of. Ginger Raider = Happiness.

Pair with: Beaming Falafel for a fresh oh-la-la lunch!

Berry Blast Probiotic Kefir Soda

Water Kefir + Apple + Strawberry + Lemon + Beet + Purple Cabbage + Celery

This will make mom proud. Drink your veggies infused with the wonderful flavor of strawberry. Pure bliss in a cup.

Pair with: any Beaming salad, like the amazing Kale Caesar Salad. Hello lunch

Our NEW Superfood Coffee & Probiotic Kefir Soda are available at five Beaming cafes: Santa Monica, Del Mar, West Hollywood, La Jolla and La Costa @ Equinox.

Celebrating our new Superfood Porridge Bar

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Celebrating our new Superfood Porridge Bar Beaming x Breakfast Criminals

Guest blog post by Ksenia Shira Lova of Breakfast Criminals

A little over a year ago, I got an email inviting me to visit a new superfood cafe in LA, Beaming. They didn’t realize that I lived in New York… but if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have no trouble hopping on the plane for the right superfood breakfast.

A few weeks later, I led an acai bowl workshop at Beaming’s gorgeous Santa Monica location. Let me tell you: Beaming really got the whole wholesome, mindful, delicious lifestyle right. Smoothies, juices, salads and perfect texture smoothie bowls – it was love at first bite.

So when Beaming reached out to me a few months later with the exciting idea of collaborating on a co-branded superfood breakfast bar, I was in. The idea was to create an innovative, colorful build your own breakfast bar that would make you feel like a healthy, energized, radiant breakfast criminal.

The result is the Beaming x Breakfast Criminals Superfood Porridge Bar that’s already available at 4 Beaming locations! (Santa Monica, West Hollywood, La Jolla and San Diego.) The fun thing about it is the build your own element (pick your own base and toppings!) inspired by the breakfast workshops I’ve led.

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Superfood porridge bar base choices:

  • Superfood overnight oats uniquely soaked in mulberries, mesquite and lucuma
  • Coconut chia pudding
  • Matcha chia pudding
  • Homemade coconut yogurt (coming June 1st)

Featured toppings:

  • Wild berry chia jam
  • Matcha cashew cream (for those who’re into matcha as much as I am!)
  • Coconut cream
  • Plus all the regular smoothie bowl toppings like granola, fresh berries and maple walnuts

I flew to LA to host a couple of Breakfast Criminals Club events at Beaming to celebrate the launch of the most dreamy breakfast bar – now I just need to have this installed at home 🙂

We started every morning with a ritual of hot water mixed with Vitality shot (turmeric, ginger, lemon) – the perfect way to wake up your metabolism. It detoxifies, alkalizes and builds your immunity (turmeric is one of the most healing superfoods on the planet!)

Then, we took a moment to write down our intention for the day. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now every morning, and it’s seriously some kind of magic!

Ask yourself: how do I want to feel today? Then, take a moment to write down whatever’s coming to mind. Dream big. It can be adjectives, affirmations or abracadabra. Whatever carries the vibration of what you’d like to manifest.

And if you find yourself in LA, make sure you stop by the new Superfood Porridge Bar at Beaming. Share your breakfast with us on Instagram using #breakfastbeaming!

How Kris Carr inspired me to create Beaming…

Hi Beaming friends, five years ago, before the idea of Beaming had birthed, I was at Marie Forleo’s entrepreneur event in New York City when an incredible woman took stage that would forever change my life. Her message was powerful and clear, food is medicine and that we have a responsibility to take control of our health, which starts with what we eat, drink and think.

The woman was stunning – one of the most dynamic, radiant, witty and captivating people I have ever seen. Her energy was so powerful that the vibration of the whole room shifted – we wanted what she had. I looked at my girlfriend and said, “My God that woman is BEAMING”!

The name of that beaming woman is Kris Carr and she is the reason I was inspired to start Beaming. If you do not know who Kris Carr is, you need to.

Her book, Crazy Sexy Diet, became the beginning of my own personal health journey that ultimately inspired me to create Beaming… and name it after her radiant, fabulously contagious energy.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to feel empowered with my health and not just “wait and see.” The idea of waiting and seeing scared the heck out of me and I wanted to feel like I had a say in my health and not rely on western medicine to prescribe medication every time something was wrong. What Kris and so many other thought leaders like her in our generation are teaching is that we do have a lot more control over our health than we think we do and that food matters. A lot. The question is whether we are listening or not and if we choose to empower ourselves with this powerful truth.

Through her own journey of healing from cancer, she has committed her life to helping others with a message that has inspired and changed the lives of millions. I am forever grateful for having had the opportunity to be introduced to and inspired by Kris. She is the catalyst behind my mission for Beaming.

If you have not had a chance to see Kris’s latest talk on Oprah’s SuperSoul Sunday, do yourself a favor and take the 20 minutes to listen to this magnificent woman share her story – there is a good chance she will make you laugh along the way as well.

One of my favorite interviews with Kris just took place on the Hay House World Health Summit going on now. The conversations are with the biggest, most influential thought leaders in all areas of wellness and are incredible so definitely sign up if you haven’t already. I listen to them in my car, on runs and power walks and whenever I can. Kris’s talk is about saying YES to life and much more… Enjoy!!

But beware, you may find yourself Beaming by the end… and then some  🙂

With love, xo

Lisa

Why is everyone spring cleansing?

We live in a toxic world… and no matter how “healthy” we are, toxins are constantly being absorbed and stored in our bodies. (It’s a long blog today but worth the read … Happy Sunday!) Many toxins such as pollutants and chemicals are found in our food, water, homes and businesses, as well as the air we breathe. They quickly accumulate in our bodies and manifest themselves as immune system dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, auto-immune disorders, increased allergies, nervous system disorders, inability to shed weight, as well as fatigue and chronic pain which western medicine has now coined, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Our bodies are intelligent and will do what they can to save us from toxic chemicals and heavy metals. When our bodies can no longer process what’s coming in, it draws it into the fat cells — away from your vital organs in effect to SAVE you. The problem is that these toxins are literally living in your body, clogging up your channels, being stored as fat, and affecting you on multiple systemic levels.

The only way to break free from the constant onslaught of toxins is to do periodic cleansing. Springtime has historically been, and always will be the BEST time to cleanse. It’s Mother Nature’s re-awakening, and our bodies re-awakening from winter’s hibernation, nesting, and indulgences. It’s the MOST IMPORTANT time for you to tune into self, re-evaluate the patterns you’ve created, flush the body with nutrient dense foods, and create a space of healing to rebalance your mind and body.

 

Why you need to do a springtime cleanse.

Whether you cleanse with us, or create a cleanse on your own, we can’t stress the importance of shedding layers and tuning into self at this pivotal time in nature. Here are a few reasons you should consider seasonal cleansing:

  • It can take up to 72 hours to fully digest (and eliminate) your meal. If you have food in you from 3 days ago, and have been eating approximately 3 meals a day plus snacks, you’re holding on to WAY TOO MUCH BULK and WAY TOO MANY TOXINS. Your digestion needs to relax and reset. The only way to do this is to fuel your body with only nutrients, minimal food, and foods that take minimal processing time, so your body can focus on the healing process.
  • A reset for your sleep patterns and energy levels. Your ZZZZZz’s are so incredibly important and the stresses of life as well as the foods we consume can create imbalances in our sleep patterns – from insomnia, to nightmares or vivid dreaming, to restless sleep, and tossing and turning.
  • Are you constantly feeling bloated? You’re not alone. Are your elimination patterns irregular, dry, speedy, uncomfortable, foul smelling, or loose? This is all a reflection of the foods you consume, as well as what your body does not need.
  • Are you waking up with dark circles, puffy or crusty eyes, popping ears, sinus issues, spotty or systemically dry skin? You most likely are harboring toxins and are suffering from unknown food sensitivities and dehydration.
  • We can’t even fathom the amount of heavy metals that surround us and that we consume daily through air, food, amalgam fillings, and water.
  • The cleansing products in our homes, air fresheners, and candles (which are often filled with lead) pack our bodies and living environments with toxic chemicals that show up in our bodies, cause hormonal imbalance, and disrupt the function of our immune systems.
  • After a winter of indulging in acid producing traditional dishes, foods, and drinks, cleansing gives you the opportunity to create a more alkaline balance to your body. This eliminates chronic conditions such as inflammation, aches, and pains.

 

What happens when you cleanse? 

  • Look and feel better while creating greater overall vitality
  • Flush your body with nutrients to help oxygenate cells and push toxins out
  • Create alkalinity in the body to help address chronic or acute inflammation, water retention, and other painful responses to an overly acidic body
  • Rehydrate the body from the base level, healing chronic and systemic dryness
  • Encourage better nutrient absorption and assimilation
  • Break bad habits and cyclical patterns
  • Promote restful sleep
  • Create weight reduction by eliminating toxins stored in fat cells
  • Create mental health (clears and focuses the mind)
  • Create balance and well-being while resetting energy levels

 

Our approach to cleansing is a little different…

  • While we support cleansing as a regular ritual in achieving optimal health, we don’t believe it should involve deprivation or starvation. In our opinion, this defeats the point and ultimately leads to running back to bad habits when a cleanse is over. Our programs are enjoyable and incredibly easy to follow, making your body crave healthier food choices long after the cleanse is over.
  • We believe an effective “cleanse” involves a plant-based inflammatory diet for a series of days and should be balanced with low-glycemic food and juice choices. Most juice cleanses are VERY high in sugar which is not optimal – spiking your insulin levels which causes fat storage and metabolic confusion and continues the sugar cravings we are all so dependent on already. Our superfood cleanse programs are very low-glycemic and incorporate food, providing a more realistic and effective approach to cleansing.
  • People who have completed our cleanse programs not only look and feel great in just a few short days but are awakened to the power of “food as medicine”. A transformation occurs when people change the way they eat and think about food. For us, this is what it’s truly about – supporting a lifestyle of long term health.

 

Ready to cleanse? Join us this spring for one of our 3 superfood cleanses: lifestyle, lean and active. One is right for you!    

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A Yogi’s Creed for Living a Beaming Life

Whether you consider yourself a Yogi or not, a regular yoga practice can teach us all a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. From the food we eat, to our work schedules, to how we handle our relationships and even to the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, Yoga promotes health and balance in all areas of our lives.

Inspired by the ancient practice and shaped for the present, this is my creed to living a healthy, thriving and Beaming life:

TAKE EXCELLENT CARE OF YOUR BODY.

It is the only place you have to live! Your body needs to be a good support system for the mind and spirit. If you take excellent care of it, your body will take you wherever you want to go, with the power, strength, energy and vitality you will need to get there. Make your movement mindful and meaningful so you get the most from it. Buy the best quality food possible that includes organic, superfoods that will keep your engine running smooth. Give yourself time to rest.

CREATE HEALTHY RITUALS.

A daily Yoga Asana practice is a great way to keep your body and mind in balance and available for use when you really need it. Not only does this practice create a strong and lean body, but it conditions our breathing to take in more oxygen, which we need for all vital functions. A great morning ritual is to break your overnight fast, with a low glycemic, high protein drink. I love combining Beaming’s Balanced Green Juice with fresh almond milk which makes it both cleansing and protein rich. If you find you easily fall off track from a daily practice, try inviting a seasonal ritual into your schedule to help you reset. Whether it’s practicing 108 Sun Salutations at the change of the seasons or participating in a Seasonal Cleanse, sometimes all you need is a reminder to get back on track.

RESEARCH AND STUDY YOU.

Studying ancient traditions and methods of introspection (Yoga, Astrology, Ayurveda) or more modern Personal Development methods can help the mind to cultivate and maintain deep awareness. The greater your personal awareness grows, the more likely you are to do things that are of benefit to yourself.

CONTRIBUTE.

You have to have a life that has more meaning than just making money or running your business. Giving back, paying it forward, and contributing beyond yourself reminds you of what life is truly about- building others up and growing healthful communities. The act of giving transforms your self identity into one of compassion, love and gratitude. The latest research from the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine shows that people who give more are actually happier.

LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE.

We all have a responsibility in life to be something more than ourselves, to achieve a higher purpose. Never stop trying to make yourself the BEST version of you. You deserve to be great- let it empower you to grow your light and shine! Share it with the world.

FIND YOUR TRIBE.

You become like those whom you surround yourself with, so choose the company you keep wisely. The people around you should offer support and encouragement, and delight in everything about you.

MAGNIFY YOUR MEDITATION.

If sitting still is challenging, choose to focus on powerful thoughts and emotions as your meditation. Some of my favorites are, “My body is perfect, whole and healed”, “All I need is within me now”, and “I love my life. I am so blessed”.

If you’re in the San Diego area in May, 2016, we would love to have you join us for A Day of Namaste. This seasonal day retreat is the perfect way to reset your routine and bring you back into health. The special day will include a superfood cleanse from Beaming, Yoga and Meditation with Yoga Namastacy, and insight into Astrology with Leslie McGuirk. Each Guest receives a Mala Meditation Necklace valued at $150.00 and will receive exclusive offers from our host, Cape Rey Hilton Hotel. Plus, we will be giving the “Namaste Award”, a cash prize issued to a local charity. For more information and to register visit http://yoganamastacy.com/events.html.

Namaste.

 

10 Metabolism Boosting Spring Detox Tips

Spring is a time for renewal. The trees and flowers are blooming, and plant-based foods are becoming seasonal and more plentiful. Many of us feel motivated to clean out and declutter our closets, cupboards, drawers & garages. Spring is also a wonderful time to start fresh and cleanse to renew our body, mind and spirit – and kick our metabolism into gear!

Our digestive system, kidneys, liver, lungs, and skin are all channels for eliminating toxins.  But in our toxic, stressed out, hurried lifestyles, sometimes those channels can get a little bogged down.  When the body is not able to remove toxins and chemicals efficiently – it stores them in the safest place away from our brain and organs – our adipose tissue, or fat.  That is one way how chemicals and toxins in our diet and environment can cause the body to accumulate and hold on to weight.

Cleansing can lighten the load on our organs of elimination and help to improve our digestion and the balance of gut flora and bacteria, which can help to balance our mood and hormones, boost metabolism/energy, sleep, improve quality of our skin and hair; it can help us look and feel younger – and as a by-product of all this – our weight can often come into balance.

10 Cleansing Tips:

  1. Clean up. One of the key things to do to support the body to detox is to stop bringing in new toxins!  An Australian studyfound that just one week of eating organic reduced the amount of pesticides in blood by 90%.  I also recommend avoiding GMOs (which are typically high in pesticides), plastics (which have endocrine disrupting chemicals); and also using clean laundry detergent, home and personal care products. Toxins and chemicals can mess with our metabolism, hormones, and even raise our risk of diseases like cancer.
  2. Get Juicey. Fresh pressed juices are a wonderful way to naturally boost energy – one medium juice can have over 3 pounds of plant-based foods in it – that is a lot of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals!  I love juicing this time of year – try my Green Lemonade recipeat home, or pop into Beaming for their wonderful selection of fresh-pressed organic juices.  I always recommend having a little healthy fat with your juice – learn more.
  3. Tempting as it is to reach first for a cup of coffee in the morning – your metabolism will thank you when you start each day with a full glass of filtered or alkaline water.  Add a squeeze of lemon, which helps to support a healthy pH and supports detoxification and elimination. I also like to add a small pinch of Himalayan or Celtic salt to mine too – which supports the adrenals and helps to ‘turn on’ the thirst mechanism. Bored of plain old water?  Try my ginger lemonade and spa water!
  4. Break Up. Taking a break from foods with added sugars can reduce inflammation and boost our immune system and our sensitivity to the hormone insulin – which is important for energy and a healthy metabolism.  A diet high in added- sugars makes you hungrier, slows your metabolism, reduces immunity, and creates AGEs (advanced glycation end products – which damages the collagen and elastin in our skin).  Cutting out the sugar can help our skin to look more youthful and your tastebuds often become more sensitive to sweets – so you need and crave less.
  5. Boost! Most cleanses will have you eliminating gluten, dairy, sugar, soy and other food groups.  But instead of focusing on what you have to eliminate, focus on what foods you can add into boost your energy, mood and support your bodies’ detox channels.  Superfoods are foods that contain a high amount of nutrients and are a great way to really maximize your nutrition and energy! Some of my favorites are chia seeds, hemp hearts, moringa, maca, mushrooms, ginger and turmeric.  In addition to offering natural energy boosts, superfoods can also boost our immunity, help our body adapt to stress, reduce inflammation, balance brain function, and more!  Get your superfoods on with Beaming smoothie or bowl, or settle down at night with my Golden Milk Ginger & Mushroom Tea recipe!
  6. Stress is like kryptonite for our metabolism & health. Out of control stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which increases our glucose and insulin levels, and causes fat to deposit in your midsection. High levels of stress also causes our digestive system to get super sluggish.  If allowed to go on for long, it can stress our adrenals, and cause imbalances in our other hormones.  Finding ways to reduce stress is very important for our metabolism and health – such as yoga, meditation, biofeedback, walking, etc.  One way to lower our stress levels is to unplug – turn off the electronics at least an hour before bedtime, and try to have a no phone zone at mealtimes.  It is amazing how much more we connect to people when we disconnect to our devices.
  7. Exercise Smarter. Long cardio workouts can raise our stress hormones – which tell our body to store fat in our midsection, and overtime can even damage the heart. So working out harder & longer could be working against your metabolism – leading to fat storage, not loss!  If you are a cardio junkie – and are frustrated that your workouts are not working anymore, consider mixing it up.  Go for lower stress exercise like yoga and walking.  Add in some weight-bearing exercises – because building up muscle boosts the metabolism.  Instead of long runs – go for short bursts of intensity – which are shown to boost the metabolism (and saves lots of time too). But because sweating is way for the body to release toxins – consider saunas, hot yoga classes, and adding in those short bursts of intensity.
  8. Our soils are becoming more minerally depleted, and so is our food, and as a result – we are too.  Minerals are crucial for all cellular functions, including bone building and detoxification.  Soaking in salt baths help to draw out toxins, while the skin soaks up the beneficial magnesium and other minerals. Avoid the salt baths loaded down with fragrance and artificial colors – that just defeats the whole point. Go for fragrance free epsom salt, or I like Dead Sea Warehouseproducts – high quality & reasonably priced salt products from the Dead Sea.  Soak for 20 minutes or less, and drink plenty of water after salt baths.
  9. Digestion problems are rampant today – so giving the digestion a break with easy to digest foods like smoothies and soups is a great thing to do periodically. And another way to support the digestion is to take digestive enzymes, which help to break down our foods, probiotics – which boost our beneficial bacteria, and supplements like Triphala which balance the overall digestion.  Our gut affects our weight, mood, brain function, heart health, and so much more.
  10. Oil-pulling is an ancient detox practice which helps to draw and usher out toxins, and remove bacteria and yeasts from the mouth.  Swish a spoonful of oil around your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit it into the garbage (don’t swallow it – because it will have toxins in it).  Sesame oil is often used, but coconut oil is my favorite – because it has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. I like to use Skinny Coconut oil – which is a cold pressed alkaline coconut oil with peppermint oil in it!

Think about it this way – our metabolism is kind of like a computer – if we are eating a lot of processed foods, get dehydrated, relying on quick sugar fixes and caffeine, and under a lot of stress – it can cause our metabolic ‘processors’ (hormones) to misfire.  We can literally “reprogram” our metabolism and get it humming again with a well-designed cleanse.  When we clean up our diet and lifestyle – we feel cared for, our skin gets it’s glow back, and we can recharge our batteries.

The great thing about doing a Beaming cleanse – is they do the planning and prep for you – so you can focus on getting revitalized!

A Nutritionist, Author & Speaker, Sara Vance was overweight as a child, and suffered from a long list of chronic health issues for decades. Sara found the answers right at the end of her fork, and is passionate about teaching others to heal with foods. Her book The Perfect Metabolism Plan busts the diet myths, and details the 10 keys to an optimal metabolism. It also has over 50 delicious recipes and a plan to put it all into action to regain your energy and achieve your ideal weight.  A regular guest on local San Diego television stations for over 5 years, Sara also hosted The Metabolism Summit – an online event featuring 31 of the top experts on metabolism and health.  Sara loves to take her dog for hikes, create healthy recipes, spend time with her family, and practice yoga.