A Bioenergetic Scan to Unlock the Mysteries of Your Health

As a holistic practitioner, I am always looking for new ways to support my clients in creating balanced health in their bodies.  I assess their bodies and health with Ayurveda, I use various personality assessments to understand more about what makes them tick (and therefore what lifestyle factors may be contributing to their imbalances), and I take into account every minute aspect of their diet, health and life to create a holistic diagnostic picture of what’s actually going on.  The one thing that has been lacking is an effective and comprehensive health test or bioenergetic scan of their bodies.

As both a practitioner, and someone who has had my own fair share of mysterious and problematic health issues in the past, I know how unreliable (and expensive!) the usual blood work and food allergy testing can be.  I was once told by my gastroenterologist that I tested allergic to pretty much everything from lactose and fructose to gluten and legumes (which was obviously insane, and had I not known better, would have surely led me down a rabbit hole of unnecessarily restrictive diets and a lifetime of frustration).  I’ve had clients come to me with tests showing inconclusive and mysterious results across the board, which their doctors immediately started treating with even more medication — always treating the symptom, never the cause.  So I was incredibly excited when I learned about bioenergetic scanning, which I’ve found to be the most comprehensive test for creating balanced health out there.

Comprehensive Testing for Balanced Health

Take your vitamins, and save the rainforest!

Nature's Way x Rainforest Alliance on The Organic Beauty Blog

As you may have picked up on by reading this blog, I am a huge fan of supplements.  In my own body and those of my clients, I have seen targeted supplementation lead to hormonal balance and a return of fertility, better skin and hair, a calmer mind and slimmer waistline, better sleep and more energy, and an overall greater feeling of vibrancy and well-being. I’ve seen enough empirical evidence to call “hogwash!” on all so-called experts that try to debunk the efficacy of dietary supplementation.  The fact remains, the right supplements can drastically transform your health! (Click here to read more on how and why)

So when a great supplement company like Nature’s Way ups the ante by donating 1% of all sales from this summer, up to $100,000, to the Rainforest Alliance, I had to spread the word.  Through August 31st, any purchase you make of Nature’s Way supplements, which you can find at most pharmacies and health food stores nationwide, will support a wonderful nonprofit that has been around for over 30 years, which works to conserve our planet’s forests and natural resources, and promote a vision of global sustainability.  Pretty sweet, right?

I’ve used several Nature’s Way supplements over the years, and love that they are high quality and affordable, which in this health food world of $40 bottles of multivitamins, says a lot.  They make it so easy to take your vitamins, and save the rainforest to boot!

Here are my top 5 favorite Nature’s Way supplements that have helped to transform my health and body:

The magic formula for a slimmer waist and healthy heart

In the world of health, we’re always looking for a quick fix.  One magical pill, food, or tincture that will make it all better — help you lose weight, live longer, look better.  There are thousands of products out there that claim just that. “Take two pills a day and you’ll [insert egregious health claim here]!”  Though we may still be subconsciously looking for that one magic cure-all, our more rational minds tell us that it’s just not that easy. One supplement or food or herb is just not going to solve everything, but the good news is, there is a scientifically proven combination of factors that WILL promote a slimmer waist and healthy heart.  And guess what? If you think about it, I’m sure you already know what it is.

The magic formula:

Healthy diet + targeted supplementation + regular movement = a healthier, happier, prettier you.

Of course, the debate about what qualifies as a healthy diet, what supplements actually work, and what amount of what type of movement to do still rages on.

To answer this age-old debate, I turn to a couple of sources. Science, anecdotal evidence, and common sense.  Allow me to break it all up:

5 Tips to Grow out Your Healthy Hair

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Organic-Beauty-5-tips-for-growing-hair

I don’t know about you, but I think long luscious locks are totally timeless… the perfect accessory.  But growing out your tresses can be tough if you’re dealing with dry, damaged hair that breaks and splits.  I’ve dealt with this myself since I was a teenager and first starting coloring my hair.  But I’m happy to report that I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe for stronger, healthier, shinier hair that grows out beautifully.  As with everything, it takes a holistic approach, inside and out!

8 Amazing Superfoods Your Body Needs

By: Stephanie Heino

These days the term “superfoods” is being used everywhere in order to define foods that are calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning they pack a lot of punch for their weight as far as goodness goes. They are superior sources of anti-oxidants and essential nutrients – nutrients we need but cannot make ourselves. We all may be adding more salads and vegetables to our diets, and the concern over the quality of foods grown on mineral depleted soils makes superfoods an intelligent choice. I use superfoods daily as part of my smoothies, green juices and salads and they really give me another level of energy and I feel great and nourished all day. Keep reading for some interesting health benefits of a few of them.

Goji Berries

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Also known as lycium or Chinese wolfberries, gojis are native to the Himalayan region of China and Tibet. These small, red berries have been used by Chinese herbalists for thousands of years to help eyesight, boost immune function and promote longevity. Many of the documented health benefits of the berries are related to their high antioxidant concentration. Carotenoids, a specific type of antioxidant found in goji berries have been shown to help protect eyesight. Packed with antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, and complete protein, goji berries are certainly deserving of their superfood status! Dried goji berries make an excellent snack, and are also used in muffins, raw desserts, salads and energy bars! Although they are most often eaten in dried, whole berry form, goji berries are also available as a powder juice or supplement.

Here is a recipe to goji energy bites, which are just so delicious!

Acai Berries

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The endless health benefits of Acai should not be underestimated. They have the highest nutritional composition of anything you can eat in the world (wow) and as a result they can give the body a large number of nutritional requirements that it is typically short on.

The most significant health benefit of Acai berry is that it reintroduces nutritional elements that the bodies ought to have, but are typically just not present in our diet. Eating more of these nutrients aids the body in functioning the manner it’s supposed to. This helps the body to reach a healthy equilibrium.

Acai berry in different forms (I prefer the freeze dried powder) can be put into everything from salad dressings, smoothies and your tea. It takes some getting accustomed to. It tastes kind of like a combination of chocolate and berry. There are a multitude of ways to incorporate the health advantages of Acai as part of your nutrition plan and the advantages justify the effort. Acai berries aids in increasing your energy level and your metabolism so your body will use more calories naturally that you will discover helps you to lose weight and helps you to feel a lift in energy.

Camu Camu Fruit

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The Camu camu fruit is believed to be the world’s most abundant source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin often used to strengthen the immune system. It gives you as much as 60 times more vitamin C per serving than an orange. This antioxidant-rich berry from the Amazon is also a plentiful source of potassium, calcium, protein, beta carotene, amino acids and powerful phytochemicals. The most common way to bring it into your diet is to by raw organic dried camu camu fruit powder mixed into your smoothie.

Spirulina

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Spirulina is one of the most nutritious and concentrated food sources on the planet. As a result, it’s appearing more frequently all the time in natural foods and beverages, such as green foods and drinks, energy bars and oral supplements.

Spirulina consistently boasts an amazing protein level of 60 percent on average—making it a protein source for vegans/vegetarians. And spirulina’s protein is biologically complete, containing all of the essential amino acids needed for human health. Spirulina is similar to sea vegetables such as dulse, kelp, nori, Kombu, arame, and wakame. Along with its cousin chlorella (another one of my favorites), spirulina is a member of the “blue-green” family—but this family is actually not truly algae. Check out an amazing green smoothie recipe here, containing almost every superfood in this article!

Maca Root

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I myself use maca mainly for its energy boosting effects. Many people use maca for its virility and fertility boost benefits as well. Maca is a real libido booster and people or couples who would like an enhancement in that department should start taking maca regularly. It has been described as the best natural supplement out there for virility and libido for both men & women. Women usually use maca for hot flashes, and for treating and relieving PMS symptoms. Maca works amazingly for regulating hormones. This also makes maca great for anyone with mood swings and stress in their life.

On top of all these things, maca is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s loaded with amino acids, carbohydrates, and minerals including calcium, phosphorous, zinc, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and E. It’s rich in almost every mineral! Maca is one of the most potent plant-based sources for Vitamin B12, which is great news for vegans or for people who do not eat meat. Rich in protein as well, at least 10% of the maca root weight is protein. It comes in a bunch of different forms; capsules, powder and liquid, and just like many of the other superfoods it is super easy to add to your smoothie for a great boost. If you don’t have a smoothie every morning, the capsule form may work better for you, to ensure you’re getting consistent doses every day for maximum effect!

Hemp Seeds

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Hemp seeds are of exceptionally high quality in terms of amino acid composition and protein structure, the latter affecting digestibility and utilization by the human body. Hemp protein contains all of the essential amino acids in more nutritionally significant amounts and at a ratio closer to “complete” sources of protein (like meat, milk and eggs) than all other oil seeds except soy. It is delicious to boost your morning smoothie with, or sprinkle on top of your quinoa porridge or oatmeal.

Chia Seedsimages

People are going crazy for chia seeds, which have gained attention as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are also an excellent source of fiber at 10 grams per ounce (about 2 tablespoons), and contain protein and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Including chia seeds as part of your healthy diet may help improve cardiovascular risk factors such as lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Chia seeds can be eaten raw or prepared in a number of dishes. Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, rice, yogurt or vegetables. The seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water making it easy to mix them into cooked cereal or other dishes. So delicious! Check out this post about healthy breakfast options featuring a delicious chia seed porridge!

Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is the food of young bees and is comprised of approximately 40% protein. It is considered one of nature’s most completely bee-pollen-granules4nourishing foods. It contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by the body. Such highly assimilable protein can contribute significantly to one’s protein needs.

Bee pollen contains all the essential components of life, such as proteins, free amino acids, vitamins, including B-complex, and folic acid. The percentage of rejuvenating elements in bee pollen is much higher than those present in brewer’s yeast and wheat germ. Bee pollen corrects the unbalanced nutrition in the body, which is very common today since we consume so many nutritionally incomplete foods, often with added chemical ingredients, which expose us to physiological problems. I would suggest using bee pollen as part of your smoothie, delicious and healthy!

Again, check out our Organic Beauty Superfood Smoothie Recipe to incorporate many of these amazing ingredients!

[Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]

Naturally Beat Those Winter Blues!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Whether or not you actually suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it is pretty tough to not get bummed when it’s freezing and grey outside for days on end.  Our social lives take a major hit, and we are much more likely to crave getting all bundled up and cozy at home than a night on the town.  It’s harder to motivate ourselves to get to the gym, and those cravings for comfort food just don’t let up. But fear not!  With just a few daily steps, you can naturally beat the winter blues, improve your mood and energy, and keep your system on track.

  • Catch some daylight!  Especially when the days are shorter and darker, it is that much more important to get exposure to daylight.  Ideally, this would be direct light outside, but, when it’s frigid and miserable outside, getting some daylight through a window does the trick too!  Leave your blinds open at night, so the morning light can wake you up and help regulate your production of melatonin, and thereby, your sleep cycle!  Keeping a regular sleep-wake cycle is vital to staving off wintertime depression. If your bedroom doesn’t get much natural light, then stand dreamily in front of your brightest window for a couple of minutes right when you wake up!  It’s a nice little morning ritual with wonderful health benefits.
  • Exercise!  I know it’s hard to get to the gym when it’s 0 degrees outside, but it’ll pay off in terms of your motivation and energy, which will help you tons in the long run.  If it’s super gross out, just work out at home!  Don’t let the weather be an excuse to skimp on exercise!  Find a dvd that you love, and sweat it out in the warmth and comfort of your living room.  Exercise is one of the best natural antidepressants out there!
  • Take some fish oil.  Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, are amazing for balancing mood and staving off depression.  Even if you eat fish regularly, supplement with 2-3 grams of high EPA fish oil every day.  My favorite is NOW Super EPA.. I take it every day!
  • Take vitamin D.  In the dark of winter, especially in the northern parts of this fair country, it is impossible to get enough vitamin D from sunlight.  The result is that we’re all running around completely deficient in this important nutrient!  Low levels of vitamin D can cause depression, lowered immunity, anxiety, higher stress levels, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms.  It is absolutely crucial to supplement with a high quality vitamin D during the winter months, and for many of us, year round!  Opt for at least 3000-4000 IU of sublingual vitamin D daily.  My favorite is Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte.. Just two drops under your tongue in the morning and you’re good to go!
  • Load up on plant nutrients.  Plant foods are nature’s amazing natural mood-boosters, and it is super easy to eat your way to a fantastic mood even in the greyest of winters.  Whole grains like amaranth and quinoa are great for raising serotonin, which is your brain’s natural feel-good neurotransmitter.  Olive oil and other healthy fats like avocados and nuts are also wonderful natural antidepressants.  Green leafies like spinach and collards are loaded with folate, which along with other B vitamins, is vital for regulating mood.
  • Treat yourself!  Plan a fun winter getaway weekend, a spa day, a fun party, or even some nights at the theater, a concert, or the opera!  Having some exciting things to look forward to is a great way to boost your mood and break up the monotony of a long winter.

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A Better Option than Airborne or Emergen-C?

I’ll admit, a big part of my flu season regimen is loading up on some extra vitamins (for the rest of my regimen, see How To Naturally Prevent the Flu).  When I get home, particularly after having been on the subway or another crowded germ-fest, the number two thing I do (after washing my hands with hot, soapy water) is to pop an effervescent immune-boosting vitamin.  It definitely does the trick (I rarely get sick), but this precaution comes with a fair amount of guilt on my end.  The drugstore standbys, Airborne and Emergen-C, come with their fair share of sub-par ingredients that I usually avoid.  So I’ve decided to take on a side by side comparison of these guys, as well as few other readily available and slightly harder to come by brands.  I was actually surprised to find that those drugstore standbys are the weaker of the 5 brands I found!  So without further ado, behold…

The Effervescent Immunity-Boost Showdown!

Scoring based on the following factors, which are each worth a maximum of 5 points:  
  1. Comprehensive vitamin and mineral content (CVM)

  2. Immune-boosting herbal additions (H)

  3. Quality of ingredients (Q)

  4. Calorie and sugar content (CS)

  5. Value (V)

 

1. AIRBORNE ($16.14 for 30 tablets)

Overall score: 15/25 (CVM=2; H=3; Q=2; CS=5; V=3)

Airborne is one of the first of this type of supplement, and is definitely a favorite on the market.  It offers some good, basic immune-boosting vitamins (of note, vitamins A, C and E) and some minerals.  It features some good immune-boosting herbs like ginger and echinacea and a blend of amino acids.  It’s lacking key B vitamins, has no vitamin D, and doesn’t have comprehensive mineral content.  But the biggest downfall are the additives.  Airborne is low in sugar, but has sucralose (Splenda), which is a potentially dangerous sugar substitute.  It also has maltodextrin, sorbitol, and mineral oil, all of which are additives your body can definitely do without.

Bottom line:  In a pinch, it can give you an immune boost and help prevent a cold from coming on, but the additives make it a poor choice for regular consumption.

 

2. EMERGEN-C ($11.45 for 30 packets)

Overall score: 12/25 (CVM=4; H=1; Q=2; CS=1; V=4)

Emergen-C scored surprisingly low when compared to the other products.  The one thing is does have going for it is a solid vitamin and mineral content.  Lots of B and C vitamins, a comprehensive mineral content, and an added boost of quercitin make it a pretty solid choice.  BUT, it’s high sugar and calorie content (a whopping 20 calories per serving, compared to 5 calories in all the other products), and a couple of questionable additives really deduct some major points.  It also has no beneficial herbs to boost immunity.

Bottom line:  Again, in a pinch, it gives you a bit of a nutrient boost, but no more so than a good multivitamin.

 

3. EBOOST ($22.35 for 20 packets)

Overall score: 19/25 (CVM=5; H=5; Q=3; CS=4; V=2)

This surprising standout can be found at most pharmacies, but is usually hanging out in a different department, with the diet pills and shakes, instead of in the cold and flu aisle with the big boys above.  That plus it’s poppy packaging may be masking a really great alternative!  It has high vitamin and mineral content, including B and C vitamins, a whopping 1000 IU of vitamin D, and plenty of essential minerals.  Plus, healthy goodies like super antioxidant green tea extract, immune-boosting astralagus, and mood-improving amino acid 5-HTP, and heart-healthy resveratrol!  Really the only downfalls are a couple of generally harmless additives like maltodextrin and silica.

Bottom line:  The high vitamin and mineral content plus awesome bonus herbs and supplements make this a really great winter immunity boost.  But this is no substitute for a daily, high quality multivitamin like those by Rainbow Light or New Chapter!  

 

4. WELLNESS FIZZ ($8.40 for 20 tablets)

Overall score: 22/25 (CVM: 3; H=5; Q=4; CS=5; V=5)

Made by reputable supplement company, Source Naturals, Wellness Fizz is basically Airborne with a natural makeover.  High in vitamins A, C and E, some minerals (including zinc), and a whole bunch of awesome immune-boosting herbs such as echinacea, elderberry, and a potent blend of herbs called yin chiao that really enhances the body’s natural defenses during cold and flu season. Sweetened with natural stevia extract, it doesn’t have any chemical additives and is flavored with fruit extracts.  As an added, it’s actually less expensive than it’s less healthy counterparts!

Bottom line:  This is the perfect immunity boosting supplement for daily use during the whole cold and flu season, chock full of super beneficial herbs and some key vitamins and minerals.  But again, not a substitute for a daily, high quality multivitamin like those by Rainbow Light or New Chapter!  

 

5. OLA LOA ENERGY ($24.99 for 30 packets)

Overall score: 19/25 (CVM=5; H=2; Q=5; CS=5; V=2)

This fizzy supplement is basically a comprehensive multivitamin, with the highest vitamin and mineral content of all the products reviewed.  This is great if you’re not taking a multivitamin, but if you do, you run the risk of overdoing it with too much of a good thing.  It also has a potent amino acid blend and no additives.  The only downfall here is that there isn’t much by way of immune-boosting herbs.

Bottom line:  A great immune-boosting multivitamin drink mix that will help to keep you healthy year-round, but when judged against the best multivitamins on the market (see above), it doesn’t offer anything that stands out.  Don’t use if you already take a multi or take high levels of other vitamins and minerals.  Good for people that have trouble swallowing pills.

 

And the winner is…..Wellness Fizz!

This is a really great seasonal immune-boosting effervescent vitamin and herbal blend to keep you healthy throughout the cold and flu season.  It is safe to use in addition to your regular supplementation. Wellness Fizz stands out for being more natural and having pretty awesome herbs.  It is also the best value by far!

Runners Up:  Ola Loa Energy and Eboost.  Since Ola Loa doesn’t function best as an immune-boosting supplement, but rather, is more of a multivitamin, I am inclined to give Eboost my vote for 2nd place.  It’s on the pricey side, but it is a healthier, accessible alternative to other drugstore brands.

Green Coffee Bean Extract… Miracle Weight-Loss Supplement?

Both from personal experience and in my work with clients, I know there is no real, long-term quick fix for weight loss.  There is no healthy miracle pill or food that will make the pounds come off and, more importantly, stay off.  Getting and staying slim is always a matter of eating the right foods for your body at the right times of the day, the correct consistent exercise for your body, and a healthy, balanced lifestyle with self-care and stress management tools at your disposal. That’s the secret.  It’s not a pill or a drink, or a powder, or a piece of equipment that lets you eat crap without gaining weight.  It’s not calorie counting, or low-fat, low-cal packaged foods, or frozen dinners.  Though there are supplements and tricks and diets that help you drop weight quickly, odds are, you won’t be able to keep it off without making real, healthy changes to your eating and lifestyle.  The weight will always come back, and it will bring friends.

So with this in mind, I wasn’t too taken in by all the hullabaloo surrounding green coffee bean extract  (GCBE) that everyone has been talking about.  But enough clients have been asking me about it (ever in search of that quick fix!), that I thought I’d do a little more research.

Green coffee beans are raw, unroasted beans found in red coffee berries.  In their unadulterated state, coffee beans offer a ton of natural antioxidants, can lower risk of diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.  However, the benefit I’m most interested in (and the part everyone is talking about) is the effect green coffee beans  have on blood sugar. Chlorogenic acid, an antioxidant abundant in green coffee bean extract, has been shown to significantly inhibit the release of glucose into the blood stream, preventing the elevated blood sugar levels that make weight loss difficult for many people.   Stable blood sugar equals weight loss, energy, and improved hormone function!

But wait…  Before you get all excited and think this is the miracle cure you’re looking for, that will let you eat pizza and ice cream and still lose weight, you’re wrong. Although GCBE will definitely help stabilize your blood sugar after meals, it’s not going to keep you from gaining cellulite, clogged arteries, and increased risk of all kinds of disease that is the result of poor eating.  It’s also not a long-term solution.  Clinical trials of GCBE were for 3 months, and I’m going to go ahead and wager that if you are overeating or eating poorly and using GCBE to stay slim, it’s going to catch up with you, and you will balloon up!

Green coffee bean extract could be for you if you are already making the transition to healthier eating and lifestyle.  When used in conjunction with healthy eating, GCBE can be a great way to supplement all the hard work you’re doing, especially if you struggle with blood sugar issues.  Keep in mind, this supplement is for adults who are significantly overweight or pre-obese, not people who have 10 lbs. to lose.

If you’re going to take green coffee bean extract:
  • Make sure it is sourced from organic coffee beans (coffee is one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world).  This is actually pretty hard to find in capsule form, but it’s out there in powder form.
  • Make sure to drink lots of water (coffee is a natural diuretic, and a dehydrated body does not do well with weight loss)
  • Make sure the extract is pure, and not filled with tons of other ingredients.
 

———-
Natasha Uspensky, CHHC
Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor

Holistic Treatment of Migraines and Headaches

Headaches and migraines are among those pesky and debilitating health concerns that are more often than not a sign of an imbalance in the body. A healthy body may get an occasional headache from stress or dehydration, but when it’s a regular, frequent complaint, action needs to be taken.
If you’re getting headaches consistently once a week or more, the first step is to rule out anything neurological.  See your doctor for a CT Scan or MRI. Once these causes are ruled out, it’s important to identify your triggers and get to the bottom of your headaches.  Migraines are actually more often caused by gastrointestinal or environmental factors. Common causes and triggers of headaches and migraines are:

  • Alcohol, especially beer and red wine
  • Certain foods, such as dairy, chocolate, peanuts, some fruits, sugar, foods with monosodium glutamate (MSG), onions, meats, some cooking oils
  • Poor diet or nutritional deficiencies
  • Blood sugar imbalance (skipping meals)
  • Inflammation
  • Environmental toxins
  • Fluctuations in hormones — for example, during pregnancy, before and during your period, and menopause
  • Certain odors, such as perfume 
  • Stress, physical or emotional 
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Caffeine
  • Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Some medications
  • Heat, high humidity, and high altitude

  • Try identifying which of these factors play a role in your headaches, and eliminate them for at least two weeks.  Keep a symptom journal or tracker (I like Chart Myself) to help keep track of the factors that influence your headaches.  The specific holistic treatment approach you’ll take will be dependent on what your triggers are.  For example, if you primarily get headaches around your period, focusing on balancing your hormones through diet and supplementation will be key.  Or if your headaches come on when you are stressed or overworked, you’ll want to focus on stress management, relaxation, and, of course, a diet that supports your adrenals and immune system.

    That said, there is definitely a holistic headache treatment protocol that can help all sufferers…

    • DIET:
      • It’s important to balance blood sugar with regular, filling meals, particularly in the first part of the day.
      • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, fast food or processed food, artificial or chemical sweeteners, preservatives, additives like MSG and artificial flavors and colors, sugar (which headache sufferers will want to cut out completely), dairy, gluten, excessive animal products (particularly red meat and any meat containing nitrates) and hydrogenated oils
      • Opt for a clean, whole foods, mostly plant-based diet of vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats
    • LIFESTYLE:
      • Stress management is vital for headache sufferers.  A relaxation practice like yoga or meditation are HUGE and non-negotiable for living headache free.
      • Regular breathing exercises
      • A consistent exercise routine 
      • Quality sleep
      • Quit smoking and avoid being around cigarette smoke
      • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day
      • Rid your home of toxic chemicals
      • Naturalize your beauty regimen
    • SUPPLEMENTATION:
      • Supplementing your diet is vital to filling in the nutritional blanks left by food.  Consult a my supplement guide for some great general supplements everyone (especially headache sufferers) can benefit from.  Of particular importance are:
        • Magnesium (200-600 mg a day) — a deficiency in this nutrient is a common cause of headaches
        • Vitamin B2 (400 mg a day) or B Complex — another supplement especially beneficial for reducing the frequency and duration of headaches
        • Omega-3 Fish oil (2 g a day) — the most vital supplement to combat inflammation
        • Chlorophyll (1 tbsp in water twice a day) — a cleansing, purifying and detoxifying supplement
        • Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tbsp in water twice a day, or at onset of headaches)
        • Feverfew (50-80 mg a day) and Butterbur (50-75 mg twice a day) and two herbs known for markedly decreasing intensity and frequency of headaches when taken regularly for up to 4 months.
    • ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES:
      • Acupuncture
      • Reflexology
      • Massage
      • Chiropractic
      • Homeopathic treatment

    Feel free to contact me for a consultation to develop your own holistic headache treatment protocol and to get healthy!

    ——-
    Natasha Uspensky, CHHC
    {Photo from My House Called MD}

    Do Vitamins and Supplements Really Work?

    I get asked all the time if vitamins are actually all they’re hyped up to be. Do they really work? Are they worth the money? Which vitamins are really necessary?

    There have been a lot of recent studies claiming that taking vitamins has little to no effect on one’s health, but the fact is that not all vitamins are created equally. Research has shown over and over again that potent, high quality formulations of certain vitamins, minerals, herbs, and antioxidants play a huge role in maintaining optimum health and longevity, disease prevention, and treating various ailments.

    That said, it’s important to note that vitamins and supplements are not a miracle, cure-all panacea that allow you to neglect healthy diet and exercise. Supplements are really designed to fill in the gaps left in our diets. The most potent and effective means of delivering nutrients into your system are through whole foods. Very few, if any, supplements will ever offer the same benefits as eating a variety of brightly colored vegetables and fruit, and whole grains. But unfortunately, some vitamins are nearly impossible to get enough of, even if you have a super healthy diet. Vitamin D, for example, is a vitamin nearly everyone in the northern parts of the world is deficient in. It is simply impossible to get enough vitamin D3 from sunshine when you live anywhere that has a winter. To derive enough of this vital nutrient from the sun, you would need 15 minutes of direct sunlight (sans sunblock) on large swaths of your skin every single day. Even in warmer climates, that just isn’t possible for a lot of people. Other nutrients aren’t possible to derive from specific diets. Vegetarians do not get sufficient amounts of vitamins B6 and B12, so supplementing with a high quality B Complex is vital. Omega-3′s are another nutrient that are very difficult to safely derive enough of in a standard Western diet, and it’s health benefits are so numerous that supplementation is definitely recommended for many people. There are also many herbs that just aren’t available (or palatable) for consumption as food — therefore taking them in supplement form is the most efficient and convenient means of delivering their amazing and varied benefits to your body.

    Are supplements worth the money? It’s safe to say you’re probably wasting your money if you’re using vitamins as your only consistent sources of healthy nutrients while maintaining a sub-par, Standard American Diet. Anyone that tells you that you can keep eating cheeseburgers and ice cream and still be slim and healthy by taking some special amazing supplement is taking you for a ride! But if you’re using supplements to fill in the gaps in a healthy diet, you’re doing your body a huge favor.

    What supplements should I be taking? Everybody has different supplementation needs, depending on gender, age, health concerns and goals. That said, there are definitely a few supplements that everyone can benefit from. See my Basic Supplement Guide for a list of universally recommended supplements for optimum health. For more specific recommendations, always consult a holistic healthcare practitioner. There are specific combinations of supplements that can help with everything from painful or irregular periods, weight loss and headaches or pain, to cancer prevention, all kinds of gastrointestinal issues like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, heart health, cholesterol, and thyroid imbalance. Pretty much any health concern can be addressed and improved with the proper supplementation, in addition to… you guessed it!… healthy diet and exercise.

    Are all vitamins safe? It is absolutely vital to ensure that the vitamins you are taking are high quality and in the right dosages for your body. Certain supplements, taken in improper dosage, have actually found to be detrimental to health and have been linked to higher risk of mortality and disease. Always research your vitamin brands to make sure they are using pure formulations derived from healthy sources. Brands I trust are NOW, Rainbow Light, Biotics, New Chapter, Vitanica, and Solgar. Check out the Organic Beauty Store for some fabulous supplements used by myself and my clients.

    Supplements really do work, and, in combination with the correct diet and exercise for your body, can mean a stronger, more youthful, and healthier you!

    —-

    Natasha Uspensky, CHHC, AADP

    Contact me to schedule a free initial consult to discuss your health goals and find the right diet and supplementation for you. Or come visit me at NU Health & Wellness for more info!