Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Indigenous Educator to Lead First Ever Coast Salish-Owned Charitable Foundation

The newly-formed Kw’umut Lelum Foundation, created by Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, today announced the hiring of Sharon Hobenshield, Ha-Youly, as Executive Director.

Dr. Sharon Hobenshield is the new Executive Director of the Kw’umut Lelum Foundation (CNW Group/Kw’umut Lelum)

“I am excited to be part of this new Foundation that is breaking new ground in self-determination,” said Dr. Hobenshield. “I really believe in Indigenous community-led organization and change. It’s the direction First Nations are going and an opportunity for the country to show their support to create a better future for our children and our Nations. I look forward to leading with the values handed down to me by my Gitxsan grandfather who always told me ‘To be good is to do good’.”

Ms. Hobenshield has worked with the Coast Salish communities on Vancouver Island for more than 25 years, most recently as Director of Indigenous Education and Engagement at Vancouver Island University.

“We welcome Sharon’s leadership as we move forward toward investing in the futures of our children and communities.  The Kw’umut Lelum Foundation is a response to the call for Indigenous self-determination and independence from government funding. It will open new opportunities for education and well-being for our people,” says John Elliot, Thỏlmen, Chair of the Kw’umut Lelum Foundation. “Sharon’s history of collaboration and partnership with our Coast Salish Nations, and her dedication to Indigenous education and success made her a clear choice to guide the Foundation.”

The Kw’umut Lelum Foundation is one of the first of its kind in Canada – a wholly First Nation-owned and led organization whose purpose is to collaborate with private and public philanthropists to invest in Indigenous youth and communities, ensuring equity of access to support programs, positive outcomes in education, and increased community wellbeing.  It will build on the work of Kw’umut Lelum, whose 25 year history providing child and family services on Vancouver Island has resulted in decreased numbers of Indigenous children entering foster care and many more children remaining connected to their families and culture.  Kw’umut Lelum welcomes inquiries from individuals and organizations who are interested in investing in the community-based work of the new KL Foundation.

“Kw’umut Lelum has been providing culturally-informed supports and services to our member Nations for over 25 years, pushing against the colonial systems that saw our Indigenous children removed from their families and denied their culture,” says William Yoachim, Sqwulutsutun, Executive Director of Kw’umut Lelum. “We believe in working with our Nations to pursue new and innovative approaches to change. This new Foundation is another important step towards ensuring our children are provided the best possible opportunities in life, in a way that honours their Coast Salish culture.”


“We look forward to sharing more on this story in the near future” – Karie Engels, Managing Editor


ABOUT KW’UMUT LELUM

Kw’umut Lelum is a Delegated Aboriginal Agency on Vancouver Island delivering a full range of coordinated, culturally informed child safety and family wellness services to address the unique needs of Indigenous families and communities.  Our approach is informed and guided by Coast Salish values, laws and teachings.  Our Member Nations include: Halalt, Lyackson, Malahat, Penelakut, Qualicum, Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus and Ts’uubaa-asatx.

Sharon Hobenshield – Brief Biography

Sharon Hobenshield’s traditional name is Ha-Youly. She belongs to the Wilp Malii from the Gitxsan First Nation on her mother’s side and is of German ancestry on her father’s side. Sharon has 25 years’ experience working on Coast Salish Territory as a social worker and educator and has worked at Vancouver Island University in a leadership role since 2006 as the Director of Indigenous Education and Engagement. She believes strongly in Indigenous led and controlled programs and services to ensure authenticity of spirit and culture and to uphold the self-determining rights of Indigenous people. 

Sharon has a Bachelor of Social Work, Master’s in Education and Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy. Her dissertation, Haq wil la hlo is sim: Walk Slowly on the Breath of your Ancestors, was an examination of gift-giving within Post-Secondary Education and inspired by her Grandfather’s teachings. Sharon is a proud mother of twin girls and makes her home in Nanoose Bay with her partner and mother.

SOURCE Kw’umut Lelum

Quick Bites – 10 Tips to Prepare Pets before Storms and Wildfires Hit

With wildfires raging and a busier-than-usual hurricane season predicted, pet owners should begin preparing now for emergency situations. Dr. Jose Arce, President-Elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico who has been through hurricanes with pets, both as an owner and a veterinarian. He says there are three key steps to being ready for a disaster: making a plan, building an emergency kit, and staying up to date on the latest news and storm-related developments in your area.

Dr. Arce’s 10 Pet Preparedness Tips:

When preparing for emergency situations like hurricanes and wildfires, don’t forget to plan for your pet. Visit http://www.avma.org for pet care information and news.
  1. Get your pet microchipped. If a pet gets lost or needs a place to ride out the storm, he or she will get back to you.
  2. Have evacuation plans mapped out before emergency situations arise.
  3. Contact friends or neighbors to coordinate safe travel plans.
  4. Have back-up care for your pets ready in the case you can’t make it home.
  5. Put together a pet emergency go-bag with several days’ food, medicines, first aid kit and grooming items.
  6. Make sure your pet has all their tags and IDs in case you have to evacuate.
  7. Practice finding a safe place at home with your pet, such as a basement or interior room, in case of tornados or high winds.
  8. Keep a handful of items – such as a leash, water dish, and blanket – in your car at all times in case you have to move quickly.
  9. Tune into the latest news/weather reports to be forewarned of any imminent danger.
  10. Contact your veterinarian if you need more clarity on how to prepare.

“Emergency situations are unpredictable,” said Arce. “Being prepared early will help you, your family, and pet have the best chance at avoiding disaster.”

Log on to www.avma.org for more valuable information about pets and pet care.

SOURCE American Veterinary Medical Association

take control of your diet with these healthy shopping tips

By Elizabeth DeRosa of Finding The Way Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Author

Tips to Help You Navigate the Grocery Store

stock photo veggiesTrying to choose healthy foods while navigating the grocery store can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful trip. Eating healthier “whole” foods increases your intake of necessary vitamins, minerals, and other disease-fighting antioxidants.

  1. Shop in the outer perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the fresh and perishable food choices.
  2. Read labels and know where your food comes from. Watch out for sneaky ingredients and beware of fortified foods. The shorter the ingredient list the better.
  3. Reduce packaged and processed foods that contain added sugars and many synthetic chemicals. Avoid the center aisles of the store.
  4. Download the Environmental Working Group’s phone App that highlights the yearly list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen produce to buy and stay away from. Try one or two new veggies a week.
  5. Purchase organic and/or pastured raised meats.
  6. Purchase wild caught fish instead of farm raised fish.
  7. Reduce products that contain “white” flour (breads, cereals, pastas, bagels, etc.)
  8. Increase the purchasing of healthier foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and healthy oils.
  9. Be suspicious of the labeling of food as “natural”. You often see this label on many food items. There is no legal regulation or oversight for companies to mislead consumers.
  10. Purchase organic milk which is free from synthetic hormones, antibiotic residue, a grain-fed diet, and overall more humane treatment of the animal. Organic milk is lower in Omega 6’s and higher in Omega 3’s.

Elizabeth DeRosa Author, activist, public speaker, MOM and Holistic Health Coach

BSW and MSW in social work and Holistic Health Coach From The Institute Of Integrative Nutrition

 

January Cleaning with Limoneira Citrus

Use Limoneira citrus to revitalize and clean any home – without any of the harmful chemicals found in many store-bought cleaners

It’s not quite spring yet, but a bit of “pre-spring” cleaning wouldn’t hurt. It’s no secret that store-bought cleaning agents can be full of hidden and harmful chemicals that are best left outside the home. Therefore, this month Limoneira spokesperson and founder of Healthy Grocery Girl Megan Roosevelt has put together a bevy of cleaning tips and easily assembled DIY methods for keeping the home sparkling and fresh year round.

For a demonstration, you can view Megan detail her fresh Spring Cleaning tips and recipes here on the Limoneira YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe – videos with more wonderful tips and tricks not detailed in this release will be added to the channel each Friday throughout the month.

Beginning this past January and continuing throughout 2017, Megan produced weekly videos that demonstrated fun, easy and healthy tips to make the most out of your year.

Limoneira has also linked with additional global cleaning experts that share their knowledge with the customers of our grocery and food service partners around the world. Their biographies can be found on Limoneira’s website.

Take a look at some great new examples below.


Grapefruit Multi-Purpose Cleaner – Multi-purpose cleaner is the answer to keeping the home looking and smelling fresh. Follow these easy steps for a DIY solution that skips chemicals in store-bought cleaners!

grapefruitYou’ll need:

  • Peels from multiple grapefruits
  • Small glass jar with lid
  • White vinegar
  • Empty spray bottle

Directions: Separate the peel from the grapefruit (or the citrus peel of your choice). Using a small glass jar, place the peel inside, packing as tightly as possible. Fill jar to the brim with white vinegar. Cover jar with lid, and let sit for two weeks. When the infused vinegar is ready, fill a spray bottle with equal parts filtered water and grapefruit-infused vinegar.


Citrus Pan Scrubber – Fun fact: orange halves can be miracle workers for getting stains off of kitchen pans.

orange-treeIngredients:

  • Orange or lemon halves
  • Coarse table salt

Directions: Once the pan in question has cooled, add a few tablespoons of coarse salt. Take citrus halves (for added usefulness, juice them first and use the juice as you wish) and scrub away. Since this cleaner is completely non-toxic, simply wipe off or rinse with water after cleaning.


Lemon Microwave Cleaner – Microwaves can be a hotbed for unsavory smells… and worse. Lemons are here to help.

lemon-halfIngredients:

  • One lemon, halved
  • Microwave safe bowl
  • 2 cups water

Directions: Place water and lemon halves in a microwave safe bowl. Cook on high in microwave for 3 minutes. The hot lemon steam will coat the inside of the microwave, and allow for easy removal of debris and food remnants by wiping with a damp cloth.


Each month, Megan will be featuring another wonderful facet of citrus living. Subscribe to Limoneira’s Youtube channel for more information on the many ways this endlessly versatile fruit can improve life inside the home and beyond.


About Limoneira®
The Limoneira Company was founded in Ventura County, California in 1893. Today, Limoneira has evolved into a global company whose mission is to preserve and promote its tradition, heritage and legacy in agriculture and community development.   With 11,000 acres of agricultural production, Limoneira is the largest provider of lemons and avocados in the United States. In addition to agriculture, Limoneira has a long history of community building. Finally, sustainability has been woven into Limoneira’s fabric for over a century with strategic investments in water, solar, soil, and integrated pest management.  For more information, visit Limoneira®

About Megan Roosevelt and Healthy Grocery Girl ® 
Megan Roosevelt is an internationally published author, cooking show host and producer as well as a nutrition expert for regional and national television and magazines. In addition to being a plant-based Registered Dietitian, Roosevelt through Healthy Grocery Girl® provides her extensive audience with on-line cooking videos and says “I love helping people get healthy in ways that are realistic and fun”.

Roosevelt is the spokesperson for Limoneira’s Lemons for Life™ campaign and says “As one of the largest growers of lemons in the United States, the partnership with Limoneira made a great deal of sense”, she said. “It’s synergistic. We all know that lemons are among the healthiest products people can integrate into their diets”. Lemons for Life ™ highlights a variety of ways that lemons can be integrated into consumer’s lives. These include recipes, natural cleaning, beauty and health tips as well as lifestyle applications.

GoatHouse Brewing Co

November 2017  By Elizabeth Smith

One of my first weekend trips to Placer County, California, included a stop at GoatHouse Brewing, which recently celebrating four years in business.

A few visits later, after their Farm Yoga experience, I caught up with co-owner, Catherine Johnson, about what it’s like to live the dream: owning a craft brewery which produces its own hops and raises its own goats, far removed from her past life living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

FullSizeRender (3)How did GoatHouse Brewing come about? Why goats and beer?

Michael and I were in the Bay Area rat race and knew we wanted something different for our life and young family. We met and fell in love over beer, and Michael has brewed since before he was old enough to buy (now over 30 years)! We knew we wanted space and a great community to raise our family. Being connected to where our food (or beer in this case) comes from has always been important — food or beer just doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store. I make cheese, so goats were the obvious choice. Hops are needed as beer isn’t beer without hops, and thus, the dream began!

Why Placer County/Lincoln, California?

We looked all over the state of California and we fell in love with the schools, community, and competitive landscape around us. We wanted rural farmland, yet close enough to city comforts and school sports, etc. The farmland around us is rich with mandarins, lavender farms, wineries, and many other innovative uses.

Why did you decide to offer farm yoga with the goats? Has it been successful? In what ways?

Farm Yoga evolved because we have tons of goats and beer! A good friend was recently certified as a yoga instructor, we got to talking (and maybe having a cold one), and the idea took shape. Farm Yoga at GoatHouse has been very well received and hopefully people enjoy it as much as we do! Animals don’t fake affection — when they choose to spend time with you, enjoying a rub, nibbling on edge of shirt, enhancing a stretch, etc. — it is genuine.

FullSizeRenderApproximately much and how many different beers do you produce annually?

GoatHouse Brewing is a 3BBL nano-brewery. We grow 20 different varieties of hops. We brew small-batch seasonal beer as a farm brewery based in agriculture. We use 90% of the hops we grow onsite, bringing in only those that are proprietary and patented. We also use seasonal fruit from our orchard such as mandarins. Most years, we brew 40-50 different styles, with only one being on tap 100% of the time, Darkside, our stout, our favorite to drink and brew! The rest comes and goes with the season.

How do you come up with the names of your beers, such as Wet N’ EZ, Honey Baby, Jackin’ Jill, Amberillo, Philip D’Glass, and Dirtbag Red?

Songs, life, kids, inside jokes, nicknames, family, riffs on just about anything. Typically, it starts a bit inappropriate, some vetoing that goes on, then we lock in and go!

We are craft beer manufacturers and hop farmers, so at least two businesses rolled into one, but beer helps make the world go around!

Do you have children and are they involved in the business?

We have two kids, Nolan, 14 and Amelia, 11. They help with Farm Yoga and most of the critter care on the farm. Nolan is on a USA swim team and he’s thankfully strong to haul hay bales. Amelia has no fear and can wrangle a goat like no one’s business (might be from her competitive soccer playing skills). They also grow pumpkins and have a farm stand in the brewery where they pick fruit from the onsite orchard, or veggies from our large garden to sell. They save their money to buy new seeds for the next year or something special.

IMG_1452Tell me more about the goats. What kind of goats, etc.?  Do you produce (or sell) any goat products such as milk and cheese?

The goats are all dairy goats. The plan was to open a small-batch dairy, but currently the regulations are hundreds of thousands of dollars and price prohibitive, so we are not licensed, nor do we sell any milk products. All hope is not lost, but development is currently on pause. In the meantime, we eat a lot of cheese with our beer! Our daughter has three Nigerian dwarf goats from 4H and their milk is like heavy cream. Alpines and La Manchas make up the bulk of the herd and their milk is sweet and plentiful – no funky aftertaste. Despite their reputation, our goats are very picky eaters and VERY spoiled.

What are the challenges you face as a local craft brewer?

Being one of the only true farm-to-tap breweries in the State of California – where the farming and brewing happen on the same land – has been challenging as the government isn’t really set up for innovation or the unknown. Being tenacious and the first to market has been character building as my mother says! We are craft beer manufacturers and hop farmers, so at least two businesses rolled into one, but beer helps make the world go around!

 Do you sell your beers only at the brewery?

The majority, yes. Since we are based in agriculture, production is limited. The old farming model was that the farms brought food to the people. Today, people like to come to the farms to see where everything is produced. It’s a connection that has been lost in society that we are hoping to rebuild. People don’t know how hops grow, so it’s a bonus to share the knowledge while they are enjoying a beer on the farm.

What other events do you offer at the brewery?

We are starting to work on some beer pairing events with local farmers and a fantastic farm-to-table chef. More to come, so stay tuned!

Is GoatHouse Brewing everything you dreamed it would be?

GoatHouse Brewing is exactly and more than what we planned extensively for and dreamed of. Our unique business model, as the first in the state, has been very well received and our passion and love for what we do, we hope, shines through. With all the planning we did, the one thing that surprised us, and continues to surprise us, is the outpouring of love and support from our customers. It is truly staggering and we are honored to be part of so many celebrations: engagements on a regular day in the brewery, baby showers, and birthday parties for the young and old.


600 Wise Road, Lincoln CA | info@goathousebrewing.com | Goathousebrewing.com

Michael and Catherine Johnson  |  Tasting Room open Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun

 


Elizabeth Smith HSElizabeth Smith is a French and Spanish professor turned wine professional. In 2013, her part-time role as executive assistant to a wine broker and importer became her stepping stone into the wine business. She moved to the Napa Valley from Virginia in January 2014 to begin her new full-time winery career. Elizabeth holds a doctoral degree in community college education from George Mason University as well as Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s advanced wine certification. She is currently the wine club and social media manager at Ehlers Estate and writes about wine tourism and wine for various online media outlets, usually while sipping wine with her cat, Einstein, by her side.
Follow Elizabeth at TravelingWineChick.com and AmericanWineryGuide.com

The Bon-Vivant Girls’ Tips and Tricks to Enjoy Eating Out

by Nathalie Botros

We all know how to lose weight: “eat less and healthier, exercise more”. So how come we keep failing?

_G9A0396It isn’t because of lack of strength and determination, but because we try to lose the weight with a “diet”. The minute we say the word “diet”, our brain translates it to “restriction”. Which means we are forbidden to eat what we want. In human psychology, when we are forbidden to do something, we right away want to do it. Remember Adam and Eve; God told them they could eat from any tree, except one. And of course, Eve ate the forbidden fruit from that tree…

Until ten years old, I lived in Turkey; I was on a Mediterranean diet. Then my parents sent me to a boarding school in Switzerland; I was on cheese and chocolate diet. After finishing my studies and working in Switzerland, I moved to Italy; I was on pasta and pizza diet. Finally, I moved to the United States; the fast food, delivery and TV ads diet.

Although I started dieting at an early age, I became a professional dieter when I moved to the United States and gained 40 pounds. I have tried all the good ones, the bad ones, the trendy ones and the desperate ones: low carb, high protein, low calorie, vegetarian, and alkaline just to name few. I have even tried the controversial HCG diet, where you inject yourself with HCG hormones which are pregnancy hormones.

Some worked for a little while, some others not at all. I have even gained weight with some. Depressed, angry and desperate, I have decided to stop the diet and start the lifestyle. A “diet” means “restriction”; a “lifestyle” means “the way we live”. It was the birth of The Bon-Vivant Girl.

Translated from French, “bon-vivant” means “well-living”. The Bon-Vivant Girl’s lifestyle is all about living to our fullest potential, being happy and healthy and losing weight without a diet and our appetite for life. Instead of asking you to stay home cutting or counting your food intake, this lifestyle encourages you to go out and socialize.

Nathalie BotrosSome people “eat to live”, some others “live to eat”. I am the happiest when I am around a table with friends and family. To incorporate my philosophy, I have created some tips to follow at a restaurant without feeling restricted. You can follow most of these tips at home as well.

–    Choose the right restaurant:

Always opt for a spot where you can enjoy your lunch or dinner. Not a fast food restaurant, where everything happens in 10 -15 minutes, served by an unhappy person, who cooked your food with no joy. This is your time of pleasure, so why to spend it eating miserable food prepared by unhappy people.

–    Check the menu before you go:

We all have access to restaurants’ menus nowadays, why not take advantage of that. It is a good way to have an idea about the food you will eat. You can prepare yourself accordingly. For example, if you have chosen an Italian restaurant for dinner, and the pasta dishes looks amazing; don’t eat pasta for lunch.

–    Share your food:

Sometimes we are attracted to more than one dish on the menu, so why to not share our food with the others so we can order more options. It is an excellent way to taste more dishes and not feel obliged to finish our plate as someone will be helping us.

–    Don’t order all your dishes at once:

Why hurry and order everything at once, when you are out to enjoy your time? Don’t place all your orders at once, order your appetizers; once done, decide your entrees. It is a great trick to avoid ordering too much food and making the wrong choices. After each course, you can see if your table is still hungry and what you are craving for.

–    Start your meal with a “less naughty” dish:

You can order everything, no restriction. Although, if you start with a healthy choice, you have chances to fill fuller before you get into the “naughty one”. For example, if you start with a salad as it contains a lot of water, you will feel satiated faster.

–    Take your time to eat:

Remember, you are not eating fast food, so you can take your time to enjoy every bite. Eating slowly will reduce the amount you eat, making it better for digestion you’ll feel satiated faster. In other words, give time to your body to send “I am full signal” to your brain.

–    Ask always for the sauce or dressing on the side:

It won’t change the taste of your food. You can always pour it into your dish or salad. But having them on the side will automatically make you eat less of that rich sauce or dressing.

–    Taste your food before adding salt:

Restaurants are supposed to have the right amount of salt on the dishes, so try your food first. I am sure it has enough salt. You might lose few seconds, but you avoid eating too salty.

–    Add ice to your drink:

It works very well with champagne and white wine, and it is fashionable in St Tropez. It is called “piscine”, which means “pool”. It works so well that some champagne companies created bottles, especially for that purpose. If you feel like a cocktail, ask without sugar. And don’t forget: For each glass of alcohol, you need to drink at least one glass of water.

The most important tip when you are eating out is to enjoy your lunch or dinner with no guilt!!!


You can find more tips and tricks on the Bon-Vivant Girl’s book: If you are what you eat, should I eat a skinny girl?

Follow the Bon-Vivant Girl on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

 

Take control of your diet with these healthy shopping tips

By Elizabeth DeRosa of Finding The Way Integrative Nutrition Health Coach & Author

Tips to Help You Navigate the Grocery Store

vegetables IITrying to choose healthy foods while navigating the grocery store can be confusing and overwhelming. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful trip. Eating healthier “whole” foods increases your intake of necessary vitamins, minerals, and other disease-fighting antioxidants.

  1. Shop in the outer perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the fresh and perishable food choices.
  2. Read labels and know where your food comes from. Watch out for sneaky ingredients and beware of fortified foods. The shorter the ingredient list the better.
  3. Reduce packaged and processed foods that contain added sugars and many synthetic chemicals. Avoid the center aisles of the store.
  4. Download the Environmental Working Group’s phone App that highlights the yearly list of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen produce to buy and stay away from. Try one or two new veggies a week.
  5. Purchase organic and/or pastured raised meats.
  6. Purchase wild caught fish instead of farm raised fish.
  7. Reduce products that contain “white” flour (breads, cereals, pastas, bagels, etc.)
  8. Increase the purchasing of healthier foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and healthy oils.
  9. Be suspicious of the labeling of food as “natural”. You often see this label on many food items. There is no legal regulation or oversight for companies to mislead consumers.
  10. Purchase organic milk which is free from synthetic hormones, antibiotic residue, a grain-fed diet, and overall more humane treatment of the animal. Organic milk is lower in Omega 6’s and higher in Omega 3’s.

Elizabeth DeRosa Author, activist, public speaker, MOM and Holistic Health Coach

BSW and MSW in social work and Holistic Health Coach From The Institute Of Integrative Nutrition

The Skinny on Prebiotics and Probiotics

By William B. Miller, Jr., M.D

With summer right around the corner, you may be starting to think about “suiting up,” and shed those  few pesky pounds that just won’t go away, but most likely won’t succeed.

 

beach-vacation-people-sandClearly, this has become an increasing source of frustration for many Americans. In fact, a recent report emphasizes just this. The incidence of obesity in the general population in the United States is steadily rising but fewer and fewer adults are attempting to moderate their weight. It seems as if a significant segment of our population has given up on dieting. Yet, how can we blame people for not persisting in a repeated pattern of failure. Typical diets that only concentrate on portion control or a limited food palette consistently fail and the reason is that these measures don’t address the entire story.

Your Microbiome and Weight Control

New research has revealed a number of surprises about weight control. The greatest of these has been the realization that on a biological basis, we are not the single creature that we assume. Instead, our bodies are an astounding combination of our own innate cells and a vast number microbial inhabitants. And these microbes are not just passive hanger’s on. Our microbes form essential aspects of our gut, respiratory system, and skin and outnumber our own personal cells by a factor of 10 to 1. This later fraction is our microbiome and recent studies are revealing an extensive metabolic interplay between these crucial microbes and our own cells.

Contemporary research has revealed that our microbes make a significant contribution to our subjective responses to food and sensation of satiety that directly influence obesity. For example, there are differences between the microbiomes of lean and obese individuals. Overweight adults and children tend to show a decrease in microbial diversity compared to leaner individuals. Certain foods can influence this crucial gut microbial composition and some supplements, called prebiotics and probiotics, can do likewise.

Introducing Prebiotics and Probiotics Into Your Diet

asparagusPrebiotics are typically non-digestible fibers, such as oligofructose or inulin that beneficial microbes can utilize for their metabolism. Examples of prebiotic foods, which contain these fibers, include:

  • Raw chicory root
  • Bananas
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Wheat bran

Probiotics are those foods that directly add some useful strains of bacteria that are elements of a healthy gut microbiome. These include:

  • Natural Yogurts
  • Dark Chocolate
  • dark chocolateKimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Miso

Both prebiotic and probiotic foods can guide the gut microbiome towards a pattern that is the most healthful for that individual. Prebiotic and probiotic foods and some supplements have been specifically demonstrated to positively affect weight management. For example, the use of prebiotic supplements are associated with improved satiety in overweight adults. In another just completed Canadian study these positive results were documented in obese adolescents. Their use of prebiotic supplementation was associated with weight loss and a significant reduction in calorie consumption.

Until recently, it was believed that appetite and satiety were only dependent upon an intrinsic gut/brain axis of circulating molecules from the cells that line our gut. Our assumption had been that only our own gut tissues were sending signals of fullness and satisfaction to specific centers in the brain. Instead, it is clear that our gut microbes are directly participating in that circuit by giving off bioactive molecules that tell us whether we are full or still hungry, and surprisingly, this circuit is dependent on a complex interplay between our gut cells and our microbe’s assessment of their own needs.

diet controlThe foods we eat can alter these microbial communities in our digestive tract. In turn, our complex human behaviors such as anxiety, learning, memory, satiety and appetite are influenced. In each of these circumstances, it is not typically an issue of eradicated one type of microbe in favor of another. Instead, it is always a matter of the balance of all of the varying participants within the gut microbial ecology that leads to the proper proportion of the correct microbes for our best health. Adjusting this balance is crucial as it is now understood that microbial gut imbalance, called dysbiosis, can be associated with obesity and its consequences, such as insulin resistance, Type II diabetes, hypertension and elevated blood lipids .

With this blizzard of new information and the vast range of alternatives that are emerging, what is the best thing to do, right now, for general good health and to assist in practical weight management?  Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this complex problem based on a wealth of sound scientific data. Adjust your diet, as much as you can to include the best sources of prebiotic and probiotic fiber and consider adding an effective prebiotic or probiotic supplement.


Bill MillerDr. Bill Miller has been a physician in academic and private practice for over 30 years. He is the author of The Microcosm Within: Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome. He currently serves as a scientific advisor to Prebiotin. For more information, http://www.themicrocosmwithin.com.

SPRING INTO SPRING!! 7 Ways to Be More Optimistic

spring (2)We set the clocks ahead for daylight savings and many of us woke up to a darker sky feeling sluggish thanks to a one hour loss of sleep. If you hit the snooze, pulled the covers up over your head still feeling bummed out about your waistline, bank account, career or love life, you’re not alone. Despite more daylight our worries will still be there. So how do we spring into spring, a season that’s all about new  beginnings and rebirth? For practical ways, to cultivate optimism in our lives we turned to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services who shares these tips and tools.

Focus on the good.

“A daily exercise I often have my patients do is keep an appreciation or gratitude journal. When you focus on all the things to be happy for in your life then more great things come. Think generally and use your senses. What do you appreciate seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, listening to? Write it down. Within a few weeks you’ll train the mind to pivot to an appreciate thought when a negative thought comes,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

Make plans.

Making plans to see relatives, to see a new exhibit a movie or to travel gets our mind moving forward towards something positive that we can be hopeful and optimistic about. Dr. Hafeez suggests making plans to do 3 things per month for the next 3 months. “Choose things that you know will bring you joy and then go do them! Feeling excited about what is coming and talking about how fun it will be keeps us optimistic and forward moving,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Control what you can, delegate the rest! 

We get pessimistic and worry about the worst possible outcomes when we realize that we cannot control every detail. This leads to anxiety and an even stronger feeling of having to control conditions, and even others. According to Dr. Hafeez, this is a trap. “Figure out what needs to get done. What actions you can take. Then let go of anything else that is beyond your control with faith that everything will turn out fine. Envision the desired outcome,” advises Dr. Hafeez.

Limit your news watching and avoid it before bed. 

“There is a very common pattern I see people falling into,” says Hafeez. “People awaken and immediately reach for their smartphone for news headlines. They then turn on the TV news as background noise. They listen to news in their cars, have news alerts going off on their phones all day, catch the evening news and then the 11pm news before bed. No wonder they’re less optimistic! What you choose to look at will impact your mood. Remember, good news doesn’t get ratings,” she adds.

Don’t snooze. Instead just breathe.

When the alarm goes off give yourself a few minutes to just lie there, eyes closed focused on your breathing. Breathe in counting to 4 and then breathe out. Do a mental scan of your entire body from head to toe thanking your cells for restoring you as you slept. “Deep breathing is a form of meditation and in the morning, you have a small window of opportunity to decide what kind of day you want it to be,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Distract yourself with something that requires focus.

The key here is to pick something you truly enjoy doing and do it daily. It can be painting, coloring, yoga, a 20-minute walk or jog, listening to music and dancing around your living room. “When you are fully engaged in something, you can’t ruminate which leads to pessimism,” explains Dr. Hafeez.

Make feeling good top priority.

When you commit to feeling good you instantly start to think more optimistically. According to Dr. Hafeez, when you’re mindful of your own negativity and shift to a better feeling positive thought you feel powerful. You’ll feel like you can conquer anything when you can master your own mindset.


Dr. Sanam Hafeez PsyD is a NYC based licensed clinical psychologist, teaching faculty member at the prestigious Columbia University Teacher’s College and the founder and Clinical Director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C. a neuropsychological, developmental and educational center in Manhattan and Queens. 

Dr. Hafeez masterfully applies her years of experience connecting psychological implications to address some of today’s common issues such as body image, social media addiction, relationships, workplace stress, parenting and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc…). In addition, Dr. Hafeez works with individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, attention and memory problems, and abuse. Dr. Hafeez often shares her credible expertise to various news outlets in New York City and frequently appears on CNN and Dr.Oz.

Connect with her via twitter @comprehendMind or www.comprehendthemind.com

Organic Consumers Association Endorses New American Grassfed Association Dairy Standards

 AGA Standards Give Consumers Confidence in the Integrity of Dairy Products labeled “pasture-raised” or “Grassfed”

brown-cowFINLAND, Minn. – The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today endorsed the American Grassfed Association’s (AGA) new standards for the certification of dairy products from cows raised entirely on pasture.

“As consumers become more conscious of the health, environmental and animal welfare benefits of milk and dairy products from cows raised exclusively on pasture, the market for these products is taking off,” said Ronnie Cummins, international director of the Organic Consumers Association. “Until now, there has been no national standard to which 100% grassfed dairy products could be certified. As a result, some companies, eager cash in on a growing trend, have misled consumers with labels that falsely imply their products come from cows raised only on pasture, when in fact the cows have also been fed grain.

“Consumers can now rely on the fact that products certified to the AGA’s new standards, the result of a year’s worth of collaboration among dairy producers, retailers, scientists and certifiers, are of the highest quality and integrity,” Cummins said.

According to the AGA:

milkThe AGA Grassfed Standards incorporate a forage based diet on open pasture, animal health and welfare, no antibiotics, no added hormones. The standards are written by and for producers to support American family farms and provide a fair and sustainable market for their products, better for the consumer, better for the earth and better for the animal. The standard recognizes that the US is geographically and climatically diverse and that grassfed dairy production without limited science based supplementation  may not be feasible in some regions of the country. These standards apply to all farms and ranches approved by the American Grassfed Association (AGA) for the production grassfed products destined for certification by AGA. Only licensees certified as following these AGA Grassfed Standards may use AGA’s American Grassfed Association â logos, Association trademarks, service marks, and/or design marks hereafter called AGA Design Mark on their food and agriculture product packaging and promotional material.

About the Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization advocating on behalf of more than two million consumers for health, justice, and sustainability. For more information, please visit www.organicconsumers.org

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