HealMyGut™ Program

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

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Immune Support Consult

Our team at Blum Center has created an accessible way for you to see us, so that we can support your needs during this time.

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GET A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CONSULTATION FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD

We can now see New Patients via ZOOM video and offering 10% off the usual price of our Initial Visit Packages when booked this way.

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Healing Arthritis

Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally

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The Immune System Recovery Plan

A Doctor’s 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease

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How Conventional Medicine Gets Autoimmune Disease Wrong

Here’s a common scenario in our practice:  A patient comes in with a prior diagnosis of autoimmune disease. Sometimes it is a new diagnosis, and the patient is worried about how to proceed. Sometimes it is a longstanding illness they have lived with for much of their life. In most cases, they are looking for help where the conventional approach to autoimmunity has failed them.

There are many different types of autoimmune disease. All have in common the curious fact that the person’s immune system has become misdirected. The immune system is meant to provide protection against infection and foreign invaders to the body – like bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. When one has autoimmune activity, it means that the person’s own body is under attack.  

Falling under the umbrella of autoimmune disease is a variety of ailments, which vary widely in prevalence, symptomatology and severity. Some autoimmune diseases are very common, like Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. Others are rare, like Scleroderma. Some attack a single part of the body, like Hashimoto’s, while others, like lupus, can be more systemic, attacking multiple organ systems. Other examples of autoimmune disease are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Grave’s disease, Type I diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and alopecia.

The Typical Conventional Response to Autoimmune Disease

Patients routinely describe that their physician — be it primary care or specialist — has diagnosed a condition or worse, a disease. Sometimes the patient is already on prescribed medications as treatment, but other times they are not.

Invariably, what they have been told is that there is nothing to be done:

  • “We will wait and see.”  
  • “You will probably need to be on medication at some point.”
  • “Let’s continue to watch your blood testing yearly and wait and see when symptoms develop.”  

Few, if any of these doctors, offer advice on how to potentially keep the disease from progressing. Or, if already in the throes of symptomatic disease, offer suggestions how to lessen the symptoms with anything but anti-inflammatory medications, replacement hormones or immune-modulating drugs.

This is a very serious problem, and a failing of conventional medicine. It’s exactly why our practitioners chose to continue their training with the Institute for Functional Medicine.

A Functional vs Conventional Approach to Autoimmune Disease

Let’s take the case of early autoimmune thyroid disease:

With Hashimoto’s, for instance, the patient will often be told that they have autoantibodies – which means there are immune markers in the bloodstream directed not against invaders, like bacteria or viruses, but actively attacking the body’s own tissues of the thyroid or its receptors. This is the basis of autoimmune thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, which often leads to low functioning thyroid and the need to take thyroid hormone medication.  

The conventional doctor will let the patient know that these antibodies are there, and that most likely the thyroid will begin to malfunction, causing too little hormone to be released into the blood and causing the symptoms of hypothyroidism – low energy, weight gain, constipation, dry skin …  When that occurs, treatment with thyroid hormone replacement will begin.  

This leaves many people wondering – what can I do now?  Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?  Am I going down a road I can’t switch out of?  

How can one reverse the damage – or halt the progression of the autoimmune disease ravaging the body?

The Functional Medicine Approach

We like to think of a Functional Medicine approach to treatment as two-fold:

  • Doing everything we can to improve the immune system’s ability to rebalance while…
  • Lessening the odds of the immune system continuing to rebel — and, quite possibly, beginning another attack on another system in the body — which could then lead to another autoimmune disease.

How do we do this? First, we work to support whatever system or systems in the body are under attack – replacing nutrients or hormones that are lacking due to the autoimmunity. We frequently use B-complex, D3 and multivitamin supplementation; and, of course, hormone replacement, as needed in hypothyroidism.

Then, we work to build resilience and decrease inflammation in the body by using good old detective work to find the root cause, or triggers, of the immune dysfunction, and treat that. We look at food, stress, gut health, toxin exposure and infections.

5 Steps to Decrease Inflammation & Rebalance Your Immune System

  • Practice improving your emotional and physical response to stress. Getting good sleep and exercising is imperative. Mindfulness meditation and other mind/body techniques are helpful for reducing stress hormones.
  • Experiment with your food – discover sensitivities, triggers, and intolerances. We usually recommend an allergy elimination diet – taking out gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs, along with other common allergens depending on your specific medical condition- for a short time and reintroducing to see if symptoms are affected by food.
  • Support your microbiome and heal your leaky gut.  Eat healthy whole foods and lots of vegetables and fiber. Start taking a probiotic. Our go-to is Dr. Blum’s formula, created for our patients. Learn More
  • Decrease your exposure to toxins and improve your body’s ability to manage exposures. Watch out for common toxins in food (herbicides and pesticides), cleaning supplies, and even in personal care products.  We recommend looking at the Environmental Working Group and following their suggestions for cleaning up toxins in the home.
    If you are concerned about the toxin build-up in your body, you might want to consider our 21-Day Simply Detox. It’s the exact program we use with our patients at the Blum Center for Health. Learn More
  • Be assessed with functional testing for nutritional needs and to rule out any chronic or acute infectious disease processes.  We will often request stool testing for microbial balance, in depth blood testing for nutritional needs, and more extensive saliva and urine testing for hormone balance.

If you live near the New York City metro area, come see us! We would be happy to help. People travel from all over the world to work with us. Come join our family!

If traveling to us is not possible, Dr. Blum’s Immune Recovery Challenge is a great place to start. The Immune Recovery Challenge is the step-by-step companion to The Immune System Recovery Plan. During the course, we will follow the 4-Step Immune Recovery protocol together, using video live coaching. It’s devoted to recovering your health and your wellness. Sign up here.  

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Is Your Cell Phone Sabotaging your Health?

Chances are you check your cell phone for messages, alerts, or calls even when your device isn’t ringing or vibrating. You probably sleep with your phone next to your bed to be sure you don’t miss any calls, text messages, or other updates during the night. And you likely feel lost without your cell phone, reports a Pew Internet & American Life survey.

In fact, the average cell phone user checks their phone 110 times a day, with the highest users hitting the 900 mark, says Locket, an Android app that has collected data on over 150,000 users.

Yes, we are addicted to cell phones.

And the cost of this addiction to our personal well-being is substantial. The tethering to our cell phones interferes with our mental health, physical health and even our relationships.

  • The constant barrage of notifications increases our stress level, likely contributing to high blood pressure, headaches, eye strain, and anxiety.
  • The anticipation of messages keeps us constantly checking our phones and creates anxiety.
  • Cell phone use interferes with human relationships. Studies show that in face-to-face interactions a phone present made the other person think negatively about the cell phone holder. 
  • The incessant connection to one’s phone makes us less inclined to participate in conversation with those around us. We become less aware.
  • Our dependence on our phones as entertainment is a constant source of distraction, making it difficult to be with oneself in a quiet, still, disconnected space.
  • When we don’t have our phones we become bored, antsy and depressed.

Clients often tell me they want to feel less controlled by their phones. They want to take back their peace and quiet. 

The key? Baby steps and commitment.

8 Ways To Kick Your Cell Phone Addiction

Make No Cell-Phone Zones — Make a pact with other members of your household no cell phones at the table. Ever. Live alone? Put down the electronics, set the table, light a candle and enjoy your meal. You will taste your food, remember what you ate, and be more aware of how much you’re eating.

Bring On The Zen — Introduce meditation, yoga, tai chi or one of the other meditative practices into your daily routine — even if it’s for only 10 minutes it will slow you down, bring your awareness back to your body and reap a myriad of health benefits, including better concentration, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, better mood and better sleep.

Home From Work? Just Say “No” — Implement limits and boundaries in relation to work-related email and messages. Just because someone sends you an email at 10pm in the evening does not mean you have to answer it. When you answer emails you set the precedent that you are available. When does your work day end? You decide: “I will not answer any work-related emails after 7pm in the evening or on the weekends.” And then stick to it. If the mere thought of that makes you anxious create an auto-responder letting people know you will answer their email first thing in the morning.

Blackout Periods — Schedule “No Cell-Phone” Periods during your day. Start small — even 10 minutes. Put it on your calendar (or set an alarm) and disconnect for that time. After a week increase the time, or add another Black Out period to your day. Week by week increase the time until you are able to disconnect for several hours a day.

No Fly Zone — When you travel for holiday set your phone to “no data roaming” so that you only receive messages when you are connected with Wifi.  This will limit the amount of new communication that is coming your way and provide a more peaceful journey.

Your Boots Are Made For Walking — Take a walk and leave your phone at home. Look up, look down, pay attention to your surroundings. Taking a walk is a great way to boost your mood, find solutions to challenges, and increase productivity.

Engage With The World — Make a decision to not use your phone in the presence of others. Pay attention to your conversations, make eye contact and give 100% to the other person/s you are with.

Sleep It Off — Do not use your cell phone as an alarm clock. Leave it outside your room. You might consider implementing a sleep routine to help you wean — reading, or listening to music.

Put down your cell phone? The answer is clear. Just say “yes.”

Do you find that you start a new habit but get derailed? Consider private coaching! I help people attain their goals by unraveling those self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way. Let’s play! I’ll help you create new habits that lead to long-term change. Get what you want. Finally. Check out CoachMe

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. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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Growing A Better Brain

We live in a culture that is increasingly obsessed with physical health. We understand the importance of having healthy bodies and eating well, but what about the health of our physical brain; that all important filter between you and everything you experience?

Thanks to modern neuroscience, we have ways to train our brains just like we train our bodies. In fact, done right it’s easier to train our brains. And when we train our brains we become more resilient, learn faster, and are generally more equipped to roll with whatever life throws our way.

Could it possibly be that easy? Yes. With advances in brain technology, living in a deeper state of calm and well-being, sleeping better, eliminating stress and anxiety, even increasing your IQ are all possible. Not just possible, probable.

You just need the tools and experience to make it so.

For those of you who haven’t met me, my name is Devon White. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Field, a brain optimization and neuro-enhancement company now operating at the Blum Center for Health. Today, I want to share a little bit about how your brain works and some practical tips for how to improve it.

The first thing to know is that your brain is responsible for every perception, sensation, and experience in your life.  No matter what’s happening, it’s being filtered by your brain like a Hollywood production. But in this case the biases of the production team are determined by the way your brain has developed throughout your life. If you’re living in a horror movie, a rom-com, an adventure, or are the star of a movie about Woody Allen type with low-grade anxiety who can’t seem to ever catch up – that’s all being produced by your brain, which means you can change it.

You see, your brain is highly plastic. That’s a fancy way to say it’s flexible and ready to change and adapt. And because it’s connected to every other dimension of your body and mind, any change in the brain affects the system as a whole. And I mean you can change just about anything: pain levels, memory, focus, coordination, mood, energy, IQ, creativity, even your sense of self!

You’re doing it all the time already, but probably just in a less intentional way.

A good rule of thumb is that anything that changes the way you feel is changing your brain’s firing patterns. If you’re at the gym running on a treadmill, your brain looks different than if you’re enjoying a book in your favorite reading nook. If you spend every day meditating, your brain will change to accommodate the new neurochemistry of calm and relaxation. Following this logic, good habits make for a better brain. Since any habit you develop is also a habit in the way your brain is firing, it’s important to develop the best possible habits to support the life you want to be living.

Here are four habits for a healthy brain that you can start right now:

  1. Identify your best relationships and shower your attention and love on them. At the same time, cut the amount of time you spend with people who leave you feeling drained or unsupported.
  2. Do an accounting of your life over the next week.  Write down each activity you engage in and how much happiness and energy it brings you. At the end of the week, notice the things that suck the joy and motivation from your life and cut them out.
  3. Eat well, hydrate, and exercise. Why? Because all of these things support good brain health and longevity and will lead to every other system working better.
  4. Practice gratitude. As hokey as this may sound, gratitude is one of the greatest and most profound ways to develop happiness and well-being.

As for direct brain training, I can’t overstate its power and profound benefits and I’ll get into how it works in future posts. For the moment, just know that there are safe and incredibly effective ways to exercise your brain for balance, health, and overall well-being. Also, training your brain has some effects that just can’t be beat, and anyone who has struggled with addiction, depression, anxiety, insomnia or a host of other concerns knows that it can be really difficult to update the way you feel directly.

Finally, since this is our first blog post at The Blum Center for Health, we’d like to offer you $250 off of your initial consultation and Know Yourself Better ReportTM if you schedule an appointment and mention this post before September 23rd. If you want to find out more visit our website or contact the Blum Center for Health at 914-652-7800.

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Start Your Day with a Taste of the Tropics Smoothie

Start your day with a smoothie that will make you smile! This colorful and refreshing pineapple kale smoothie is a great way to add greens into your breakfast routine with a taste of the tropics.  Kale has detoxifying benefits for the liver and pineapple is loaded with digestive enzymes that are good for the stomach. The coconut oil provides your body with healthy fats and a flavor that instantly transports you to a tropical island getaway.  A VitaMix-type blender is the best blender to achieve a smooth consistency. There’s happiness in every sip!

Wondering how to pick a ripe pineapple?

It’s pretty easy, actually. Just follow these three steps and you’ll be choosing perfectly sweet, slightly tangy pineapples: 

Check the color — The exterior of a pineapple changes from green to yellow as it ripens. The more yellow the exterior, the more ripe the fruit. Once it starts to turn an orangish color, it’s gone too far. 

Give it a gentle squeeze — A ripe pineapple will “give” a little bit when you squeeze it. If it’s hard, leave it at the grocery store!

Smell it — If it passes your color and squeeze test, sniff the base of the pineapple. If it smells sweet and fruity, you’re good to go. If it smells funky, or like vinegar, it’s past its prime.

Pineapple Kale Smoothie

Ingredients

  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup seeded and diced cucumber
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup loosely packed kale, washed, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ tsp lime juice

Preparation

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serves 1-2.

Serving Size: 1 cup

ENJOY!

 

Do you find that you start eating healthy but get derailed? Consider private coaching! I help people attain their goals by unraveling those self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way. Let’s play! I’ll help you create new habits that lead to long-term change. Get what you want. Finally. Check out CoachMe

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. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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Carrot Ginger Rainbow Wraps

Summer barbecues, beach days, long hikes, road trips, picnics in the park – warm weather means we’re on the go more than usual and healthy portable snacks are essential. If you have a packed schedule, but want to make sure you have nutritious options to fuel all your summer plans, these collard wraps are for you!

As a member of the cruciferous family, collard greens have been shown to exhibit powerful anti-cancer properties – they also make for a perfect grain-free wrap! Paired with red cabbage, avocado, carrots, and walnuts, these wraps are not only colorful, but they’re a great source of vitamins A and C – they’re also jam-packed with fiber.

There are a few steps to this recipe, but they make a bunch, are addictively delicious, and can easily be wrapped in tinfoil and tossed in your cooler for your next picnic or hike!

These vibrant wraps are so refreshing and nutritious – they’ll be sure to satisfy no matter what your plans are this summer.

Carrot Ginger Rainbow Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Makes about 24 wraps

Ingredients

1 bunch collard greens

½ red cabbage, shredded

1 bag brown rice vermicelli noodles, prepared according to instructions

1 avocado, sliced into thin strips and drizzled with lemon juice

1 cup sprouts

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

 

Carrot Ginger Filling

3 large carrots, peeled

1 cup walnuts

½ inch piece of ginger, peeled

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon maple syrup

½ teaspoon salt

dash cayenne

Peanut Sauce:

1 small clove garlic

½ cup peanut butter

1 inch piece ginger

1 cup vegetable broth

2 tablespoons tamari/coconut aminos

½ teaspoon chickpea miso

½ teaspoon rice vinegar

½ teaspoon maple syrup

¼ teaspoon cayenne

Dash of salt

Procedure

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a light boil. Meanwhile, create an ice bath by filling a large bowl with a mixture of ice and water. Once water is ready, add 1-2 collard leaves at a time. Once leaves turn bright green (about 20 seconds), remove from hot water and place in ice bath to cool. Repeat with all the leaves and set aside for them to dry.

2. Prepare the carrot ginger filling by placing carrots, walnuts, ginger, garlic, olive oil, rice vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and cayenne to a food processor. Pulse a few times until mixed and set aside.

3. To make the peanut dipping sauce, add garlic, peanut butter, ginger, vegetable broth, tamari/coconut aminos, chickpea miso, rice vinegar, and maple syrup to a blender. Mix on high. Add salt and cayenne to taste.

4. To prepare collards for wraps, place them smooth side down on your cutting board. Use a paring knife to gently slice the thickest part of the collard green stem running parallel to the cutting board. Next, use the bottom of a cup to press up and down a few times on the veins of the leaf softening them so they’re flexible enough to bend.

5. To assemble wraps, spread the collard leaf with a layer of carrot ginger filling. Top with cabbage, cooled brown rice vermicelli noodles, avocado, sprouts, scallions and cilantro. Fold like a burrito and enjoy! These can be served immediately or stored in the fridge for 1-2 days.

To learn more recipes like this, be sure to come to my classes!  View the schedule here.

 

Shauna McQueen, is a Registered Dietitian with a MS degree in Nutrition Science from Syracuse University and a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts. She develops nutrition curriculum for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has experience working as a private chef, teaching both culinary and nutrition education classes, developing workshops, and creating tailored recipes—often with a vegan, gluten-free spin.

Shauna’s unique background in both nutrition science and the culinary arts allows her to create truly nourishing and health supportive food that is tasty to boot! She loves teaching others the skills necessary to create a diet they love, feel inspired by, and that supports wellness inside and out.

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Blueberry Lime Margarita Anyone? It’s our New Summer Go-To!

It’s so easy to overindulge in alcoholic drinks in the summer. Who doesn’t love cocktails with friends when it’s balmy outside and light well into the evening. This summer, why not drink to your health? It’s easy to reduce your alcohol consumption by discovering a fav mocktail. Put it in your favorite cocktail glass, add a garnish, and voila, you will have a satisfying non-alcoholic drink. 

Try our Blueberry-Lime Margarita — it’s a breeze to make!  It will give your body ample potassium to help manage fluid and energy balance and loads of health supportive antioxidants-all without the excessive calories and refined carbohydrate of traditional margaritas. The unbelievable flavor will easily satisfy any summer fruity drink craving, too. Cheers!

While we are on the topic of cocktails, here’s a common question: It’s summer and I really want a cocktail, will having one ruin all my hard work? Find out here. 

Blueberry Lime Margarita

Servings: 4

Ingredients

4 cups ice

 2 cups organic frozen blueberries

1/2 cup organic unsweetened pomegranate juice

1/2 cup seltzer

1/2 cup fresh organic lime juice

4 organic lime wedges, for garnish

sea salt, for garnish (optional)

 

Preparation:

  •  In a blender, place the ice, blueberries, juice, seltzer, and lime juice
  • Blend until smooth
  • If salting the rim of the margarita glasses, rub a lime wedge around the 
  • rims of 4 glasses.  
  • Dip rims lightly in sea salt
  • Pour Margarita into glasses and place lime wedges on the rim of 
  • the glasses
  • Serve and enjoy! 

 

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. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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It’s Summer! Which cocktail is best for me?

Here’s a common question: It’s summer and I really want a cocktail, will having one ruin all my hard work?

Ahh, summertime … cocktail parties, bbq’s, dinner alfresco, family gatherings, rooftop parties … add a little heat, add the celebratory nature of being outside and you’ve got the perfect recipe for cocktail time.

Whether you’ve got a hankering for gin, vodka or tequila, there are a few things you should know.

The good news: If you’re in good health, and at low risk for cancer, then alcohol in moderation is likely okay. What is moderation? A few social drinks a week. There’s no need to drink every day, afterall, plan for them — wait for the rooftop get-together or the weekend summertime bash.

What you need to know about summer cocktails: 

Any amount of alcohol consumption of any kind, increases your risk for cancer. If you are concerned about cancer because you have a strong family history, or you have had cancer yourself, you should not drink. Period. Does this mean that an occasional glass of wine or cocktail will hurt you? Probably not. But chronic daily consumption, or drinking several days every week, is not a good idea.

Alcohol stresses your liver. Alcohol is viewed as a toxin by the body and needs to be processed in the liver just like mercury, pesticides, plastics and everything else you are exposed to in the environment. If you have known issues with your liver, other toxin exposure like mold or heavy metals or pesticides that are causing issues with your health, you shouldn’t drink, or only consume alcohol on occasion. If you have multiple chemical sensitivities, such as you can’t tolerate smells like perfume or cigarette smoke, this can be a sign that your liver is stressed with too many toxins.

TIP: Pad the lining of your stomach before drinking alcohol with healthy fats like nuts and seeds, avocado, or something made with olive oil or coconut oil.  This will slow the emptying time of the stomach so that alcohol will be absorbed slowly into the body, allowing you to excrete it more easily and then resulting in less accumulation of toxins.

Alcoholic beverages are high in sugar. If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or are trying to lose weight, keep In mind that when you drink a glass of wine or a cocktail mixed with juice, you are consuming a glass of sugar. This can trigger cravings for bread and dessert and other high starch foods, and cause you to make poor food choices that undermine your healthy eating goals. 

TIP: Be sure to skip the mixers and choose low sugar options, such as a cocktail with club soda or fresh lime juice.

All alcoholic drinks are dehydrating. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning you might notice you’re running to the bathroom more often. Alcohol suppresses the hormone that regulates how much urine we produce. And, all the added trips to the bathroom strip water and electrolytes from the body. Even a small amount of alcohol can make you feel like you have a hangover.

TIP: Drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink you consume. Be sure to hydrate during the day as well. 

Better yet, give our delicious Blueberry Lime Margarita Mocktail a try. Put it in a beautiful glass with a spring of mint, and you won’t even miss the alcohol! Get the Recipe

 

Feeling like you’ve been having a little too much fun this summer — feeling bloated, heavy or out of control and need a quick, effective reset? Check out our HealMyGut Summer Reboot. Relief is on the way! Get Our Special Summer Reboot

 

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. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

 

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Think You Can Create a New Habit in 21 Days? Bust the Myth!

Have you come across all the hype promising that habits can be created in 21 days? Who wouldn’t want to believe that we can experience a cosmic shift in only 21 days? It’s short enough to be inspiring and long enough to be believable.

Unfortunately it’s not true.

On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, researchers examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. Each person focused one new habit and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic the behavior felt.

Some people chose simple things like “drinking a bottle of water with lunch” while others chose more difficult tasks like “running for 15 minutes before dinner.” At the end of the 12 weeks, the researchers determined the length of time it took each person to go from implementing a new behavior to automatically doing it.

The researchers found that it takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days for people to form a new habit, depending on the habit they are creating, the person, and the circumstances.

This is great news! Why? Because how many times have you tried to start something new and after three weeks thought, “I’m such a failure” and fell right back into your old way of doing things?

The key to creating new habits is in the Why and the How. So let’s get to it!

How To Create Habits That Stick

Choose Only One New Habit At A Time! — It’s hard enough to create one new habit. Trying to take on several at a time is doomed to fail.

Be Specific About What You Want To Create — Saying “I want to take better care of my teeth” is too vague. But, saying “I want to floss my teeth daily” is specific.

Get Clear On Your “Why” — “Because I ‘should’” is not a compelling reason. But saying, “I want to floss my teeth to stave off bone loss and it is proven to be heart healthy” is a compelling “why.”

Create A “How” — This is important and is very personal. Make it easier to succeed by creating a plan that suits your lifestyle. For instance, saying, “I am going to floss every day” is forgettable. But saying, “I am going to floss every evening when I brush my teeth before bed” gives it framework.

Implement Strategies To Keep You On Track — Another critical, and personal, component to successful habit formation is creating strategies that will work specifically for you. Some of my clients use post-it notes or set alarms on their phones, for example.

Do It Daily — It takes consistency and diligence. The good news is a mess-up here and there is fine. Stay diligent and don’t let your old way override your new habit!

So … what new habit do you want to create?

 

Do you find that you start a new habit but get derailed? Consider private coaching! I help people attain their goals by unraveling those self-sabotaging behaviors that get in the way. Let’s play! I’ll help you create new habits that lead to long-term change. Get what you want. Finally. Check out CoachMe

 

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. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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What Are The Benefits of Acupuncture ?

Acupuncture is a part of a system of medicine called Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that has been in use for at least two thousand years in China and all over Asia. It is based on the theory that we have energy or Qi that flows through pathways called meridians which run throughout the body. There are over 2000 acupuncture points located on the meridians which are each associated with an organ system.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

According to TCM, when these meridians become blocked we have disruptions in the flow of Qi that puts the body out of balance. These blockages can be caused by injury, poor diet, emotions, stress, lack of sleep, as well as external factors such as the weather, environment and pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. By restoring the smooth flow of Qi the body can be brought back into balance and harmony.

During an acupuncture session, endorphins are released, which are the body’s natural opioid hormones that relieve pain, induce sleep, and create a state of wellbeing.

Acupuncture has been shown to turn off pro-inflammatory cells known as M1 macrophages and it activates anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages at the same time. These create an immune response which in turn reduce pain and swelling.

It also works by stimulating the pituitary and hypothalamus glands which control many functions in the body and affects the neurotransmitters and neurohormones, thereby changing the chemistry of the brain.

A Sept 2017 article in The Guardian reported on a study done at Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with Harvard Medical school where brain scans were used during clinical trials with acupuncture and fake treatments. The patients receiving true acupuncture showed more opioid receptors activated in the brain and had lasting results three months later.

Acupuncture has been approved by the National Institute of Health for treating a wide variety of ailments including pain (joint, back, sciatic, tennis elbow, dental, neck), injuries, arthritis, asthma, digestive issues, smoking cessation, headaches,  infertility, hormonal issues, depression, anxiety, labor pains, stroke, nausea, and opioid addiction to name a few.

Acupuncture’s benefits include many other health conditions including mental health issues such as anxiety and depression in as little as 8 weeks.

How Many Treatments of Acupuncture Are Needed?

Depending on whether a condition is acute or chronic the length of treatment varies. Often if a patient comes for an acute back spasm only 3 to 6 treatments are required. For long term issues due to stress or more constitutional imbalances such as digestive or menstrual issues treatments are needed for a few weeks or even months in order to bring the body back to balance and keep it there. If the underlying stressor or cause is not removed then maintenance treatments are needed to keep things in balance.

There are no side effects of acupuncture thereby making it an excellent choice for many health issues and as part of a preventive maintenance program.  

 

About Donna Bunte: Donna Bunte has practiced Chinese medicine, acupuncture and nutrition for over twenty years. She’s held private practices in NYC and Greenwich, CT, and has joined Blum Center for Health as our in-house acupuncturist. To book an appointment with Donna contact 914-652-7800.  

 

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The 5-Day Fasting Cycling Diet

How to adopt strategies from the new science of fasting so that you can decrease your risk of disease and optimize your weight.

Studies have shown that by following a very low-calorie food plan with very specific nutritional rules — a 5-Day Fasting Cycle — repeated every month for 3 months in a row, can help you achieve lasting weight loss, a boosted metabolism and improved blood markers of disease and aging.

Fasting is defined as an absence of food for a specific period of time that stimulates a regenerative state of health in one’s body without intentionally inflicting harm.  Our program tricks your body into responding as if it were fasting, providing all the great health benefits without actually starving yourself!

Research has shown substantial  benefits to following the principles of the Fasting Mimicking Diet:

  • Extended Lifespan and reduced cellular aging
  • Loss of abdominal fat without loss to muscle mass
  • Reduced desire to overeat or eat sugar
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Drop in loss of bone mineral density
  • Improvement in cognitive state
  • Reduced risk of developing disease
  • Improved gut health
  • Enhances the body’s innate ability to function optimally to regenerate at the cellular level, detoxify environmental toxins, and metabolize nutrients.

It is well known that calorie restriction or changes in dietary composition can enhance healthy aging. The trick was for researchers to figure out HOW to help people implement calorie restriction in a way that is sustainable.  

Here are a few key studies demonstrating how and why these programs work.  They are all published by Valter Longo, PhD, the researcher who has led the way and created a fasting program that produces these medical benefits.  

  • “Fasting-mimicking diet and markers/risk factors for aging, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease”.  Published in 2017, this research triggered a huge buzz in the functional medicine and nutrition community because it was the first to show the results of a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD)—low in calories, sugars, and protein but high in unsaturated fats—on markers/risk factors associated with aging and age-related diseases. They compared subjects who followed 3 months of an unrestricted diet to subjects who consumed the FMD for 5 consecutive days per month for 3 months. They found that three FMD cycles reduced body weight, trunk, and total body fat; lowered blood pressure; and decreased insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).  (Wei et al., Sci. Transl. Med. 9, 8700 (2017))
  • “Dietary Restrictions and Nutrition in the Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease”.  In this article, Dr Longo discusses how intermittent and periodic fasting interventions can help prevent and treat CVD. (Circ Res. 2019;124:952-965.
  • Fasting-Mimicking Diet Modulates Microbiota and Promotes Intestinal Regeneration to Reduce Inflammatory Bowel Disease Pathology. This study showed that cycles of a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) reduced intestinal inflammation, increased intestinal regeneration, and stimulated the growth of protective gut microbial populations in a mouse model displaying symptoms and pathology associated with IBD. They also show that a similar FMD is safe, feasible, and effective in reducing systemic inflammation and the consequent high levels of immune cells in humans. (Rangan et al., 2019, Cell Reports 26, 2704–2719).
  • Cancer:  FMDs can reduce cancer incidence and aging-associated immunosuppression/ immunosenescence, a process aided by hematopoietic stem cell-based regeneration (Brandhorst et al., 2015; Cheng et al., 2014)
  • Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes:  FMD cycles ameliorate or reverse disease progression in mouse models of multiple sclerosis (MS), and type I, and type II diabetes (Choi et al., 2016; Cheng et al., 2017).

PUTTING THE FASTING CYCLING DIET INTO PRACTICE

Whether you want to lose weight or need to treat a health issue, it is clear that this strategy helps everyone.  The definition of health isn’t simply the absence of disease; it is optimal functioning throughout your lifespan.  Using intermittent fasting as a strategy is a proven strategy and a practice that can be built into every day lifestyle goals.  

To do this, with the help of Keri Lynn MacElhinney (our Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health), we built our NEW, signature weight loss program around this central core concept and created the Blum Alternate Fasting Diet (AFD).

For our Blum AFD, we combine the principles of anti-inflammatory plant-forward eating with intermittent fasting and low calorie 5-Day Fasting Cycles, creating  a whole-foods, sustainable program that promotes healthy weight loss, and improves  metabolism and markers for disease — all while eating delicious food that supports the gut microbiome and the removal of environmental toxins that store in your fat cells preventing weight loss.

Our Blum Alternate Fasting Diet, features a 3-month guided weight loss program that includes one 5-Day Fasting Cycle per month.  

We provide all the information you need to follow this yourself, but to make it easy and convenient, we have teamed up with Organic Pharmer to create a fixed 5-day menu that follows the nutritional guidelines and provides a delicious and satisfying whole foods, ready-to-go option for the 5-Day Fasting Cycle part of the program. (LINK)   

There is also a supplement company that created packaged foods for you to eat during the 5-Day Fasting Cycle and you can read about them HERE.  

DO IT WITH US!

We will be offering our Blum Alternate Fasting Diet as a group program for the first time at Blum Center for Health, starting June 3.  I will be teaching the first class and would love to have you join us! LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM HERE