10 Rules For Making A Healthy Smoothie

10 Rules For Making A Healthy Smoothie I love making smoothies for friends and family. They are a delicious way to reach our daily quota of fruit and vegetables. They also make a wonderfully refreshing drink for a hot summer afternoon and are a great way to sneak in some dark leafy greens into that picky 2 year old eater. However, not all smoothies are created equal. Some are chock full of unnecessary added sugars. Others are nothing more than a big glass of carbohydrates, with no protein or fat to help keep you feeling full, and very little fiber to slow down the digestion of the fruit sugars. So how do you know if the smoothies you drink are healthy? Here are 10 rules for making a healthy smoothie. 1. Use a healthy liquid base Smoothies are often made with fruit juice as the liquid base. However, juice contains a huge amount of sugar with none of the fiber found in whole fruit. Smoothies purchased from a grocery store or cafe are generally made with fruit juice. It is therefore far better to make them at home using one of the following liquid bases: Water Ice – makes a thicker smoothie Kefir – adds probiotics for gut health and a nice creamy texture Yogurt – adds a creamy texture Greek yogurt – adds protein Unsweetened almond milk Unsweetened coconut water Unsweetened soy milk 2. Avoid at-home smoothie kits Many grocery stores sell frozen ‘smoothie kits’. They usually consist of cut fruit, corn starch, gums, as well as added sugars or fruit concentrates. Yes they do save about 5 minutes of smoothie-making time. But they also increase the already high-sugar content of a...

Holiday Stress Relivers

Holiday Stress Relivers Stress is neither good nor bad, it just is.   The stress we put on our bones allows them to remain strong. Emotional stress allows us to learn adaptive strategies.  Often it is our attitudes and ability to “let go” that mitigate any resulting harmful effects. When we are stressed it causes our cortisol or adrenaline to rise.  This in turns causes vasoconstriction of the peripheral blood system so that all the blood on the “outside” of our bodies goes to the deep places such as the survival part of the brain, the heart and lungs, and the quads and gluts so we can run from danger.  In turn, the reduced blood flow to the periphery causes a myriad of symptoms including short term memory loss, alopecia or loss of hair, headaches, blurred vision, temperature regulation problems, and digestive problems; just to name a few. Stress also causes insomnia as we are not supposed to sleep through danger.  Eventually we wear out and end up with depression, hypoglycemia, and lack of motivation.  So, how to minimize the effects of stress? Here are some “simple” things you can do: Physically you must keep your sugar levels stable.  This means eat protein every 3-4 hours and have plenty of vegetables.   Stay hydrated so your blood vessels are relaxed. Walk it off whenever you start to feel overwhelmed; step away from the stress and go outside.   There are therapists that have couples wear pulse meters and when their heart rate gets over 100 beats per minute (bpm) in some upsetting situation they terminate the session and have people “walk it off.”  The reason for this is that when your heart rate is over 100...

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction

Getting Sick: A Step In The Right Direction Why You Don’t Want To Suppress Your Next Cold or Flu? It’s likely that you’ll get a cold or flu this year at some point. How you choose to deal with it may actually be more important for your long-term health than you realize. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I think about these acute illnesses a little differently than you’re used to and I find it’s helpful for my patients to understand my thought process. Hopefully this will help you take a new perspective on this year’s cold or flu. The body is smart. This is the principle from which I operate. When we get acutely ill, often this is the body’s attempt to get rid of something harmful. The mucous produced in a respiratory infection helps to clear out infectious organisms (if we let it). When we have food poisoning, diarrhea helps to clear out the organism. When we sweat during a fever, we decrease our inflammation. Getting an occasional acute illness and then clearing it in a short period of time tells us that the immune system is capable of responding and is doing its job. When I have patients who do not get acutely ill at all for several years, I begin to be concerned that they may not be releasing things from their body and may be building up inflammatory toxins, which can lead to more chronic illness. I also wonder if the immune system is working effectively in these patients, which you need it to do in order to prevent long term issues like cancer. Don’t get...

Naturopathic Doctors 101

Naturopathic Doctors 101 “You’re a Na-tur-ro…what?”  This is not an uncommon phase to be heard by a Naturopathic Doctor, even here in New Hampshire where there is a good concentration of Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). Even patients of NDs are often unaware of the plethora of therapies and services NDs are trained in.  Naturopathic Doctors attend one of 5 accredited universities in the United States.  These doctorate level programs are a minimum of 4 years long with a competitive option for another 1-3 years of residency. Naturopathic medical school curriculum contains the same basic sciences of conventional medical school (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, etc…) as well as additional classes in naturopathic-specific therapies.  Examples of these Naturopathic-specific therapies include: nutritional therapies, counseling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, and physical medicine.  This education prepares graduates of accredited programs to enter the medical profession as primary care physicians after passing the Naturopathic licensing board exams (NPLEX). There are 17 states (and counting) that provide licensure for NDs currently in the United States.  Each of those states governs a different scope of practice for NDs practicing within their state lines.  For example, the state of New Hampshire has a rather comprehensive scope of practice. NDs in NH are licensed medical providers with prescribing rights for the majority of common pharmaceuticals and have coverage by most insurances in the state. So how does a Naturopathic Doctor practice? Naturopathic doctors follow the same general model as Medical doctors, with extra assessments and therapies incorporated.  The process looks something like this: Obtain a detailed history of the patient’s current and past medical issues. Perform appropriate physical exam to aid in diagnosis Order any necessary labs or...

The Transition To Fall

The Transition To Fall Dr. Hilary Trojano, ND   Although summer isn’t quite over, fall weather is making its way into the Northeast!  Fall is a particularly significant season when it comes to health and healing; a worthy topic for a brief discussion.  Summer is an energetic, fun, and busy season for most of us.  Many people, particularly in the Northeast, notice that they feel better in the summer.  Who wouldn’t when it’s beautiful and sunny almost every day, and light until almost 10 pm! When fall arrives, it’s often the tendency to turn more inward and pay closer attention to aspects of our lives that have been set aside over the summer months.  At Summit Holistic Medicine, we frequently see patients come in this time of year with the desire to transition to fall with a detoxification program, to address certain health issues they’ve put on the back burner for the summer, or to return to regular self-care habits and routine. Fall is a wonderful time to reflect on and prioritize your health.  It’s a great time to set goals and create space for self-care.  Here are some ideas to consider to spark that motivation: – Consider a 1-month dietary challenge to help promote healthy eating habits.  We often recommend “Transform 30”, which is a program that can be found online. – Explore and identify the possibility that food sensitivities may be impacting your health.  We recommend either food sensitivity testing through our clinic or the “28 Day Elimination and Detoxification Diet.” – Re-visit your basic treatment and dietary guidelines.  Re-incorporate any aspects that may have been lost along the way....

Releasing Toxins from the Body

  Detoxification: the path to wellness   We hear a lot about the concept of toxicity and detoxification, but what does this really mean? Living in today’s world we are exposed to a variety of toxins from different sources that can have a negative impact on our health. This exposure to toxins is through our air, water, food and basic household items. Approximately 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides and herbicides are used per year in the U.S. in our food source. This amounts to about 10 pounds per year for each man, woman and child. Air pollution comes primarily from automobile exhaust and industry waste. Waste products from industry also gets dumped into our water supply and we are also potentially exposed to many deleterious chemicals like heavy metals, plastics and solvents from things like new carpet, paint and household cleansers.   What affect does this have on our health? Exposure to toxins causes cell damage, depletes vital nutrients that are needed for good health, allows toxins to accumulate in our bodies over time, which increases our risk for chronic illness, including cancer. Increased cell death due to toxins leads to faster “turn over” of cells and the increased possibility of genetic mutations, which can potentially lead to production of cancer cells.   What are the symptoms of toxicity? Illness from toxicity occurs when toxic exposure is greater than the body’s ability to eliminate those toxins. Symptoms can vary according to the individual and level of toxic exposure but common symptoms include: headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, allergies, unusual response to medications or supplements, sensitivity to odors, perfumes and chemicals,...