Eating The Rainbow

You may be tempted to find a few foods that you or your family members like and focus on eating those. And it can be easy to fall into routines – especially with picky eaters. But the truth is that our bodies benefit from variety. For optimal health, we need a rainbow of nutrients and colors.

In fact, the variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables have enormous healing powers. And many of them bring their own distinctive colors. Eating colorful foods (and I’m not talking candies here) can be an easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive.

Each color in fruits and vegetables is caused by specific phytonutrients, which are natural chemicals that help protect plants from germs, bugs, the sun’s harmful rays, and other threats. Each color indicates an abundance of specific nutrients.

Red Fruits and Vegetables

Red fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, including lycopene. These powerful nutrients have been studied for their cancer-fighting effects and other health benefits.

Healthy Red Foods to Eat:

  • Red peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Red onions
  • Pomegranate
  • Beets

Orange and Yellow Fruits and Vegetables

Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, including beta-carotene. Some carotenoids, most notably beta-carotene, convert to vitamin A within the body, which helps promote healthy vision and cell growth. Citrus fruits contain a unique phytonutrient which helps to increase blood flow. This has important health ramifications. If you tend to get cold hands and feet, eating an orange a day may help keep your hands and feet warm.

Healthy Orange and Yellow Foods to Eat:

  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, acorn)
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Corn
  • Cantaloupe
  • Orange and yellow peppers
  • Golden beets
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches

 

Green Fruits and Vegetables

Greens are one of healthiest foods we can eat. Green fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for blood and bone health. Additionally, green vegetables are rich in folate. Broccoli has been shown to boost immunity, while dark leafy greens like kale might improve mood. Kiwi has been shown to be especially effective in alleviating the common cold.

Healthy Green Foods to Eat:

  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Collard greens
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green grapes
  • Green apples
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Arugula
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Avocado
  • Edamame

 

Blue and Purple Fruits and Vegetables

Blue and purple fruits and vegetables are rich in phytonutrients and have been studied extensively for their anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. Studies have shown that the bioactive phytochemicals in berries work to repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Healthy Blue and Purple Foods to Eat :

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Red (purple) grapes
  • Red (purple) cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Plums
  • Prunes
  • Figs

 

White and Brown Fruits and Vegetables

White and brown produce may not be as brightly-colored as other foods, but they still are a healthy choice and have phytonutrients. Like broccoli, cauliflower is also rich in an anti-cancer compounds. Garlic and onions, too, contain powerful cancer-fighting compounds. And the phytonutrients in white button mushrooms have been found to inhibit cancer proliferation.

Healthy White and Brown Foods to Eat:

  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Parsnips
  • Daikon radish
  • Jicama

Tips to Help You Eat the Rainbow Every Day

Use these tips to create more colorful meals:
  • Eat a beautiful breakfast. Instead of eggs, or yogurt, start your day with a green smoothie, oatmeal topped with red berries, or a scramble filled with red peppers, mushrooms, carrots, or other colorful veggies.
  • Enjoy exciting salads. Large, colorful salads are the perfect way to incorporate lots of colorful veggies (and fruits) into your diet. Eat them for lunch or dinner. And try to have at least one per day.
  • Liven up your lunch. Veggie sandwiches and wraps (including lettuce wraps) and soups, stews, and chili can help your get a balanced selection of colorful foods for lunch.
  • Make vegetables the main dish. Try new recipes for dishes, such as tempeh vegetable stir-fries, vegetable curries, and veggie-rice bowls.
  • Make a rainbow meal. Try creating a meal that uses every color – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and white. (If you have kids, they may love this idea.)

Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?

Your adrenals are important because they help you respond to stress. If you have chronic stress, your adrenals get beaten up and your energy plummets and it becomes difficult to manage your life. You could feel tired and wired, all at the same time. You might get palpitations or feel anxious or have trouble sleeping. You might crave salt. You might get dizzy when you stand up. You might have low blood pressure. You might even have sugar cravings, because your body can’t regulate your blood sugar properly. Other symptoms of adrenal fatigue include relentless and debilitating fatigue, depressed mood, irritability, loss of interest in life, low energy, and an inability to carry out your normal day-to-day activities. All these are clues that you could have adrenal problems.

 

Someone suffering from adrenal fatigue might have a typical day like this: You wake up feeling groggy and have difficulty dragging yourself out of bed. You can’t mentally wake up without that first cup or two of coffee. You rely on sugary snacks and caffeine to get through the day, particularly in the late morning or afternoon. At night, even though you’re exhausted, you have difficulty falling asleep because the worries of the day keep replaying in your mind.

 

So, why do we get adrenal burnout? We develop adrenal burnout from the chronic stresses of everyday life such as family life, relationships, work, social media, and constant overstimulation.

 

It’s really important to understand how the whole stress response works, why it goes wrong, and why, over time, your adrenal glands, which are these little glands that sit on the top of your kidneys, are not able to manage the chronic stress that you have in your life.

 

Remember, cortisol is your fight or flight hormone.  In the right amounts, it can enhance your body’s natural resistance and endurance. When you have adrenal burnout, your cortisol starts to go down, you can’t respond normally to the stresses of life, and you end up just feeling tired and crummy most of the time. We push ourselves with coffee and other stimulants to feel better, but these tactics really don’t work.

 

So how do you heal your adrenals and regain your energy? First, I recommend eating a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods such as wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries, dark green leafy vegetables, and nuts.

 

Next, find ways to actively relax. This can be light exercise or simply using calming essential oils to lower your cortisol and balance the whole hormonal system.

 

Exercise is always important — gentle, regular exercise like a morning walk, a light jog, a little bike ride. Do something out in the fresh air to get natural light that affects your pineal gland and helps reset your brain and the stress response.

 

I also recommend establishing a regular rhythm. Rhythm is the key because your hormones are balanced in rhythms. So, waking at the same time every day, going to bed at the same time every day, eating at the same time every day — these are the rhythms in life that help to reset your natural balance. Following your natural rhythms of work and rest during the day is also essential. Take natural breaks when you are tired. Naps are also a great way to reset. If you are all over the place, your adrenals are going to burn out.

 

Your diet and supplementation, exercise, and sleep routines are good areas to start with. Adopting healthier habits in these areas may give you a healthier foundation from which to address the underlying causes.

 

So, if you have any of the symptoms listed above, if you’re worried about your adrenal stress response, if you’re thinking that you might have adrenal burnout, I encourage you to take some time, find things you like to do to hit your pause button, get into rhythm, try a few vitamins and herbs, and reset your life.

Simple Stand, Massive Impacts

Our bodies are designed for physical activity – to move and breathe and circulate our prana, vital life energy. In fact, getting regular exercise is one of the most powerful things you can do to stay healthy, relieve stress, and reverse the aging process. Unfortunately, modern life requires more and more of us to lead sedentary lives, which makes movement and exercise more important than ever.

 

Proper exercise helps to maintain fluidity in the tissues, alertness in the mind, lubrication in the joints, supports the body’s pathways of detoxification, and improves digestion, circulation, elimination, and lymphatic flow. Exercise also helps to release tension, clears stagnant mental and emotional energy, improves our ability to relax, and supports sound sleep.

Profound health benefits can result from small changes in lifestyle. There is now enormous evidence that simply standing makes huge differences to your health.

We all know that a sedentary lifestyle (read as “sitting too much”) has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death from any cause. The simple act of standing rather than sitting brings relief from depression and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

Studies have assessed the impact of standing on cardiovascular disease and diabetes by fitting participants with heart rate and blood glucose monitors to take ongoing measurements during the working day. A normal day sitting at their desks was compared to another day spent at a standing desk. The findings were that three hours after lunch, glucose measurements were 43% lower after standing up on the job compared to sitting. There’s also direct evidence for its brain healthy effects.

Besides a significant decline in upper back and neck pain, participants also felt more comfortable, energized, healthier, focused, productive, happier and less stressed. When we stand and work, we are doing two things at once because the brain has to control the body’s posture as well as tend to the cognitive task we’re engaged in. Multiple muscles are active even while standing. This creates “good stress” for our brain and this additional demand improves our ability to carry out certain mental tasks and raises productivity.

Although it seems hard to believe that standing for several hours a day could have such profound benefits, the evidence suggests it does. For those of you who think you are too busy to exercise, all you really need is a pair of comfortable sneakers/trainers. Here are some ideas:

  • Ride your bike to and from work, take the bus or subway, or walk.
  • Alternate between standing and sitting at work.
  • Swim or work out at the gym during lunch time.

You really couldn’t ask for a simpler way to improve physical and mental health.

When it comes to incorporating more movement into your life, it’s often the small things that make the biggest difference.

While there are aspects of the Ayurvedic lifestyle that are generally good for everyone, Ayurveda acknowledges that each of us is unique, and that what might be therapeutic for one person can be harmful for another. The same is true of exercise. Ayurveda’s fitness recommendations depend on one’s dosha, or mind-body constitution, current state of health, age, the surrounding climate, and the season.

To keep your body in peak condition for as long as possible, you need to exercise it regularly, but this doesn’t mean pounding your muscles into shape. You can improve the benefits of your fitness routine by tailoring it to pacify the specific dosha that needs the most support in your system. If you don’t already know your mind-body constitution, you can contact me.

The Benefits of Coriander

For thousands of years, people across the world have enjoyed the fresh, citrusy flavor and bright aroma of one of the world’s oldest and most used herbs, coriander (also known as dhaniya or Chinese parsley). But did you know that coriander is well-documented in the scientific literature as having medicinal properties as well?

Coriander is abundant in therapeutic elements that help keep the body nourished and free of toxins. It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is a top pick when it comes to perking up foods with a little extra nutrition. Coriander contains vitamins A and K, as well as high levels of vitamin C and the trace mineral manganese. It also contains an impressive line-up of other vitamins and trace minerals such as B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.

Coriander helps to cleanse the body of toxic metals, especially mercury, which ranks among the most dangerous to humans. There are many reasons why it’s so important to keep your body free of heavy metal toxins. If you don’t, they could end up negatively affecting your brain, muscle tissue, endocrine system, and even bone structure. Toxic metals that get into these areas can lead to impaired organ function, hormone imbalances, and oxidative stress – all of which can lead to chronic inflammation and other damage. Beyond its heavy metal busting abilities, coriander has long been used as a natural remedy for upset stomach, including bloating and gas, heartburn, and stomach cramps.

The health benefits of coriander include its use in the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting eye care. Coriander has also been proven to be beneficial for diabetics, promotes healthy bones, prevents nausea, vomiting and stomach disorders, reduces seasonal allergies, reduces high blood pressure, prevents conjunctivitis and macular degeneration, and eliminates bad breath and heals ulcers.

So the next time you cook, grab a big handful of coriander leaves to use as garnish on your favorite dish.

Saving Your Health From Anger: Willing Hands Exercise

When we feel an emotion strongly enough, what we’re really feeling is a vibrational energy. Every emotion has its own specific vibrational frequency. Anger is a different emotional frequency, energy, or vibration from frustration, and that’s different from sadness. They’re all different. And when we’re feeling an intense emotion, our whole being can take on this vibration and it’s during those times that sometimes the energy of the emotion that we’re feeling is too powerful and that energy can become trapped and stuck in the body. And because that’s all the body really is – an energy field – when we distort that energy field, we eventually start to have problems. Because what we’re really doing is your distorting the tissues of the body themselves.

Anger is a common emotion. It is an excess of energy in the body. But often it can lead us to say and do things we later regret, cause damage to our relationships, and stress us out. When we hold on to anger, we have less room for creativity. When we hold on to resentment, we have less room for happiness. When we hold on to fear, we have less room for love.

Holding on to negative emotions impedes our ability to create the life we want, because every time we’re in a state of anger, or resentment, or fear, or sadness, or guilt, or shame, we literally limit our ability to think clearly and feel safe.

Acceptance is a process that reduces our suffering and increases our feelings of freedom, by allowing us to come to terms with the facts of our life as they are in the current moment. Anger is the opposite of accepting reality. Anger can be associated with a belief that things should not be as they are. In situations that we cannot change for the time being (no matter how angry we might feel about them), acceptance is a wiser strategy, and one that causes less suffering for us.

So how can we shift out of anger once the fuse has been lit?

Try this exercise: Willing Hands are when you take your hands and turn your palms to face upward. You can place your hands on your knees or by your sides. Relax your fingers, arms, and shoulders. It is very difficult to stay angry while doing willing hands. Take long, slow, deep breaths to further calm yourself down.

I encourage you to practice Willing Hands throughout your day when you feel irritated or impatient, and when you have thoughts about a person who has hurt you.

Probiotics & Prebiotics: Free Tip from Zeeba Khan

Our intestinal health directly impacts our general well-being. We have to learn how to tend to our intestinal microorganisms by being selective of what we eat and how we choose to live our lives. We need to feed the good bacteria that live in our intestines while, at the same time, avoiding the things that harm the intestines, like eating too much refined sugar, a diet high in simple carbohydrates, drinking too much alcohol, and not managing our stress.

Essentially, in order for us to be healthy, our intestinal microorganisms needs to be healthy. When our intestinal bacteria are out of balance, we become sick. We can suffer from symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation and stomach pains.

This is where Probiotics and Prebiotics enter the picture.

Probiotics provide good bacteria that protect us from inflammation and support immunity and a healthy digestive function. Prebiotics are soluble fiber that help feed the good bacteria in our intestines. Prebiotics come from foods such as onions, garlics, sweet potatoes and dandelion greens. Try to include these foods in your diet as much as possible.

Simple Steps to Secular Meditation

Extensive research has proven that regular practice of secular meditation and relaxation exercises can cause health to soar, stress management levels to improve astronomically and happiness to peak. Try it several times a day and the results will show.  Simple instructions follow:

Sit up straight in your chair, relax your hands in a comfortable place, perhaps on your lap, take three slightly deep breaths and feel your body sinking into the chair. Repeat to yourself silently as you breathe in, the sound ‘re’, and as you breathe out, the sound ‘lax’, for the first three breaths, remembering to linger on the ‘laxxxxxxxx.’

Then start the Heart Rhythm Meditation. Breathe in slowly to the count of six ‘thuddings’ of the heart, (four if six is difficult at the start). Listen for the pulse in your body. Do not worry if you cannot sense it at first, just count gently and listen strongly. Once you locate the rhythm, wherever it is in your body, focus entirely on it as you count. It may be in your stomach, your head, your heart, wherever.  Then do the same while holding your breath through six ‘thuddings’ and do the same for a slow six count of thuddings on the out-breath. On reaching the end of the out-breath, start on the six steady thuddings for breathing in, if you have breathed in before the six ‘thuddings’ are complete, just continue with holding your breath a little longer.  Set a timer to keep this going for ten minutes at first. If it is not possible to time, fold in a finger for every newly starting breath until your hands have counted twenty and that will be very good for you.

Remember, that every day you miss the meditation, you go back seven days in your progress towards a higher equilibrium. Constancy is the key, but do not have a guilt trip when you do not do the practice

Make Your Own Cultured Veggies for a Healthy Digestive Tract

Repopulating our digestive tract with a wide range of flora is far simpler and more powerful than taking probiotics. Here are the five basic Steps to Make Your Own Cultured Veggies:
Select your vegetables and herbs – The first step is to select firm vegetables you want to shred to make your blend. Cabbage should be the backbone of your blend.
Create your brine – I recommend using celery juice that you juice yourself in a juicer. Celery juice contains natural potassium and eliminates the need for additional salt. One litre of celery juice is adequate for 9 litres of fermented vegetables. However, if you prefer to use salt, you can add 1 ½ tbsp. of Himalayan salt to a quart of filtered or distilled water in lieu of celery juice. The water must be filtered or distilled to prevent the vegetables from rotting due to chemicals in tap water. Add starter culture.
Pack the jars – Once you have your shredded vegetables and brine mixture combined in a large bowl, tightly pack the mixture into each glass jar. Compress the mixture using a masher to remove any air pockets and top it off with a cabbage leaf, tucking it down the sides to help ensure your vegetables stay under the brine. If you are using a regular jar lid, cap the lids loosely as the jars will expand during fermentation due to gases produced. Putting the lids on too tightly can cause the jar to crack or explode. Ferment the vegetables – Allow the jars to sit in a relatively warm place for several days (ideally around 23° C).Your vegetables should be complete in three to four days. In the cold weather, they may need up to seven days to ferment. In the end, your “taste” test becomes the deciding factor.
Store and enjoy – Once you’re happy with the flavour, move your fermented vegetables to your refrigerator. This slows down further fermentation and will help keep the vegetables for two to six months. The longer you wait to use them the less crisp the vegetables will be. A refrigerated temperature of around 38° F will help lock in the flavour, texture and tartness.
Fermenting vegetables is like most everything else that you try for the first time it is a bit puzzling and gets easy with time.

Where to get starter culture?

Life Vitality can usually arrange it for you to collect from our center at 10 Sinaran Drive (Novena Medical Center), unit 11-17, within about 3 weeks.

Ayurvedic Nutritional Tips for a Healthy Brain

Even with a healthy diet, we are often times nutrient-deficient. The combination of many things such as our depleted soil, the storage and transportation of our food, genetic alterations to our food, and increased stress make it difficult for us to get the vitamins and minerals our bodies require solely from the foods we eat.

Here is what we need for optimal brain health:

• Multivitamin
• Magnesium
• Vitamin D3
• B-complex vitamins
• Omega-3 fats

Make sure that you are getting the ingredients that you want without contaminants. Read the ingredient labels and look for descriptions like non-GMO, certified organic, no wheat, no corn, no soy, no dairy, gluten free, no ingredients of animal origin, and vegan friendly.

If you are in Singapore and you’d like to learn more about healthy nutrition for a healthy mind and body, make an appointment with our consultant (First appointment is FREE). For more tips, you may also wish to join our Ayurveda Facebook Group.

Eudie’s Story

The following is a true story sent to us by one of our clients, Eudie, who is 34:

October 2016, I felt like I was exceptionally tired. My routine revolves in a usual full-time job and 2 kids to attend to when I get home. But at this time, my little ‘munchkins’ went back to the Philippines for a while but even then I still felt like I’d never slept at all even when I just woke up.

“Perhaps I need more rest, vitamins, and exercise,” I thought. It went on for a few more months and I kept brushing the feeling aside.

February 2017, I felt a sharp pain in my lower left pelvic area and ended up going to the hospital to have myself checked because the GP told me it might be an ovary-related health concern. After the lab tests, they found out my sugar level was 18.7 mmol/l ( equivalent to 336.6 md/dl).

Very high! So I was given medication and a lecture on everything you would hear from a doctor when they diagnose such a problem.

I didn’t want to take sugar controlling medicationss. I was stubborn and hard-headed and thought I knew better. So when I got home, I decided to change my lifestyle. Everybody knows I love sweets (which is partly what triggered my diabetes in the first place). Now, I jogged every night, had a white meat diet (no pork, no beef), and ate vegetables that I used to ignore when shopping before. My husband even changed his diet to the point of eating the one thing he doesn’t like having in his plate – lady’s fingers! My family jogged with me, even our house help! Basically, we changed all that there was in our cupboard. I lost weight, a whooping 12kg in a span of a month.

April 2017

I checked my sugar. I cannot seem to connect what went wrong or where I failed.

I was disheartened to look at the glucometer and found out that it shot up to 28.8 mmol/l (518.4 mg/dl)!!

I tried the glucometer on everyone in the house and their results were normal, except MINE. 😭

I didn’t know what to do anymore. I continued my new routine thinking maybe my body needed more adjusting and perhaps after this it will just drop to normal.

June 2017

A trip to my GP’s office didn’t go well. I felt like I was a little girl reprimanded by a teacher for being naughty in class. I said to myself, “I did what I should be doing. Why do I still have this?”

The GP said, “You cannot expect your sugar level to go down without medication. At this level, it’s just way too high. You’re young and able now and you may not have a clear picture of what’s ahead but you’ve got to take your medications!” I got a lecture on amputation and everything.

October 2017

Religiously I took my meds., I had my HbA1c test again.

My sugar level went down, yes. But not as much as I hoped.

It was still 19 mmol/l (342 mg/dl)!

My doctor wasn’t happy and he said by December if it doesn’t go down to an acceptable level, then I might have to take this medication (and others) for my whole lifetime.

I got even more confused and disheartened and it’s as if all that I’ve learned in medical school jumped out of the window.

My husband and I decided to push through with the options at hand – continue the meds, continue the struggle of changing the lifestyle. Perhaps eventually it will decide to leave my body. Or maybe not, the doubt was growing.

I was touched by the way my family encouraged me, my son was even watching videos of diabetes so he’d understand what it was about.

I didn’t have much energy to play with my kids. And that really broke my heart!

I had been hearing too often that once I trigger diabetes, it will stick with me forever. You may control it for some time but it will find a way to shoot up again. This was depressing.

Then out of the blue, we thought of “natural healing.” At that moment, we were desperate and ready to try complementary therapies.

October 2017

We went to Life Vitality at Novena Medical Centre Unit 11-17 and met Mr. Charles Barton the Naturopath.

He started us on a his protocol. It was a bit of an investment and so all our doubts were aroused, but there again, how can we know if something will be effective until we try it?!

December 2017

Two months after seeing Mr. Barton for the first time, my sugar went down to 9 mmol/l (162mg/dl).

And I got pregnant!

We felt so happy but worried because it’s not a good combination having diabetes and pregnancy.

When my strength and perseverance falters, my husband reminds me that this sickness is not my destiny, that it is a battle we fight together and he is right.

Tirelessly, following the new protocol, we found it to be more and more effective, it made me see that indeed there is a way out. I believe, whatever comes in our lives, God can and will give you another chance.

February 2018

Now, 5 months pregnant and with our naturopath, endocrinologist and gynaecologist paying close attention to the results more good news:

My sugar level has moved lower and lower over the months (without Metformin).

Take note, I’m also eating some of the foods I love, and that is no joke!

I’m in my second trimester and my sugar has been behaving so well.

The doctors checked my eyes, kidneys, and other organs. Everything’s NORMAL!

Friends, this is my story. I hope it will touch and help many people. Have hope, and have faith.