Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hello beautiful 2015!

We have a lot to be thankful for...

It's that time again -- time to reflect, refresh and redirect ourselves as we look at the approaching horizon of a new year. We love the week before New Year's Day because we can take time every year to analyze the year that has passed -- and make plans for the year to come! The journey to whole health is a part of that planning as we all continue to navigate the changing landscape of trying to be "healthy." Here are strategies for making lasting New Year's resolutions to change your whole health.

Step 1 
Resolve to change your mind

It is so easy to start the new year with a goal of losing weight or eating better. While these are great New Year's resolutions, they are often too vague and not sustainable. Instead, resolve to change your mind, find mental peace, or figure out your triggers for unhealthy behaviors. This is my most important resolution this coming year. Here are ways to find mental stamina or endurance, building one of the most important healthy values -- resilience.


Taking 5-10 minutes to journal every day, often before the noise and clutter of a day begins or as a day closes offers an opportunity for reflection. A favorite book, The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron, talks about "morning pages" as a part of the creative process. Even doing just a few minutes daily can help clear your mind and make any goal more clear and easier to follow.


The benefits of meditation have been talked about for centuries, but now science is proving the wisdom of our ancestors. Even five minutes of daily meditation can help ease anxiety, depression and calm the nervous system -- allowing us to control the desire for salt, sugar or fat. (1)


We know about the health benefits of yoga, but yoga can help you or your child change their minds. The discipline and concentration of each yoga pose, regardless of ease or difficulty, forces us to learn focus, attention and control. Try adding in 30 minutes three times per week to help gain better mental control. (2)

Step 2 
Resolve to change your energy


The lack of sleep is the greatest energy drain for all of us. Even an extra hour makes a world of difference in how we perceive the world around us. Make a commitment to sleep at least seven hours consistently the majority of the week -- maybe five nights per week. Turn off electronics before bedtime, use topical magnesium oil to your neck or feet for relaxation or warm coconut oil to the scalp to sleep yourself away!


Forget all the diet confusion, simply eating on a consistent schedule can provide loads of energy. Eating consistently balances blood sugar, keeps insulin stable and prevents cravings for sugary and starchy foods. Find small servings of protein and healthy fats for consistent energy through the day. Stock the following foods to start everyday well prepared.
Protein bars
Protein Shakes
Nuts-- almonds, cashews, brazil nuts
Seeds-- chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin
Coconut oil
Olive oil


Sometimes, the stress of the day or week is still overwhelming. Find your best way of recharging and refueling your energy void. Get a massage, try acupuncture or make a date with nature. Walk, hike, bike or find your favorite way to return to your best energy.

Step 3 
Resolve to change your belly

2014 was the year of the belly in research, with lots of studies declaring the importance of digestive health and its role in many different illnesses. Before you diet, run a marathon or set out to change the world -- change your belly first.

The Daily Detox

Give your digestive system a break by cutting off all eating after 8 p.m. A 12-hour fast at night is an opportunity for all digestive organs to have clean up time. Staying hydrated -- drinking 100 ounces of water per day and including 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day provide plant based fiber for a daily detox.

Balance Your Bacteria

Keeping the right population of bacteria in your belly aids the digestive system. Take a daily probiotic or add in probiotic rich foods including yogurt, kefir, kombucha or bone broth. The right microbial brew in your belly aids digestion and improves your metabolic rate! (3)

Rev Up Your Liver

Adding in a daily green smoothie or green juice can be a great source of energy but also aids in liver detoxification. A healthy liver keeps our hormones in balance, reduces our load of environmental toxins and keeps our digestive system humming!

Welcome 2015 with a new approach to resolutions -- change your mind, your energy and your belly and tackle the next year with your WHOLE health intact. 
Happy New Year!

Love, Solidarity Health Network

Source:2015 Journey to Whole Health: 3 Steps to Lasting New Year's Resolutions- Huffpost

Monday, December 29, 2014


The old adage "prevention is the best medicine" is especially true during cold and flu season. By "prevention," though, I don't mean locking yourself up in your house with a bottle of disinfectant for the next three months. That just sounds terrible.
Instead of hiding from everyone who could hack or sneeze on you, beef up your pantry and fridge with immune-boosting fare! These 10 incredible foods are packed full of nutrients that give you awesome bug-battling and virus-fighting superpowers.
The next time you're in the grocery store, fill your cart with these ingredients and start using your nutrition to aid your immune response and increase your vitality!


Nope, bones aren't just for the dogs! Bones, marrow, and cartilage boast beneficial nutrients such as calciummagnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and iodine. When cooked, the collagen in bones breaks down and, as it cools, turns into a protein called gelatin. Although gelatin is not a complete protein, it contains several important essential and nonessential amino acids, including arginine, glycine, and proline.
Store bone broth in your fridge. When you want some, heat it up and sip it from a mug, like coffee or tea. I recommend 8 ounces per day to keep viruses at bay.
For an extra health boost, add some of the other ingredients on the list like garlic, onion, and ginger to your broth.


These odoriferous bulbs may not be the best thing before a good-night kiss, but garlic and onions have long been touted as immune boosters. In a double-blind study published in "Advances in Therapy," volunteers who received a daily garlic supplement were less likely to get a cold, and recovered faster if they became sick.
Consequently, the placebo group recorded more sick days and had a significantly longer duration of symptoms. Allicin, the chemical compound that gives garlic its pungency, has been shown in studies to increase the body's ability to ward off bacteria and viruses.
Garlic and onions add incredible flavor to all of your dishes. Keep a small container of chopped garlic and onions in your fridge. Sauté a handful for your morning omelet or add it to your steak dinner.
If you're bold, consume two raw garlic cloves per day to boost your immunity. If you're worried about garlic breath, eat an apple to neutralize lingering odors.

Citrus Fruits

American chemist Linus Pauling taught us that citrus fruits are not only a tasty snack, but that they contain high concentrations of vitamin C, which can help ward off common colds. A 2006 Japanese study published in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" showed the risk of contracting three or more colds over a five-year period was reduced by more than 60 percent when subjects ingested 500 mg of vitamin C per day.
Enjoy a grapefruit with your breakfast; include red and yellow bell peppers or broccoli with your lunch or dinner; or snack on oranges, strawberries, or kiwi.


Ginger contains potent chemicals called sesquiterpenes, which target stuffy noses and works to suppress coughs. In a study at the College of Medicine at Kaohsiung Medical University, researchers found that ingesting fresh ginger inhibits the attachment of rhinoviruses to cells and also promotes the secretion of antiviral chemicals to help fight viruses found in mucus membranes.
To keep ginger fresh, store it in a resealable bag with all of the air pressed out. Only peel what you plan to use that day; otherwise, keep it whole. Shave a teaspoon of fresh ginger into your tea, serve it in stir-fry, or chew on it after dinner to aid in digestion.

Fermented Foods

Yogurt, kefir, pasteurized pickles, kimchi, and kombucha are not only fun to say three times fast, but are also packed with probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that play an important role in balancing your body's microbiome (the trillions of microorganisms that shack up in your body). These healthy bacteria help balance your digestion, immunity, and metabolism.
Use caution when buying fermented foods. Buy fermented dairy that is low in sugar. All of your live culture foods, including pickles and cabbage, should be purchased from the grocer's cooler. Many health food stores offer fermented foods from local companies, allowing you to trace the footprint of where and how your food was made.
One serving of Greek yogurt or fermented vegetables can provide far more beneficial bacteria than a probiotic supplement.

Cold-Water Fish

Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel are rich with omega-3 fatty acids, which suppress inflammation. In a recent study published in the "Journal of Leukocyte Biology," researchers found that fish oil rich in DHA increases B cell (a white blood cell) function and select antibody production, aiding in the fight against invasive bacteria.
Eat 7-10 ounces of fatty fish per week. If you're concerned about mercury levels, remember that the health benefits of eating cold-water fish far outweigh the slight risk. Play it safe by avoiding canned tuna.


This bright orange root vegetable is a staple in many a gym enthusiast's diet. But sweet potatoes aren't just a good source of workout fuel.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene—the reason for the bright orange pigment—which may increase T cell function. This may allow you to ward off infection faster.
Keep cooked sweet potatoes in your fridge so you can grab them at any time. Add them to your morning meal, throw them in a stew, or serve them as a side to grilled chicken (aim for 150-200 grams).


The fungus among us (the kind found in your produce section, not on your shower walls) is a great ally in the fight against pesky respiratory viruses.
Button mushrooms and other shroom relatives increase the production of antiviral proteins to kick out foreign microbes that cause common colds and the flu.
Serve mushrooms as a side dish or salad topper. Wash them thoroughly prior to eating. The brown stuff you see in the container isn't dirt. Store mushrooms in a plastic container wrapped with plastic wrap. Poke small holes in the top for aeration.


Like tuna, Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that boosts the production of cytokine—proteins that support the immune system—and helps your body respond to bacteria and viruses that invade during cold and flu season.
Brazil nuts offer a megadose of selenium, so you don't need many. Eat 3-4 nuts per day along with your regular meals to help protect your health.


Pumpkin seeds have long been praised by nutritionists for their high zinc content. Zinc is a mineral shown to reduce the duration of a cold and improve immune function. But zinc isn't the only superstar nutrient found in these bite-size salad toppers.
Pumpkin seeds are plentiful in the antioxidant department, containing high levels of manganese and a wide variety of vitamin E forms. Additionally, they contain 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving.
If you aren't in the habit of roasting your own seeds in the oven, purchase pumpkin seeds that have the shell on. Though the shell itself has little zinc, the husk between the shell and kernel is packed with nutrients.
Udenigwe, C., & Aluko, R. (2012). Food Protein-Derived Bioactive Peptides: Production, Processing, and Potential Health Benefits. Journal of Food Science, 77(1), R11-R24.
Josling, P. (2001). Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: A double-blind, placebo-controlled survey. Advances in Therapy, 18(4), 189-193.
Van Duyn, M. (2000). Overview Of The Health Benefits Of Fruit And Vegetable Consumption For The Dietetics Professional Selected Literature. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100(12), 1511-1521.
Shobana, S., & Naidu, K. (2000). Antioxidant activity of selected Indian spices.Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 62(2), 107-110.
  1. Parvez, S., Malik, K., Kang, S., & Kim, H. (2006). Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 100(6), 1171-1185.
  2. Deckelbaum, R., & Torrejon, C. (2012). The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nutritional Landscape: Health Benefits and Sources. Journal of Nutrition, 142(3), 587S-591S.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Health Benefits of Cashews

Health Benefits of Cashews 1 Cashews for Type 2 Diabetes

The results of a lab rat study have suggested that cashews could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study showed that cashew nut extract is beneficial for controlling blood sugar, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Anacardic acid, the active component in cashew nuts, stimulates glucose transport, resulting in elevated glucose uptake, thus reducing the amount of sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Cashews also may enhance glycolysis (metabolism of sugar into energy) which also contributes to increased glucose uptake.
Other epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced risk of diabetes.

Health Benefits of Cashews 2  Cashews for Heart Health

Epidemiologic research has linked nut intake with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Interventional studies have consistently shown that nut consumption reduces cholesterol, and there’s growing evidence of the benefits on inflammation, oxidative stress, as well as vascular reactivity, a vital component of blood vessel function. Stomach fat, the metabolic syndrome and blood pressure also seem to be positively influenced by the consumption of nuts. It is thus clear that nuts have a beneficial impact on a number of cardiovascular risk factors.
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and although they have a total fat content of 46%, the fatty acid composition is beneficial because the saturated fatty acid content is low (4-16%) and nearly 66% of the unsaturated fat is oleic acid, a heart healthy MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid).

Health Benefits of Cashews 3 Cashews for Weight Loss

Despite the high fat content of cashews and other nuts, clinical trials and epidemiologic studies indicate that frequent nut consumption is not likely to lead to obesity and could even help with weight loss.

Health Benefits of Cashew 4 Cashews for Cholesterol

Cashew nuts are cholesterol-free, and they contain sizeable amounts of phytosterols. Phytosterols interfere with cholesterol absorption and thus help lower blood cholesterol when present in sufficient amounts in the intestinal lumen. In all probability the phytosterol content of nuts contributes to their cholesterol-lowering effect.

Health Benefits of Cashews 5 Cashews for Gallstones

In a large prospective study of 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study who had no history of gallstone disease, it was revealed that frequent nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing gallstones.

Nutrients in Cashews

Cashew nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. They’re also a fantastic source of numerous minerals, such as copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Cashews are also a great source of biotin and protein. The juice of the cashew apple has 200-220 mg of Vitamin C per 100 ml, and various other valuable micro-nutrients.

History of Cashews

The cashew tree originated in Brazil. Portuguese explorers introduced cashew into other tropical regions In the sixteenth century. The cashew nut actually a seed from the cashew apple fruit. The juice of the cashew apple (suco de caju) is one of the most popular juices all over Brazil. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashew nuts are Brazil, India, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Friday, December 26, 2014

5 Steps to stay covered through the Marketplace in 2015

Did you know that if you bought a health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, you can renew your current plan or enroll in a different plan for 2015? There may be new, more affordable health care plans available to you that weren’t an option last year, or you may find another plan that better fits your needs.
This fall, you’ll get two important 2015 health care plan notices about your health coverage. One will come from your health insurance company to explain any changes to premiums and benefits for the coming year. Another will come from the Marketplace with important deadlines and information about Open Enrollment, which starts on November 15, 2014. These notices help you understand your choices for 2015.
To stay covered through the Marketplace for 2015, you’ll need to follow 5 Steps during Open Enrollment:

1. Review

your current plan’s 2015 health coverage and costs.

2. Update

your Marketplace application, starting November 15.

3. Compare

the health plans available to you in 2015.

4. Choose

the plan that best meets your needs.

5. Enroll

in the health plan you want for 2015 coverage, by December 15, 2014.

contact Solidarity Health Network today to review your options for 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kalettes, Broccoflower And Other Eye-Popping Vegetables For 2015

Does a cross between Brussels sprouts and kale sound like your vegetable dream come true? Maybe so, if you're someone who's crazy for cruciferous vegetables and all thefiber and nutrients they pack in.
Meet Kalettes, a hybrid of the two that looks like a small head of purple kale. It arrived in U.S. supermarkets like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods this fall, and is being marketed as "a fresh fusion of sweet and nutty."
It's not the only new hybrid vegetable that we may be seeing a lot more of in 2015. Kendall College, a culinary and hospitality school in Chicago, predicts that broccoflower, broccolini and rainbow carrots may also leap from the specialty fringes to the mainstream produce aisle, owing to their terrific flavor and good looks.
Why now? People are moving away from the comfort food they fell back on during the recession, says Christopher Koetke, vice president of Kendall's School of Culinary Arts. "People are starting to say OK, I can be a little more adventuresome."

Kalettes (Brussels sprouts 
crossed with kale):

"Those are two vegetables that are incredibly popular, and chefs are cooking them constantly," says Koetke. But Kalettes: The British company Tozer Seeds came up with the idea to develop the hybrid, which also goes by BrusselKale and Flower Sprout, 15 years ago. Tozer debuted it in the U.K. in 2010 before launching it in the U.S. in 2014.
The flavor of kalettes is more subtle than that of Brussels sprouts, making it tasty raw or sauteed, says Koetke. He recommends roasting or blanching, much like you would Brussels sprouts.

Broccoflower (broccoli crossed with cauliflower):

Broccoflower, a cauliflower with a pale green tint, was first grown in Holland and brought to the U.S. by Rick Antle of the family farm Tanimura and Antle in California. His farm coined the name Broccoflower and began distributing it in 1989.
The flavor is similar to a cauliflower but slightly sweeter. "Cook it and give it a whole smoke," says Koetke, and "it develops a whole separate flavor profile."
While it may not be an especially novel ingredient for chefs, the growing popularity of cauliflower may mean it's ready to move from the farmers market into more supermarkets.

Broccolini (broccoli crossed with Chinese broccoli):

This cross, sometimes called baby broccoli, was firsthybridized in 1993 in Yokohama, Japan, by Sakata Seed Co. Originally called "apabroc," it wasn't until 1998 that it began selling under the name broccolini.
It looks just like broccoli, but has longer stalks and smaller florets. Its taste is subtly sweet with a bit of pepper. Because of its slender stalk, it takes less time to cook than traditional broccoli. "Word to the wise: Keep a close eye on it because it overcooks relatively easily," says Koetke.
Unlike broccoli, the side shoots of broccolini are the tasty part, while the main stalk of the vegetable is removed. This makes it a more labor-intensive vegetable to harvest. However, the stems of broccolini are "really delicious," says Koetke, more delicious than broccoli stems.
You've maybe seen it at a farmers market or a specialty store, says Koetke, but its beauty, full flavor and cute name may help it soon reach a wider audience.

Rainbow Carrots:

The highly pigmented carrots — in a wild rainbow of purple, red and yellow — we see today were developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service in Madison, Wis. But purple and yellow carrots have been around more than 1,000 years, according to the World Carrot Museum.
The USDA breeders' goal was to create carrots with extra beta carotene, which makes the carrots orange and is a key nutrient for us.
Their project worked: The average carrot now provides 75 percent more beta carotene than it did 25 years ago.
To do it, the USDA scientists didn't just add extra orange; they also injected other pigments into carrots, including red lycopene, yellow xanthophylls and purple anthocyanins. These compounds guard against heart disease, help the eyes, and act as antioxidants, respectively. And now you can buy packs of rainbow carrot seeds.
You may not see these kooky carrots in fine dining restaurants, says Koetke. But he does hope to see them appear not just in supermarkets and farmers markets, but in school dining programs, too. As the "Fruit Loops of carrots," he says, they might spur children to choose a healthier option.
As for Koetke's dream hybrid vegetable? "An onion that also tasted like garlic," he says. Chefs are always chopping up onions and mincing garlic. "Boy that would be amazing," says Koetke. "You could eliminate one step."
It might just be possible, since plant breeders have been hybridizing food crops for a while — centuries, actually.
"The general idea is that it's a lot like breeding dogs or breeding cats," says Ali Bouzari, a food biochemist at the University of California, Davis. "You need things that are biologically close enough related that they're compatible with each other."
For example, Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli and cauliflower all belong to the speciesBrassica oleracea, and all are now common crosses.
But it's not the same as genetic engineering. "It's just cross-breeding," says Bouzari. "It's horticulture."
It's actually easier to do this for vegetables than for fruits, says Bouzari, because you don't have to wait for a whole tree to grow. Most hybrids — for example, the hybrid tomatoes that have become so ubiquitous — are created to boost yield or disease resistance or durability for traveling long distances to the supermarket.
Source: NPR The Salt- Kalettes, Broccoflower And Other Eye-Popping Vegetables For 2015

Saturday, December 20, 2014

10 tips for a healthier holiday eating season

I heard the cry across the office and immediately knew the pain behind it...

"Oh, no! Don't put the popcorn machine by me!" one of our managers exclaimed as the machine was wheeled to a more prominent location in hopes of it getting more use.
More use, of course, meant more popcorn. And with that comes the great potential for more calories to be added to our bottom line.
And, well, our bottoms.
I tout as both a skill and fatal flaw that I can sense and find with bloodhound-like acumen the presence of goodies in the office.
I just can't seem to stop eating them once I find a stash.
The problem is exacerbated at holiday time when folks here are feeling a bit more merry and express it with sugar cookies, brownies, cakes and — well let's just stop the list there before sweets on the mind forces everyone to find some for their tongues.
All of that "holiday cheer" causes Americans to gain, on average, one to two pounds during the season, said Caryn Alter, a registered dietitian with the Star and Barry Tobias Health Awareness Center at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold Township.
That may not seem like much, but unless you continue to carry the weight into next December. Then the next.

She shared 10 tips to help navigate the next few weeks in the office and at parties.

Don't skip meals.

There's going to be extra food around, so I'll just hold off eating lunch until the office potluck or party, you say to yourself.
Wrong, says Alter. While it may sound counter intuitive, she suggest you continue to eat your sensible and satisfying breakfast and lunch. And if you're headed to a Christmas party that night, have a healthy snack.
That will keep you from being ravenous when you're facing the party buffet.
"It's harder to eat with any kind of self control at that point," she said.

Bring a healthy dish.

Many people will use holiday time to pull out all of the stops and make their most delectable dish, one that can also be laden with calories. Alter suggests going against the grain and bringing a healthy option. She likes bringing decoratively sliced pineapple dressed up with other attractive fruits like kiwi and grapes. That way you know you'll have at least one healthy option on your dish.

Think about the drink.

You can't have a Christmas party without eggnog. But at 200 calories for a 4-ounce serving, maybe you can. Liquids also don't make you feel as full as solid food does, so you also consume more calories than you think.

Use a smaller plate.

Using a little plate helps curb eating in two ways, Alter says. One of the reasons it works is a bit of an optical illusion. The same amount of food on an 8-inch plate will look much more substantial than the same amount of food on an 11-inch plate.
A smaller plate will offer natural portion control because you can only put so much on the dish.
Want to amp up this idea? Skip the dish and use a napkin for the food you'll be eating.
Fill up on fiber. Eat foods with fiber first: salad over other sides, fruit before desserts. It'll take the edge off hunger, but fiber also absorbs water as it makes its way through the digestive track and gives you a fuller feeling, Alter said.

Slow down.

Take more time as you eat. Put down your fork and take sips of water after a few bites. It can take 20 minutes for your brain to get the message your stomach is full. Take a break before going for seconds.

Talk more, eat less.

Take the emphasis off eating and more on socializing, Alter said. Focus more on the conversations with your co-workers, family and friends. You won't be as tempted to eat all of the goodies at hand.
Also remember: People who are distracted while eating can also eat more. So avoid the snacks while reminiscing about auld lang syne.

Eat mindfully.

This one sounds easy, but can be harder than you think because of the long-ago learned lesson of clearing your plate, Alter said.
"Eat when you are physically hungry and stop when you are comfortably full," she said. "But it is very difficult for a lot of people to do that."
We all eat for different reasons: sadness, boredom, celebration. She suggests we wait 10 minutes before eating to decided if we are actually hungry. That's how long it can take for a craving to peak and subside.
But have to sample every dish that everyone brought? Alter suggests you take an inventory of the buffet line first and treat the calories you will consume the same way you do your money. If you only have so much cash (or in this case, calories) how are you going to spend it?
"You can decide which foods are really your favorites and which you'd like to spend your calories on," she said. "If it's not one of your favorite items, maybe you can share it with another person."

Signal the end of the meal.

Can you brush your teeth after you eat? If not try, grab some sugarless gum or a mint. Any of those will signal to your body you're done eating, Alter said.

Walk it off.

So maybe you did consume a few too many calories. All is not lost, Alter said. Find ways to add physical activity into the mix. Do some seated exercises at your desk. Park further away from the office or store while shopping.

Or heck, be the one to lead the 
conga line at the office party.

Source: Asbury Park Press- 10 tips for a healthier holiday eating season