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Why Men Should Care About Wellness

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Would you be surprised to know that more women read MindBodyGreen every day than men? Why is it that when I give lectures on nutrition, 75% of the audience is female? Why are yoga classes almost always packed with women but only a handful of men? And why are topics such as testicular self-exams, digital rectal exams, erectile health, and male friendship rarely discussed at wellness events?

Surely health and wellness tips are as valuable to men as to women. Arguably, men need this information even more than women. Men die, on average, five years sooner than women. And new cases of prostate and testicular cancer outnumber breast cancer, but these male diseases don’t get as much as attention.

Guys aren’t helped by the fact that there’s tradition of machismo in our culture. But times they are a-changin’ … right?

Wellness Movements for Men

Thankfully, there are some wellness movements for men that warrant a mention. The Movember movement encourages growing a mustache to focus on men’s health. The Livestrong Foundation and its popular bright yellow wrist band has raised awareness of male health. The Prostate Cancer Foundation founded by Michael Milken has reached many men.

Yet, no campaign for men’s health and prevention has been as visible as breast cancer’s pink ribbon campaign (started by a manufacturer of chemotherapy and rarely teaching cancer prevention). Furthermore, there’s no concerted effort to encourage men to detect and prevent heart disease. (Do dudes need a red ribbon campaign?)

Men Need to Learn about Self-Care

The wellness movement and its message of holistic health (through food, water, personal care products, fitness, relationships and stress management) is as important to men as to women. But men just aren’t versed in self-care.

The challenge of balancing career and family is not often discussed for men but can be stressful; simple breathing practices to manage stress can be of great value to men who might be reluctant to take a yoga or meditation class.

Many men I know are likely to eat on the run, eat late, or simply have no cooking skills — and of which make them vulnerable to eating highly processed foods. Lessons in conscious eating would help them make better choices.

Finally, the male “weekend warrior” mentality of doing intense cardio exercise on weekends can be dangerous. Instead, we should all find ways to guide men into movement practices emphasizing flexibility and breathwork, such as yoga and pilates.

Who Are the Male Wellness Mavens?

If we want men to get more engaged in wellness, we need more role models who are as compelling as the high-profile ladies who inspire legions of women. We need male equivalents of Kris Carr, Dr. Terry Wahls, Suzanne Somers, and others who have turned health issues into “teachable moments” for all of us.

With Lance Armstrong out of the public eye, men need more examples of guys who have used holistic and integrative approaches to beat mental and physical challenges. Rich Roll, Magic Johnson, and Joe Cross come to mind but we need more, particularly among professional athletes and actors who have high visibility. It would also be helpful to hear more often from male cancers survivors sharing how they detected their illness at an early stage.

What Men Need To Focus On

If we want men to stay healthy, we need to encourage them to have wellness checkups, to know their numbers (cholesterol, blood pressure, BMI and waist, glucose, PSA and others), and to learn more about the role of nutrition and fitness in overall and sexual health.

Men need to understand that emotional health, loneliness, and stress are common situations that do not indicate weakness and can be talked about publicly and with health professionals.

Men also need to know the importance of male friendships and peer support. Mens’ nights out at wellness centers, yoga studios, pilates centers, and juice bars could bring more guys into the wellness movement.

Men need to learn the role of selecting personal care products that are organic and free of endocrine disruptors (like triclosan and phthalates) in order to protect their health and their reproductive systems. This topic is featured in the documentary The Disappearing Male, which explores the connection between environmental toxins and male health issues. It’s worth watching, especially since medical centers have done little to address this issue.

Women’s heart centers are available at many centers around the country, including one that I work in. Yet there is no visible equivalent of a “man cave,” where a male-focused approach (including hormonal analysis and early detection and prevention of male health issues) is offered. It’s time for these centers to be developed.

Mickey Mantle once said, “if I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Involving more men in the wellness world is an important goal so that they can learn simple steps to take better care of themselves.

By Dr. Joel Kahn

Gluten-Free Breakfast Cereal With Banana, Blueberries & Walnuts

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The routine of mornings is a sacred dance that prepares us for our day. While we’re going through the steps of our morning moves, let’s not forget to revel in the present moment. Forget about the duties of hours to come, embrace the new start of the day, and sit with the grace of early light.

Here’s a recipe to help you savor every moment of your beautiful morning.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Cereal With Banana, Blueberries and Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cooked cold millet (70g)
  • 1/2 cup cooked cold quinoa (70g)
  • 1/4 cup blueberries (20g)
  • 1/2 banana cut in slices
  • 1/4 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (20g)
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (15ml)
  • 1 cup fresh Almond Milk (235ml)

Directions

Place all ingredients into a bowl and top with almond milk.

Note

If you prefer warm cereal, heat the grains on stove top before adding them to your bowl.

To find out more about Molly and the awesome work she’s doing in the world, check out her website, boldvegan.com.


Vegan Cheese

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Trade out your traditional cheese dip for this healthy vegan alternative that will tantalize you taste buds.

Ingredients

34   c almonds, blanched

13   c water, *

3   tbsp tahini

12   tsp kosher or sea salt

14   c nutritional yeast flakes

12   tsp onion powder

12   tsp garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Add all ingredients to Twister jar and place Twiter lid on jar. Hold Twister lid, and use other hand to select Speed 3 for 20 seconds, and then increase to Speed 6 for an additional 30 seconds. Turn the Twister lid counter-clockwise during blending.

*You may need to add ½ cup of water

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

  • Servings 8.0
  • Sodium 155 mg
  • Serving Size 2 tbsp
  • Carbohydrates 5 g
  • Calories 119
  • Fiber 2.5 g
  • Fat 1 g
  • Sugar 0.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 1 g
  • Protein 5 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg

Vegan Cheese

Trade out your traditional cheese dip for this healthy vegan alternative that will tantalize you taste buds.

Ingredients

34   c

almonds, blanched
13   c

water, *
3   tbsp

tahini
12   tsp

kosher or sea salt
14   c

nutritional yeast flakes
12   tsp

onion powder
12   tsp

garlic powder

– See more at: http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/vegan-cheese?utm_source=Blendtec+Recipe+Emails&utm_campaign=e396247783-Vegan_Cheese_5_20_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c09bd62ec-e396247783-215925677#sthash.r45h9yPO.dpuf

Vegan Cheese

Trade out your traditional cheese dip for this healthy vegan alternative that will tantalize you taste buds.

Ingredients

34   c

almonds, blanched
13   c

water, *
3   tbsp

tahini
12   tsp

kosher or sea salt
14   c

nutritional yeast flakes
12   tsp

onion powder
12   tsp

garlic powder

– See more at: http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/vegan-cheese?utm_source=Blendtec+Recipe+Emails&utm_campaign=e396247783-Vegan_Cheese_5_20_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8c09bd62ec-e396247783-215925677#sthash.r45h9yPO.dpuf

5 Ways To Kiss Your Coffee Habit Goodbye

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Two years ago, I found myself in the ER with agonizing stomach pains. They had been progressing for a few weeks, but I woke up one morning unable to stand because the pain was so bad.

After 24 hours in the ER getting every test known—MIR, ultrasound, blood work, you name it—the doctors found nothing. At that time, I was drinking a large cup of coffee a day (yes, just one) and my diet was not as clean as it could have been.

After meeting with my primary care doctor, and doing some of my own research, I decided to cut coffee from diet, cold turkey.

It wasn’t easy and I was pretty grouchy and exhausted for a few days, but I was determined. I didn’t want to have those terrible pains anymore. I knew I had to get healthier and kick my coffee habit.

Here are five things that I did, and continue to do, to keep myself energized without coffee each day. My stomach and digestive system cannot handle the acidity of coffee on a daily basis, which is why I was having such terrible discomfort. If you’re having similar problems, or if you just want to kick your coffee habit to the curb, try incorporating these 5 things into your daily routine:

1. Start each morning off with a cup of warm lemon water.

This is such a simple thing to do that results in huge benefits for your body. It helps alkalize the body, detox the liver, and helps your skin get that supermodel glow. Plus, if you’re used to having a warm cup of coffee when you first wake up, you’re tricking your mind by having a warm beverage. Tip: heat 8 to 12 ounces of filtered water and squeeze 1/4 of a lemon over the water, so the lemon juice falls into the glass. Stir. Drink. Smile.

2. Switch to green tea.

Unlike coffee, which is acidic and harsh on your body, green tea helps alkalize the body, while still giving you the caffeine fix that you crave. It’s more gentle on your stomach and body, plus it helps speed up your metabolism. If you don’t want to quit caffeine cold turkey, transitioning to green tea is a great way to go. Tip: look for whole leaf, organic, fair trade green tea. It contains more nutrients and is better for your body.

3. Get your greens.

Worried that ditching caffeine will leave you dragging throughout the day? Having a glass of fresh green juice in the morning, or as an afternoon snack, can do wonders for your energy levels while giving your body a huge nutrient boost. Tip: stick with mostly green vegetables in your morning juice, like dark leafy greens, cucumbers, and celery to help alkalize your body, and add just one fruit, like a small apple, so you don’t spike your blood sugar.

4. Move your body.

Whether it’s 5 mile run, a 20 minute walk, or gentle yoga stretches, moving your body when you rise helps wake your body up and get your blood flowing. Plus, it helps you stay focused throughout the day. I aim for 30 minutes of movement within the first hour I’m awake. On the days I don’t do this I can really tell a difference in my energy levels and my ability to focus, especially around the 3pm slump! Tip: if you’re new to working out in the morning, start slow by doing simple yoga stretches for 15 minutes.

5. Eat clean.

The cleaner you eat, the more energy you’ll have. Avoid processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and foods that weigh you down will increase your energy ten fold.

Holistic Dermatology: 5 Tips To Heal Psoriasis & Eczema

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Have you ever watched a TV ad for psoriasis medications and carefully listened to the list of potential side effects? Has a doctor warned you about the risks involved with long term steroid use? Have you ever asked yourself why such harmful medications are routinely used for such common skin conditions?

The answer is simple: psoriasis and eczema can be incredibly difficult to treat. In western medicine and holistic medicine alike, treating the skin can be a confounding and complex journey.

Here are some tips to help you choose holistic options that actually work.

1. Find a specialist.

Many of my patients have previously given holistic medicine a try with limited or no success. The problem was they didn’t see a practitioner who specializes in skin disorders. If you were looking for a western doctor to treat your psoriasis, for example, you’d see a dermatologist, not your general practitioner.

The same should hold true for a naturopath, nutritionist, acupuncturist or homeopath. Many holistic practitioners have never taken a single class in dermatology, let alone treated patients with complicated skin conditions. Question any practitioner you see about his or her education and experience in treating eczema and psoriasis.

2. Treat from the inside out.

It’s very rare that psoriasis or eczema can be managed with topical treatment alone. True healing comes from within. In my holistic dermatology practice, I prescribe customized herbal remedies to be taken internally. Topical creams, washes or salves certainly help, but they are rarely used on their own (except when treating babies).

Whether it be through diet, herbal medicine, homeopathy or supplements, make sure that internal therapies lay the foundation for your treatment plan.

3. Eat right for your skin type.

A basic anti-inflammatory diet will benefit any skin condition. Eat lots of leafy greens, fresh fruits, and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as flax seeds, avocados and fish oils.

Keep in mind that healthy diets vary according to the condition and the individual. Experiment with an elimination diet to find out which foods are best for you.

As a general rule, people with psoriasis should avoid spicy foods, red meat, shellfish, alcohol, and coffee. Some people benefit from cutting out nightshades (like eggplant and tomatoes), while others are fine with them.

Eczema sufferers should avoid allergenic foods like shellfish and peanuts. Test for food allergies to cows’ milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and nuts.

4. Incorporate healthy teas.

Teas have healing properties specific to certain skin conditions. For psoriasis, alternate between burdock (to purify the blood) and milk thistle (to protect the liver and regulate immune function). For eczema, try out oolong tea as a daily drink. It benefits itching and inflammation and has been shown to have antiallergic properties.

5. Don’t believe in miracles.

If you’ve heard about a holistic “miracle cure” that truly speaks to you, research it to make sure that there are no potential risks or harmful side effects. If it fits within your budget, give it a try! But if it doesn’t work or you don’t get the results that you’ve seen in a hyped up marketing campaign, don’t give up on holistic medicine altogether. It’s unusual for cures touted as miraculous to be effective for a lot of people.

In my practice, I’m committed to letting my patients know what they can realistically expect as far as timing and results. Of course, there are always a handful of people who experience what they’d call a “miracle”—a quick and dramatic cure. But I’d never tell my entire patient base to expect a result that only happens in a few outlier cases.

Stay realistic, but know that with time and the right course of treatment, your skin can and will get better.

14 Small Changes That Add Up To Big Results

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Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to get focused on the new year. Rather than creating a long list of resolutions (which can seem intimidating and unreachable), try to do something new each day. Small changes can add up to big results over time and are the key to creating lasting change.

Try one or all to reach your goal of a healthier you!

1. Calm the monkey mind.

Meditate today only for five minutes. Don’t worry … there is no WRONG way to meditate. You just have to do it. Need guidance? Check out the Omvana app.

2. Make your coffee green.

Try matcha tea to get your caffeine fix in the morning. It’s something I look forward every morning. It can create a calming ritual (and gets those biceps working as you whisk the tea into a froth).

3. Add a veggie to each meal.

We should be getting five to nine sevings of fruits and veggies a day. This isn’t an invitation to gorge on the bounty of winter citrus fruits, however! Limit your fruit intake to two servings a day to avoid spikes in blood sugar. If you’re already a veggie lover, try something new like kohlrabi, or a fennel basil smoothie to keep your taste buds guessing.

4. Ditch the gluten. At least for one day.

Notice if you have changes in your mood throughout the day or experience less bloating. With gluten intolerance on the rise, you may be causing inflammation to your body unknowingly. In my practice, patients have often told me they didn’t realize how bad they were feeling on their current diet until they removed certain food triggers. Waking up puffy, achy, and congested doesn’t have to be your norm!

5. Make your own nut milk.

It’s simple and easy. Also it’s much more delicious than store bought brands to use in your next cup of hot cocoa.

6. Schedule a playdate.

Invite yourself or a group of friends or family. Often we dread going to the gym and see it as work. But changing what we call “exercise” can have a profound effect on our actually doing it. Go ice skating or jump around on a trampoline. Not only will you increase your heart rate, but you’re guaranteed to bring out your inner child!

7. Make a new playlist.

Make a playlist that embodies where you see yourself going in 2014. You can even make one for each area of your life—financial, love, career, etc.

8. Write a letter to yourself.

Set your intentions for the year and then seal it closed. Don’t open until Dec 31, 2014. Give it to a trusted friend or lock it away from prying eyes. At the end of the year, it it amazing to see what we have actually accomplished just by putting the intention in black and white.

9. Turn off your phone.

Ideally for a day. Or maybe just an hour. That means no Facebook, email, Twitter, candy crush, Instagram or anything in between. Just BE. Often we unconsciously distract ourselves with mindless activity to avoid facing the truth of what is really going on in our lives. What happens when you just enjoy your own company or dinner with your partner and no one is checking their phone to fill in the the gaps? Magic.

10. Forgive.

Most of us have at least one person in our lives that we need to forgive if we are honest with ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out, tissue filled process. Just acknowledging the discord in the relationship and forgiving yourself for the role you played can be enough. Let it go and move on.

11. Try acupuncture.

Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture can have a profound effects on your psyche and physical body. Using very tiny needles, it can change your body’s response to healing and allow the new you to emerge.

12. Plump your wrinkles naturally.

Drink water. Then drink some more water. Most of us are dehydrated and don’t even know it! More than 50% of our body is water so drink up. You should be drinking about half your body weight in ounces of water a day.

13. Get a tongue scraper.

Research has shown that many people’s health is held in their mouth. Have you looked at your tongue lately? Notice a white or green coating? Or maybe a groove down the center or a bright red tip? This may be a sign of imbalances in your body such as leaky gut syndrome or yeast overgrowth. Find a functional medicine practitioner in your area to determine if this is cause for concern.

14. Smile.

At a stranger. If they are a cute stranger, I recommend “smizing”! (Smiling with your eyes) Seriously though, this simple and free act can literally change your biochemistry and the other person. Smiling activates the reward centers in your brain for that instant endorphin rush.

At the end of the 14 days, how do you feel? Add to this list and let me know!

An Orange-Ginger Smoothie To Help Fight Cold & Flu

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One thing I look forward to during the cold winter months is getting a shipment of fresh Florida oranges. Oranges have got to be one of my favorite fruits — juicy, sweet and bursting with vitamin C!

There isn’t a better time to take in extra vitamin C than during cold and flu season. Vitamin C builds your immune defenses, leaving you happy and healthy. Another favorite of mine is ginger — especially ginger tea! Ginger is great for digestion. Since 80% of your immune system is in your gut, you want to keep it healthy and balanced. You can do this by regularly adding ginger to your diet.

The combination of oranges and ginger in this smoothie gives you a powerful immune-boosting punch! As a bonus, it’s delicious!

Orange and Ginger Smoothie Recipe

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium oranges, peeled
  • 1 half-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 3 cups of romaine lettuce, washed
  • 1 cup almond milk, or your favorite nut milk
  • 1 handful of ice cubes

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender such as a Vitamix.

Share the second serving or store it in an airtight container for up to 24 hours.

Cheers!