Thanksgiving: Sharing Sweetness With Cultural Harmony and Without the Sugar

Image result for image thanksgiving


In case you are wondering about the sample menus and supplement suggestions promised I will post them next week. This week I thought it appropriate to post a blog for Thanksgiving…  Three more days before the day of the turkey! I wish you all a wonderful holiday.

Bring back the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving Day. Just like many holidays, turkey day has evolved into an excuse to STUFF your face. The original celebration was much more meaningful than just sitting down to a dinner.

The first celebrated Thanksgiving Day in 1621 was a shared feast between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians.  The feast was a celebration of the bountiful harvest and what came to be a 50 year friendship between the two cultures. The Indians helped the pilgrims learn how to thrive in a land they were not equipped to survive; avoiding poisonous plants, harvesting corn and taking sap from trees.  Both groups contributed to the feast, the Indians brought deer and spices while the colonists contributed wild fowl,  vegetables (corn, lettuce, cabbage, onions, peas and carrots) and fruits (cranberries, blueberries, gooseberries, plums, grapes and raspberries).  Unlike our Thanksgiving celebrations of today, there was no pie because there was not enough sugar or any oven to bake it.

Who would have thought the original Thanksgiving would have been one that was low in sugar and carbs? Now sugar is certainly readily available and is a staple in most Thanksgiving recipes. If you want to make it more of a traditional Thanksgiving and cut back on the sugar and carbs, you may enjoy these recipes:

Today, there are not too many similarities and not much thought given in regards to the original feast and its roots.

It would be nice to keep this tradition and use Thanksgiving as a day to be thankful for what we have, no matter how much or how little; celebrate the cultural contributions, strengths and vitality from living in a country that is a “salad bowl” or melting pot,; and, paying it forward by helping others.

One of the most memorable Thanksgivings I have ever had was volunteering to make Thanksgiving a special event for seniors. A group of moms served the Thanksgiving meal and a school full of children helped out by providing the entertainment. We all (the kids, seniors and servers) had a great time. I blogged about it back in 2011,

I got just as much from participating in this event if not more than the attendees. Making someone happy,  seeing the smiles on the faces of the children (being acknowledged for the good job they did)  and the seniors (who were just so appreciative of everyone’s efforts) and knowing how meaningful small acts of kindness can be to another human being or even an animal is second to none. And I mean, no Thanksgiving meal or gift, can compare to the gift of giving, especially if you can give your time and see the impact it has on others.

Let’s not forget what Thanksgiving is all about, get intoxicated off the feeling of giving and receiving thanks. There are no calories, no guilt, no regrets. Let’s bring back the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday as a day of recognition for helping one another, working together as a society and then paying it forward.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and make it meaningful!

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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Optimize Nutrition for Kids & Sports


Continuing on topic from last week, excellent sports performance hinges on lifestyle and healthy behaviors that are consistent,;  not a quick change in routine a week, or so, before an event. Eat well and optimize nutrition daily.  

Convenience food and beverage marketing and fad dieting are alluring and can seem like the perfect fix. Yet both easily drain any athletic advantage as they do not provide the nutritional fuel necessary to even level the playing field much less bring the competitive edge as they might claim.

Balance calories with micronutrients, electrolytes, antioxidants and fluid because these will help maximize athletic performance and target the needs for active kids.

Key Micronutrients, Electrolytes and Antioxidants for Active Kids

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

  • Iron, carries oxygen to the cells for energy, the best absorbed form is red meat
  • B vitamins, create energy and are essential for growth and development, are involved in healthy looking skin and forming red blood cells
  • Vitamin C, is an antioxidant that helps prevent oxidation,  it supports iron absorption too
  • Zinc, contributes to growth, strong immune system, and healthy skin, hair, nails and eyes
  • Copper, helps in blood formation, and supports the absorption of iron too
  • Selenium, like vitamin C, protects against oxidation caused by high intensity exercise
Electrolyte balance depends on 3 minerals (sodium, potassium and chloride):

  • Sodium ( fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse )
  • Potassium (maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission)
  • Chloride (fluid and electrolyte balance, aids in digestion)
Bone strength and growth depends on (calcium, magnesium and phosphorus):

  • Calcium, helps form bones and teeth
  • Magnesium contributes to bone mineralization, protein building, muscular contraction and nerve impulse transmission
  • Phosphorus works to form cells, bones and teeth, maintains acid-base balance

Start with the basics:

  1. Water:  Although technically not a food, it is most important.
  2. Dairy (kefir, cheese, organic chocolate milk, 2% Greek yogurt): to replace electrolytes and keep bones strong and growing
  3. Fats from salted nuts/seeds/nut butters: for nutrient “cross coverage”, these foods contain protein, electrolytes and trace minerals that help all systems work better. Olives and avocados (guacamole) are fruits found in the fat group that also contribute valuable nutrients.
  4. Protein (hard-boiled eggs, chicken, sliced turkey or roast beef, nitrate-free turkey franks or hot dogs): for muscle repair and growth
  5. Fruits and vegetables (kiwi, cherries, cherry tomatoes, strawberry, orange, broccoli, peppers and avocado/guacamole): Most any low glycemic fruit or non-starchy vegetable works.

Focus on snacks that will sustain energy, provide nutrients to assist in growth, development, enhance sports performance and help prevent injury.

Simple Snacks

A few suggestions are listed below but the main consideration should be to provide a “mini” meal instead of poor nutritive and high calorie snacks like chips or granola bars. Snacks should be colorful, tasty and fun. Everyone can benefit from these snacks not just active kids. Eat well together.

  • Homemade trail mix: shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds and/or shelled pistachios or any nut of choice
  • Dark chocolate with a handful of almonds
  •  Cheese sticks with crackers or veggies
  • 1/2 a meat and vegetable stuffed sandwich
  • Plain 2% fat Greek yogurt with berries
  • Whey protein (unsweetened almond milk) peanut butter and chocolate shake 

Small changes in eating and drinking can make a big difference for EVERY child but especially for those who are active. Next week I’ll explore supplements and post some healthy nutrient dense sample menus.


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Posted by on November 12, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Fuel Active Kids With Nutrition Not Just Food

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Kids and sports, all kids should all be involved in some sort of activity: football, baseball, basketball, gymnastics, track, martial arts…being able to fuel activity is dependent on energizing the body.

Calories provide energy but the body depends on micronutrients (vitamins  and minerals) to assist in muscle movement and flexibility, bone strength, hydration and much more. When fueling your child think about calories as being the package for the gift. The gift being a sports advantage (reduced risk of injury, better working more efficient fuel system) through balanced nutrition not just calories.

There is no magic bullet when it comes to giving your child the competitive edge, but synergy amongst 5 key lifestyle habits will help make the difference. 

  1. Adequate hydration before, during and after work outs ( 20 oz. water 2.5 hours before exercise, 10 oz. 15 minutes before exercise, 8 oz. for every 15 minutes of physical activity and continue drinking water throughout the course of the day)
  2. Electrolyte balance**
  1. Adequate balance of energy intake & micronutrients**
  2. Anti-oxidant intake through eating a variety of fruits and vegetables  and basic supplementation**
  3. Sufficient sleep is needed for muscle repair, lack of sleep affects the hormones that are active in post work out muscle repair

** Key micronutrients, electrolytes and antioxidants for active kids vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Iron (carries oxygen to the cells for energy) best absorbed from red meat

B vitamins (create energy and are essential for growth and development, involved in healthy looking skin and forming red blood cells)

Vitamin C (antioxidant, also supports iron absorption)

Zinc (growth healthy immune system, and healthy skin, hair, nails and eyes)

Copper (supports the absorption of iron, helps in blood formation)

Selenium (protection from oxidation caused by due high intensity exercise)


  1. Eat a variety of foods to supply electrolytes, vitamins/minerals and antioxidants. Use common sense, know what you and your children are putting into your bodies. Do not fall for marketing strategies that hook you and draw you in.

Read labels. Look at the ingredient section to identify what kids are really eating.

  1. Don’t fall into the “fat trap”, active children need more calories . More calories do not mean milkshakes, French fries and pizza galore. Include healthy natural fat foods that add nutrient value to get a broad range of nutrients that will support good health and sports performance.

Healthy natural fats from nuts (coconut, peanuts, almonds…) and seeds (pumpkin, flaxseed, sunflower) avocado, olives or olive oil, fish, full fat diary etc…play important roles for hormone development, reduced inflammation. Skin, hair, nail, brain, nerves, hormones need these healthy fats.

  1. Rest, relaxation and sleep are critical elements to rejuvenate the muscles and hormones that need to work at peak performance during games and major events.

Spending time in a warm bath, creating time to read in bed at the end of the day, ensure sleep duration matches age appropriate recommendations are just a few things that support work-out recovery.

If you are interested in my top 5 nutrient picks for kids, snack and supplement ideas,  check in next week.

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Posted by on November 2, 2015 in active, eat right


Low Blood Sugar (LBS), Reactive Hypoglycemia (RH) Symptoms: Eat Right for Your Blood Sugar


Ever feel like you want to jump off a bridge? Just so confused and overwhelmed not sleeping and hopeless because your world seems impossible to handle. I have two words for you or anyone who may be trying to deal with someone whose MO (Modus operandi) fits the description/symptoms below.

Reactive hypoglycemia.

Reactive hypoglycemia is described as uncommon. I believe it is more common than most realize because like its sister blood sugar disorder, diabetes, most people do not know they have it. Integrative physician Keith DeOrio, M.D. insists that “Low blood sugar probably affects 50 percent of the U.S. population, if not more,” So, you are not alone.

Medical diagnosis is described,, as a blood glucose level below 70 mg/dL at the time of symptoms.  There are not many people who experience these symptoms and rush to the doctor to check their blood sugar. Who would think to that? You can try treating the symptoms with food and if food works, you can discuss this with your doctor.

When you speak with your doctor make sure you use the term Reactive hypoglycemia. According to The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, symptoms are either physical (due to epinephrine discharge or neurological/psychological (caused by neuroglycopenia)

The physical symptoms:


cold sweats,

blurred speech


poor coordination


lack of energy


blurred vision


tired all the time and/or not getting a good night’s sleep

aggressive behavior affect relationships at home, work and in social situations?

The psychological symptoms:



poor or recent change in grades or job performance due to difficulty thinking/remembering, might translate into being slower at math and of course affecting grades

inability to focus with similar symptoms as ADDD/ADHD

mood swings

panic attacks

depression: Do you think you are going crazy or have thoughts of suicide? You may not be, it may simply be low blood sugar.

I think it is also important to mention these suggestions from the book “The Do’s and Dont’s of Hypoglycemia” An Everyday Guide to Low Blood Sugar:

Don’t ignore lack of self-control, angry outbursts, hysteria, inability to handle changing or stressful situations. This applies to both adults and children.

Don’t assume that children’s junk food habits are something they will outgrow.

Don’t assume that children understand the importance of good dietary habits. They learn from what they see and hear from other family members.

Don’t put your child on any medication for behavior, particularly for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) without talking to a healthcare provider, evaluating their eating habits, checking for food allergies and food sensitivities.

Do review your child’s dietary habits before administration of any medication, especially Ritalin. Share your findings with his/her physician. Often a change in a high-sugar diet will eliminate the need for such hyperactivity medications or minimize the dosage required. A few weeks or months of trying a diet change first could save years of unnecessary medication.

“I grieve to think of all the children being misdiagnosed or medicated that are truly suffering from a blood sugar disorder. I personally believe that because America is addicted to carbohydrates and refined foods, there exists a huge mass of the population that suffers from intermittent or permanent blood sugar disorders. I encourage parents to modify their child’s diet as the first line of action to correcting any physical or behavioral problems they see in their children. It may not be the only answer, but will most certainly have a positive effect.” If you think you may know of a child who might benefit from this link,, please share it!


  • Eat frequently to maintain normal blood sugar levels (A normal fasting (no food for eight hours) blood sugar level is between 70 and 99 mg/dL) this will help avoid drops.
  • Avoid sugar in homemade and commercial prepared products and recipes, sweets, desserts, jelly/jam, canned products, beverages. This includes fruit juice and most fresh fruits such as raisins, bananas, grapes, tropical fruits. Fruits contain fruct”ose”, sugar. Some fruits may not create blood sugar tidal waves berries for example combines with real (non-sugar) whipped cream, cottage or hard cheese is unlikely to bring on hypoglycemic symptoms.
  • Avoid carbohydrates (100% of carbohydrates converts to sugar after ingested)even the “healthy” ones. Fat free yogurts, bread, rice, cereal, pasta, potato/yam, flour foods like: muffins, pancake waffle, starchy vegetables may trigger a reaction as well, carrots, corn peas.
  • Eat any protein, chicken/turkey, fish/shellfish, lamb, veal, pork, beef, eggs, sausage, peanut and other nut butters. Eat any non starchy vegetable; cooked, fresh, sauteed, baked, broiled, fried (in egg and coconut or nut flour)
  • ***Do not be afraid of cholesterol issues or weight gain. As you lower the sugar and carbs your body will handle food differently than it did with eating more carbs and sugar.
  • Unsweetened coconut, olives avocado are fruits that are good.
  • Dairy: cheese, Greek Yogurt (< 7 grams of carbs), kefir
  • Beverages: water, herbal flavored tea, Crystal Light, tomato juice, homemade protein shake or veggie smoothly, flavored seltzer

Following these suggestions will make you feel like a new person and bring back everything you thought you lost. Visit the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation website, , for more detailed information.

Your  doctor might think you are a hypochondriac because medical tests don’t show anything physically wrong with you but you are not crazy. You have reactive hypoglycemia.  Now you know, eat right for your blood sugar and feel good!

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Uncategorized


Low Blood Sugar (LBS) and Reactive Hypoglycemia (RH): A Technical Foul

Google hypoglycemia or low blood sugar and what do you find (my points are bulleted)?

  1. WebMD, “Hypoglycemia is commonly linked with diabetes. Many other conditions can cause low blood sugar in people who do not have diabetes.”
  • Hypoglycemia does not have to be linked to any other disease. It is its own disease and caused by abnormal insulin responses from the pancreas.
  1. Medical News Today, http.medicalnewstoday:// “The majority of people know when their blood sugar levels have dropped, and have time to do something about it.”
  • Not when you get symptoms and you have no idea what is happening to you.
  1. American Diabetes Association, Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, usually less than 70 mg/dl. However, it is important to talk to your health care provider about your individual blood glucose targets, and what level is too low for you.
  • Unless you are diagnosed and tested, how the heck would you know?!

Hypoglycemia may also be referred to as an insulin reaction or insulin shock.

  • True but there are other causes as well. Insulin injections or diabetes medications are many times discussed as THE cause without referring to other organic causes, such as RH.

Hypoglycemic symptoms are important clues that you have low blood glucose. Each person’s reaction to hypoglycemia is different, so it’s important that you learn your own signs and symptoms when your blood glucose is low.

  • True, but the “typical” symptoms (hungry, shaky, dizzy, weak, headache, irritability) are “typically” echoed; and an important message on identifying any other low blood sugar symptoms is missed.
  1. Joslin Diabetes Center :, low blood sugar treatment:
  • 4 ounces of fruit juice
  • 5-6 ounces (about 1/2 can) of regular soda such as Coke or Pepsi
  • 7-8 gummy or regular Life Savers
  • 1 Tbsp. of sugar or jelly
  • If you are not having an acute low blood sugar reaction, using this as a method of treatment will feel like you are knocking on deaths door.

These are what I call “technical fouls.” Technically they can be the right answers but if you suffer from hypoglycemia caused by anything other than diabetes medication, the foul is on you!

In order to get the information needed to help yourself, you must search reactive hypoglycemia. If you search the condition you have, low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, you are lost in the vast hypoglycemia shuffle because RH is camouflaged. There is no association on the low blood sugar pages that links hypoglycemia  with RH or groups it under the hypoglycemia umbrella. What YOU need to know about  LBS symptoms: how you feel and how to treat it is nowhere to be found unless you search reactive hypoglycemia.

My blog this week is dedicated to The Hypoglycemia Support Foundation, . The founder, Roberta Ruggiero (her personal journey and story is simply unbelievable, unimaginable and heart wrenching), is a “survivor” of RH and she has grown this foundation to help those who cannot find the answers of why they feel, how they feel and simple treatment solutions that are life changers.

What is important to understand is that you are not alone, you are not crazy and there is hope. Hope towards normalcy in life, hope because lifestyle strategies work and hope for a bigger, brighter, successful future!

Next week I will get into the specifics of Reactive Hypoglycemia: Symptoms and treatment.


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Blinding You With Inaccurate “Science”: The United States Dietary Guidelines

Image result for image dietary guidelines 2015

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),  are both responsible for publishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) every 5 years. Yes the USDA, a department of the government with a conflict of interest in promoting balanced nutritional information because  the USDA umbrella includes promoting food sales as well having its hand in writing the DG.

The DG committee meets this month and it has been criticized for cherry picking the research it uses to make nutrition recommendations. Why is this so important?

Well we the public feel we can trust the government (not the food companies) to provide us,  Americans years of age and older, with truthful information.  Especially because the DG committee claims to provide evidence-based food and beverage recommendations. They are not, in fact over 29,000 consumers have submitted comments with their concerns.

The reach of the DG goes deeper than just the public, these guides set forth by the government are used as a basis for federal nutrition policy and programs; helping guide local, state, and national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives; and influencing the food industry. Public health agencies, health care providers, and educational institutions use the DG and its message for educational purposes as well.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published its concerns in September, citing failure by the committee ” to reflect much relevant scientific literature in its reviews of crucial topics and therefore risks of giving a misleading picture. The omissions seem to suggest a reluctance by the committee behind the report to consider any evidence that contradicts the last 35 years of nutritional advice,”

The N.Y. Times back in February,, says that, “Uncertain science should no longer guide our nutrition policy.” I agree. Nina Tiecholz author of the BMJ piece (above) and Dr. Edward H. Ahrens Jr. (a top specialist at Rockefeller University and prominent critic of the DG) were both interviewed and provide The Times with real information that makes sense.  Here are a few highlights from the article but I encourage you to read this so that you understand that in the end, no matter what, you must be an educated consumer for your own health.

  • “It’s not that health authorities weren’t warned. They are not acting on the basis of scientific evidence, but on the basis of a plausible but untested idea.”
  • “Since the very first nutritional guidelines to restrict saturated fat and cholesterol were released by the American Heart Association in 1961, Americans have been the subjects of a vast, uncontrolled diet experiment with disastrous consequences.”
  • “We have to start looking more skeptically at epidemiological studies and rethinking nutrition policy from the ground up. Until then, we would be wise to return to what worked better for previous generations: a diet that included fewer grains, less sugar and more animal foods like meat, full-fat dairy and eggs. That would be a decent start.”

According to, ” Saving U.S. dietary advice from conflicts of interest” written by J Herman and published in Food Drug Law J. 2010;65(2):285-316, ii.,, there are two suggestions for congress that are reasonable and would help improve the integrity of the DG .

They are:

  1. Authority to create dietary advice should not be given to the USDA but solely to an appropriate health agency,
  2. Prohibit individuals with ties to the food and drug industries from serving on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, as current ethical standards ignore the influence of past ties, and they are far too specific to address different forms of conflicts.

This month Congress will review the DG and make a final decision for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAC) to be released by the end of the year. I am not optimistic that there will be unprecedented changes. If you want to get involved and let the government know you want unbiased DG, you can sign this petition,

Changes to the DG or not, do not be blinded with inaccurate science or old news. You know how certain foods make you feel, you now know more about the dietary guidelines and how they are derived. Be smart. Don’t be blind sided. Use good information, be an educated health advocate for yourself and find a supportive health care team that works for you.


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Why Eat Fat? 15 Undeniable Reasons


I am sure you have all heard the reasons as to why you should not eat fat. So I have gathered information and am providing reasons why you should eat fat, and saturated fat at that.

For those who manage eating between 5-20% of calories from healthy veggie, cheese, fruit (avocado)…carbs, eating fat will help catapult anti-aging (via the limitation of advanced gylcated end-products), lower heart disease risk, annihilate diabetes and its complications as well as balance any blood sugar or  hormone issue and burn fat faster. If you elect to eat a lot of carbs for example 60-80% calories as carbs, you should minimize fat and may want to reconsider.

Fat nourishes the body and optimizes many body functions. The benefits of eating healthy natural fats from meat, nuts/seeds, butter, olives etc… include assisting cells, organs, hormones and body systems.

Here’s a quick list of 14 health reasons to eat fat:

  1. The Brain– Fats compose 60% of the brain and are essential to brain function, including learning abilities, memory retention and moods. Fats are especially important for pregnant women, since they are integral to fetal brain development.
  2. Cells– Fatty acids help your cells stay flexible and are responsible for building cell membranes.
  3. The Heart– 60% of your heart’s energy comes from burning fats. Specific fats are also used to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
  4. Nerves– Fats compose the material that insulates and protects the nerves, isolating electrical impulses and helping to send communication signals.
  5. Lungs– Lung surfactant, which requires a high concentration of saturated fats, enables the lungs to work and keeps them from collapsing.
  6. The Eyes– Fat soluble vitamins are essential to eye function.
  7. Digestion– Fats in a meal slow down the digestion process so the body has more time to absorb nutrients.
  8. Organs– Fats cushion and protect all your internal organs.
  9. Immune System– Fats can aid in reducing inflammation so the immune system remains healthy and functions.
  10. The skin- daily fat consumption can help keep skin moist and prevent wrinkles.
  11. Sex and steroid hormones- are manufactured from fat.
  12. Metabolic hormones-fat will not trigger the release of insulin or counter-regulatory hormonal backlash like carbohydrates and therefore can also help give relief to over- worked organs like the pancreas or liver when large amounts of carbs are consumed.
  13. Satiety-fats keep you full longer by providing a constant level of energy, no need to be hungry.
  14. Fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K)- absorption cannot happen or may be limited without fat:
  • Vitamin A keeps your eyes and skin  healthy
  • Vitamin D works to strengthen the immune system, helps in muscle function and involved in strengthening bones
  • Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals
  • Vitamin K is involved in blood clotting

The health benefits are undeniable but you cannot ignore the fact that taste (reason #15)  is another important reason to eat fat; sautéed veggies, a rib-eye steak, coconut or the taste of lobster dipped in real butter are reasons enough to eat fat. The other 14 health reasons mentioned above might just be considered an added bonus.

Why eat fat? Because it is healthy and tastes good, why else?


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