The Scary Truth About Toxins (and How to Avoid Them!)


I always say if you can’t eat it, it has no business going on your skin, hair, nails or in your home environment. Playing detective with people’s health has been my job for the past eight years. People don’t just “get sick.” Illness is created, slowly. Illness is cumulative.

I have found that toxicity is one of the main contributors to disease. Sure, toxins are in the food we eat and switching to organic, chemical-free options is a no-brainer, but it goes so much deeper than that. When we look at ingesting toxins, the body’s inner wisdom protects us. For example, in the intestine, predigested food moves over the villi (little finger-like receptors) and these villi decide if the nutrition will move to the blood stream to become the body, to the bowel as waste, or to the fat cells as toxins, where they stay safe until the fat cells become so engorged with toxins that the toxicity gets released into the blood stream , causing illness. Or, the toxins stay there until the fat cells get so full of fat that the fat pushes the toxins out into the body. Either way, it’s not so great.

Still, there is an even worse fate! That is if the toxicity gets absorbed right away through inhalation. This can happen via “off-gassing” from furniture, flame retardant-treated rugs, paint, household cleaning supplies, hair spray etc., and absorbs directly through the skin, as in the case of personal care items (makeup, body products, deodorant, hair products, etc.).


What can you do to stop toxins from coming in? Do a swap-out! Simply choose healthier versions of items you already use. Green Beauty Team is a wonderful resource for discovering great makeup and self-care items to replace the toxic ones. It is a process that took me about two years. When transitioning to greener products, you may find some don’t work as well. It’s all about trial-and-error.

For me, finding non-toxic nail polish that wore well through cooking and dish washing was a challenge. During a visit to a nail salon, the technician used Barielle — a non-toxic polish in punchy, fun colors — and I was hooked.


Don’t stop at makeup and skincare!

Household cleaners are filled with harsh chemicals. Baking soda works in lieu of chemical-ridden scrubs, but my all-time favorite discovery has been essential oils, such as lavender, lemongrass, sweet orange, peppermint, cedar wood and ylang-ylang, which I put a few drops of in hot water and scrub surfaces and floors. The smell is amazing and I know I’m not going to die.

These are very simple changes that will truly keep you safe. It might take some time to transition, but I feel confident that you can find items that are just as good, if not better than, the commercial ones.

Feature image by mihhailov/Flickr

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The Secrets to a Beautiful and Healthy Life

People always ask me for advice. I am an expert after all and have been helping people get healthier for years now. In this fast paced-media-snippet-sound-bite world we live in, most people want it short and sweet. People don’t want to have to think too much. Here are some guidelines that are pretty easy to follow. They are my basic thoughts on how to be healthy and peaceful, also on what the body needs. When clients and friends follow these simple ideas, the body goes to a place of balance, peace and most importantly, wellness.

Here goes:

Respect the wisdom of the body. The body is always looking to be healthy and is searching for optimal wellness. All you need do is create an environment where it can do what it does best.

Eat real/whole food — foods that are what they say they are. An egg is an egg, brown rice is brown rice, an apple is an apple and so on. Chew your food thoroughly and when you chew, keep your mouth closed!

Avoid sugar, alcohol, chemicals and processed foods, including processed salt (choose Celtic sea salt or Real salt brands).

Buy local and organic and naturally raised when possible.

Eat foods in harmony with nature.

Winter calls for more soups and stews, less cold salads, more cooked pears and apples. No tropical raw fruits or enjoy them sparingly as they affect your body’s ability to process much-needed vitamin D, contain large amounts of potassium, and the body thinks it is getting plenty of sun so it gets lazy and the production of vitamin D dissipates.

>> >> For more information on dairy, see Dairy: Silent Killer or Delicious, Creamy Treat?

Drink good quality water; this means water that is from a spring or has been aggressively filtered (I own a Kangen sytem and feel it is the best on the market). You can also buy spring water in glass as plastic leaks into the water and creates a large amount of toxins (I think Mountain Valley Spring water is the best). Avoid caffeine as it completely taxes the adrenals. Enjoying it as a fun treat is okay once a week or so, but not every day. Limit dairy. Fermented/full fat dairy is okay in small amounts (check out my other article ).

Have some sea vegetables, they are loaded with minerals and iodine (Maine coast are an OK brand). Include some algae as it is a super food that is fully packed with nutrients (chorella/ spirulina).

Get rid of your microwave and heat your food up on the stove or in the oven.

Make sleep very important. Figure out how much your body needs and do your best to get that amount.

Do something physical each day go for a walk, a run, do yoga or dance in your underwear.

If you are in a relationship, make love as much as possible.

Respect the body’s need for being in nature and make time to be near the ocean or the woods.

Take sun responsibly and avoid chemical sunscreens.

If you use self-care items and makeup, peruse this site for smarter/ healthier options.

Surround yourself with kind/loving people who build you up and love you. Set boundaries and command respect. Cut out toxic people.

Unplug from electronics at times.

Meditate, write in a journal, pray and honor something bigger than yourself, whatever that means to you.

Love yourself deeply and fully. Practice self-acceptance by loving the parts of you that you have the most trouble loving.

Practice forgiveness when you can.

Floss your teeth, brush them and scrape your tongue (watch my video on oral hygiene for tips). 

Be polite. Hold doors for people and if you see someone who is elderly or a parent with a stroller/pregnant woman on the subway, offer up our seat. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

When ending a relationship, imagine how the other person feels and have compassion. After a break-up, call  your most supportive and loving friend, express your feelings fully, move through any  disappointment and

Ask yourself, ’What have I learned from this? How can I use this information for my next big romance?’  Then, take care of yourself like Charlize Theron the week before the Academy Awards!

Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

Flirt with handsome men or beautiful women who lock eyes with you on the street.

Throw out all of your underwear and buy all new underwear when you feel it is time to do so.

Try a media fast by not watching the news or reading the paper for a while.
If something really important happens, you will hear about it from your friends.

If a compliment pops into your head, don’t hesitate to share it.

Smile at old people and children.

Laugh like you mean it!

Always remember that life is a gift, life is good, enjoy it!

Feature photo courtesy of the National Media Museum. Photo of Donna by Amy Fletcher 

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Eating Sugar the Healthy Way

Sugar cane is a lush green tropical plant/grass. In its untouched form it is full of vitamins and minerals the body actually needs, including, iron and the B vitamins, especially niacin and B-6; calcium, magnesium and phosphorus for strong bones and potassium.

Unfortunately, that’s not what ends up in our food, drinks, baby food and pasta sauce – yes, some baby food and pasta sauce are actually loaded with sugar!

When sugar is processed, the vitamins, minerals and fiber become a thick blackish-brown syrup- product called blackstrap molasses, which is separated out.  Then everything else that’s left from the sugar cane gets bleached to remove impurities that would keep it from looking snowy white.  What’s left over is refined, white sugar and this is what I am talking about – this is the “white devil.”

Illness loves sugar

Americans consume on average 142 lbs. of sugar a year per person.  In 1699 colonists consumed about 4lbs of sugar per person a year. Diabetes is at an all time high and diseases related to sugar intake are on the rise. It’s pretty clear that the sweeter we get the worse off we are. 

When a client comes to me with any kind of illness from a common cold to acne to HIV to depression – the first thing I ask them to do is reevaluate their relationship with sugar.

What type of sugar do you consume?

Contrary to what most trainers and registered dietitians think, not all sugar is ‘bad’ sugar.  I was giving a lecture on sugar a few years back and this woman exclaimed, “ I cannot have carrots.  My trainer said they are ALL sugar!”  My reply was simple, “Yes, he is right. They do have sugar, but they also have fiber and nutrients.”  That is, unless you juice them….

The last time I had a carrot juice, I literally couldn’t get up off of the couch afterwards– I might has well have had a jelly donut! 

It’s the fiber and nutrients along with fat that slow down the insulin spike which causes fatigue, among a variety of other issues.  If sugar comes in a form that’s been untouched from its original state, it has probably the fiber, nutrients and hopefully fat along with it too.  

That said, I still tend to avoid or eat in moderation very concentrated natural sugar sources, like dried fruits.  The fact remains that no one I know has ever gotten fat, or sick from eating carrots, apples and blueberries.

How overloading on sugar leads to diabetes

When you have too much sugar (about 8 grams or so) at once, the brain sends a signal to the pancreas that there is too much sugar in the blood. So the pancreas releases the hormone insulin to go into the blood stream and opens up the protein molecules– like Pac-Man – to gobble up the sugar and keep things balanced. After a while, if the person consumes processed white sugar in a way that is rough for the body (meaning no fiber and nutrients in the stomach), the pancreas gets exhausted and ‘gives up’….and this is called diabetes.

Where is it hiding in your diet?

Start to gage the amount of refined sugar by being aware of what you eat.  This includes all refined carbohydrates like white pasta, white rice and (dun dun dun!) bread.  Most obviously desserts are loaded with refined sugar – and sorry to break the news – but booze is high up on the sugar scale. No matter how many antioxidants red wine has, it also has a lot of sugar.  

Yes, there’s a time for chocolate!

I love Ayervedic medicine (ancient Indian wellness).  They actually have a time for chocolate!  It is right after lunch in the afternoon. The understanding is that once the stomach is full of nutrient-dense, real food (like protein, fat, and vitamins) then it creates the cushion of fiber and nutrients, that we talked about earlier, to absorb the added sugar into the system.

What’s going on with you when you are reaching for the sugar?

There is a strong correlation between emotions and sugar because it can give us a ‘lift’. We literally get a bit of a ‘high’ or a ‘rush’ because of the sugar alcohol in sugar. It really does act like a drug in the body.  Notice if you reach for sugar when you feel blue, tired or if you are a social/peer-pressure sugar ‘user.’

What you can do to make your sugar intake healthier

1) Choose to sweeten with only unrefined sugar such as: honey, maple syrup, molasses and date sugar.  Yes, it’s still all sugar but these unrefined forms have some trace minerals (in the case of blackstrap molasses or date sugar) and vitamins too. 

2) Timing is everything – consume sugar after you have eaten other nutrient-dense foods containing fiber and fat.

3) Open your eyes to your overall emotional state when reaching for the stuff! Are you tired? Bored? Upset? Lonesome? Heartbroken? 

4) Please ‘heart’ your pancreas. Treat this sweet potato-shaped organ lovingly and with respect. Remember all of the hard work it does to keep you healthy and don’t stress it out by overdosing on sugar.

Chances are you are sweet enough without the sugar, so find other ways to sweeten up life if you need a pick-me-up.  Puppies always do the trick for me, but don’t eat them, that would be really wrong. 

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10 Trucos para un Cabello Saludable

Su salud puede manifestarse en diferentes formas. La piel, uñas y cabello son algunas características que la gente normalmente reconoce primero, y son pruebas de vida sana. ¿Se le ha debilitado su cabello? ¿Maltratado? ¿Perdido brillo? ¿Está débil?

Ya que su cabello está compuesto por células con proteínas, nos podemos dar una idea del problema al notar si se afecta por factores ambientales incluyendo la dieta, niveles de estrés y exposición a químicos. ¿Cual será su historia? En lo que a mi concierne, siempre he tenido cabello delgado. En ciertos momentos de mi vida ha tenido bastante, pero aun así perdía cerca de 100 a 150 mechones diarios, lo cual es normal. Con estas caídas viene una renovación y crecimiento con cabello nuevo mas corto. He notado que durante periodos estresantes, como rupturas amorosas, he perdido grandes cantidades, a veces hasta grupos de cabello. En esos momentos trato de reducir mi nivel de estrés a fin de mantener mi cabello saludable. En general, trato de estar alerta durante periodos estresantes para no afectar la caída del cabello.

Canas a temprana edad

Yo descubrí mi primera cana a los 21 años. Ahora en mitad de los treinta años, tengo aproximadamente 35% de canas. Causas: deficiencia mineral y herencia (canas prematuras). Cuando tenia 18 años, empecé una vida vegana y vegetariana durante 7 años, pero no me eduque adecuadamente en cuanto a nutrición. Durante ese tiempo me hacían falta las proteínas y minerales que mantienen el color. Adicionalmente, las mujeres en mi familia por ambos lados, les salieron canas a temprana edad. La tintura que utilizo para mi cabello es completamente natural y la consigo en tiendas de alimento saludables. Los últimos cinco años he utilizado tratamientos, acondicionadores, brillos y ocasionalmente rayitos en un salón de belleza de una amiga, ya que utilizan productos preferiblemente orgánicos y con pocos químicos.

¿Se le está adelgazando o debilitando el cabello?

Cuando los hombres pierden cabello es debido a un efecto en la testosterona que afecta el folículo del cabello, estrés o herencia. Cuando las mujeres pierden el cabello, las causas son parecidas: desequilibrio hormonal, estrés u otras condiciones médicas. Durante el embarazo, normalmente no se pierde cabello, y ha medida que el embarazo evoluciona el cabello luce mejor. Pero es normal que cuando dan a luz, el cabello se caiga.

Si no está satisfecha con el estado de su cabello, aquí encontrara diez trucos para volverlo mas grueso, saludable y brillante!

1. Aliméntese bien

El cabello es descarga de proteína y adicionar proteína animal en su dieta ayuda al crecimiento.

Coma huevos enteros. Contienen biotina, folato, sílice y

B-5, los cuales universalmente se sabe que ayudan a un

cabello hermoso. La grasa ayuda a dar brillo y textura. Al

tratar de encontrar la mezcla perfecta de vitaminas para el

cabello, piel y uñas (recomendado por el experto de mi

tienda naturista favorita), encontré varias

recomendaciones. Para ayudar al crecimiento del cabello

y que sea mas espectacular debemos comer mas col

rizada (vitamina C y sílice), frutos rojos (vitamina C),

cebolla, puerro, ajo, cebollín (Azufre), champiñones (zinc),

almendras, arroz integral (Vitamina E), hígado, semillas

de girasol (B5), langosta, ostras, cangrejo, setas, y una

variedad de hierbas antioxidantes como jengibre, romero

y cúrcuma.

2. Obtenga un sistema de filtración de la ducha Esto

es sumamente importante pues usted puede absorber

hasta ocho tazas de cloro mientras se ducha y ni pensar

lo que esto le puede hacer a su cabello. Al filtrar el agua

se remueven todos los químicos tóxicos.

3. Sea cuidadoso con los productos que utiliza

Algunos productos pueden obstruir la raíz del cabello

impidiendo su crecimiento. Muchas de estos productos

debilitan el cabello pues contienen alcohol. Los químicos

en productos comerciales de cuidado del cabello son

simplemente dañinos. Prefiera productos naturales y

verdes. A mi me encanta la línea de John Masters, utiliza

una cantidad de aceites esenciales e ingredientes de


4. Trate de no lavarlo tanto o simplemente no lavarlo

Cuando digo “no lavarlo” me refiero a que usted necesita

limpiar el cuero cabelludo… Una noche estaba viendo un

comercial de TV sobre limpiadores de cuello cabelludo

(Marca Wen) que era orgánico y no sacaba espuma, ya

que no tenia sulfuros de laurel y no tenia químicos.

Muchas celebridades lo recomiendan y me quede una

hora viendo el comercial. Si, solicite el producto y lo he

usado desde entonces. Limpia mi cabello sin sacar

espuma ni maltratarlo y extiende la duración del color. Me

gusta mucho este concepto. Muchos productos

comerciales contienen sulfuro de sodio laurel, el cual es

dañino. Así que lea los ingredientes. Si no lo puede

pronunciar o no se lo comería, déjelo en el estante. Para

ver la lista de ingredientes tóxicos, vaya al “glosario de

ingredientes tóxicos” de Green Beauty Team.


5. Sea suave Peine su cabello con una peinilla de cerdas

anchas. Comience por el final trabajando hacia arriba

lentamente. Muchas personas se cepillan muy

fuertemente especialmente cuando esta húmedo. Consiga

un secador de pelo profesional y utilícelo a temperatura

media o simplemente no se seque el pelo. Al usar

secadores, planchas, pinzas o rulos calientes, asegúrese

de usar productos naturales que protejan del calor.

Maneje suave y lentamente el cabello a fin de cuidarlo


6. Si se tintura el cabello, utilice sombrero o gorro al

exponerse al sol Esta es una recomendación de mi

colorista, Joanna González de Butterfly Studio NYC,

especialmente si se tintura o hace rayitos, pues remueve

el color cobrizo.

7. Semanalmente o cada dos semanas, acondicione

profundamente Si desea hacer un tratamiento casero,

haga un puré de aguacate con aceite de oliva y yemas de

huevos. Déjelo en el cabello durante una hora mientras

lee o se actualiza en Facebook. Yo recomiendo utilizar

una gorra, después enjuagar y usar un shampoo sin


8. Equilibre sus hormonas Esto es difícil; yo ayudo a

mis clientas con esto. Toma tiempo y paciencia tenerlas

balanceadas. Me refiero a tener una dieta balanceada,

descansar, manejar el estrés y estar alerta sobre su

relación con hormonas artificiales (encontrada en carnes

comerciales, huevos, lácteos y píldoras anticonceptivas).

9. Practique tratamientos de control de estrés Yoga,

meditación y dormir bien!

10. Ame el cabello que tiene ahora Yo se que esto no

es tan fácil, pero si se mira al espejo y le dice a sus

amigas “odio mi cabello”, realmente esto afecta su cabello

genéticamente. Ame su cabello siempre no importa como

esté. Cuando empiece a tener pensamientos negativos,

reemplácelos con “mi cabello está sedoso, brillante”, “mi

cabello es mi corona” o “agradezco lo saludable que es mi

cabello”. Puede también arrendar la película “Hair” o ver

“Tangled” de Disney. Muchas clientas mías entraban a mi

oficina con el cabello tan delgado, que yo prácticamente

podía ver su cuero cabelludo. Hicieron cambios en sudieta e incluyeron “comida sana para el cabello”,

cambiaron sus hábitos de sueño y manejo de estrés.

Igualmente se aseguraron de alimentarse con proteína

animal libre de hormonas, leche y lácteos. Esto toma

entre 3 y 6 meses para poder apreciar una diferencia

notoria. No hago promesas, pero confío que si Usted

incorpora estas recomendaciones en su vida, tendrá los

resultados esperados.


Traducción Ecorganix

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The most natural way to get a collagen injection

Last week I walked the aisles of a chain vitamin store and chuckled at the sight of the new collagen powders that promise everything from younger skin to stronger bones, supple joints to thicker hair & stronger nails, even the eyes and brain can benefit from collagen. What makes me laugh is that while these powders fetch anywhere from $35- $100 a jar, my grandmothers’ soup cost her about 8 bucks, lasted all winter long- in batches in the freezer in her signature orange Tupperware and was loaded, I mean LOADED with collagen!

My grandmother made the best chicken soup. She really put a lot of love and good energy into it. Cutting and chopping all sorts of vegetables and placing them into a pot the size of Alaska, then she added either chicken, turkey or beef marrow bones- plenty of them. She left this caldron going over a low flame all day long. The result ; the most perfect golden stock, glistening with beads of chicken, turkey or beef fat that clung to my lips like some sort of Bonnie Bell Kissing Potion chicken flavored lip gloss. It was the answer to everything. Tired? “have some soup!” sniffles? “have some soup!” couldn’t go number two…? “go ahead sit down, I am making you some soup!” 

Collagen is a protein in the connective tissues of all mammals. Collagen makes up more than 25 % of the proteins in our body. It can be thought of as the substance that holds us together. Without collagen we could not function. Like I said before it positively affects nearly every part of the body. It not only keeps you looking young by helping skin stay elastic and hair shine, it keeps your body youthful feeling.

According to and article written by my personal nutrition hero Sally Fallon entitled “Broth Is Beautiful”  it not only contains collagen (she calls it gelatin)

Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

In the past everyone made some sort of stock – nearly every traditional culture did. But the thing with good stock is that it takes time – hours and hours of time for the bones to release all of that beneficial collagen. The one thing we don’t have much of anymore in today’s high paced-mega-fast world is time.

Today stock comes in cans, dried cubes and powders, none of which contain any collagen. In addition to being devoid of any real health benefits, these new short cut stocks are loaded with commercial salt, additives like MSG and even sugar! 

So what can you do?

Actually make a stock yourself! Go ahead, you can channel my grandmother if you like. It may take about 16 hours but once you make it you will have plenty for months. I like to pick a day when I will be in the house anyway, a day when I am cleaning and doing laundry or catching up on reading. I start in the morning and let the stock go all day.

Scroll down for my favorite recipe…


You can just order it online.  We live in a great age when any and everything is available over the web. Many farmers offer traditional stock. You can go to once you become a member they send you a newsletter with lists of farmers to purchase stock from. These farmers have high integrity and use only naturally raised/free-range animals, farmers feed these animals only what they were designed to eat.


Hit your grandmother/mother up. There is nothing wrong with phoning granny and asking her to make you some stock. She will most likely jump at the chance to lovingly nourish you.

Here is my favorite recipe for stock. I hope you enjoy it and start your own tradition of good health and gorgeous skin and supple bones.

Chicken Stock

2 pounds of chicken bones -necks, backs, breastbones and wings

4 quarts cold filtered water

2 tablespoons white wine

1 large onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

3 celery ribs chopped

1 turnip chopped

1 bunch of fresh dill

1 bunch fresh parsley

Make sure to use all Farm-raised, free-range chickens  and organic produce.

Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, wine and all vegetables except parsley. I use something called a “soup sock” that way it’s easier to clean up and it gets much less messy. Bring to a boil, and remove the foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 8- 16 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley and dill. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

Remove the soup sock or strain soup in a mesh strainer. Let cool and transfer to glass jars making sure to leave about an inch of free space at the top of each jar, place in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and keep in refrigerator or freezer.

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