Whole Life Detox Group Coaching Program

Spring is the perfect time to Detox!

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Healing Arthritis

Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally

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30-Day HealMyGut Program

Your gateway to feeling well again! End digestive symptoms, repair the immune system, reduce inflammation.

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Protecting Your Skin from the Inside Out

It’s no secret that the summer sun takes a toll on our skin. Of course, it’s important to wear sunscreen, protect your skin and eyes, take cooler showers, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (a little more on that later!).

But did you know that what you put on your plate is as important as what you put on your skin?

In fact, your food choices affects your skin at the cellular level, and since skin is your largest organ, you want to pay close attention to the foods you eat to support and protect your skin.

Here are some of our favorite summer foods to help protect your skin and give you a healthy glow:

Blackberries, Blueberries and Strawberries  — Packed with antioxidants, researchers¹ have found these three fruits in particular protect the skin from free-radicals that damage skin cells. Berries have the added benefit of being a superfood and, in fact, help with weight loss and sugar cravings.

Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel — Omega-3 Fatty Acids are one of the keys to healthy skin. Our bodies do not produce these “essential fatty acids” — we only get them from the foods we eat. Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes, which hold in water. The stronger the barrier, the better your cell walls will hold moisture — resulting in, yes, hydrated, plumper, and younger-looking skin.

Avocado — Avocados are full of healthy fat, vitamins C and A. Add them to just about anything — they enhance your complexion and fight aging skin. Pass the guacamole please!

Spinach, Kale, (as well as all dark leafy veggies), Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Cantaloupe — Yes, the dark leafy veggies and the orange veggies and fruits are loaded with beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. These powerful antioxidants improve skin color, reduce wrinkles and other signs of aging — particularly damage by the sun, pollution and smoking.

Eggs and Tuna — Some people’s bodies have a hard time converting beta carotene into vitamin A. Get some of your vitamin A directly from the source with eggs and tuna. (Tip: Be sure to buy skipjack tuna as albacore and regular tuna tend to be high in mercury.)

Bell Pepper, Papaya, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Strawberries, Pineapple, Oranges, Kiwi, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Dark Leafy Greens — These are the fruits and vegetables that contain the highest levels of vitamin C. Usually equated with cold relief, vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen, a protein that provides the framework for our skin and gives it elasticity and strength.

Watermelon and Tomatoes — These fruits are two of the best sources of the anti-aging antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene, the phytochemical that makes tomatoes watermelon and tomatoes red, helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays. (Tip: Your body best absorbs lycopene when tomatoes are cooked.)

Sesame seeds — These tiny powerhouses are chock full of good stuff for the skin. They have a high concentration of copper, a trace mineral with anti-inflammatory properties, and a necessary component of collagen production. They also pack in zinc, another essential mineral for producing collagen, and selenium, an antioxidant mineral that helps protect the skin from sun damage and maintain firmness and elasticity.

And last but not least ….

Water, water and more water — About 60% of your body is made up of water so it makes sense that water would play an important role in your body’s function. Think about a houseplant … what happens when you don’t give it enough water? The leaves start to droop, and ultimately without proper hydration they start to discolor and dry up. Same with our skin and as the largest organ in our body it needs water — anywhere between 4-10 cups, depending on your climate, activity level and what works best for you.

You can also get an extra dose of antioxidants with our Multivitamin with Antioxidants. This is a great way to combat the toll of summer fun — protect your skin with antioxidants and fill in the nutritional gaps left from typical summer eating!  Get it Now

 

 

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters.

 

 

Resources:

 

  1. Huang W, Zhang H, Liu W, et al. Survey of antioxidant capacity and phenolic composition of blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry in Nanjing. Journal of Zhejiang University. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3274736/.
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Viewing Depression Through a New Lens

Many people accept depression as natural or even earned.  But everyone deserves full access to their rich potential, which is why treating depression first starts with acknowledgement. Once acknowledged, the next step is searching out proper care for ailing self and loved ones.  

Careful diagnostics are necessary to identify the specific type of depression and what factors underlie it. Diagnosis drives treatment. We need root cause insight into why one is depressed.  Then a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan can be developed regardless of the cause, because there is always something constructive to be done to help.

In the case of major depression, medical assessment, psychodynamic interview, exploration of mental health history, detailed psychiatric categorization combine to reveal sophisticated diagnostic conclusions. A thorough workup is productive. And a comprehensive treatment plan maximizes the likelihood for an optimal outcome.  

Orthodox, functional and holistic medical interventions often make a huge difference. Direct manipulation of brain chemistry by medicines – natural or synthetic – or nutraceutical, can be profound.  Various psychotherapeutic interventions can bring sizeable reward. A major facet of an inclusive strategy for managing depression is self-help and the nurturing of self-perception that emphasizes patient empowerment and health over passivity, powerlessness/lawlessness, and sick role. Healthy lifestyle also plays a key part in supporting optimal mental health. And an enriching doctor-patient relationship is a virtual prerequisite to push patient health forward.

Many Depressions, Many Treatments

There is depression like, “These hapless New York Knicks depress me.”  And there is depression like “I am ill, with overall dysfunction, and with loss of interest in things.”  This kind of depression can come wIth sadness, plus helplessness and worthlessness, with lethargy and apathy.  It can even come with changes in eating and sleeping or with suicidal thinking. Same word, two very different entities.  Different causes.

Depression can have many different root causes.  Once we determine the root cause, the treatment can be targeted and personalized.  Underlying causes include:

  • Bipolar disorder  
  • Various metabolic, neurological, immunological inflammatory and infectious diseases cause depression.  
  • Substance abuse is a prime culprit for depressive outcomes.
  • Traumas, catastrophes and maladaptations will fuel depressive reactions.
  • Environmental and interpersonal “toxins” feed depression.  
  • Certain Psychodynamic and personality features tilt one towards mood problems.  
  • A biochemical predisposition to depression  will result in episodic, seasonal, and chronic depressive states.  

Here’s the Great News: Depression Can Be Reversed

Sufferers with major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder (chronic depression) alone represent the second most costly disease on the planet Earth and includes roughly one in seven of us! All forms of depression ruin lives and can be reversed. Major depression alone is devastating illness but it is amenable to improvement.  Nothing works better than a comprehensive, integrative, game plan. Let’s make one for you.

 

Dr. Stephan J. Quentzel, MD, MA, is an Integrative Psychiatrist at Blum Center for Health.  In his practice, Dr. Quentzel sees teenagers and adults for the widest of psychiatric concerns. He integrates brain sciences and psychiatry with general medicine, psychopharmacology, psychology, philosophy, ecology, psychotherapies, preventive medicine, herbal pharmacotherapy and nutritional studies, self-help, lifestyle improvements,  and the healing strength of compassion,  all in pursuit of optimal broad health and happiness for each client, specific to their unique needs and interests.  Man an appointment with Dr. Quentzel at 914-652-7800.

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Can Food Be Making You Sick?

It seems that no matter what the event these days, there is food criteria to attend to. From your child’s school, to the local restaurant, to friends and family, food sensitivities are knocking on your door. Food sensitivities effect so many people that they can’t be ignored.

The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reports, “allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion…50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year”.  According to FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education, food allergy facts and statistics in the United States, there are “more than 170 foods that have been reported to cause reactions in the U.S.”.

PUT A CHECK IN EACH BOX BELOW THAT APPLIES TO YOU:

◊  Depression and/or mood changes

◊ Anxiety

◊ Muscle aches or joint pain

◊ Nasal congestion

 ◊ Constipation and/or diarrhea

 ◊ Acid reflux/indigestion

 ◊ Bloating or gas

 ◊ Dark circles or bags under your eyes

◊  Headaches

 ◊ Rashes or skin dryness/itchiness

 ◊ Fatigue

 ◊ Unintentional weight gain

Did you check one or more of the symptom boxes above?

You could be suffering from food sensitivities.

ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM FOOD INDUCED INFLAMMATION?

Do you feel like your weight fluctuates or you just can not get rid of the those unwanted pounds. Do you feel like you have done it all and you just can’t lose the weight? This can be truly frustrating indeed!

Food sensitives cause inflammation in the body. This Inflammation increases our risk of developing disease, ultimately obesity.

Although we hear food allergies and food sensitivities interchangeably, they do differ. How do we know which one we are suffering from?

There two types of food mediated reactions, immune mediated and non-immune mediated

Immune Mediated:

  • Food Allergies

Non-immune mediated:

  • Food Sensitivities
  • Food Intolerances

Food allergies are known as IgE, immunoglobulin E, mediated type 1 hypersensitivity reactions and are generally immediate in response. These bodily reactions can range in severe such as hives to more critical in response such as anaphylaxis and can be fatal. Some of the most common allergy foods include tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish and shellfish, milk, gluten, and soy. Foods that we are allergic to must be avoided and can not even be consumed in even small quantities.

Food intolerances are non-immune related and are a result of a metabolic reactions such as a lack of an enzyme to digest the foods such as lactase. When this happens, they are considered intolerant and will no longer be able to digest dairy foods.

Food sensitivities are delayed in onset, up to 72 hours or more, and are non-immune mediated reactions and are a result of an ingested food. Food sensitivities maybe present as any of the following conditions:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • GERD
  • Irritable bowel disease/diarrhea/constipation
  • Migraines
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Arthritis
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Eczema

Food sensitivities can be the body’s response to a chemical naturally occurring in a food such as solanine, histamine, and salicylates. These reactions many times are dose related and sometimes can be consumed in small amounts but when a threshold is reached, a reaction occurs. Each person’s threshold will be different and some people may need to remove this these foods from their diet to become asymptomatic.

4 COMMON CAUSES FOR FOOD SENSITIVITIES 

  • Leaky gut! When our intestinal barriers break down from bad bacteria, parasites or infections passing through, this is considered leaky gut. When this happens, our immune system becomes compromised and food particles can enter the circularity system and create systemic inflammation. Sometimes these foods that cause our body havoc and can be difficult to assess because these reactions are often delayed. Food sensitivity testing can be done to help us get a baseline for what these foods may be. Elimination diets are implemented to remove those foods for generally 6-8 weeks to essentially calm or better yet reduce the inflammatory response.
  • Chronic antibiotic use. The use of antibiotics sometimes can’t be avoided, but this can compromise the immune system. Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria it was intended to but also do a number on the good bacteria that keep the ecosystem in balance.
  • Chronic stress and toxic exposure. Every day we breath in air, drink water, and eat food that have chemicals and pesticides that our liver has to work overtime to filter out. This insult can result in toxic overload causing us to feel fatigue and run down. This can impact our immune systems negatively making our bodies even more susceptible to food sensitivities.
  • Too much of one food. Ever think about how many times you eat the same food in one day? Let’s look at a scenario that can be commonly seen in many diets.

EGGS! Breakfast time, you eat 2 eggs over easy over paleo bread (made with egg whites) and butter with a piece of fruit. Lunch time, Chicken cranberry walnut salad made with mayonnaise (this contains egg), over bib lettuce. Snack: RX bar (contains egg). Dinner meal consists of veal parmesan (breaded and dipped in egg) with green beans. Sometimes we can eat a particular food in a small quantity but when we are exposed to it multiple times in one day we can hit our threshold. In this case, it would have been 5 times in one day!

CAN DIET REALLY MAKE AN IMPACT ON OUR HEALTH AND SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT OUR DAY TO DAY SYMPTOMS?

Yes, changing your diet can be life altering!

5 COMMON FOOD SENSITIVITIES FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  • Histamines. The most common symptoms of histamine sensitivity include itching and headaches. Foods to consider reducing or eliminating from your diet plan include aged cheese and meats, citrus, spinach, bananas, and fermented foods and many spices too!
  • Solanine. A common symptom of solanine sensitivity is muscle and joint pain. I find that this is one of the hardest groups to decrease because it contains tomatoes and potatoes, in other words, tomato sauce and french fries!! Other solanine rich foods include eggplant, goji berries, and peppers.
  • Sulfites. Common symptoms of sulfite sensitivity include difficulty breathing or wheezing, loose stool or trouble swallowing. Sulfites can be found naturally in food or added as a preservative. Foods that contain sulfites include dried fruits, shellfish and crustaceans, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage Brussels sprouts, premade packaged foods such as instant potatoes and doughs, and malt beverages and wines.
  • Soy. Soy sensitivity can manifest itself in different ways in each person. Some symptom may include flushing, lip swelling, loose stool or abdominal cramping. Soy is found soybeans, bean curd, edamame, miso, natto, soy sauce, soy milk, many vegan products and additives such as TVP (textured vegetable protein).
  • Gluten. Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity may include brain fog, rash, loose stool, and bloating. Gluten can be found in breads, cereals, premade packaged foods, veggie burgers, breaded meats and meatballs, malted products, make ups and

Rather than guessing what these offending foods are, we can get this information from food sensitivity testing.

The FIT test (Food Inflammation Test) measures 132 foods, colorings and additives that can result in delayed food sensitivity. The FIT test is unique in that it measures IgG antibodies along with complement that is produced from immune complexes as a result of food that crosses through the intestinal lining. It is also a great way to understand if you have a leaky gut and if it’s causing food sensitivities.  Learn more here.

As a Nutritionist, I knew a lot about food but removing my food sensitivities was a true eye opener for me and one of the largest positive impacts I made on my health and well-being.

 

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

 

 

 

 

 

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One of Our Favorite Detox Recipes

In cultures all over the world the advent of Spring signals rebirth — the grass and trees turns green, a burst of color transform the landscape and the earth starts to give us Spring produce. Hooray!

It also signals Spring cleaning — our homes and our bodies. Here at the Blum Center we are all about detoxing our bodies in Spring to rid ourselves of the Winter heaviness, and to reduce the toxic load we carry from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath — not to mention all the chemicals used in our homes and in our cosmetics. It’s cathartic and a powerful way to celebrate the reemergence of life, and longer, warmer days.

In fact, you can join us to Detox! Our 14-Day Whole Life Group Coaching Program begins Wednesday, May 30th at 8pm. Sign Up Now

In the meantime, try out this delicious and easy detox recipe developed by Blum Center Executive Chef Amy Bach. We love using both red and yellow beets — it adds such beautiful color to the dish.

Roasted Beet, Walnut & Baby Kale Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized red and/or yellow beets, quartered  
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil  
  • 8 cups organic baby kale OR one plastic pre-packaged container (a baby kale and greens blend is fine). Bonus: for those short on time the prepared blend are usually pre-washed!
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees  
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine prepared beets, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Place on a cookie sheet and place in preheated oven.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until beets are fork tender. Remove beets from cookie sheet and let cool.
  4. Toast walnuts on another cookie sheet in the same oven for 7 minutes. Remove and let cool.
  5. While the beets and walnuts are cooling, prepare the Apple Cider Vinaigrette, below
  6. Place salad greens in large bowl, top with beets, and dress with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, to taste.
  7. Enjoy!

Apple cider vinaigrette:

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve over your favorite salad.

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters.

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Gluten Free Banana Oat Muffins

If you’re on an elimination diet, these delicious muffins are great for breakfast or an easy on-the-go snack!  I tested these muffins at home and the whole family enjoyed them – no one knew the gluten, egg, or dairy was missing!
If you make these, let me know how they came out.  ENJOY!

Banana Oat Muffins:  Gluten free, Dairy free, Egg Free

Ingredients:

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

3 tbsp water

¼ cup almond butter

2 ripe medium bananas

2 tbsp raw honey

¾ cup gluten free rolled oats

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp ground cinnamon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With an oil spray, grease a 9 cup muffin tin.

In a small bowl, mix flaxseed and water and set aside.

Add remaining ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Add flaxseed mixture until combined.

Pour batter into each muffin pan equally, about 2/3 full to each cup.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes and cool before removing from the muffin tin.

 

Yields: 9 muffins

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

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How to Help Your Immune System Perform at its Best

The body is indeed your castle – and your immune system is the army of warriors that is here to protect you from invaders.  The word “immune” derives from the Latin word immunis, which means “free” or “untouched”, and the immune system attempts to do just that – keep the body free from harmful influences, bacteria, viruses, and from the body’s own predators – cancer cells.

According to the National Institute of Health, the 3 main tasks of the immune system are to:

  • “Neutralize pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi that have entered the body, and remove them from the body
  • Recognize and neutralize harmful substances from the environment
  • Fight against the body’s own cells that have changed due to an illness, for example cancerous cells”1

This may seem like a simple task – recognize invaders and eliminate them. But doing so requires an intricate set of interactions, so many that the immune system has been called the most complex organ in the body.

The proper functioning of the system is essential to every organ system.  At each step along the way, there is the potential for the process to go awry and for the body to either not mount an adequate response, or to mount too much of one.  There is also the situation where cells either go inappropriately on high alert and begin to attack for unusual reasons, or to attack self. This can lead to autoimmunity – the mistaken recognition of self as non-self.

As health care professionals, we are continually learning more about the intricacies of how the immune system works, why it works, and how best to keep it running properly.  Here’s a simple version of it:

A “non-self” substance comes into contact with the body. These substances are called antigens. Some of the proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and foods for example, serve as antigens. These antigens bind to special receptors on the body’s defense cells, and a series of cell processes begin.

The older part of the immune system (aka innate) makes a choice – is this a friend or a foe?

If it’s thought of as a friend, there are signals that allow the antigen to pass through and not be attacked – as in foods that you are NOT allergic to. If the antigen is perceived as a foe, as in the flu virus, there is a different set of signals that the body utilizes to call in cells to attack and contain the threat.

Ultimately, once that decision is made and executed, the newer or “adaptive” immune system stores information about the enemy. This stored information allows for faster decision-making the next time such an enemy presents. Thus defenses can be mobilized more swiftly.

As long as our body’s immune system is running smoothly, we do not notice it. And yet, it is constantly performing its surveillance. Illness can occur if the system is compromised, if the pathogen is especially aggressive, or sometimes if the body is confronted with a pathogen it has not come into contact with before.

The signals we send the immune system, the way we treat it daily, nurture it when we are sick, and even the amount of stress we experience, all impact its functioning.

Often patients come in and tell me that “their immune system is weak.” They believe this because they have frequent infections, lots of allergies, or simply because when they do become ill, they are not instantly better with an antibiotic.

But, the immune system does not have to run full throttle all the time. It is the balance in the immune system that is most important – for it to be robust when necessary and to stand down when it is not. There is an inherent intelligence to the immune system that knows what to do. Our job, as its caretaker, is to provide the environment in which it can do just that.                      

The Immune System Best Practices

So what are best practices that we should institute on a regular basis to keep immunity functioning best?

Many of them are as simple as a good diet, adequate rest and having healthy resources for keeping stress at bay. The same adages of less sugar, eating an array of fruits and vegetables, and establishing a daily time to be in contemplation, hold true here as they do for every organ in the body. Some interventions specifically directed at the immune system that have proven benefits are:

4 Additional Ways To Support Your Immune System

Vitamins: D, A, B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid) and C – have been shown to have a beneficial immune impact in studies both in animals and humans. The same is true for the micronutrients: zinc, selenium, iron, copper. Adequate amounts of these in the diet are important for warding off infections and keeping immune function in balance. Vitamin D levels, in particular, contribute to fewer infections in winter months. A large study performed on nursing home residents showed that even low normal levels of D were associated with higher rates of infection. I recommend either monitoring your blood levels of D, or routinely supplementing during the cooler months of the year

Probiotics – our latest superhero of the immune system, good bacteria are helpful in so many of the processes that keep the body running well.  In the gut, where the majority of the immune system resides, these bacteria present antigens to the innate immune system – signaling whether they are friend or foe. Specific strains, such as lactobacillus rhamnosis and reuteri have been shown to lower the frequency of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections in children. Here’s the Probiotic we use at the Blum Center.

Adequate sleep – The body counts on 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, and while you rest, many active processes are going on to restore resources depleted during the day. Studies have shown that less than this amount of sleep reduces the number of natural killer cells – a part of the immune system that is critical for eliminating invaders

Stress – it is a well-known fact that stressful lifestyles can contribute to an imbalanced immune system. Caregivers of the chronically ill, for example have higher rates of cancer and other illnesses.

 

Live in the Neighborhood?  Dive deeper into the immune system with Dr. Gereau at her free community talk, “How Does the Immune System Work?” on May 18th at 7pm.  Sign up here.  

Can’t come to Dr. Gereau’s talk? Check out Dr. Blum’s bestselling book, The Immune System Recovery Plan. It features her 4-step program that includes using food as medicine, understanding the stress connection, healing the gut and optimizing liver function. Learn More

Meet Dr. Gereau: Sezelle Gereau, MD, is an integrative ENT/Allergist with more than 20 years of experience. She uses an integrative and functional medicine approach to conditions such as sleep apnea, headaches, allergies and chronic sinusitis.  

Resources
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072548/
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{Recipe} Alkaline Green Smoothie

One of the ways I suggest to refresh your body for spring is to start the day with an alkaline green smoothie.  Not only do you get an abundance of vitamins and nutrients from the fresh kale and spinach, it also helps with digestion.

Every spring I pull out my Alkaline Green Smoothie recipe to jumpstart morning and help set healthy habits for the rest of the day.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

Alkaline Green Smoothie

Ingredients: 

2 cup fresh kale and spinach mix

½ cucumber

½ green apple (with skin)

1 celery stick

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon

½ tbsp fresh parsley, minced

1 tbsp ground flax seed

16 ounces filtered water

Directions: 

Blend all ingredients in a blender and serve!

 

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

 

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10 Steps To Refresh Your Body For Spring

Spring is here, a perfect time to refresh! This is the time when we give our body the nourishment it needs to support its innate ability to regenerate and thrive!

Feeling any of the following symptoms: sluggish, lack of clarity, chronic headaches, poor sleep, constipation, undesired weight gain?  If you do, your body is yelling out to you…it’s time to refresh!

On a day-to-day basis we encounter an overload from unhealthy exposures such as:

  • chemicals in the air
  • mercury in fish
  • medications and bacteria in the water supply
  • pesticides in food
  • even plastics from water bottles

Our liver and kidneys do a great job to filter these exposures but sometimes this load can cause strain on these organs.

What happens if our bodies become overburdened with toxins? Our immune systems become compromised because our liver is using up our glutathione supply, not to mention many other nutrients, to filter these toxins out. Glutathione is a powerful detoxifying antioxidant necessary to prevent damage to our cells.

When our immune system is not functioning optimally we get run down and become susceptible to infections and are at risk for developing disease. Plus, our fat cells do a great job of storing toxins resulting in excess weight. In fact, this is why we at Blum Center for Health detox every Spring. → Join Dr. Blum’s FREE Detox Masterclass

So how about you? It’s time to refresh, and give your body a boost!

First, 5 things to avoid when flushing your liver and kidneys:

Ø  AVOID prolonged detox programs that require severe calorie restrictions, < 500 calories a day, or 3 days or more. A starvation plan like this will deplete your nutrients instead of supporting your detox pathways. It will also put you at risk of dehydration, headaches and fatigue. Ultimately this puts the body in stress mode rather than reboot and go!

Ø  AVOID energy drinks with sugars and excessive caffeine, as well as “detox” drinks containing additives, color dyes and sugar sweeteners. We can’t refresh when we are adding more toxic substances.

Ø  AVOID diet plans that ask you to eat one food all day for many days such as the watermelon fast. I think the jury is out on this one! This type of diet promotes macronutrient deficiencies, calorie deficit, hormonal imbalance and more!

Ø  AVOID laxatives and colonics without adequate mineral and electrolyte replenishment or good flora to support your immune system. These types of procedures may be considered somewhat of an extreme way to detox and can be better achieved through a whole foods diet plan. Besides, colonics are not fun by any means and often result in nausea and abdominal pain.

Ø  AVOID any detox type diets for children and teenagers who are growing and require many calories and nutrients. Healthier ways of refreshing their bodies can be found in a simple elimination diets that only requires them to omit common allergens as well as sugars, additivities and color dyes.

Most  importantly,  you must know i how to cleanse and refresh your body, promote nourishment and gut healing.

10 Steps to Refresh Your Body for Spring:

1)Eat only whole foods, avoiding food that is highly processed, void of essential nutrients and generally full of unwanted additives and chemicals. The Spring is here! Look for fresh produce at local farmers markets where food was recently harvested containing more nutrients and taste delicious! See localharvest.org to find one near you!

2) Remove sugar from your diet. One of the most important things you can do for your health is to stop eating sugar. Sugar in all forms can be toxic for the body putting you at risk for fatty liver, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Stick with natural sugars found in fresh fruits or other whole foods such as raw honey or pure maple syrup added in small quantities to a recipe.

3) Pay attention to your body and how it feels after eating certain foods. Consider a 3-week elimination diet from common allergens and/or inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, alcohol. Each person responds differently to foods and not all foods that are consider “healthy” are right YOUR body. For some, an additional benefit can be seen from removing nuts, shellfish and nightshade vegetables that sometimes serve as inflammatory foods in the body. Reintroduce these foods one at a time every 2 to 3 days and take note to symptoms, if any after consuming the. Looking for a medically supervised elimination diet, come in for a nutrition consultation! We will take you every step of the way.

4) Eat an abundance of vegetables in your diet each day including a variety of sulfur-rich sources such as cruciferous vegetables. Best picks for the Spring include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, garlic, onions, and Swiss chard. My favorite is Bok Choy. Sulfur is an essential mineral that supports methylation and transsulfuration, optimizing the liver’s detoxification system.

If you cannot tolerate the sulfur in these vegetables, you’re not alone. Some people have genomic dispositions that affect these metabolic pathways. Add at least one serving day of sulfur-containing vegetables along with a vitamin known as molybdenum. Include a variety of vegetables and fibrous fruits such as berries to provide beneficial fiber, an important part of the elimination of excess waste in the body.

5) Hydrate! Drinking adequate water ensures good filtration of the kidneys, digestion, and bowel regularity. Eliminating waste in the body is vital to preventing toxic overload in the body. As a general rule, drink half your body weight (in pounds) as ounces. When exercising and in the warmer months, add more! Add fresh lemon and receive even more benefits for your liver. Consider a good water filtration system that uses a carbon filter.

6) Purge your home from harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants. Dump the harsh chemical cleaners and opt for a simple but effective solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Be aware of harmful substances in your cosmetics and toiletries such as oxybenzone, parabens, and phthalates. Add an air purifier and/or a green plant.

7) Make time to unwind. Making time to rest in today’s fast pace world we often need to be reminded to do. Incorporate some kind of stress reduction modality each day whether it be a massage, a hot bath or reading a book of interest. Get closer to the earth with a walk-through nature or earthing (sinking your feet into the sand). Find THAT THING that relaxes you and plan to make it part of your day because it will be the best part by far!

8) Consider intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is generally considered a time period of caloric restriction such as 14-16 hours a day. When we “fast” it gives our body time to digest and ultimately deplete our glycogen stores (stored liver glucose). When this happens, our body looks for another source of energy to function in which it then uses our fat stores via a system known as B-oxidation. This energy source is known as ketones. This state results in the generation of new mitochondria, reduced insulin resistance and weight loss,2. As many positives as there may be with including some period of fasting in your diet, there can be some risks for some medical conditions. Talk with your Practitioner when considering fasting as well as what kind of fasting is the best fit for you.

9) Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Studies will confirm that a lack of sleep correlates with a lack of concentration, weight gain, poor eating habits, as well as puts stress on your immune system. The best way to make sure you include adequate sleep each day is to plan it. Set a bedtime each day by shutting your electronics off at a certain hour while setting up a bedtime routine to help you unwind at the end of the day. Shoot for a minimum of 7-9 hours a night.

10) Be positive! Ever spend time around someone who’s energy is addictive? If you ask me, being pessimistic is nonproductive. Saying something nice to someone will not only make that person happy but in return reward you at the same time!

Other refreshing rituals that can be adapted include, meditation, dry brushing, infrared saunas and gentle movement such as restorative yoga, stretching and rebounding.                        

Look to refresh at least 2 times a year or more. Start each day with an alkaline green smoothie. Plan for a casual hike and a calming magnesium bath before bed. However you choose to set up this day, remember you deserve it and your body will thank you.

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

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{Recipe} Bok Choy Sautee

In the Spring, the land once again becomes fertile and the earth is wanting to feed us with fresh, crisp, and alive food to give us a boost of energy from the long, dark, and cold winter days. An abundance of lighter vibrant vegetables should now be included in your diet each day along with a variety of sulfur-rich sources such as cruciferous vegetables, which are great for detoxing during the spring months.  The best picks for the spring include cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, garlic, onions, and Swiss chard. My favorite is Bok Choy.  Here’s an easy to re-create recipe with nutrients and flavor abound!

Bok Choy Sauté

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh bok choy, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tbsp sesame oil

1 ½ tbsp coconut aminos

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and Bok Choy stems, sauté until tender. Add Bok Choy greens and coconut aminos and continue to cook on low until wilted but not mushy. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health.  She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse.  Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.

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Dr. Jay Lombard: Wire Your Brain for Optimal Health

We sat down with Blum Center for Health’s Internationally-acclaimed Neurologist, Dr. Jay Lombard, to discuss how we can improve our brain health.

Question: What is most overlooked when it comes to brain health?

Dr. Lombard: Connectivity! How the biological, emotional and sociological functions of the brain are connected is fundamental to the health of both the body and the brain. We need to help all the circuitry work better!

Let’s take Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an example. From a biological perspective – PTSD is a psychiatric disorder of disconnected pathways in the brain that are not functioning harmoniously. This leads to imbalances and behavioral problems.

Research in PTSD shows a disconnection between the rational prefrontal cortex and the limbic system, which is more emotionally oriented. Patients suffering from PTSD don’t have the ability to override involuntary emotions, such as fear and anxiety, leading to an over-exaggeration of symptoms, and an inability to reduce them through rational and coherent interventions and processes.

We are learning more and more about how all kinds of stress, not just PTSD, interrupts our circuitry.

Question:  How can we improve this Connectivity?

Dr. Lombard:  The good news is that technologies are now being developed that can help reconnect the circuits and balance those two parts of the brain so they work in coordination, not opposition. For example, we can personalize specific supplements that enhance and stabilize brain biochemistry.  One of my favorite non-pharmaceutical options is magnesium taurinate.

Question: Can you tell us more about the impact stress has on the brain and what can be done about this?  

Dr. Lombard: Stress can be a neurotoxin. Biological components of stress, like the hormone cortisol, is a very simple measure of one’s stress response. If cortisol is too high in the evening it can lead to sleep problems, changes in appetite, mood changes and even conditions such as metabolic syndrome and heart disease.  

Elevated cortisol as a result of stress is a measurable biomarker that can be used in clinical practice.  This is helpful because there are approaches we can use to bring balance such as the ability to self-regulate cortisol through exercise, or by reducing certain foods that produce fight or flight responses, such as sugar and salt.  

Question: What foods can I eat to promote brain health?

Dr. Lombard: There is no one diet that fits every situation and sometimes I prescribe specific plans like a ketogenic diet for neurodegenerative diseases.  However, for the average person, I generally recommend eating a diet is as close to the Mediterranean diet as possible. This is a well-balanced food plan filled with healthy fats, antioxidants, and polyphenols from fruits and veggies. Also, sesame oil for cooking is my particular favorite at medium heat, and so delicious. In other words, make your meal as colorful as possible!

Question: How can a consultation with you help me?

Dr. Lombard: My focus in clinical practice has been to help patients find answers to complex medical issues. The typical patient who has been referred to me in the past have been ” diagnostic dilemmas” where there is an overlay between neurological and behavioral problems.

My approach is not ” functional or Integrative”- it’s based upon systems biology.  

Systems biology means having a deeper appreciation for the connection between sub systems such as between the brain and immune system. The good news is that by recognizing these connections clinically we can develop a more patient-centric approach regardless of what a specific diagnosis a patient may or may not have.

The areas of clinical research that I am most familiar with are patients with neurodegenerative disorders. These include ALS, Parkinson’s, MS and early dementia.

Question: What’s your Motto to live by:

Dr. Lombard: Live Your Purpose!