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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Category Archives: Health


Makeover: Pantry Edition. Simple Tips and Ideas to Reboot Your Kitchen.

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We all know the kitchen pantry can have an evil, tempting voice that beckons you to do bad, bad things. That box of double stuffed oreos and cheezits refuse to live a life of solitude. They DEMAND your company. Temptation can be difficult to resist, especially if other options are not readily available. Just say no? That simple slogan is not realistic. Here’s a better way. It’s a Healthy Pantry Makeover. REBOOT your pantry and kick start your way to vibrance, energy and love.

There are lots of strategies for a healthy pantry makeover, all of which will be part of a series to teach smarter ways to shop and cook and eat. Here are some starting points.

1. Read the labels. if it sounds like a bonus question on a chemistry exam, toss it.
2. Reward yourself but not with food. A movie or walk with a friend, a lazy soak in the tub.
3. Leave triggers on the shelf at the grocery store. If you know you can’t resist something, don’t buy it.
4. Don’t try to do it all at once. That can be overwhelming and expensive. Start with a few items and work them in.
5. The fewer the ingredients, the better the food, ie, ‘whole food.’

TOSS
1. White rice and pasta.
2. Salty, fried snack foods like potato chips and corn chips. Especially those with chemicals and color.
3. Vegetable oil. It’s acidic and tasteless.
4. Sugary cereals, boxes with BRIGHT COLORS, OR PRIZES INSIDE
5. Canned soups, make your own and freeze the extra.
6. High Fructose corn syrup drinks.
7. Yogurt with artificial sweeteners and colors.
8. Any thing labeled sugar free, fat free or ‘lite.’ If they can’t spell it right, it’s wrong.
9. Take a look at the ingredients in your condiments. Try making your own salad dressing.
10. Frozen entrees. Lean Cuisines are loaded in preservatives and sodium.

EMBRACE
1. Whole grains like long grain brown rice and quinoa. Whole grain cereals. Go Lean Crunch is pretty tasty! Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal is a winner.
2. Nuts.  Raw almonds and pumpkin seeds rock my world. Dried and/or dehydrated fruit. Sliced frozen bananas or grapes are awesome in the summer.
3. Healthy oils like canola, olive, coconut. Spices like Jalapeno Lemon Pepper or Tommy’s Coffee Rub are amazing additions to spice up your foods.
4. There is no finer snack than popcorn made with coconut oil and sea salt.
5. Canned beans: cannelini, black, pinto, lentils. (Dried are best. See easy crock pot bean recipe). Beans and rice topped with salsa and avocado is a perfect protein meal.
6. Sparkling water and limes–the perfect cooler.
7. Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
8. Domestic (or local), seasonal fruits and veggies. Keep all the ingredients for a quick smoothie in the pantry and freezer. Amazing Meals is a great vegan protein addition!
9. Hummus, tamari sauce, salsa, guacamole.
10. Homemade chili or soup.  Keep in the freezer for quick access.

Detox your body, detox your mind and now a DETOX program for your KITCHEN. Good stuff!

 


GLORY DAYS.

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Freshman 101 Wellness Tips

Remember your freshman year? All of the new things, new responsibilities, new boundaries, new ways to incorporate freedom into your life?

Remember the summer after your freshman year? Coming home to raised eyebrows at how much MORE of you there was? I came home with 20 more pounds. Forget the Freshman 15…I’ve always tried to be an over-achiever.I was a nice sized 12/14 in pleated shorts. It was a good look.

Recently, we hosted a graduation party at The GEM for 32 graduating seniors and we shared a few ‘tips’ with them. I hope they will incorporate a few of these into their daily life. I tried appealing to their vanity rather than their long-term health. I mean, we were all invincible back then. Good skin, better energy, strength & stamina, and clear thinking seem to be a better draw. Share these with your college bound GEM.

Quite frankly, we all need to follow these rules. They make for a happier, healthier you. One more shout out for DIAMONDS ON YOUR INSIDE.

TOP 3 THINGS TO DO

EXERCISE EVERYDAY—even if it is a walk or a bike ride. It makes you happy, too!

DRINK. LOTS. OF WATER. Water keeps your body and mind hydrated. Sometimes you mistake thirst for hunger. Drink 32 oz of water every morning— first thing. Pretty skin, pretty eyes, better energy.

GO GREEN. Eat something green everyday. PERIOD. More green = better mood, better skin, better chance of not taking home the freshman 15!

TOP 3 THINGS NOT TO DO

DRINK TOO MUCH. Bad for your skin, bad for bloating, and really bad for making good decisions.

LATE NIGHT EATING. Pizza delivery after 8pm is evil. An occasional splurge is fine, but keep it to once a month. There is nothing really hip about a slug eating crap. Cut out junk food. Keep healthy options around like popcorn, apples with almond butter, nuts, hummus & veggies.

SMOKE. ANYTHING. Smoke makes your skin dull, your breath stink and your body lethargic.

INCORPORATE HEALTHY CHOICES:

FRESH GREEN JUICE—perfect nutrients, energy, glowing skin, bright eyes

KOMBUCHA—soda alternative, cleansing, great hangover elixir

SMOOTHIES—as a meal replacement, and make sure there are only fresh, clean ingredients. No Jamba Juice imposters!

I can still see myself in my freshman year spring break photos.  My face was so puffy it barely fit into the 8×10 frame. If I’d only known The GEM!!


Crown me Kale.

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Learn to love it. It will love you back.

Kale is the leafy green everyone really cool is talking about.  This emerald beauty has found it’s way into the nutrition spotlight and is even referred to as “the new beef.”

WHY should I jump on this VEGGIE HUGGER bandwagon?” Kale here to stay. No longer the garnish on the Denny’s breakfast plate so get used to it.

Nine SUPER FINE reasons to eat more KALE:

1.Immunity Booster. “Super Kale” super charges your immune system with high levels of vitamin C, A and manganese.

2. Bones. Strong ones. Kale is loaded with calcium, it actually has more calcium per serving than milk. The calcium in kale is also absorbed more easily by the body than from dairy products making it the better choice for strong bones. And your skin will glow.

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Kale is strongly anti-inflammatory as it has an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, over 45 different flavonoids. Trust me, this means good stuff.

4. Vitamin K. Contains tons of it. (1300%of your RDA in just 1 cup). K helps reduce the body’s inflammatory response and supports the nervous system. Prevents calcium buildup in our tissue. How much of my RDA?

5. Alkalinity. Kale helps the body maintain an alkaline ph. When your system is alkaline, diseased cells cannot survive. Uhh, thats all you had to say for me!

6. Kicks cancer’s ass. Anti-cancer properties of kale are off the chain. Glucosinates help prevent many different cancers.  So do alkalinity and anti-inflammatory characteristics above.

7. Smooth Operator. Fiber: it keeps our digestive system running smoothly so we can absorb the maximum number of nutrients. Fiber also acts like little scrub brushes cleaning out toxins from out body.

8. Iron. Where’s the beef?? Per calorie kale has more iron than beef making it an iron-rich super star. Kale burger anyone?

9. Detox. High sulphur content is essential for the body’s detoxification process.

Dino Kale Rocks The House.

So how do you get this super food into your diet? Here are a few easy ways:

  • Soups: De-stem and cut a few kale leaves before adding them to soups in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  • Sneak some in your salad – Massage (yes, massage) the kale with a little sea salt. Add the kale into your regular salad for a nutrient dense kick. OR, come get a life-changing, fabulously yummy kale salad at The GEM.
  • Kale Chips: Yes you heard me, chips! Fall head over heels for them with a little olive oil and salt, bake at 350.
  • Smoothies – disguise a kale leaf at a time into your smoothie. You can’t even taste it!
  • DRINK IT! A Green Glow Juice from The GEM is the perfect starter kit to add more kale in your day.


Be a GEM, Cleanse.

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THE GEM 3 DAY JUICE CLEANSE.  The success of your cleanse is dependent on doing it right. It is important to stress that while you are doing a great thing for yourself by drinking juice in place of meals, however, WE AT THE GEM, cannot do it all for you.

THREE FACETS OF A SUCCESSFUL GEM CLEANSE: WATER, REST, ELIMINATE.

Hydrate. Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water a day. Wake up with 32 ounces right off the bat. Additionally, take a probiotic every day to keep your intestines balanced and to help replace the good bacteria that your body needs.

Rest. We suggest going to bed as early as possible if your schedule permits. Most people find they get tired earlier than usual.

Eliminate. It’s almost counter productive to do a cleanse if you don’t help expedite the release toxins from your system. Ummmm. We are all friends here, so, colonics or enemas are a safe way to flush out years of built up toxic waste  along with toxic liver bile, gas, and even parasites. Most of us are full of it anyway (insert smile & wink here) and have unnatural substances that take a some extra effort to release, thanks to our modern, not-so-healthy diets. If a colonic scares the sh*t out of you, use an herbal laxative (Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move tea or capsules), to aid in this process.

Other great ways to eliminate toxins:  Dry brush each morning before you shower to shed dead skin cells. Massage can get the lymphatics moving. Meditate (toxins are also in our thoughts). Slow Down. Tone down your usual exercise and keep hard-core cardio to a minimum, but definitely do something each day to accelerate your lymphatic and circulatory systems.

DETOX SYMPTOMS IN MOTION:

Headaches, dizziness, fatigue, constipation, runny nose, skin blemishes and nausea. Maybe one, maybe none, maybe all. Your digestive system gets some much needed time off and your radiant body gets to work on other things: releasing toxins and adjusting to the clean nutrients it is being gifted. There is no need to worry- in fact, although unpleasant, symptoms are often a good sign. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms, drink an herbal tea that can help combat them naturally but DON’T take any over the counter chemicals.Oh, and no gum or mints while cleansing. They promote the release of digestive enzymes and makes you hungry.

Optimally, we suggest eliminating all solid foods, but there is sanctioned cheating by having a few slices of cucumber or apples. If you need something warm and savory at dinnertime, boil some veggies with herbs and a little sea salt and drain the broth into a bowl. This is a perfectly acceptable addition to The GEM Cleanse.

DETOXIFICATION of the body brings…

Clarity, Energy, Well-being

Radiant Skin, Bright Eyes

Significant Craving Loss for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, and junk foods. 

Keeping it real from the inside…




To Juice or Not to Juice

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What an amazing week! The GEM is opened and it is, I must say, FABULOUS. It’s interesting how clean, vibrant things attract bright-eyed, vibrant  people. It is SO much fun being there serving raw juice and smoothies to these SHINY, HAPPY PEOPLE.

So the question arises, “Should I juice, or should I smoothie? What is the difference?

GET JUICED UP! Juices provide nutrients at top speed.  The lack of fiber means our body can assimilate the nutrients in a matter of minutes. Your body has time to heal itself rather that having to work at digestion.  My afternoon green juice during chemo was the shot in the arm I needed to keep going after 3pm.

By doing this daily, you provide your body with a high dose of naturally-derived nutrients that boosts your health, support your body’s natural cleansing processes, and helps keep you well-protected against toxins and disease. A fresh juice stands in a league of its own.  It is simply the best energy drink on the market! Take that, Red Bull.


BE A SMOOTH OPERATOR
….Smoothies are a vibrant man’s comfort food. There is nothing better than a rich, yummy smoothie. They can be fruit based, raw chocolate or coconut. It doesn’t matter. They all can offer great benefits for skin, digestion, weight control.

Smoothies contain a good deal of fiber, something that is an important nutrient in itself (see Emerald City Smoothie at The GEM). Fiber is an essential and all-too-often lacking ingredient in our diet; it keeps our gut moving and helps it to stay healthy with the right levels of good bacteria. Smoothies, when done right, can be an excellent meal replacement too–with veggies, fruit and protein mixed happily together in a party cup. BUT, don’t be fooled by that creepy, fake crap served at fast food joints or even at the self-acclaimed healthy smoothie chains. So much of that is processed and sugar laden. You might as well eat some Ben & Jerry’s. Or…the famed BACON SMOOTHIE from Jack in the Box. A bit of a bellwether for the state of America’s health. Smoothies gone wrong. Watch out for it.  Juice over Smoothie?  We need both.

SEE YOU AT THE GEM!


Twinkie and Wonder Bread workers unite!

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Late night convenience store raids may never be the same. It was announced this week that the folks that bring us Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread filed for bankruptcy. Hold your tears.

You wanna know why? Could it be Americans are making smarter diet and snack food choices? Be real. Probably not. The reason cited is their production model is too costly, due to legacy pensions and union restrictions. They simply cannot keep up with customer needs because of the excess weight it has to carry and the inability to change quickly.

So. Let me get this straight. The company that provides products that make Americans fat, lethargic and generally unhealthy is being destroyed by people who have made the company fat, lethargic and generally unhealthy? That is almost too ironic to be true.

2 Fun Twinkie Facts:

There are 39, yes, THIRTY NINE ingredients in Hostess Twinkie.

The Twinkie defense. The man who fatally shot Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk in 1979 obtained a verdict of manslaughter rather than murder after arguing he was not fully responsible for his actions because he sunk into a deep depression. This was evidenced by his newfound love of junk food. A noted psychiatrist testified that on the night before the murders, the defendant “just sat there in front of the TV set, bingeing on Twinkies.” Could it be that the innocent-seeming blond Twinkie is not merely bad for your health, but could be an accessory to murder?

I guess one way or another, those things will kill you. I rest my case.


The Year of YOU.

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“…and that’s when I get to wondering, what would happen if I told her she something good, ever day?” Abilene, the Southern nanny, wonders about the little girl she cares for in Kathryn Stockett‘s, The Help.

So everyday she tells the little girl, “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” We may not have a nanny named Aibilene that tells us this everyday, but why can’t you be your own advocate? Your own self-esteem booster. Your own best friend.

Here’s the plan. I DARE YOU to try it this new year.

Find a mantra and believe it.  Tell yourself everyday that you are kind, that you are smart, that you are important.  Settle for nothing less.

You will need to do a few other exercises to enhance this. You owe it to you.

1. Get up 10 minutes earlier and WRITE down 3 things that you are grateful for. That you feel blessed about. FIND IT>

2. Before you go to bed at night, write down 3 things that were GOOD about the day. Big, small, whatever. Just find 3 positives.

3. Tell someone they are special to you. Ask a friend to lunch, make a visit to someone in need.

4. Take time for your self-to affirm your importance. One hour each week, just for you. Accept nothing less.

You may find yourself rolling into the next year with fresh perspectives and a stronger view of yourself within. It benefits everyone when they have a stronger, more confident you. What do you have to lose??

Here’s to a kinder, smarter, more important 2012.


It’s The Sound of Sunshine Coming Down.

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Holiday breakfasts for girlfriends, cocktails only parties for adults, Christmas Eve dinners, Christmas brunch and dinner. Any excuse for a party, I am in. I LOVE IT. Why in the world?? a couple of my (non-entertaining) friends ask. Because I love having happy friends around–to share laughter and hope. It’s the sound of sunshine. Sounds sappy, but I’m convinced you can hear it.

The New Year is certain to bring lots of noisy sunshine for me. I have an announcement. In order to spread more sparkled rays, I plan to open a gathering place so everyone can enjoy each other. My jewel of a friend and I will open THE GEM, a place to glow for juice, tea, smoothies and happy. Stay tuned for more. It’s gonna be FUNNN!

Listen for it. Look for it. Find it in everything you do.

The Sound Of Sunshine…hear it


Color Me Badd

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Families that eat together, stay together.

Tis the season to hop up the kids on candy, iced cookies, and brightly colored punch. Quick trips to the McD’s drive thru. Beware.  I am learning more and more about the negative effects of processed food on our children.  Like serious ones. Ones that we are currently treating with medications. ADHD, depression, anxiety, aggression, even poor hand writing (yes, hand writing. I will ‘write’ about that one soon.)

New research has found that delayed food sensitivities caused attention deficit disorder and removing these food sensitivities could reverse attention deficit disorder in 75 percent of children.HOLY COW. Aggression, violence and bullying are on the rise in schools. A study in England found that supplementing prisoners with multi-vitamin and fish oil could reduce violent crime in prisons by 37 percent.

But I can’t deprive my kids of the fun stuff…..WAAAAAA. Stop whining.  Did you really just say that?

Small changes can have a big impact on your family’s and your children’s health and happiness. Starting with what you bring home.

  • Eat at home and Eat together.  You complain of not having enough time to cook, but you spend hours watching The Food Network. Create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care. You’ve all heard the research that family meals are basically the cure for every problem in America.Well, just try it and see.  At the very least, you have a chance to find out what your children are up to.  Taking back our family dinners will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children how to connect, and build security, safety, and social skills, meal after meal, day after day.
  • Eat a real breakfast. This is a critical life skill we must reclaim and teach our children. Kids (and adults) who eat breakfast are thinner and smarter. Think REAL, whole protein-rich food to power up the brain for the day. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies. BUT NOT CEREAL, which has more sugar than a twinkie–and has essentially no nutritional value.
  • CLEAN your kitchen. Throw out foods with ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORS, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and sugars or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your kitchen with real, fresh, whole, local foods whenever possible. Shop at nearby farmer’s markets.Have fresh fruit and veggies always available for your kids to snack on.
  • Take your vitamins.  A multi-vitamin and  Omega-3 Fish Oils are a MUST. Our kids have different needs at different times and supplements can fill some of these gaps. Deficits in magnesium can cause insomnia and constipation.  DHA deficits cause diminished brain function and inflammation.
  • JUST STAY AWAY FROM ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORINGS. 

PEACE.


Is a Goal a Verb?

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One of my very favorite movies is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.  In the opening and closing scenes there is a crazy guy walking down the street yelling, “Everybody’s got a dream.  What’s your dream, baby?” Pretty Woman is a modern day Cinderella-style story. Julia’s character, for the most part, ‘falls into’ the fairy tale ending. What luck.  She really didn’t have a plan.  And while she had some sense of a moral compass, the career in prostitution seemed to dilute it’s nobility. Hey.  Wake up. Dreams are for sleeping. Goals are for winning.

In the real world, dreams don’t come to reality without hard work and a plan. Do you have a goal for yourself? For your family? For your career? A goal without a plan is just a dream. Write down your goals. List a first step to achieve that goal. Then add another. Hold yourself accountable, with tangible results and deadlines. Give yourself a real punishment if you don’t accomplish your goal. Punishments such as no chocolate for a year, donations to organizations you dislike, no more shoe shopping–they seem to have profound effects on the bottom-line results of your success.

Draw out your path. It is the ONLY WAY to arrive where you want to go.