Archive for June, 2008

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Attention Summer Travelers

June 25, 2008

Ah, summertime! What a great time of the year to get out of the city, go to the beach, or fly somewhere to chill out (though probably not Europe right now with this dreadful exchange rate!).

As we jet set to our fun summer vacations, it is important that we realize that we can suffer not only stress and fatigue from air travel itself, but also free radical damage via high levels of radiation found in airplanes. Planes fly very close to the ionosphere, causing atmospheric radiation to constantly bombard flyers. Unfortunately, the aluminum body of a plane offers us no protection.

This problem has been known for decades – it was first discovered in the 1960s when the air crews assigned to the first long-distance, high-altitude flights experienced unusually high fatigue. To try and keep it simple, a flight from New York to Los Angeles is the equivalent of one chest X-ray. The number of chest X-ray exposures a person is allowed to have over any given time is usually limited and measured in three year increments. These usually number in the range of three chest X-rays per year. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration permits aircrew exposures of 1000 times the dosage that a restricted citizen is allowed, although they are usually restricted to 80 hours on duty each month. Studies of these crews have shown that they suffer from changes in blood values and sensitive bodily tissue, e.g., gonads and eyes. Unfortunately there is no one keeping track of frequent traveling citizens who seem to live on planes, especially those who often fly internationally.

In its simplest form, the free radical damage caused by air travel shows itself in the form of oxidative stress in the body and the simplest way to deal with it is the introduction of antioxidants via fruits, vegetables and berries on a daily basis. Oxidation occurs when an oxygen molecule within a cell loses one of its two electrons, becomes unstable and randomly hits everything in its path in an attempt to restore its stability and it will steal an electron from anywhere. If it hits another oxygen molecule, it will steal the first electron it comes to. If it hits fat or protein structures, then oxidative damage will occur. If fat, toxic lipid peroxide (rancid fat) occurs. If protein, then changes in the structure often occurs, joints get arthritis, muscle gets weakened and DNA gets altered while its Genes are bent by this interaction. Bent Genes often result in a cancer and if the body is able, it will clean up the mess before it gets bad. Unfortunately the body is overwhelmed easily; the traveler is subjected to sleep depravation and highly processed and unhelpful foods becoming more susceptible when the consistency of the attack plays against a weakened immune system.

Fortunately, a good outcome is possible. The antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables and berries are able to donate electrons to these free radicals without themselves suffering instability. Fruit, Vegetables, Grapes and Berries are miraculous in their ability to calm the oxidation process. However, it is necessary to renew this cascade on a daily basis. In other words, when whatever supply is ingested runs out, it must be replaced with a new supply of antioxidants.

If the average person (who isn’t flying) requires 7 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily (Recommendations of the US Dept. of Agriculture and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) then one who is further compromised as is a diabetic, cancer survivor, extreme athlete or frequent long distance flyer will certainly require more. Just how much more is anyone’s guess.

When you fly, especially the day of your trip, try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Make it as simple as possible, so that your body’s energy can be used in fighting free radical damage rather than digesting something heavy. Also, you might try taking a whole food (not the store!)- vegetable, fruit, and berry supplement, which will serves as major fortification of antioxidants during strenuous travel. It of course can also be used when you feel that you are not eating well or have been lacking greens or fruit in the diet.

A whole food supplement has been derived from whole fruits and vegetables, whereas typical synthetic supplements use extracts constructed in a lab (which your body only absorbs a percentage of). I like the brand Juice Plus+, a convenient and highly researched supplement. They have separate vegetable, fruit, and berry capsules that literally pack pounds of fruits, and veggies.

Travel safely, stay energized and healthy, and keep your cells beautiful on the inside and out!

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Yummy Spirulina Pie

June 20, 2008

I bet you never thought greens could create an amazing dessert. I had never really had a “green” desert before I tried this one out, and it blew me away. So skepticism aside, give it a try and I guarantee you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

For the pie crust:

  • 2 cups raw almonds finely ground in a food processor (I prefer to sprout mine overnight by covering them in water in a bowl)
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates

For the pie filling:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • Stevia as needed, to sweeten more if desired
  • 2 Tbs. spirulina (which you can buy at the health food market or Wholefoods)
  • 1 Tbs. carob powder or PURE ground cacao (no processed sugar please!)

To make the crust mix the ground almonds and pitted dates in a bowl. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a 5-inch pie tin.

In a blender, combine the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour this liquid mixture onto the pie crust and freeze for about 3 hours before serving (try not to get impatient and eat it too early, as I’ve been known to do!). After freezing for a few hours, you can transport the pie into the refrigerator. Freezing it first creates an amazing, cheese-cake like texture.

Desert and sneaking more greens into your diet – Perfect!

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Some Not So Tasty Facts About Meat

June 16, 2008

Many of us grew up eating poultry and red meat. All of us are the targets of lobbying efforts by these industries telling us that we need more protein in our diets, and that meat is the best source. But overwhelming evidence today – from the rise of colon cancer to heart disease – suggests that we have a major, major problem with our diet.

Most of us here in the U.S. are fortunate enough to have a vast amount of food choices at our fingertips, including many diverse plant proteins, which are more easily assimilated by the body, not acidic and toxic, and yes- much more beautifying!

Remember: the more clean and pure your food is, the cleaner your blood is. The cleaner your blood is, the more beautiful the skin and body will be.

Here are some reasons why I don’t eat meat:

  1. 2700 Unlisted Drugs and Hormones

“Animals (raised for meat production) are kept alive and fattened by the continuous administration of tranquilizers, hormones, antibiotics, and 2700 other drugs. The process starts even before birth and continues long after death. Although these drugs will still be present in the meat when you eat it, the law does not require that they be listed on the package.”

Poisons in Your Body, Gary and Steven Null

The animals are fed food to make them fat. And when you eat meat you are eating what the animals have eaten. Is it a wonder so many people are struggling with their weight nowadays?

1. Antibiotic- Resistant Microorganisms

Each year, 15 million pounds of antibiotics (half the total U.S. production) are fed to farm animals. Over time, this drug overkill allows disease-causing micro-organisms to develop immunities to antibiotics, posing a threat to people who later consume the meat. A prominent example: Time magazine presented startling evidence that government health offices “traced a serious outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness that was caused by antiobiotic-resistant germs.” The source of the bacteria, say the investigators, was hamburger from cattle that had been fed the antibiotic chlortetracycline.

Drugs, hormones and antibiotics also clog our livers and blood- which can lead to weight gain and drab skin. Not beautiful!!

2. Pain Toxins

The trauma of being slaughtered – moral reasons and Ahimsa (nonviolent yoga principles) aside – causes the animals to secrete powerful hormones and toxins into their blood and, consequently, their meat. These join with un-eliminated wastes in the animal’s blood such as urea and uric acid, to further contaminate the flesh that consumers eat. This is one of the main reasons that the meat that humans consume is so toxic and acidic.

3. Diseases

Animals raised for slaughter are subject to dozens of diseases that can be passed on to humans. Government meat inspectors condemn only the diseased part of an animal, allowing the rest of the carcass to go to market. The government also permits the sale of chickens with airsacculitis, a pneumonia-like disease in which chest cavities are cleaned out with air-suction guns, which burst the air sacs, allowing the pus to seep into the meat.

4. Straight-up Filth

Newsweek magazine reported the following about conditions in Colorado’s Cattle King Packing Co., a major supplier of beef to school lunch programs, the Defense Department, and the Wendy’s fast food chain: “Government inspectors described the rats, roaches, and paint chips that littered the plant, while workers told of people urinating in the slaughter area and repacking spoiled meat returned by dissatisfied customers.”

Responding to the sanitation defects at the Cattle King Plant, attorney Robert McAllister admitted, “Yes, those things did happen, like they do in every other packing plant in the U.S.

Need I say more? Do yourself, your skin, your planet, your fellow beings on earth a huge favor: stop supporting the meat industry. You will be more beautiful on the outside, and you will be surprised at how much calmer and lighter you feel inside!

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Megan’s Almond/Brazil Nut Milk

June 6, 2008

Unsweetened almond milk can be found at Trader Joe’s or your local health store. But there is nothing quite as delicious as freshly made, completely raw, and preservative-free nut milk made in your own blender. If you have the time its surprisingly easy to make.

  • 1 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight) OR 1 cup raw Brazil nuts (soaked 15 minutes)
  • 3-6 cups of filtered water (depending on how thick you like your milk)
  • 1/4 cup raw pitted dates
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Tbs. lecithin granules
  • 2 Tbs. coconut butter
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

Place the soaked nuts and the water in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Taking a cheese cloth or bag (you can get them pretty inexpensively online or at a cooking store), pour the mixture through the cloth into a separate container. Make sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the cloth with your hands, so you get all the milk out. Note: For a finer milk, use 2 cloths or bags layered on top of each other.

Rinse out the blender, and put the strained ‘milk’ back in the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend on high until smooth

Fresh nut milk keeps well in the fridge for about a week. Use in place of dairy milk for all purposes. Yum!

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NYLON Magazine Photo Shoot

June 5, 2008

My flight home from San Juan, Costa Rica arrived at LaGuardia just before midnight on Monday. After retrieving my checked luggage, braving inclement weather and navigating heavy construction on the BQE, I finally made it back home well after 2:00 in the morning.

The first thing I did when I arrived, soggy and exhausted, was drop my bags and check my email. Uh oh! My fears were confirmed. My photo shoot for NYLON Magazine’s upcoming feature on me was scheduled for the very NEXT morning (actually the SAME morning, since it was already past 2am). In my apartment, no less! After being gone for 2 weeks, my apartment was a mess and I had to give my plants their badly needed water, air the place out, pick up my pet turtle from my partner Adam, vacuum, clean out the clutter that accumulated in the chaos before my trip, and do a million other things. Not to mention getting myself in the shape for the shoot, which included getting a hair cut and my eyebrows done! Talk about culture shock returning to life in NY- back to the craziness, immediately!

That morning I got up super early, made myself a cup of green tea, and ran around crazily unpacking, picking up and cleaning. Then I rushed around town preparing myself to once again be presentable as the leader of a luxury skincare company. When I was in the jungle and waves of Costa Rica, I…uhhh… let my hair down, both figuratively and literally. J By the time the photographer, Peggy, arrived, I was ready to go. I was groomed, wearing a cool outfit, and my apartment was ready to be shown to NYLON’s readers.

My apartment is…eclectic, you might say, and Peggy loved it. We had a great time thinking of angles for the shoot that would reflect my own personality. First, we decided to take some pictures near my travel wall, which features framed pictures from my travels in Africa and Asia.  Next, we took a bunch of pictures in front of my bookshelves, which are loaded with tons and tons of health and beauty research books. Finally, we went out in the sunshine and fresh air of my back yard.

I think the pictures came out great. After NYLON decides which they plan to use, I’ll post a few of the extras here. It will be fun giving you a peak of my apartment!

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The “Diet” That Makes You Fat

June 3, 2008

I have bad news: many of you are on a “Diet” that is actually causing you to gain weight. But the bad news is really good news. Bear with me.

The “Diet” is that Diet Coke you like to drink, which says 0 calories and 0 fat and 0 sugar on the label, but is horrible for you. I know you know that regular soda is full of sugar and calories, and should therefore be avoided. But most of us have never considered how creepy it is that a bubbly, brown drink can somehow have 0 calories but still look exactly the same and taste similar to the real thing??

The first thing you need to know is that low-cal “diet” products, such as diet sodas, do NOT help you lose weight! This is a complete myth. Over a decade ago, in 1986, the American Cancer Society documented the fact that persons using artificial sweeteners gain more weight than those who avoid them, revealing that artificial sweeteners can:

  • Stimulate your appetite
  • Increase carbohydrate cravings
  • Stimulate fat storage and weight gain

Since 1986 newer “fake” sugars such as Splenda have been introductd. They are ALL high on the Glycemic Index, I believe around a number of 80 (on a scale of 0 to 100). Even normal sugar only scores a 70! What this means is that even though Diet Coke has no calories, it still encourages weight gain. I know- horrible.

It gets worse. Soda and colas are also the most acid-forming of all foods. But soda isn’t really a food anyways, it is a collection of acidic chemicals like carbonic acid, phosphoric acid, etc. Soda demineralizes the bones, teeth, and skin, robbing you of your highest beauty by eating up your minerals.

What’s more, too much aspartame (the sweetener in many diet drinks) and glutamate in the brain can kill certain neurons by allowing an influx of calcium into these cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartame and glutamate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite”, or stimulate the neural cells to death. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. And we know free radicals are a major cause of aging!

So stop reaching for that fizzy poison. Treat your body and skin with a refreshing drink of water or white tea… anything but soda!!