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...

A Guide To Healthy Snacking

  Snacking is becoming increasingly popular. It is often taken as an opportunity to consume empty calories from processed foods full of ‘bad’ fats and added sugars. In fact, many experts attribute the current obesity epidemic, at least in part, to our snacking habits. With the right guidance, however, snacking can be a great way to keep your energy levels up, your hunger down, and ensure that you meet your daily nutrient needs. Snacks allow you to spread your daily calorie allowance throughout the day, thereby helping to maintain blood sugar levels. You just have to make sure you are snacking correctly. Follow these 5 rules to ensure that you are maximizing your snacking potential. 1. Plan I know firsthand what happens when you have a busy day with no food plan. It results in desperate and impulsive food decisions, often from limited and unhealthy options. That is why it is so important to plan your snacks. At home, keep plenty of snack options prepared and easily accessible. If you are going out, carry some healthy snacks with you. If you need some ideas, there are 20 nutritious snack ideas at the bottom of this post. 2. Add Protein While most people head for carbohydrates when they want a snack (think, crackers, chips, and cookies), protein is a far better option. Protein-rich snacks are an excellent way to keep you feeling full for longer. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, and cheese are all foods that contain plenty of high-quality protein. By incorporating these into your snacks, you can help slow down the movement of food out of your stomach. The result is that you will feel satisfied for longer....

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 Role Of Hormones & Hormone Balance

Hormones coordinate the continuous biochemical activity that occurs in all of our cells in our body and brain. They are the chemicals that make things happen on a day-to-day basis within the systems of our body. As the body’s chemical messengers, they orchestrate our metabolic processes by stimulating changes in body cells. As hormone levels fluctuate throughout your lifetime, you may notice mood changes, body composition changes, your overall sensitivity changes, and your potential for various types of activity is different. There are many different types of hormones in our body. Hormones, which originate in various glands throughout the body, are found in the blood, where they circulate to continually bathe our tissues. Receptors within our cells are sensitive to particular hormones that causes them to react. The more hormone present in the cell or the more highly sensitized the receptors, the more intense the reaction. Estrogens Estrogens are some of the most powerful hormones in the human body. Almost all tissues have receptors that make them responsive to estrogens. Estrogens help the urinary tract, breasts, skin, blood vessels, and uterus to stay toned and flexible. Estrogen levels start to rise in girls before menarche, sometimes as early as age 8. The hypothalamus signals the pituitary to release hormones, which then signal the ovaries to produce more estrogen. Estrogen levels continue to rise in girls until they start menstruation, usually by age 11 or 12. It also starts the development of breasts and the growth of pubic hair and hair under the arms. In their early 30s, most women begin to experience declining levels of estrogens and progesterone. With...

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....