Archive for the ‘Healthy Nutrition’ Category

How to protect yourself from toxins

I have the great privilege to still be friends with my girlfriends from high school. We’ve all grown up, learned new things, gotten married, survived heartbreak, moved around, had kids, tried different careers and learned a lot! I was having dinner with my wonderful friends G and B on Friday night and we started to talk about how you should begin to educate yourself around what you should and shouldn’t eat, the toxins you should avoid, etc. B has two little boys and she way saying that it feels stressful to try and work though all that stuff when you are busy, tired and working. We live in a time of immense education which can feel amazing and overwhelming at the same time.

I came across this CNN Health series around the ‘5 Toxics That Are Everywhere” which I thought did a really good job of breaking down some of the toxins we can try to avoid. We can’t be perfect – I think you’d have to live in a bubble! But taking small steps every day can make a huge difference. The 5 toxics the article discusses are:

  • BPA
  • Phthalates
  • PFOA — Perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8)
  • Formaldehyde
  • PBDEs – Polybrominated diethyl ethers

Happy educating 🙂

The Up’s and Down’s of Starting a Shaklee Business

Like any new business you need to get out there and talk to as many people as possible in order to spread the word and generate new customers. I’ve been very fortunate in that sharing Shaklee is a joy as people find such amazing benefits from the products they basically sell themselves.

That said, the last month as been really busy for me (more to come on that later!) and I haven’t been able to focus on Shaklee the way I would like. I was feeling really down about it over the weekend and very sad that I don’t have more time to spend building my business.

It’s amazing how the universe knows when you need a lift. I received three emails yesterday that completely lifted my spirits!!! 

  • The first was from a new customer who was writing to tell me how much she loved her new Shaklee laundry products. She went on to share that she now judges ‘clean’ by how well the products have worked for her. She put the first huge smile on my face yesterday 🙂
  • The second was from a woman I’d been chatting with for a few weeks who had decided that she was ready to try the Shaklee Enfuselle products as she’s working to clear up her skin. I’m so excited to have her join my group and I can’t wait to hear about her experience with the products! Huge smile #2 🙂 🙂
  • The last email was from a customer who was purchasing product for the third time. It’s been amazing to witness her Shaklee journey as she was very skeptical of the products when we first talked.  Since she started with the Enfuselle line, she’s expanded her use into the nutrition products, the laundry products and just purchased her first household cleaners and baby products! It’s times like this when I feel really proud to have helped another person cultivate a toxin free home. Huge smile #3 🙂 🙂 🙂

So thanks to all of you who helped me yesterday and I’m excited to continue on this Shaklee journey!

Nutritional Intelligence

I’m at the age in life where I have friends having babies and the conversation around what they feed them comes up a lot. Apparently when they started reading what’s in the baby food jars they can’t believe the ‘stuff’ included so they have been making food themselves.

I came across a new book called Feeding Baby Green, by one of the country’s pre-eminent pediatricians, Dr. Alan Greene. His book posits a unique, forward-thinking 34-month guide to train your baby’s palate to appreciate the more complex flavors of healthy, unprocessed foods and I thought it would be an interesting read for those interested. Excerpt from Healthy Child Healthy World below:

Every parent is keen to find a way to engender healthy eating habits in their child. “Parents today have an unprecedented awareness and eagerness about the necessity of providing safe, wholesome, nutritious foods for their children”, says Dr. Greene. And yet today’s parents are burdened by economic constraints and severely limited time. The book reports that 80% of parents are unable to feed their children healthy foods because they are inconvenient, unavailable in their communities, or their children don’t like the taste.

What is the connection between what a pregnant woman eats and what her baby experiences? Dr. Greene explains that babies actually have a food life in utero, and the habits they establish in the first years after birth can have a lasting influence on their attitudes to food.

He refutes the claim by some  that it is impossible to get kids to eat healthy foods because they simply don’t like the taste. Dr. Greene believes that babies’ taste-buds can become easily programmed for the extra-sugar, extra-salt, extra starch that is every present in processed and take-out food. But if they are exposed to the “rainbow of flavors”, as he calls it, they can establish a preference for fruits and vegetables early on. This is his core thesis – something he calls “nutritional intelligence”.

“Baby food”, Dr. Greene reminds us, is a myth. Commercial baby food was an invention of 20th century food corporations, enforcing the theory that babies need meals separate from the fruits, vegetables and seasonings the rest of the family consume. Pointed and pervasive advertising convinced mothers that good baby food was scientific, uniform, twice boiled, and sold in jars.

Dr. Greene lays out a clear yet flexible how-to program, incorporating many techniques and angles, all of which is tailored to the baby’s current development stage. The time frames are general enough to work for most families, and allow enough wiggle room for customization.

Many of Feeding Baby Green‘s suggestions are both revolutionary and fundamental – breaking new molds yet also revisiting older traditions. He writes about engaging all of the baby’s senses when learning about food and eating. Flavor, aroma, touch, sights, sounds and language, these are all tools that help you make food a joyous experience. He also counsels on proper amounts, the right variety, and varying repetition with novelty.

Throughout the book, Dr. Greene offers a host of tempting recipes to make for baby at home: Bombay Vegetable Stew, Chickpeas and Tomatoes Provence, Baba Ganoush! There’s very little puree of this or cream of that. These recipes are meant for the culinary delight of the whole family.

Dr. Greene infuses Feeding Baby Green with a connection to the earth, to our food source, and to the truism that we are what we eat. He believes firmly that what is good for the planet is good for your family. As a Board Member of Healthy Child Healthy World, his outlook and practice are always consistent with the advice we offer parents. Much of his book is devoted to educating parents on the dangers of GMO crops, pesticides in agriculture, chemical additives in our food, and prevention of allergies and asthma. Dr. Greene is also a renowned advocate for organic foods, believing they not only keep us healthier but ensure our environment receives protection and nourishment as well.

And throughout, he draws on his wisdom as a practicing pediatrician, his first hand experience as a father of four children, and his family’s journey through his beloved wife’s battle with cancer. (She won!!!) Taking on this endeavor seems less daunting because Dr. Greene’s meticulous guide reassures the reader that they’ve got a friend in the kitchen with them.

Version 2.0 of the American Dream

I attended the annual Northeast Shaklee 2010 Kick-off meeting yesterday in Andover, MA and had the privilege of hearing Rich Higbee, VP Field Development at Shaklee, speak about what Shaklee has to offer this year. I passed my 3 1/2 month of business building at the beginning of January (I’m already at the stage where I have enough business that I get my products for free! This is huge considering that we have a complete Shaklee house!), so was excited to hear about the new things I would be able to share with people as part of the Shaklee opportunity. First and foremost, attending the meeting reaffirmed my resolve that I believe 100% in Shaklee’s commitment to providing the best Health and Wellness products on the market. I’m consistently impressed with the lengths the company goes to, to make sure it’s products have test after test to ensure the raw materials in the product is actually what’s supposed to be there. Rich noted the Landmark study as an example here which is an industry first for the health and wellness business. It’s a study that was conducted over 20 years which looks at the usage patterns, health and nutritional status of long-term multiple dietary supplement users. The URL is in case the link above doesn’t work.

Okay, on to the good stuff!

1) Shaklee Energy Chews! They introduced the Energy Chews at the meeting and I’m going to try to do it justice.

  • It looks like a wrapped Starburst and you take 1-2 Chews per serving (they gave out samples and I had one and let me tell you that thing has some kick! I could have easily cleaned my house at 2am :-))
  • The power in the Chew comes from Green Tea Extract and Vitamin D. Now’s here’s what I think is really interesting. Compared** to drinks like Red Bull or Monster, Chews have 10mg of sodium (Red Bull has 100mg and Monster 180mg) and only 6 grams of sugar. So you get an energy product that has no artificial flavors, sweetness or preservatives and all of the power! Chews have 120m of caffeine. I’m going to share some samples at the next couple Shaklee get togethers! LOVE IT.

2) Cinch is back and better then ever! They told us at the meeting that now through March  28th, if you sign-up on AutoShip to receive three months of the Cinch weight loss program that you get the fourth month for free! Really, that’s amazing and for those folks ready to take off pounds and loose inches, this is a wonderful holiday present.

I titled this post 2.0 of the American Dream as I walked out of the Shaklee meeting feeling really proud that I’ve taken initiative about my life and am active about my future and how I earn income. I have a wonderful corporate job, a fantastic Shaklee business which enables me to share my passion for health and wellness, and am launching a new venture this year called The Mosaic Art institute of Natick ( The time of complacency about our careers is over – today we have the power to make our lives what we want!

How about you all? Are you in the middle of any work/life changing opportunities?

**this is my personal comparison and is not a scientific statement. These numbers should not be taken as 100% correct

Study Links Soy Intake to Increased Breast Cancer Survival

I use Shaklee Soy Protein every day for two reasons, 1) energy. it gives me enough energy that I can typically make it through a day without feeling like I need to nap on my desk and 2) I have hereditary high cholesterol and soy is one of the tools I use to keep my cholesterol low naturally. I was reading this article from Shaklee Health Sciences yesterday and thought it was worth sharing as I know woman who are currently fighting breast cancer and the rest of us need to be diligent about tools for prevention.

In a new study published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA. 2009;302(22):2437-2443), the authors conclude that “among women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence.” This research conclusion is an extremely important message regarding the positive research in support of soy food intake in women with existing breast cancer, and we were compelled to present this recent science related to the potential benefits of soy food intake and breast health.

Soy foods are rich in isoflavones, a major group of phytoestrogens thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Many studies have supported this hypothesis, and a study published earlier this year, (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009;18(4):1050-9), found that soy intake during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood was associated with decreased breast cancer risk in Asian American women.

However, the estrogen-like effect of isoflavones and the potential interaction with tamoxifen (a drug used for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer) have fueled concerns about soy food consumption among breast cancer survivors. But only limited laboratory and animal research has linked high levels of soy phytoestrogens to potential breast tumor cell growth, so we need to be extremely cautious before generalizing these results to humans.

To assess the effects of soy food intake on breast cancer outcomes, researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and the Shanghai Institute of Preventive Medicine in Shanghai, China, collaborated on this study to evaluate the association of soy food intake after breast cancer diagnosis with total mortality and cancer recurrence.

The current study population of 5,033 participants originated from the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, a longitudinal, population-based study of 6,299 survivors in China between the ages of 20 and 75. These women were diagnosed as having primary breast cancer between March 2002 and April 2006 and they were recruited into the study about six months after cancer diagnosis.

Information on cancer diagnosis and treatment, lifestyle exposures after cancer diagnosis, and disease progression was collected six months after cancer diagnosis and reassessed at three follow-up interviews conducted at 18, 36, and 60 months following diagnosis. Total mortality and breast cancer recurrence, or breast-cancer-related deaths, were recorded, adjustments were made for influencing lifestyle factors, and soy food intake was treated as a time-dependent variable.

During the four-year follow-up, soy food intake (measured as soy protein or soy isoflavone intake) was inversely associated with death and recurrence. Those with the highest level of soy intake had a 29% reduced risk for death and a 32% reduced risk for recurrence compared with those having the lowest soy intake levels.  Adjusted four-year mortality rates were 10.3% for those with the lowest and 7.4% for those with the highest soy intake. Four-year recurrence rates were 11.2% for women with the lowest and 8% for those with the highest levels of soy protein intake. The inverse association was evident among women with either estrogen-receptor positive or negative breast cancer, and was present in both users and nonusers of tamoxifen. As  American subjects may respond differently to the effects of soy compared to breast cancer survivors in China, the potential benefit may not be the same.

The authors conclude that among women with breast cancer, soy food consumption was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence. As mentioned earlier, this is an important study that helps to clarify the safety of soy food intake in breast cancer patients. Scientists are still trying to understand all of soy’s hormonal effects. For example, it’s possible that soy acts like the breast cancer drug tamoxifen, which blocks the effects of estrogen, but additional research is needed to confirm or dismiss this possibility.

In addition to its potential breast health benefits, soy foods are a source of high quality protein nutrition and an excellent alternative to traditional protein sources that are often laden with excess calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. In fact, when considering the entire body of scientific research on soy, the majority of scientific data strongly supports the value of soy protein as part of a healthy diet for heart health, breast and prostate health, bone health, and for managing menopausal symptoms. So our position has been and continues to be: When soy foods are consumed as part of an overall healthful diet, they are exceedingly safe, nutritious, and potentially beneficial.

But because safety should be your number one concern and each individual is a special case, all women with a history of breast cancer, or those at high risk, should discuss the use of soy protein as part of a healthful diet with their physician.

It Worked!!!

I’m back today from my trip to the West coast and I’m SO excited to share that my trial worked! The combination of stuff I put together did the trick and I was able to do two flights from East to West and West to East without any of the crazy medication!!

I’m really excited and feel a sense of freedom that I was able to take control over this situation and turn something that has been so negative in my life into more of a positive. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not exactly jumping at the chance to repeat but I do feel like I’ll have less stress around this moving forward.


The Power of Vitamin D

I’ve talked before in some of my posts around the importance of vitamin D and I wanted to share with you a story I heard last night as I was sharing the Shaklee products with a group of friends. One of the woman noted that she’d been feeling down and her doctor recommended that she increase her vitamin D each day to see if that would help. Not only did it help her, she noted last night that she feels like it has drastically changed her mood and she feels much better.

I was thinking about her this morning when I came across this post from the NYT Well blog about vitamin D and it’s effect on our hearts. The post notes:

A new study suggests many Americans aren’t getting anywhere nearly enough of the vitamin, and it may be affecting their heart health.

In the study, researchers looked at tens of thousands of healthy adults 50 and older whose vitamin D levels had been measured during routine checkups. A majority, they found, were deficient in the vitamin. About two-thirds had less vitamin D in their bloodstreams than the authors considered healthy, and many were extremely deficient.

Less than two years later, the researchers found, those who had extremely low levels of the vitamin were almost twice as likely to have died or suffered a stroke than those with adequate amounts. They also had more coronary artery disease and were twice as likely to have developed heart failure.

The findings, which are being presented today at an American Heart Association conference in Orlando, don’t prove that lack of vitamin D causes heart disease; they only suggest a link between the two. But cardiologists are starting to pay increasing attention because of what they’re learning about vitamin D’s roles in regulating blood pressure, inflammation and glucose control — all critical body processes in cardiovascular health.

I realized that personally I never even think about vitamin D and as we talked in the group last night I wondered why. I took a look at the back of the Vita-Lea bottle (my Shaklee multi that I take 2x a day) and realized that it includes 800 IU of D3 per serving. I guess that explains it 🙂 When your multi provides everything you need it takes the many bottles and the need to take multi things out of the equation!