Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Bjorn + Bach & The Godfather of Omega-3’s

August 22, 2011 Leave a comment

How would you like to reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease?  What about reduce your chances of cardiac death… by 90%?  Well, unless you’ve got a serious death wish then you’ve probably answered yes to the questions above, and I’m going to tell you how you can do just that.  Omega-3 fatty acids, and it doesn’t even have to feel like a chore.  Supplementing with fish oils has never been so easy and more importantly, so delicious.

It wasn’t very long ago that health professionals, dietitians and medical organizations would scoff at the idea of using nutritional fats to improve cardiovascular health, but scoff no more people; we’re starting to come around, and there is plenty of research to back it up.

Omega-3, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), DHA, EPA and fish oils; these are all words (or acronyms rather) that you’ve probably heard mentioned in health articles, on commercials or read about in some fitness magazine.  They are beginning to be the buzz words of health and wellness across America and not only do these fatty acids talk the talk, but these nutritional supplements walk the walk as well.  If you’ve taken fish oils before, then you know they aren’t always the ‘best’ tasting supplements… but what if I told you I found a product that defies everything you thought you knew about fish oils.  What if I told you this product actually tasted good… not only good, but great!  Well, look no further, Bjørn + Bach has created not only the best tasting fish oil on the market, but the most bio-available (meaning it is absorbed more readily into the body).  Add to that list Organic and  guaranteed free of mercury, lead and PCB’s…  I mean, really folks; what more could you ask for?

I recently read an article in Whole Foods Magazine online about Omega-3 Fish Oils and their health benefits; it was part of a series on Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) and was written in interview form.  The man they interviewed, Dr. Jorn Dyerberg, is a world-renowned professor and pioneer of the Omega-3 movement.  It all started in 1970 when he, and a fellow physician, Dr. Olaf Bang traveled across Greenland to study the health of a small population of Inuit’s who consumed a diet rich in Omega-3’s; or rather a high fat diet ripe with fish, and developed little to no cardiovascular disease or death by cardiac arrest.  No one expected the results that followed.  After many months of blood tests, diet and lifestyle observation and tracking the overall health of the community; the two physicians walked away with a remarkable discovery… Eicosapentanoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexanoic Acid (DHA), two  Omega-3 fatty acid chains that are very well known today.  These Omega’s were found in rich supply in the bloodstreams of the healthy Inuit community.  It was in 1971 that Olaf and Dyerberg published the first paper on the benefits of fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in the diet; and since then, the research has blossomed into thousands upon thousands of research studies and articles all pointing toward the same positive results.  Omega-3 fatty acids, (including both EPA and DHA), which are found in rich supply in fish, have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, inflammatory conditions, Alzheimer’s and even the regulation of healthy blood sugars.  Need I remind you of the statistics above… you can’t beat reducing your chances of sudden death by cardiac arrest by 90%!

With the vast number of research articles out there these days, how does one sift through them and get the right information?  Well, by asking the right people (those who have spent years studying and researching), and this article did just that.  Whole Foods Magazine writer, Richard A. Passwater sits down with Dyerberg to get all the juicy details on what we need to know, what the best research shows and how we can decrease our cardiovascular disease risk and effectively live a long and healthy life.

Did you know that some of us get close to zero of these beneficial fats in our diet?

Dyerberg: There are several conclusions, but to me the most obvious is that we are in a nutritional deficiency of long-chained omega-3 fatty acids. In the United States, the average daily intake of EPA plus DHA is 100–200 mg. In 20% of U.S. citizens, the intake is close to zero! The recommended intake is 400–600 mg/day, and in pregnancy and lactation, women should consume 300 mg of DHA/day.

Passwater: Wow! The intake of EPA and DHA is close to zero in 20% of U.S. citizens! Holy smoke! And, the U.S. Daily average is about 100–200 mg, instead of the recommended 400–600 mg! On average, U.S. citizens are getting only a third to a sixth of the recommended amounts, and I feel that the 600 mg recommendation should be higher. We seek optimal health, not average health. I personally lean more toward the 1,000-mg level for healthy persons and more for those with health problems. This is still far short of the 14,000 mg you found in the Eskimo diet (15) (Passover, 2010)

If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.   If anything, check out these graphs (taken from the article), they pretty much say it all.

Passwater uses the results of three different research studies looking at Omega-3 intake and cardiovascular risk, cardiac death and cardiac arrest. Each chart emphasizes the importance of adding these fats into your diet.  So, I don’t know about you… but if it means feeling healthier, looking better and being able to do the things I want to do until a ripe old age, I’m going to enjoy my fats; Bjørn + Bach style.

To read the full article and get caught up on parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series, check out the article here, on Whole Foods Magazine online; Omega-3 Fish Oils:  The Greatest Nutritional Discovery Since Vitamins, Part 4: The Major Studies.

For more information about Bjørn + Bach products and ordering information please visit the website here:  Bjørn + Bach

Until next time ~   “Seek optimal health,” and add some Omega’s into your life; because according to Dyerberg and the other millions’ of researchers out there, your heart will surely thank you for it.


Passover, R.A. (2010, September). Omega-3 fish oils: the greatest nutritional health discovery since     vitamins, part 4: the major studies. Whole Foods Magazine: Vitamin Connection, Retrieved from

*All figures are taken directly from the article*



What Your Gut Type Says About You

May 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently I have been reading a lot about blood types.  Ever heard of the Blood Type Diet?   Well, for some reason I have been a little infatuated with the idea of each of us following a certain blood type constitution and have been researching the idea.  Through my ‘studies’ I came to the conclusion that I must be an O type for the following reasons: I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive as a vegetarian and feel best on a high protein diet, I am quite active and do much better with intense exercise and activity.  In addition, over the past year, I have cut close to all grains out of my diet and ironically, my favorite supplement has been tyrosine (all things that go hand in hand with a Type O Blood Type from a personality and nutritional standpoint).   Well, I splurged and finally tested my blood type (yes, I know I should probably already know this), & wouldn’t you know it… I was indeed Type O+.  I am almost exactly what the blood type diet would classify me as, as far as personality, diet and lifestyle.  Coincidence or not, it makes a lot of sense.  For more information on the blood type diet, check out D’Adamo Personalized Nutrition, a website dedicated to providing nutritional support and guidance for those following a blood type diet.

On a similar note, recently a group of researchers observed that just like blood types are a defining aspect of who we are as individuals, so too are the ecosystems of our guts.  Published in the most recent version of Nature, researchers from the Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract (MetaHIT) Consortium discovered that humans fall into 3 basic categories of gut flora, or Enterotypes.  Researchers took fecal samples from a diverse group of people; ranging in age, body mass index, nationality and gender and tested the makeup of their gut flora.  The results showed, that just like we all have a specific blood type, we too have a specific intestinal ecosystem; one of three observed in the study.  There is much we still do not know about this bacteria & we are only beginning to understand and observe the relationship that our bodies have with different microbiota.  As stated in the NYTimes Online, there are about 100 trillion microbes in the human body, and our bodies are made up of about 10 trillion cells (Zimmer, 2011).  I don’t know about you, but 100 trillion is a pretty crazy number!  It seems these microbes are going to tell much more of a story about our living bodies that we initially thought.  They could unlock the key to truly understanding how our bodies react to different environments, lifestyles, emotions, foods and disease.

So what does this mean?  Well, we aren’t really sure.  Of the little we do know about our symbiotic relationship with gut bacteria it seems to be beneficial and supplementing with both pre and pro-biotics has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of many disorders.  This new data opens up many new areas of research and discussion.  In the future, we may just realize that our enterotype tells a lot about our individual tendency toward disease & how we treat it, as well as form a basis for certain constitutional types in general.  Entero-typing could be the new geno-typing & hey, you never know, the next big thing may just be the ‘Enterotype Diet’… & what your gut flora says about you!

Till next time…

~be well~



Arumugam, M., Batto, J.M., Bertalan, M., Borruel, N., & Casselas, F. (2011). Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome. Nature, 473, 174-180.

Zimmer, C. (2011, April 20). Gut bacteria divide people into 3 types, scientists report., Retrieved from

GMO’s Taking Over

January 31, 2011 Leave a comment

By, ConstructionDealMarketing

In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack (, 2011)

Continue reading on Whole Foods and other organic groceries cave in to Monsanto and GMO products – National Finance Examiner |

Just when I thought we were on the right path, and there were still some company’s out there trying to support health, nutrition and wellbeing.  Once again, big corporations who are more interested in their income than health, win again.  I am a subscriber to the Environmental Working Group e-mail serve and every so often they send letters out concerning petitions and other chances for us to sign letters supporting healthy eating, environmental sustainability, non-toxic babies you name it.  Recently the past 4 that I have received from them are regarding the laws pertaining to GMO’s (genetically modified foods) and Monsanto.  I did my part and sent a letter to the government, hoping that enough people may do the same in order to make a difference; however, it still seems that as progressive as we (I) think we are in supporting healthy, non genetically modified, pesticide and chemical free foods, we are still under the big hand of those in control (those who make the decisions also control the $, i.e. big corps & big pharma).

So, in an effort to support your own health and those closest to you; family and friends, spread the word and get informed.  Read your labels, research where your food comes from; find out if it’s organic or ‘natural’ and what exactly that means.  A little knowledge can go a long way and your health and wellbeing depends on it.  We are what we eat; literally, and if we keep pumping ourselves full of non-nutrient dense foods, filled with chemicals; how are our bodies supposed to thrive?

And to lighten things up a bit after that depressing news; this all reminds me of a scene in the new show Portlandia… and yes, though a little extreme, those of you who do live in Portland or are familiar with it know that it isn’t too far off.  Love it!




Schortgen, K. (2011, January 28). Whole foods and other organic groceries cave in to monsanto and gmo products [Web log post]. Retrieved from


RIP Jack LaLanne

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Here’s a little tribute to the late and great juice-master himself…

I’ll take it as a sign to cut sugar for the next week and thereafter.  I’m usually pretty good about not taking in any refined sugars, but for some reason the past week has not been pretty and I have been paying for it.  Here’s to a new week; who’s with me.  Rest in peace Jack Lallane.


Treating Eczema

November 15, 2010 Leave a comment

By, clevercupcakes @ flickr

As if people suffering from Eczema really want more to deal with, a study recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology claims that using emollient skin lotions that contain Sodium Laurel Sulfates (SLS) on eczematous skin might exacerbate the problem.  What’s more, people who have itchy/eczematous skin apply these lotions liberally as a means to soothe the skin & it’s one of the commonly prescribed forms of treatment regarding eczema.

“Our study has found that rubbing aqueous cream containing SLS into the skin thins this protective barrier, making the skin more susceptible to irritation by chemicals.

“So to use this cream on eczematous skin, which is already thin and vulnerable to irritation, is likely to make the condition even worse.”

Postgraduate researcher Manda Tsang worked on the project as part of her PhD CASE studentship funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council with York Pharma Plc.

Tsang said: “Eczema affects around 30 per cent of the population, an increase from around five per cent a generation ago.

“This is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, such as central heating and carpets that can encourage dust mites, and using more creams and cosmetics that can thin the skin if used too frequently (University of Bath, 2010).

Being a victim of skin issues (basically all my life), I suffered from eczema that got progressively worse in my early twenties and lasted up until this past year.  Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to manage it on my own through chinese medicine, chinese herbs, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle… but it took years of me trying product after product and consulting doctor after doctor  to realize that nobody actually did know how to help me.

Eczema is right up there with asthma and allergies; these three disorders actually make up what we refer to as the Atopic Triad (they are commonly found in conjunction with one another and are very obscure disorders that are affecting more and more people).  Steroid creams have their place in treatment and can be very helpful, however, research shows these are only safe to use for two weeks at a time, not a lifetime.  We can identify the things that exacerbate these conditions (sometimes) & work to avoid them; but sometimes it is so many different things causing the eczema that sifting through them can be exhausting, frustrating and time-consuming.  Not to mention the fact that it could be the very thing that we think is helping, which is making it worse… much worse.  Case in point, sodium laurel sulfate’s (SLS); commonly found in all sorts of dermatologic & cosmetic products.  It has been shown to cause a short list of health issues including organ system toxicity, skin irritation, endocrine disruption and has been linked to cancer.  If you don’t believe me, check out the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic’s database:  Skin Deep.

For me, eczema was a huge struggle, I spent years of sleepless nights, had the pleasure of feeling ‘crazy’ itchy, a sensation that still haunts me to this day, I had numerous patches of eczema pretty much covering all of my limbs and the frustration of not finding help everywhere I looked.  I found relief in steroid creams and the only information I could get from my allergist was a blood test that told us my IgE (that’s the allergy Immunoglobulin that tells you there is an allergic reaction happening in the body) levels were through the roof, but no insight as to what to do about it.  So, I sought care under an acupuncturist and herbalist, changed my diet (cut out grains and most sugars), moved out of the house I was living in and stopped using ANY and all lotions on my skin.  Knock on wood, here I am 8 years later (finally) without a spot of eczema and able to sleep.  Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox, but if there is something positive to take away from all of this, I now have a great appreciation for what I’ve learned through that process and I currently have a couple of cases in clinic who have skin disorders and I’m really enjoying the chance to work with them.  We learn the best from our own life experiences and I only hope I can use mine to help others in need.

Till next time,

~be well~



University of Bath (2010, November 13). Creams used to treat eczema could make it worse, study      suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 14, 2010, from

Soy & Your Health…

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Anti-nutrient, check… Genetically modified, check… questionable marketing, CHECK!

For years Soy has been hailed as a healthy food that everyone simply must add into their diet; but has it lived up to its expectations?  Soy proponents offer a list of health benefits including (and not limited to), protection against breast, colon &  prostate cancer, as well as osteoporosis & asthma, just to name a few.  I’m sure you’ve even heard that a little soy milk might even be good for premenstrual cramps.  The industry has boomed in the past 10 or so years and marketing continues to promote the product as a healthy food when in fact they are missing out on a very important element…. it’s the fermented soy that has the health benefits… and not all soy is fermented!  Soy milk, yogurt, ice-cream, cheese… yep, you guessed it, non-fermented soy.  Have we been mildly deceived this whole time?  I guess one could argue they (the soy marketing guru’s) have been telling the truth this whole time, just not the whole truth… and after all, we never asked.

“The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products” (Mercola, 2010).

In addition to this; non-fermented soy has been linked to a laundry list of health disorders such as breast cancer, kidney stones, infant abnormalities and brain damage. Not to mention it is notoriously genetically modified as well as an anti-nutrient (meaning it interferes with the bodies normal ability to absorb other nutrients and can disrupt digestion as well as your vitamin/mineral/amino acid absorption).

If you are drinking & eating soy products because you are dairy free (lactose intolerant), nowadays there are many other options out there..  For example  rice, nut and coconut alternatives are generally easy to find at your local grocer and if not, there is always the option to ask for it.  For more information about soy and your health, please refer to the article cited below, it goes into much more detail on what types of soy products are healthy (fermented), why it’s good for you and more specifics on why unfermented soy is so unhealthy.  In addition, he (Dr. Mercola) shares a long list of other links for more information on such topics as, soy and kidney health, soy and cancer or soy and childhood development. 

Until next time…

~be well~



The truth about soy: what the latest research says.  (2010, September).  Dr. Mercola Newsletter.  Retrieved from

The Cholesterol Dilemma

June 17, 2010 3 comments

Free Range Egg By, Free 2 Be @Flickr

So, I am supposed to be studying for a big Final tomorrow in TCM Pathology (Traditional Chinese Medicine Pathology), but am getting seriously sidetracked.  It seems that when you have something you NEED to do, it’s so much easier to spend time researching things that have no time constraint at all and nothing to do with your tests… well at least it’s health related.  I just got an email from a good friend asking for a reference to an article on saturated fat intake, eggs and cholesterol and their importance and relation to the primal diet, sometimes referred to as the paleo-diet  (these two are very slightly different: the primal diet puts an emphasis on fats in the diet, whereas the Paleo just on Paleolithic foods).  Basically, without getting into too much detail and to give you an idea of what it’s all about; it’s a diet that is low in carbohydrates, has a moderate amount of proteins and is high in fats.  Sounds exactly the opposite of the typical  American diet we’ve all been taught to follow our whole lives right?  Well, for more information on this, I’m going to have to send you elsewhere, as I do still have to study for a huge Final this evening and this is a big topic of conversation that I love researching, but could easily get lost for hours in it.  

So, back to my original point; my friend has a client who just recently inquired about the idea of eating saturated fats and whether or not eggs (the concept of the whole egg) were something that could be considered healthy or would just raise cholesterol.  Well, I started researching and found all these studies and quotes; but I wanted to find the best research, the most up to date and most relevant on the topic so I could hand it off to her as well as keep all these informational gems bookmarked for myself to use as a quick reference.  Instead of spending hours on the topic, like I was starting to do, I figured why not just ask one of the most informed persons in the business of all things primal… 

The following information was passed on to me from Nora Gedgaudas, which I have the pleasure of knowing through my gym; Spinach, (and yes that is the name of the gym it’s not a Vegan restaurant in Downtown Portland).  She is a Certified Nutritional Therapist, as well as a Board Certified Holistic Nutritionist through the NANP & a Clinical Neuro-Feedback Specialist… and this is just the beginning of a long list of achievements and endeavors which you can read more about on her Bio.  While you are in the neighborhood, I highly recommend to check out the rest of her website Primal Body — Primal Mind; especially if you have an interest in the primal diet.  

So, I figured what better way to answer my friends questions by gathering all the best information on the subject together in one place; selfishly for my own referral and to share with others as a one stop shop for questions on the subject of “saturated fats & cholesterol in the diet:  good or bad”.   

Nora was generous enough to pass on to me her quick reference guide to the best available research as of now: 

  • Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease
    • This link will bring you to the Abstract online, which will tell you the gist of it.  Basically, the study took 21 others studies (a meta-analysis) and looked at their outcomes as a whole.  This study was based on the previous idea that a reduction in dietary saturated fat will improve cardiovascular health.
    • They wanted to see if there was indeed an associated increased risk of CHD & CVD with dietary Saturated Fats & what they found was…
    • …”there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD”…
    • Here, CHD stands for Coronary Heart Disease & CVD for Cardiovascular Disease; both of which according to the study are inclusive of Stroke.

If this whole idea is boggling to you and this is the first you’ve heard of it, I urge you to check out this article FIRST before jumping head first into the debate.  It is a wonderful representation of how the body utilizes fats, what Saturated vs. Unsaturated fats are and how cholesterol plays a role in all of this:

Or you can reference one  of my previous articles on cholesterol:

If you prefer instead to listen to a talk about this concept; here is a link to one of Nora’s Voice America: Health & Wellness episodes:

  • My Big Fat Diet
    • On this particular show, Nora hosts a guest speaker Dr. Jay Wortman, who recently did a documentary on fats in the diet in a specific population of people in British Columbia over the course of a year.  The results were astounding and together a total of 12,000 pounds were lost through a low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat diet… The show is about an hour long; but it’s a good one!

If you already have a pretty good grasp on the idea and want to get a little more into the odds and ends of it all, here is another website, that I admit I haven’t gotten into yet; but looks like it would be very informative; if not only because of the name: 

And… just for a little more light reading, but more for my benefit to finally get all these little informational gems in one place; here is another article Nora shared with me, which covers the whole concept of Saturated fats in the diet, & the misconception our country has about cholesterol: 

Now, onto the subject of the egg… 

Good or bad?  Whole egg or egg whites?  Well, I’m on team “Whole Egg” without question.  Eggs are by far one of the most awesome source of nutrition all wrapped up nicely in a cheap, easy and delicious little package.  They are a perfect balance of fats and protein and all its integral parts work synergistically with your body to pack a mean  nutritional punch!  

  • Smart Fuel: Eggs
    • Eggs are an excellent source of protein and have all 9 essential amino acids.  They are also an excellent source of Choline; a vitamin that has a function in cell membranes and a particular affinity to brain cells; improving overall brain health and development.
  • Superfood of the week:  Eggs
    • Eggs have been shown to improve vision, heart health, baby health and even help with weight loss… just to name a few!
  • Go Ahead Eat The Yolk
    • The egg yolk contains all the good stuff!  When you eat the yolk, you get all the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E & K) along with Zinc, Folate and Calcium.  Not to mention that the balance between the egg yolk and the egg white essentially balances the amino acid profile of the whole egg.  So, by cutting out the yolk, you miss out on the good stuff… now why would you want to do that?

I realize that this concept may be new to some of you, but I urge you to inform yourself before you just accept one idea over another.  There is plenty of research out there, you just have to take the time and find trusted sources that give you good up to date information. 

Whew… now, where did the time go, see I knew I’d end up spending hours on this… good thing I love learning, and sharing information with the masses!  Hope you enjoy and learned something 🙂 

Until next time, I’m off to get studying & be well~ 



Enig, M. PhD & Fallon, S.  The oiling of america.  Retrieved June 16, 2010, from 


Gedgaudas, N., & Wortman, J. (2009). Primal Body — Primal Mind Radio. Retrieved June 16, 2010 from Voice America: Health & Wellness:​voiceamerica/​vepisode.aspx?aid=44932. 

Rao, N. ND.  Go ahead eat the yolk.  Retrieved June 16, 2010, from 

Rao, N. ND.  Superfood of the week:  eggs.  Retrieved June 16, 2010, from

Resko, E.  So easy a caveman can do it.  Retrieved June 16, 2010, from

Siri-tarino, P. W., Sun, Q., Hu, F. B., & Krauss, R. M. (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular . The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(3), 535-546. 

Sisson, M.  Smart fuel: eggs.  Retrieved June 16, 2010, from 

Sisson, M.  The definitive guide to cholesterol. Retrieved June 16, 2010, from 




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