What I Learned From Gary Null Today

I had the pleasure of listening to talk show radio host Dr. Gary Null today at the New Life Expo in Manhattan, NY. Dr. Null is an internationally renowned expert in the field of health and nutrition and is the author of over 70 best-selling books on healthy living.

Dr. Null’s topic today was “the exchange of energy”. He believes that leading a healthy lifestyle comes from making the right choices. He believes that making the right choices brings positive energy into the body. He explained that besides getting energy from food we also absorb energy from our environment. Negative energy can enter our bodies through processed foods, foods filled with pesticides and by keeping company with negative people. He states that making “bad” choices such as sitting around, being on the our computer and phone (lack of exercise) as well as making unethical decisions can lead to premature aging.

He advocates for “free choice”, meaning one should make their own life choices rather than follow those choices made for us when we were young. Ignoring our inner voices will lead to frustration and bring negative energy into our bodies. Harmonizing with the right people and speaking out for what is right for society are ways to bring positive energy into our bodies. He encourages one to have a balanced life. Working excessively on one’s-career while ignoring one’s family and spiritual health can only do the body harm.

He suggests that people live in the moment, however, does state that staying in the same place for too long, when one should grow, is unhealthy and is usually the result of fear. Being responsible for ourselves and the effect we have on others is another way of bringing positive energy into our bodies. Having lots of new experiences through learning and travel makes us spiritually alive. Many of us ignore signs that something is wrong within our bodies and play the victim when we discover we have a health problem. He feels we should find solutions to our problems and not just dwell on them.

Embracing our authentic selves and bringing positive energy into our bodies is the best path to a long and healthy life.

Grand Cayman Island is a Paradise for Wholesome Food

The Grand Cayman Island is the largest of the three Cayman Islands. I had the opportunity to
visit the island during a port stop on my Mediterranean cruise. A trolley tour of the island allowed
me to see the numerous farms and vegetation on this beautiful island.

The availability of locally grown produce on the Island has increased exponentially, over the
past several years, although the vast majority of the food is still imported to meet the needs of
Cayman’s growing population. But with local agribusiness expanding, one can see a remarkable
variety of locally grown produce… from the exotic dragon fruit to homegrown butternut squash.
Produce that is grown locally includes mixed lettuce, herbs, tamarinds, root vegetables,
Swiss and rainbow chard , spinach, tomatoes, pumpkin, eggplants , cucumbers, plantains,
callaloo, sweetsop, mangoes , melon (watermelon and honeydew), limes, plums , guineps,
and breadfruit. The ideal growing season is November-April when it is cooler and drier.

Mango trees are numerous on the island. There are 14 types of mango. Mango jelly is
popular. Bread fruit has the consistency of a potato and can be as heavy as 9 pounds.
Pudding is made from this fruit and can be stored for a year.
Fruits and vegetables contain many antioxidants. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants
may be good for your heart health and may also help to lower your risk of infections and
some forms of cancer.

The tour guide reported that coconut is grown on the island as well. He recommended
drinking coconut water with lemon and lime for blood pressure benefits. Moringa trees
are prevalent on the island. Put in capsules it can can be beneficial to maintain safe
blood pressure levels and improve immune function. He also explained that the island
makes their own wine from sea grapes. The resveratrol in wine boosts the immune
system, increases bone density and reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease.

We also had the opportunity to see almond trees. The almonds from the tree were the
size of lemons. Almond tea is made from its leaves. Almonds are beneficial for blood
pressure , cholesterol and blood sugar balance. Almonds contain lots of healthy fats,
fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.

Those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle with numerous choices of fruits and vegetables to eat
should consider visiting the Grand Cayman Island.

Hampshire England Has Much To Offer The Health Conscious Individual

On a recent trip to Southampton, England, I explored food offerings at a local farm store called “Westlea” in the county of Hampshire.

I noticed an abundance of watercress being sold. The store owner informed me that it is grown locally and that residents include it in their soups, salads, sausages and even make a pesto from it. “Farm to table” vegetables offer many nutrients since they are sold quickly after harvest. They don’t lose their nutrients during truck transportation. Watercress can help break down kidney and bladder stones, remove phlegm and improve heart and skin health.

Another popular vegetable at Westlea is asparagus. Asparagus is rich in vitamin B6, folate and chromium which enhance the body’s ability to control blood sugar.
Westlea also offers delicious pies and preserves made from locally grown apples and pears. Apples and pears grow abundantly in East Hampshire providing a multitude of phytonutrients to help joint repair and liver function. English mint tea is consumed regularly in Hampshire since it is grown in the foothills of the Hampshire downs. It can help with digestion, calming the digestive tract.

I was lucky enough to tour Hampshire’s award winning white wine vineyards in the town of Southdowns. Its’ white wine provides the locals with the heart healthy nutrient resveratrol.

Delicious and delightful, the local produce here in Hampshire is both nutritious and restorative.

My Personal Introduction to Greek Cooking

While on my trip to Greece this week, my tour group stopped at a traditional Greek restaurant for lunch. On the menu were appetizers called Kolokithokeftedes (fried zucchini balls), tiropita (cheese pie), Greek salad and Tzatziki (yogurt dip). The group not only ate lunch, but they prepared some of the appetizers as well.

The Mediterranean diet (a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil and a moderate amount of red wine) has been linked to better heart health and a lower risk of obesity. Greek chefs use feta cheese and olive oil in many of their Mediterranean dishes. If you are lactose intolerant , feta cheese (made from sheep or goat milk) is naturally lower in lactose and easier to digest. This soft crumbly cheese is high in calcium, saturated fat and sodium. It should be used in moderation. The omega 9 monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil are beneficial for heart and skin health. Its’ antioxidants can help fight chronic inflammation in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and osteoarthritis.

According to legend, the goddess Athena gifted the olive tree to Greece. It was an extremely useful gift since the region had little water supply and the olive tree required little water. The Greeks were so appreciative of the gift that Athena was named Patron Goddess and the city of Athens was named for her. There are approximately sixty varieties of olives with different shapes. All parts of the olive tree are used today for olive oil, firewood, furniture and biodiesel fuel. The olives are harvested from November to January.

Many of my fellow travelers enjoyed a glass of red wine with lunch. Red full bodied wine contain flavanoids that protect the heart. Additionally, the resveratrol in red wine improves blood flow through the heart’s blood vessels.

After lunch, the staff turned on traditional Greek music and gave lessons in Greek dancing. The music was spiritually uplifting. We were all hopeful that the dancing burned most of the calories from lunch!

Greek Appetizer Recipes:

Fried Zucchini Balls

Ingredients: 4 zucchinis medium size, 1 onion, one 3″ X 3″ square of feta cheese, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup dill, 1/2 cup parsley, salt, pepper, toasted bread.
Grate the zucchinis, onion, bread and cheese. Add eggs and spices. Shape into small balls and fry in olive oil till slightly brown. Serve with Tzatziki dip.

Tzatziki Dip:

Ingredients: 1 cucumber, 1 carrot, 4 cloves garlic, 2 cups of Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, 5 tsp vinegar and olive oil.
Grate cucumber, carrot and garlic. Combine with yogurt and spices. Serve as a dip with cut up veggies, bread, pita or fried zucchini balls.

An Informative Trip to the San Diego Gluten Free Festival

This past Sunday, February 12, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the Gluten Free Festival at the Wyland Center in San Diego, California. I was looking forward to this event since I lead a gluten free lifestyle and it will give me the opportunity to learn and share this information with my clients and those who read my blog.

Let’s start with some basic information:
What is gluten? Gluten is a protein made up of the peptides gliadin and glutenin and it is found in many grains such as wheat, semolina, spelt, kamut, rye and barley. It gives bread its airy and fluffy texture. It is also a stabilizing agent for many processed foods such as salad dressings and mayonnaise. It’s in almost everything from beauty products to packaged foods and supplements. The prevalence of celiac and gluten sensitivity has increased significantly over the last 50 years. Some studies suggest that up to 30% of the population now suffers from gluten sensitivity. Ninety nine percent of those with gluten sensitivity are never diagnosed. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include constipation, skin rashes, heartburn and muscle/joint pain. We no longer are eating the wheat that our parents ate. In order to have the drought resistant, bug resistant and faster growing wheat that we have today, we have hybridized the grain. This hybridization creates new proteins which lead to inflammation, widespread gluten intelligence and higher rates of celiac. In order to treat gluten intolerance one has to eliminate 100% of gluten from one’s diet. Trace amounts of gluten from cross-contamination or medications can be enough to cause an immune reaction in our body. When in doubt, go without.

The Wyland Center was filled with tables of companies like Glutino, Enjoy Life and Milton’s who offered taste testing of gluten free products such as energy bars, pizza, breads, crackers and cookies. Most companies use potato flour, rice flour and tapioca flour to substitute for enriched wheat flour. Their products can be found in supermarkets and health food stores.

I was glad to see other health related products represented at the fair such as water filters (sink and shower), pain relieving stimulators, detoxification baths and skin care products. I was very pleased with the abundance and variety of products . I plan on adding many of them to my diet and lifestyle and will certainly recommend many of them to my clients.

Dark Chocolate,Red Wine and Heart Healthy Eating

When visiting San Diego, I had the opportunity to take a nutrition course called “Dark Chocolate, Red Wine and Heart Healthy Eating.” The class outlined the benefits of dark chocolate, red wine and what you can do to promote a healthy heart including controlling your blood sugar, cholesterol and fat intake.

There is a strong movement in the scientific community that connects poor blood sugar control with heart disease. There has been a substantial proportion of heart disease events in individuals with “normal” cholesterol levels. Studies show that poor blood sugar control leads to inflammation in the heart which in turn damages blood vessels – creating plaque which causes heart attacks and strokes. To keep optimal blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation, calories from sugar should be only 20% of your daily caloric intake. Reducing refined carbohydrates such as pasta, breads, potatoes and rice will also lower your sugar intake. (These foods turn into sugar when digested.) Eating foods rich in antioxidants such has colorful fruits and vegetables will help you reduce inflammation.

Cholesterol is an important factor in maintaining a healthy heart. Small oxidized LDL cholesterol particles can damage blood vessels and cause inflammation. (Large particle LDL cholesterol does not damage arteries-an individual can be tested to determine particle size.) Saturated fats and trans (hydrogenated) fats raise small particle LDL cholesterol. To avoid these fats, avoid animal meat, rich desserts and aged cheese. However, not all fats are harmful. Nuts, seeds, and avocados are very nutritious, since they contain mono-unsaturated fats. Virgin olive oil served cold is very healthy.

So, how can dark chocolate and red wine promote a healthy heart? The flavonoids (type of antioxidant) in dark chocolate protects the heart by reducing blood vessel inflammation. It increases HDL (the “good” cholesterol”) and improves blood flow, thereby reducing blood clotting in the heart and brain. The milk in milk chocolate reduces the benefit of the chocolate to minimal. The more bitter the chocolate, the better. Look for dark chocolate that is 70-85% cocoa. Limit your dark chocolate serving size to 1.3 ounces daily.

Red, full bodied wine contains flavanoids that protect the heart. Additionally, the resveratrol in red wine increases nitric oxide levels which improves blood flow through blood vessels. All you need is 1-2 glasses of red wine a day.

By incorporating dark chocolate and red wine into your heart healthy diet, you will see an improvement in your heart health while having a lot more fun!

My Italy Tour: How to Eat Healthy When Touring Italy

When you think of Italy, most people think of pasta, canollies, wine and pizza. Hardly “healthy”food that is low in carbs, fat and sugar. I discovered the healthy side of Italy during my November 2014 tour of Rome, Florence, Venice and Pompei.

Let’s begin with wine. The Piamonte region yields grapes which make Asti wine. The Italians
don’t use the word “champagne” because champagne was created in France. The Italians use
the words “sparkling wine.” The skin of the red/purple grapes is very beneficial for the heart. I limited myself to drinking only one half glass of wine daily.

Salads are available everywhere, however, the restaurants in Italy do not serve salad dressing.They use olive oil and vinegar as their only dressing. The health benefits of fresh olive oil greatly surpass any other “salad dressing.” Their virgin cold pressed olive oil comes from olives that have a ph between .1 and .2. If the ph is greater than 1% it is not considered virgin. If not virgin and cold pressed, it doesn’t have the health benefits for your blood vessels and skin. The Madenia region of Italy produces their Balsamic vinegar. It is stored for thirty years before it is sold. It is expensive, since the quality is superb.

As for pizza, I was able to find a restaurant in Rome that made delicious gluten free pizza with fresh tomatoes. (Lycopene from tomatoes is wonderful for the heart.) There were many places that made individual/ personal pizzas. I made sure to ask for ‘pocito” (little) cheese and even added spinach to it to reduce my cheese consumption. (Cheese is high in fat and salt.)

Pasta…..It’s hard to resist this dish when visiting Italy, and so easy to
over-eat! (Which is why I try to fill up on the salad or antipasto appetizer.) Most restaurants in Italy offer gluten free pasta.

For dessert, I did treat myself to some gelato, twice. A small serving was all I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth. Fresh fruit was always on the menu as a dessert option. The fruit and produce in Italy is so rich and tasty, since so many fruits are farmed locally. South Italy produces the greatest number of kiwis in the world. It also produces peaches. An abundance of oranges is available between the months of May and November. Venice is the primary region that
produces Italy’s cherries. I saw many Italian couples “sharing” a dessert. How romantic! This
certainly cuts down on calories.

I am happy to say that I gained no more than two pounds on my trip! I can’t wait for my next

A Physical Therapist’s Perspective on Arthritis

Approximately 37 million Americans are affected by arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis involves the breakdown of cartilage, which covers and protects the bone within the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation in the lining of joints and possibly other internal organs.

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, stiffness, and sometimes swelling around or in joints. These symptoms can make it hard to move and do daily tasks.
Arthritis can affect people of all ages. It usually last a long time; for many people , it may not go away. Arthritis pain is caused by inflammation, damage to joint tissues, muscle strain and or fatigue. The emotional ups and downs of arthritis can add to your pain.

Your mind play an important role in how you feel pain and how you respond to illness. Talk to your doctor, nurse, physical or occupational therapist about how you can make your life more healthy. Get involved in a favorite activity or hobby. Remind yourself of what you can do rather than what you can’t do.

Many different types of medicines can help control the pain and swelling of arthritis. Take your medicines exactly as your doctor instructs. Do not skip a dose or stop taking your medication unless your doctor recommends it. This can increase your pain to a large degree.

Those with arthritis can improve their health and fitness through exercise because exercise keeps joints moving, increases energy, improves sleep and helps keep bones and muscles strong. It can also help you effectively manage your pain. A physical therapist can recommend an exercise program for you.

Many different devices have been developed to make tasks easier and more efficient and reduce the stress on painful joints.
1. Cooking and clean up: Use can openers, mixers, blenders and the dishwasher. Use a wheeled cart to move heavy items.
2. Laundry and house cleaning: Sit to sort and iron clothes. Use a sponge mop with an easy squeezer. Use a long handled feather duster.
3. In the Bathroom: Put grab bars around the tub and toilet. Use a raised tile seat if you have trouble sitting or rising from the toilet.
4. In the Bedroom: Use a long handled shoehorn. Buy shoes that have Velcro or buy elastic shoe laces.
5. Leisure time activities: Use a card rack to help playing cards. Use a push button phone or a pen tip to dial.

Contact your local Arthritis foundation office about local support groups for people with arthritis or pain. Sharing your feelings and experiences with a group can make living with arthritis easier.

Helene Kaplan, licensed physical therapist has her own practice providing physical therapy at home to patients with limited mobility and transportation.
Miss Kaplan has been a practicing physical therapist for more than 25 years. She believes there is a real need for this community service since many patients are in too much pain or are physically too week to leave their homes. Some are unable to transfer in and out of a car or manage stairs. Others do not have transportation and cannot afford to pay for a taxi or do not with to bother friends or family. This service is also appropriate for those patients who enjoy the one on one close contact that a patient may not receive in a clinic environment.

Miss Kaplan accepts Medicare Assignment and private pay and can be reached at 516-538-6799.

North Shore Today Interview “Helene Kaplan, In-Home Physical therapist”

Chronic pain, no matter what the reason, is unfortunately a life changing event. It becomes difficult to accomplish even the simple things, like washing the dishes, which were once routine. Helene Kaplan, P.T. can help you regain your sense of self, all in the comfort of your own home.

Helene brings compassion, professionalism and 25 years of physical therapy experience right to your front door. “People hate to rely on others when they have a hard time getting out on their own”, said Helene. “I provide personal one- on- one therapy, specifically tailored to my patient’s individual needs, in the comfort and security of their home. I work with many seniors, but anyone in pain and who has difficulty getting out of the house will benefit from my service.”

Earlier in her career as a physical therapist, Helene developed a physical therapy facility within a rehabilitation center, and has worked in schools for children with disabilities. Thirteen years ago, she decided to use her abilities to help housebound people. Post surgical patients and those with decreased mobility, joint pain, poor balance or simply body weakness that has developed over time will benefit from Helene’s treatments. She brings all the necessary equipment such as steppers, bands, as well has free weights-to reduce joint pain and inflammation and increase muscle strength, rang of motion and energy.

There’s another important advantage to having physical therapy in your home, too. “By going into my patients homes, I am able to help in ways that i can’t in a facility setting.” Helene explained.” I see their living situation and can recommend changes that will improve the quality of their lives, such as changing a favorite chair or outfitting the bathroom to better suit their needs. May patients and I enjoy the social, more relaxed aspect of working at home too.”

Helene also makes having physical therapy at home painless. “A simple call to me will set the wheels in motion”, she replied. Helene even obtains the physical therapy prescription from the physician to make it easier for her patients. An important point-if your are on Medicare, my services are completely covered with absolutely no fees paid by the patient. Helene also has network of connections to other in-home care providers, such as physicians, optometrists, podiatrists, beauticians.. the list goes on.

Helene is also a nutritional consultant and can give you advice on diet and lifestyle changes that will also help with joint pain and fatigue. “It’s all part of my goal to help my patients revitalize their lives”, she said. For more information call Helene Kaplan P.T. 516-538-6799.

Controlling Blood Sugar to Prevent Diabetes

glucofuction_xlargeIf your fasting blood sugar is higher than 100, you have Pre-diabetes. If it’s higher than 125, your have Diabetes.  The hormone that controls the amount of blood sugar that enters your cells (as fuel) is insulin.  People who hare diagnosed with type 1 diabetes do not make this hormone due to a problem with their pancreas.  Those individuals need to take insulin to control their blood sugar.  Most people who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2  diabetes.  They often make plenty of insulin, but the insulin doesn’t work well.

In type 2 diabetes, why are the body’s cells resistant to the insulin?  Roughly 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.  The trouble starts when they eat too many calories, day after day.  These excess calories turn into fat that needs to be stored.  At first the fat fits into your fat cells.  When the fat no longer fits in the cell, that’s when the fat starts to spill over into the muscle, liver and pancreas.  The fat blocks the signal for the insulin to store blood sugar into the cell, causing insulin resistance.  A decline in muscle mass due to aging also contributes to a diabetes risk.

How can we help to reduce high blood sugar levels?  You can start by controlling the number of calories you consume, especially calories from sugary beverages and carbohydrates like grains, cakes, bread, pastas , rice, potatoes and cookies .  Eat leaner animal protein along with plant protein and non-starchy vegetables at meals.  Weight loss is important.  Aerobic and strength training exercise reduces blood sugar levels, increases muscle mass and insulin action and helps with weight loss. There are medications that can help, but often times they are not enough.   

 There are many nutrients like cinnamon, magnesium, alpha lipoic acid and chromium that may help lower blood sugar levels.  When taken together in a formula they can be very powerful.

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