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Spring into summer salad

The Naturopathic Chef: Spring into Summer Salad

Refresh and revitalize with this bright side dish that’s perfect for any summer table.

The dressing doubles as a versatile marinade, too.

Dressing

  • 1 Tbls Shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbls Aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 Tbls Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 tsps Fresh Orange Juice
  • 2 tsps Honey
  • ½ tsp Dry or Dijon Mustard
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • ¼ cup Avocado Oil

Stir all ingredients together except avocado oil. Whisk oil into mixture to emulsify. Chill 

Salad

  • 2 cups Watermelon, cubed in bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup Strawberries, sliced
  • 2 small Persian Cucumbers, sliced
  • 8 Mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 Basil leaves, chopped 
  • 2 Tbls Toasted Pistachios, chopped
  • 2 Tbls Feta, crumbled
  • pinch of Salt

Toss ingredients with dressing, top with pistachios and feta.

Phyte Facts

Everything in this salad contributes to proper hydration and mineral balance, making it perfect for warm weather. Both Mint and Basil have cooling properties and keep our thermostats operating at peak performance. Love to hike? This is your perfect companion.


Get more great recipes from Tina Martini — her book, Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food is available to purchase on Amazon. More than a cookbook, combining 20+ years of experience, along with her love of coaching, cooking and teaching, Tina offers unexpected insights into the history and healing power of clean eating, along with recipes to help reduce your risk of disease and improve overall wellness so you can enjoy life!

Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com

Sweet Letters

Sugar Substitutes: Good, Bad, Ugly?

Today’s athletes are confronted with a plethora of foods and beverages containing low- or no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS): Diet Pepsi, Halo-Top ice cream, Gatorade Zero, Nuun.

Questions arise: 

Are these products a better option than their sugar-containing versions? 

Will they help you lose weight? 

Are they safe? 

Should athletes eat them or avoid them?

The goal of this article is not to recommend for or against LNCS sweeteners such as Equal (aspartame), Sweet ‘n Low (saccharine), and Truvia (stevia), but rather to offer science-based information to help you decide whether or not they are safe to include in your sports diet.

Background Info

The 2020-2025 US Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that we should limit added sugars to less than 10% of our daily calories. The average (i.e., unfit, over-fat) American consumes about 270 calories (17 teaspoons, 13% of total calories) of added sugars a day. Soft drinks, other sweetened beverages, cookies, candy, and desserts are common culprits. For a sedentary person who may require 1,800 calories a day, 10% of calories equates to 180 calories (45 g) of added sugars a day that displace wholesome foods. Given that exercise enhances our ability to metabolize sugar, active people are less likely to end up with health issues (prediabetes, type 2 diabetes) related to sugar consumption. For them, added sugars can be a useful source of muscle fuel. Ideally, the sugar comes surrounded with nutrients, such as a post-exercise recovery chug of chocolate milk.

Today’s competitive athletes often select their foods more wisely than the “average” American. Their hope is to not only enhance performance but also reduce their risk of injury and invest in their longevity. For an athlete eating more than 3,000 calories a day, the guideline of less than 10% of total calories from added sugars equates to 300 calories (75 g) of added sugars a day. That leaves plenty of space for some sugary sports foods and treats, if desired. 

Athletes’ bodies tend to readily use sugars (they appear in the blood as glucose) to replenish depleted muscle glycogen stores. During long, hard workouts, sugar-filled gels and sports drinks can enhance performance. So why would an athlete want to choose a Gatorade-Zero, Nuun, or Propel with LNCS? Well, if weight-conscious, NLCS can help athletes save a few calories (though doing so while exercising can hurt performance). With meals and snacks, swapping a can of sugar-sweetened soda for a diet soda ideally allows the athlete to enjoy 150 more calories of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits or veggies. (We know what often happens, however. The saved calories go towards cookies. Ha!)

Are foods sweetened with LNCS a way for athletes to have their cake and eat it too? The media has certainly painted a halo of horror on LNCS, leading many to believe they are mysterious chemicals, contribute to obesity, and bolster one’s sweet-tooth. Are they really bad for you? Let’s take a look at what science says. 

Aren’t they nothing but (scary) chemicals?

All foods are made of chemicals: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen. Aspartame (brand names are NutraSweet and Equal) is made of two amino acids that taste 200 times sweeter than table sugar. You need very little of it. The powder in the blue packet is mostly a harmless filler that keeps the few molecules of sweetener from getting lost in the packaging.

Are they safe to consume?

Sugar substitutes are among the most highly studied ingredients out there. The FDA, WHO and other global health organizations have confirmed the safety of these products in doses well above the amounts commonly consumed by humans. Studies that reported a link to cancer were done with animals given absurd amounts of no- or low-cal sweeteners and are not relevant to humans in real-life.

That said, the FDA has established Acceptable Daily Intakes (ADI) for these sweeteners. ADI is the amount of a LNCS a human can consume every day during their life —with a built in 100-fold safety factor below which no adverse effects have been seen. For aspartame, the ADI equates to 107 of those little blue packets a day (19 cans of diet soda every day of your life). So yes, some athletes could overshoot the ADI—but it’s highly unlikely! 

Do low- and no-calorie sweeteners lead to weight loss?

LNCS are one tool in a dieter’s toolbox. They can help dieters lose weight IF they displace calories the dieter does not replace. One athlete told me he lost 30 pounds in a year just by trading in his lunch- and dinner-time can of Pepsi for Diet Pepsi. That one simple change shaved off 300 calories a day that he did not replace. That said, research indicates people can easily compensate for the calories by eating more of other foods

Do low- and no-calorie sweeteners lead to weight gain?

No. People who drink diet soda are more likely to be over-weight, but diet soda did not cause the weight gain. Rather, people who live in large bodies are more likely to use LNCS to save some calories.

Don’t these sweeteners trick the body into thinking it’s getting sugar—and trigger a spike in blood glucose, followed by a crash, and hunger?

Well-controlled, randomized studies indicate the answer is no. Nor do LNCS make people feel hungrier. Some animal studies have shown that LNLCS might increase appetite, but those studies were conducted with large amounts of LNCS that we would never consume. This has not been replicated in humans.

Do no- or low-cal sweeteners have a negative impact on the microbiome?

Questionable research with mice who consumed very large amounts of saccharin suggests it might impact the microbiome of rodents. But no conclusive evidence to date indicates LNCS negatively impact the human gut microbiome. Stay tuned.

The bottom line

We are all born with an innate desire for sweet tastes, starting with breastmilk! We have many options for satisfying that sweet tooth in good health.


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). The 6th edition of her Sports Nutrition Guidebook (2020) can help you eat to win. Visit NancyClarkRD.com.

For more information:

senior-man-lifting-weights

What Is an Anabolic Window?

If you’re trying to build muscle, strength training is the best way to do it. Strength training damages the muscles, which causes them to repair and grow. The result is bigger, stronger muscles. Bigger, stronger muscles to someone like us with MS means the strength to move those muscles once we create the brain to muscle reconnection. However, optimal muscle growth goes beyond your actual workout. It also relies on post-workout nutrition. Your muscles need enough protein and carbohydrates to effectively recover.

eating-for-arthritis-SOS

Eating for Arthritis and S.O.S. — Sugar, Oil & Salt… Oh My! 

Is there such a thing as an anti-inflammatory diet? While there is no specific “diet” that people with arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) should follow, researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, nuts and seeds, among other staples.

Aimee-Carlson-Toxin-Terminator

Toxicity & Detox

When I first began my own personal health journey, I had no idea what a toxin was. Having worked in the automotive business for better than 30 years, I thought toxins consisted of the various chemicals and products we used in that business. I knew we had to carry MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for every product we had in the facilities. I related toxins to workplace environments, and truly had no idea that they were also hidden in our homes!

The automotive industry was highly regulated. In fact, there are several agencies that oversee the practices within automotive businesses, establish the regulations that must be followed and perform on-site inspections. As a mother and a grandmother, I was enraged to find out there were no such regulations on the products that we purchase off the shelves in the stores. I incorrectly made the assumption that these products were safe for me and my family to use.

This is what led me to become The Toxin Terminator. I knew there needed to be a voice in this field. When it comes to being healthy, many people seek out help with how they eat or look at their physical fitness and how they move each day. But they aren’t paying attention to the number one contributor to the symptoms they are experiencing, toxins! In fact, even if they do, it can be such a confusing path to go down. Marketers have learned the terms they need to use to give the illusion of their products being safe. We call this greenwashing. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to have a certified person working with them to help them navigate this complex arena and overcome the root cause of their symptoms.

Learning about toxins, the symptoms of toxin overload and where they are, was the first step in my journey of overcoming chronic disease. The toxins are what flip the switches on, and the detox is how we turn those switches off and truly heal the cells, so the body gets well. Through my journey, I have met with hundreds who have also reversed their chronic disease. Through my podcast and masterminds, I have had the opportunity to meet and discuss this topic with top researchers, doctors, coaches, industry thought leaders and people just looking to feel better. I personally became certified as a Toxicity and Detox Specialist so I would be able to help others walk through their own healing journey.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 6 out of 10 adults suffer from a chronic disease and 40% have two or more. 90% of healthcare dollars in the United States are spent on chronic disease and 70% of all deaths are caused by a chronic disease. These numbers are out of control. It is my mission to decrease these numbers. Last year taught us all too well the danger of these numbers and the importance of our own personal health and reducing our underlying factors.

People are ready to take control of their health and we can do this together!

Join Aimee for a Webinar on This Topic!

Register for this free webinar, Counting Chemicals: Everyone is busy counting calories, when they should be busy counting chemicals!


Aimee Carlson is a lifetime entrepreneur, owning and operating a multi-location national franchise, to a professional network marketer, best-selling author, podcast host of The Toxin Terminator and certified Toxicity and Detox Specialist.

peanuts

The Naturopathic Chef: Thai Peanut Pizza

We’ve made my gluten free (GF) pizza crust with our favorite Italian flavors. Now, we’re heading to the Far East for a flavor explosion and some serious Delicious Medicine. The best news on this fantastic flavor journey; no oven required. Put your frozen Gf crust right on the grill. 

Thai Inspired Crust

  • 1-1 1/2  Cup gluten free Thai Beer room temp, add slowly (I use Singha) 
  • 2 tsps Agave or sweetener of your choice
  • 2 tsps Dry Yeast                                 
  • 3 cups GF all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps Non-Aluminum Baking Powder
  • 2 tsps Ground Flaxseed
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • 2 1/2 tsps Baking Powder
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Oil *plus 1 Tbls for proofing bowl
  • 1 Tbls Chia Seeds, bloomed in 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbls Toasted Sesame Seeds 
  • Cornmeal for your second kneading (optional)

Pour one cup beer into the bowl of your stand mixer or large mixing bowl. Stir in Agave or sweetener of your choice. Sprinkle yeast over top and allow to bloom.

Place paddle attachment on mixer and start on first speed position. Slowly add flour and remaining ingredients, working all ingredients together. Add more beer as necessary to bring dough together.

Change paddle attachment to your dough hook. Knead dough for about six minutes or until smooth and dough will stretch without breaking. The dough should be plump and slightly sticky. Oil clean bowl with remaining sesame oil and roll dough ball over in bowl to coat completely. Cover with damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap and place in the warmest area of your house until dough has doubled, approximately one hour.

Uncover and punch down dough, divide in half and knead with a little bit of cornmeal on your counter. Roll out, place on pizza stone or sheet pan and bake 8 minutes. Pull from oven top, continue to bake for 15 minutes and serve. Or, cool, wrap and freeze. 

Peanut Pizza Sauce

  • 3 Tbls Coconut Milk
  •  1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 3 Tbls Rice Vinegar
  • 3 Tbls Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbls Honey
  • 1 Tbls ketchup
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsps Ginger, peeled and grated
  • pinch Red Pepper Flakes
  • Pinch White Pepper

Whisk everything together and use as your pizza sauce or sauce for a noodle bowl or salad. 

Putting it All Together

You’ve par-baked your crust, your sauce is ready and now for the other toppings ideas:

  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Shredded Purple Cabbage
  • Thinly sliced Purple Onion
  • Mung Bean Sprouts
  • Crusted Peanuts, Dry Roasted
  • Cilantro Leaves 
  • A few drops of Toasted Sesame Oil 
  • Roast Chicken or Duck is amazing on this pizza, dice or slice thinly
  • For a vegan option use Seitan or Tempeh be sure to toss your protein of choice with a little of your peanut sauce. 

Phyte Facts

Peanuts are one of the best sources of the phytonutrient, Resveratrol. Who doesn’t love burning body fat while eating a delicious pizza? That’s what Resveratrol does for us. This sauce is not only delicious on just about anything: it’s loaded with Delicious Medicine, too! 


Get more great recipes from Tina Martini — her book, Delicious Medicine: The Healing Power of Food is available to purchase on Amazon. More than a cookbook, combining 20+ years of experience, along with her love of coaching, cooking and teaching, Tina offers unexpected insights into the history and healing power of clean eating, along with recipes to help reduce your risk of disease and improve overall wellness so you can enjoy life!

Affectionately referred to as The Walking Encyclopedia of Human Wellness, Fitness Coach, Strength Competitor and Powerlifting pioneer, Tina “The Medicine Chef” Martini is an internationally recognized Naturopathic Chef and star of the cooking show, Tina’s Ageless Kitchen. Tina’s cooking and lifestyle show has reached millions of food and fitness lovers all over the globe. Over the last 30 years, Tina has assisted celebrities, gold-medal athletes and over-scheduled executives naturally achieve radiant health using The Pyramid of Power: balancing Healthy Nutrition and the healing power of food, with Active Fitness and Body Alignment techniques. Working with those who have late-stage cancer, advanced diabetes, cardiovascular and other illnesses, Tina’s clients are astounded at the ease and speed with which they are able to restore their radiant health. Tina believes that maintaining balance in our diet, physical activity, and in our work and spiritual life is the key to our good health, happiness and overall well being. Visit her website, themedicinechef.com

male-trainer-senior-couple-client-large

Understanding Health Coaching – Letting the Client Lead

Health Coaches are trained to take an interesting approach in implementing a plan to help their clients. Successful Health Coaching programs have designs within that let the client set their own path to better health. That’s right. The client is often the one to determine which actions to take in obtaining, or retaining, the next level of better health that they hope to achieve. 

Does this sound crazy? Well, if you think about the way things work in the world of sports, it makes great sense. Coaches coach and players play. The “player” in this instance is the client and the client is playing the game of life. It is their life. It is the client’s game to play. A coach’s role is to prepare the player (or person with the desire to improve their health) for action. A coach is there to guide. A great coach is one that asks the right questions; questions that bring awareness to the client’s needs and ultimately provide answers which will empower the client to proclaim their own path forward.

This is not to say a coach does not have a philosophy to which they adhere, or a knowledge base used to guide their clients. Nor does it mean that a coach will not step in and offer a more sensical path if the client chooses a step that clearly is not beneficial, or worse, potentially harmful. It simply means that the client can take the lead in determining the direction of their greatest gift, their own health. Instead of leaning on the coach like a crutch for support, the “player” stands on their own two feet.

Being told what to do and how to act is not a very effective way for making wholesale lifestyle and/or behavioral changes. The growth must come from within. The client must see and feel the importance of each step for themselves. Empowering the client to be aware enough to see the next possible, available, or achievable step is rewarding and the key to long-term growth.  

It is common for a Health Coach, especially at the very beginning of the coach’s and client’s time together, to ask the client to simply observe their own behavior. As the great Yogi Berra once said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” Seems simple, right? It is simple. The path to better health does not need to be complicated.

Pay attention to your own behavior and make note of what you observe. Or better yet, write down what you observe.

  • What do you see in your own life?
  • How well do you eat?
  • When do you eat?
  • What do you eat?
  • Do you snack?
  • What do you snack on?
  • When do cravings occur?
  • Do you notice your food when you eat (pay attention to how you see, smell, and chew your food)?
  • How well do you sleep?
  • What is your energy level like throughout the day?
  • Do you notice any sort of “crash” during the day?
  • How often does your mind drift?
  • Are your thoughts generally positive or negative?
  • Do you reach for technology often?
  • What are your relationships like?
  • What is your level of physical activity?
  • How does this activity make you feel – before, during and after?

…And on and on. These are just a few observable daily occurrences that a coach may suggest keeping an eye on to prime the pump, so to speak. 

Asking a client to be a witness to their own life, their actions and how it relates to their current state of health, to be a detective and gather evidence on their own behalf is a sure-fire way to have the client detect their own tendencies, positive and negative, invest in their own progress and unturn areas that can propel them towards improved health. 

Learn more about health coaching… register for Brian’s webinar with MedFit Classroom, What is Health Coaching?


Brian Prendergast is the Founder and Head Coach of High Five Health and Fitness, and Co-Creator/Co-Host of The Two Fit Crazies and a Microphone Podcast. Brian is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, and USA Track and Field (USATF) Level 1 Coach and Competitive Masters Runner.

DNA-puzzle

The Evolution of Truly Personalized Medicine: Epigenetics, Food, and Fitness

Most would not argue that there is an ongoing transition in how our healthcare is being delivered. This article will examine some of these transitions as a result of breakthroughs in technology, as well as how genetic information, exercise, and diet will play an increasingly greater role.

When medical science was first getting its start, a more holistic philosophy was taken on how to treat illness and maintain health. Hippocrates has often deemed the father of modern medicine, and even today the allopathic physicians (M.D.s) take the Hippocratic Oath – to do no harm to their patients. Hippocrates knew, even in 400 B.C., that the best healer of the body is the body itself. For the most part, the best treatment is to create a strong body and get out of the way. Five guiding principles used in his philosophy for treatment include:

  1. Walking is man’s best medicine.
  2. Know what person the disease has, rather than what disease the person has.
  3. Let food be thy medicine.
  4. Everything in moderation.
  5. To do nothing is also a good remedy.

The second and fifth principles emphasize the power of knowing the individual and getting out of the way! The first and third principles show the power of exercise and food for healthy living. Even the genius, Thomas Edison, realized that a health maintenance organization (HMO) approach was the best method of healthcare both practically and financially. His quote, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease,” is evidence that a holistic, preventative approach is what he advocated. He is also quoted, “…you can’t improve on nature.”

One size does not fit all

Personalized medicine is now at the forefront and it utilizes the genetic and epigenetic data of a person to guide medicines and treatment plans. Cancer drugs have probably harnessed this advantage to the greatest extent, thus far. Former President Jimmy Carter received Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for his brain cancer and it boosted his immune system and beat cancer. While most of America (71%), still doesn’t even know about personalized medicine, those who were familiar with it did not know it would yield better results with fewer side effects. The different directions of personalized medicine are still being realized, but the field of pharmacogenetics is the first to really jump on the bandwagon of highly effective, precision-based treatment.

The reasons some drugs work for some people and not for others, or why side effects occur in some individuals and not others, is due to individual variability in metabolism. Why are some people lactose tolerant, or some can drink alcohol with no problem, and others have severe issues? It is usually because of enzyme differences, which are under the control of our genes. Interestingly, our enzyme genes can often be turned on or off by “inducible sequences” known as promoters or suppressors of operons, respectively. These “switches” can be repressed or induced depending on our environmental stimuli. Thus, we actually have some control over our gene expression, and this field is known as epigenetics.

Knowing what gene variants someone possesses or not will guide the personalized medicine physician on which drug to use or not. By knowing allergic reactions in advance or which medicines may have side effects will help physicians to not make a bad situation worse. Unfortunately, the cost of personalized medicine drugs is much higher than alternative treatments. There is still a lot of exploration to be done on all the various applications of this technology, but the bottom line is that understanding individual variations and enabling the body to do what it is designed to do is a very good thing! Companies like Toolbox Genomics is one of many companies that use your genetic information to then tell you what foods and supplements to eat or avoid, and which exercises may help you the most, and ones that you may not respond to so well. The reason physicians do an intake on family history or run various tests is to collect information that will guide their treatment. A genetic test on certain gene variants is simply taking this a step further.

How do exercise and diet apply to our epigenetics?

Did you know that exercise is highly beneficial to not only help with fighting cancer once it is already present but also to never getting it? Physical exercise or movement, in general, will shift the epigenetics so that genes that suppress tumors are increased, and genes that cause cancer (oncogenes) are decreased. It does this by changing the number of certain reactions called methylations. Things go wrong when there are too much or too few methylation reactions. Exercise has been shown to reduce or even reverse the epigenetic mutations that often result in tumorigenesis or tumor production. Exercise has also been shown to reduce genetic factors associated with aging like telomere length.

The fields of proteomics and metabolomics as well as pharmacogenomics, are all emerging because of the knowledge on how our genetics affects proteins, metabolism, and reactions to drugs, respectively. The field of nutrigenomics is rapidly expanding, and several companies are capitalizing on studying the relationship of how our genes affect how we process and utilize foods, as well as how food can affect our genes. Vitamins A and D, certain fatty acids, especially medium and short-chain, some sterols (derived from cholesterol), and zinc have been shown to directly influence gene transcription. Indirect effects include how diet affects gut bacteria, which in turn influences gene expression. Soon when nutritional recommendations are given, it will likely be “for this individual.”

The future of medicine will be taking our genetic information to a whole new level. Soon “smart” watches, clothes, hats, and other common devices will collect information that can benefit our health in many ways as the way healthcare is delivered continually evolves.

This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine. Subscribe to MedFit Professional Magazine to read more great content like this!


Dr. Mark P. Kelly has been involved with the health and fitness field for more than 30 years. He has been a research scientist for universities and many infomercial projects. He has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide variety of topics and currently speaks on the use of exercise for clinical purposes and exercise’s impact on the brain. Mark is a teacher in colleges and universities in Orange County, CA., where Principle-Centered Health- Corporate Wellness & Safety operates.