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Are you a busy, stressed out woman ready to finally get off the dieting train, the stressed out mindset, and the body frustration?  Are you ready to start living the gorgeous, calm, and radiant life you’re craving?  Well I created Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. just for you!

Over the course of this 12-week online transformational program, you will:Know how to eat for YOUR body, for the rest of your life — and never utter the word “Diet” again!Understand the roots of your cravings and demystify the workings and needs of your bodyBe empowered with stress management tools that will keep you more calm, balanced, energized, and happy — no matter what life throws your wayDetoxify your home, body, and life or harmful chemicals, patterns and practices that are making you sickStart living the GORGEOUS life you know you are meant to be living!Enroll by Monday, August 4th to get $400 worth of awesome bonuses, including:AN OPTIONAL EXCLUSIVE EXTENDED PAYMENT PLAN to make the program even more affordable!A GGG GIFT BAG full of my favorite wellness and beauty tools to get you started off right! (a $100 value)A PRIVATE 45-MINUTE SKYPE STATEGY SESSION WITH ME! We’ll discuss your goals in depth and develop a custom strategy to help you get the most out of your program! (a $150 value)PLUS, THE FIRST 10 PEOPLE TO ENROLL WILL RECEIVE AN UP24 BAND to help you track your movement, eating, and sleep, and keep you motivated throughout the program! (a $150 value)Click here to get all the program details, including a week-by-week breakdown of what we’ll cover.

 

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5 Tips to Grow out Your Healthy Hair

Organic-Beauty-5-tips-for-growing-hair

I don’t know about you, but I think long luscious locks are totally timeless… the perfect accessory.  But growing out your tresses can be tough if you’re dealing with dry, damaged hair that breaks and splits.  I’ve dealt with this myself since I was a teenager and first starting coloring my hair.  But I’m happy to report that I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe for stronger, healthier, shinier hair that grows out beautifully.  As with everything, it takes a holistic approach, inside and out!

1. Go sulfate-free.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in most shampoos, but what you may not know is that it has a drying and damaging effect on your hair, especially curly or color treated locks.  To maximize your hair’s hydration, and therefore promote softer, stronger hair that’s easy to grow out, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo.  My faves are Wen Conditioning Cleanser, Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, and Acure Organics Moroccan Oil Shampoo.

2. Shampoo less.

Even the most moisturizing, natural shampoos out can be drying for hair.  The simple solution is to just shampoo less often!  If you wash your hair daily, start cutting back to every other day, then 2-3 times a week, then eventually just 1-2 times a week, which is ideal.  In the beginning, you may feel that your hair is a little oilier than normal, but the cool part is that your hair naturally adjusts!  I have super oily hair, but can now go almost a full week between washes!  Rock a dry shampoo throughout the week if you need to zap some oil and increase volume!  I like Acure Organics Dry Shampoo and Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo.

3.  Embrace oils.

Oils are your hair’s best friends, for strengthening, conditioning, and imparting amazing shine.  My favorite is argan oil, which is perfect for post-shampoo deep conditioning and heat protection.  Try Argana Vita Organic Argan Oil.  For deeper conditioning, smoothing fly-aways, and treating dry ends, use coconut oil.  The one from your kitchen will do fine, but if you’d like a dedicated batch for beauty, try Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil for Body and Hair.

4.  Supplement smartly.

Getting beautiful hair starts on the inside, and supplementing with some key nutrients is a must.  I love Hair Essentials, which is loaded with everything your body needs to repair damaged follicles and grow healthy hair.  Biotin, iodine, saw palmetto, horsetail and more.. It’s truly a potent formulation that also helps to prevent hair loss! If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, using a good food-based prenatal like VitaminCode Raw Prenatal will give you a lot of the same benefits, while being safe for baby.  Other great supplements for luscious locks are essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil.

5.  Eat for gorgeous hair.

You are what you eat, and nutrient-rich foods will give you nutrient-rich hair. Foods like nuts, leafy greens, bananas, cauliflower, legumes, whole grains and cage-free organic eggs are loaded with biotin which strengthens hair and helps it grow.  While foods rich in essential fatty acids like sardines, wild-caught salmon, flax, and walnuts will help hair look shinier and healthier from the inside out!

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5 Tips to Grow out Your Healthy Hair

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Organic-Beauty-5-tips-for-growing-hair

I don’t know about you, but I think long luscious locks are totally timeless… the perfect accessory.  But growing out your tresses can be tough if you’re dealing with dry, damaged hair that breaks and splits.  I’ve dealt with this myself since I was a teenager and first starting coloring my hair.  But I’m happy to report that I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe for stronger, healthier, shinier hair that grows out beautifully.  As with everything, it takes a holistic approach, inside and out!

1. Go sulfate-free.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in most shampoos, but what you may not know is that it has a drying and damaging effect on your hair, especially curly or color treated locks.  To maximize your hair’s hydration, and therefore promote softer, stronger hair that’s easy to grow out, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo.  My faves are Wen Conditioning Cleanser, Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, and Acure Organics Moroccan Oil Shampoo.

2. Shampoo less.

Even the most moisturizing, natural shampoos out can be drying for hair.  The simple solution is to just shampoo less often!  If you wash your hair daily, start cutting back to every other day, then 2-3 times a week, then eventually just 1-2 times a week, which is ideal.  In the beginning, you may feel that your hair is a little oilier than normal, but the cool part is that your hair naturally adjusts!  I have super oily hair, but can now go almost a full week between washes!  Rock a dry shampoo throughout the week if you need to zap some oil and increase volume!  I like Acure Organics Dry Shampoo and Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo.

3.  Embrace oils.

Oils are your hair’s best friends, for strengthening, conditioning, and imparting amazing shine.  My favorite is argan oil, which is perfect for post-shampoo deep conditioning and heat protection.  Try Argana Vita Organic Argan Oil.  For deeper conditioning, smoothing fly-aways, and treating dry ends, use coconut oil.  The one from your kitchen will do fine, but if you’d like a dedicated batch for beauty, try Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil for Body and Hair.

4.  Supplement smartly.

Getting beautiful hair starts on the inside, and supplementing with some key nutrients is a must.  I love Hair Essentials, which is loaded with everything your body needs to repair damaged follicles and grow healthy hair.  Biotin, iodine, saw palmetto, horsetail and more.. It’s truly a potent formulation that also helps to prevent hair loss! If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, using a good food-based prenatal like VitaminCode Raw Prenatal will give you a lot of the same benefits, while being safe for baby.  Other great supplements for luscious locks are essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil.

5.  Eat for gorgeous hair.

You are what you eat, and nutrient-rich foods will give you nutrient-rich hair. Foods like nuts, leafy greens, bananas, cauliflower, legumes, whole grains and cage-free organic eggs are loaded with biotin which strengthens hair and helps it grow.  While foods rich in essential fatty acids like sardines, wild-caught salmon, flax, and walnuts will help hair look shinier and healthier from the inside out!

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Don’t Let Memorial Day Screw You!

Healthy Memorial Day on The Organic Beauty

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

It’s finally, officially summer this weekend!!  I am soo excited for what might be our last summer in Brooklyn. Biking in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Saturdays on Governor’s Island, picnics in Prospect Park, getting super cozy with our friends that have gorgeous patios (yeah, I’m talking to you!!), summer is pretty much the best time of year.

But, it also has a dark side. Between all the BBQ’s, the dinner parties, the cocktail hours, the vacations, and the lobster rolls, suddenly bikini season becomes a whole lot more stressful.

See if this rings any bells:  You’re so awesome and on your game all week long. Eating those delicious green salads, drinking water, being a good little you.  And then comes the weekend.  You feel like you “deserve” a reward for all your being on, and you totally overdo it on burgers, and ribs, and cheese, and ice cream, and come Sunday night, you feel like a bloated, fat mess.  Cue the guilt and self-criticism and drama.  Cue the cravings for sugar and coffee on Monday as you come out of your food coma.  Cue beating yourself up the next time you have to get in a bathing suit.

Guys, this has to stop!  And we’re starting this weekend.

Memorial Day is one of those great American holidays that is typically associated with food — and not super healthy food, at that. Between all the the burgers, barbecue, potato salad, cakes, and butter-slathered corn (not to mention calorie-packed beer and drinks!), this fun-filled weekend can end up setting you back and undoing all the hard work you do for your body and health! Plus it sets a horrible precedent for the rest of the summer!  Follow these five simple tips to ensure you stay on track with your eating, while still having a great time, this holiday weekend, and all summer long!

1. Plan ahead, and don’t arrive hungry!

Planning your weekend in advance gives you the best chance of getting a bird’s eye view of all the potential pitfalls you may encounter.  So you have drinks with the girls on Friday (and you know you’ll rock some bar snacks), dinner with your honey on Saturday, a picnic in the park on Sunday, and a BBQ on Monday.  Here’s the naked truth.  You can’t go all out at ALL of your events!  Really, you shouldn’t be going all out at all!

The worst possible thing you can do for yourself is show up to a Memorial Day barbecue or a picnic in the park starving because you skipped breakfast or lunch that day. You’ll make horrible food choices on an empty stomach, and end up consuming way more calories than you would otherwise. If your event starts at 3pm, plan ahead by leaving yourself time for breakfast and a healthy lunch before you get there. That way, you’ll be too full to pack away three hot dogs and your weight in margaritas, and you’ll end up enjoying a little of this and a little of that throughout the day, without the guilt.

2. Avoid the Big Bad 3 (processed meat, processed carbs, and refined sweets)

This weekend, at all your summer events, fill up on salads, fruit, grilled corn, and even munchies like chips and salsa, which will make it so much easier to avoid the real gut-busters.

Those greasy, processed hot dogs in their refined white flour buns will leave you feeling heavy and gross in no time, and they stay in your system, wreaking havoc long past the weekend.

If you’ve gotta have some grilled foods, have some grilled chicken, a veggie burger or veggie dog, and pile on the healthy toppings — tomatoes, lettuce, onions and pickles, which will make the whole affair more satisfying and filling, so you’ll be less likely to reach for seconds. Go bun-free if all that’s available is cottony, white bread buns.

And don’t leave room for dessert! If you’re full from the healthier stuff, you’ll be less likely to go for the sweets that will take you hours on the elliptical to burn off… SO not worth it! An ice cream cone here and there is totally fine, but if it becomes a twice a weekend indulgence, you’re just setting yourself up for disaster!

3. Bring some healthy foods to share!

The best way to ensure there will be plenty of healthier options to partake in at your friends’ barbecues and group picnics is to bring your own! Contribute some veggie burgers, whole grain buns, vegan coleslaw (which tastes the same, but is actually healthy), fruit salad, quinoa or garbanzo bean salads and other delicious, healthy favorites. You’ll be surprised at how grateful everyone will be to have some healthier food around!

4. Get moving!

Half the fun of holiday barbecues and picnics in the park are the activities that actually help you burn off what you’re eating. Swimming, tossing a frisbee or football are always favorites, but you can also get creative! Pick up a Slip N’ Slide for some hilarious, retro fun, or organize a game of tag, capture the flag, or horseshoes. Get people up and moving with a dance-off or limbo… anything that turns a sloth-like day of sitting around and gorging yourselves into a fun and active affair will make the event more memorable, as well as loads healthier.

If you can, bike to and from the event, which ensures you’ll be getting some great summer exercise in!

5. Sip smartly.

What you choose to drink can add up to a difference of an added 600 or 700 calories throughout the day, maybe more! Margaritas, daiquiris, and mud slides are like meals in and of themselves, and added to whatever else you may be consuming, they spell nothing but disaster. Opt for wine, light beer or simple cocktails like vodka and soda, bourbon on the rocks, or anything else without added sugar.

Gotta have that mint julep? Make it with agave instead of simple syrup! Same exact taste, but without the refined sugar.  Can’t stay away from the margaritas? Make real ones with lime juice, Cointreau, and tequila.. No added sugar necessary!

 

Staying healthy and on your game during holidays, vacations, and special events is important, especially heading into the summer, when every weekend seems to bring some fun, routine-breaking smorgasbord.  It’s the consistency that keeps us healthy… and skinny!!

Still feel like you need a little post Memorial Day detox? Download my 3-Day Spring Cleanse to shed those extra pounds and feel slim and energized for summer!{Image: Pinterest}

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5 Tips to Grow out Your Healthy Hair

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Organic-Beauty-5-tips-for-growing-hair

I don’t know about you, but I think long luscious locks are totally timeless… the perfect accessory.  But growing out your tresses can be tough if you’re dealing with dry, damaged hair that breaks and splits.  I’ve dealt with this myself since I was a teenager and first starting coloring my hair.  But I’m happy to report that I’ve nailed down the perfect recipe for stronger, healthier, shinier hair that grows out beautifully.  As with everything, it takes a holistic approach, inside and out!

1. Go sulfate-free.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is a common ingredient in most shampoos, but what you may not know is that it has a drying and damaging effect on your hair, especially curly or color treated locks.  To maximize your hair’s hydration, and therefore promote softer, stronger hair that’s easy to grow out, opt for a sulfate-free shampoo.  My faves are Wen Conditioning Cleanser, Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo, and Acure Organics Moroccan Oil Shampoo.

2. Shampoo less.

Even the most moisturizing, natural shampoos out can be drying for hair.  The simple solution is to just shampoo less often!  If you wash your hair daily, start cutting back to every other day, then 2-3 times a week, then eventually just 1-2 times a week, which is ideal.  In the beginning, you may feel that your hair is a little oilier than normal, but the cool part is that your hair naturally adjusts!  I have super oily hair, but can now go almost a full week between washes!  Rock a dry shampoo throughout the week if you need to zap some oil and increase volume!  I like Acure Organics Dry Shampoo and Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo.

3.  Embrace oils.

Oils are your hair’s best friends, for strengthening, conditioning, and imparting amazing shine.  My favorite is argan oil, which is perfect for post-shampoo deep conditioning and heat protection.  Try Argana Vita Organic Argan Oil.  For deeper conditioning, smoothing fly-aways, and treating dry ends, use coconut oil.  The one from your kitchen will do fine, but if you’d like a dedicated batch for beauty, try Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil for Body and Hair.

4.  Supplement smartly.

Getting beautiful hair starts on the inside, and supplementing with some key nutrients is a must.  I love Hair Essentials, which is loaded with everything your body needs to repair damaged follicles and grow healthy hair.  Biotin, iodine, saw palmetto, horsetail and more.. It’s truly a potent formulation that also helps to prevent hair loss! If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, using a good food-based prenatal like VitaminCode Raw Prenatal will give you a lot of the same benefits, while being safe for baby.  Other great supplements for luscious locks are essential fatty acids like fish oil and evening primrose oil.

5.  Eat for gorgeous hair.

You are what you eat, and nutrient-rich foods will give you nutrient-rich hair. Foods like nuts, leafy greens, bananas, cauliflower, legumes, whole grains and cage-free organic eggs are loaded with biotin which strengthens hair and helps it grow.  While foods rich in essential fatty acids like sardines, wild-caught salmon, flax, and walnuts will help hair look shinier and healthier from the inside out!

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Snacking Is Making You Fat (and moody, and bloated)

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

The whole snack-happy, “six-small-meals-a-day” dieting philosophy is one of the worst things to have happened to Western food culture, and is pretty much the bane of my existence as a nutrition counselor.  Basically, this phenomenon has created a nation of perpetually hungry, moody hypoglycemics, and although this is great for my business, it is terrible for the health of this country.  Allow me to persuade you that snacking is one of your biggest food woes, and to show you a much better way!

Snacking is an American Phenomenon (and that ain’t good)

Fun fact:  most other cultures don’t snack.  And if they’ve recently begun, it’s part of a larger trend of the Americanization of the world’s eating (read: more fast food, more snacks, more processed food, and more obesity).  The distinctly American phenomenon of snacking is a natural result of our culture of excess.  As a result of age-old farm subsidies, we have so much excess corn in our country that we just don’t have enough places to put it.  So, we created high fructose corn syrup, which we put in pretty much everything; we created processed foods that we eat as children and then crave as adults; and we created a national snacking movement.  Which is ruining us.  The rise in snacking in America has paralleled the rise in obesity, especially in children.  With all the excessive available snack foods, we also are in the habit of eating when we’re not hungry, which is, of course, a surefire way to gain weight!  The majority of other cultures, particularly healthier cultures in the Mediterranean and Asia do not snack.  They stick to three meals a day, with lunch traditionally being the biggest meal of the day.

Snacking Prevents Consistent Fat Burning

Think of it this way:  why would your body go into fat-burning mode if you’re feeding it every 2-3 hours?  When we eat often and snack, our bodies burn off what we’ve just eaten, and we don’t have a chance to burn our fat reserves.  This makes weight loss very difficult, and instead causes the body to build and store it’s fat reserves.  If you snack between meals, even the healthiest possible snack like a carrot or some nuts, you are going to burn off that carrot or nuts, and not your excess body fat.  On the contrary, if you’re eating 3 meals a day, at an interval of 4 hours or so, your body goes into a healthy mini-fast between meals, and has the opportunity to start burning fat!  This is not only great for reaching and maintaining an ideal weight, but it also allows your organs to cleanse and detox, and staves off hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes, and more.

Snacking Makes You Obsess Over Food

When your body relies on snacks to keep blood sugar stable, you experience crazy fluctuations in your mood and blood sugar levels throughout the day.  This puts your body in a stressed out, emergency state where it is constantly waiting for it’s next food fix (sounds kind of like food addiction, doesn’t it?).  Psychologically, this means you are spending wayyyy more of your day thinking about food than you need to.  Relying on snacks means that your meals are probably not substantial enough, so when that inevitable blood sugar drop comes, you are also much more likely to reach for those birthday cupcakes in the break room, or the candy jar on the receptionist’s desk.  When you’re constantly thinking about food, you’re letting food rule you.  If you can’t leave the house without a bar of some sort in your bag, or you find yourself running out to grab a snack in the late afternoon, your diet is just not working for you.  Opt for making each meal satisfying enough to get to the next meal without feeling hungry, and without thinking about food.

Snacking is Unnatural For Your Body

Imagine our hunter-gatherer ancestors.  Do you really think they would have survived if they needed to eat every 2-3 hours?  Our species would have become extinct!  Our very survival as a species is due to the fact that humans were able to endure long periods of time without food.  Contrary to the Paleo diet and other supposed “primal” ways of eating, our ancestors did not have successful hunts every day (meaning, they did not eat meat every day), and they certainly didn’t run around with backpacks full of snacks.  They would eat big meals when they had a successful hunt, and would eat gathered vegetables, fruits, and nuts when they were hungry (and could find them).  And I assure you, this wasn’t every 2 hours.  The very concept of snacking is unnatural for your body… We just weren’t built for it!

If you STILL don’t believe me, check out the loads of research in the sources below, and read the amazing book, The 3 Season Diet by Dr. John Douillard.

Snacking Makes You Bloated

You know that miserable belly bloat you experience throughout the day?  That might be a function of your snacking habit!  When you don’t give your body at least 3-4 hours between meals, you are basically piling food on top of more undigested food, compromising the speed and quality of your digestion and causing a backup in your stomach.  That food baby is an actual thing!  Also, depending on what you’re snacking on, your bloated belly may be a function of the foods you’re eating as well.  Eating fruit after meals leads to a build up of gas in your system, which makes your stomach feel bloated and uncomfortable.

Ok, Natasha, I’ll stop snacking… So how do I eat?

Easy-peasy.

Eat 3 healthy meals a day, making each meal satisfying enough to get to the next without feeling hungry.  What’s a “healthy meal,” you ask?  Check out What Do I Eat? Healthy Eating is Easier Than You Think!If you need to, start with 4 meals a day and work your way down to 3.Make lunch the biggest meal of the day, when you need the most energy and resources to make it through the day.  Your digestion is also the strongest at midday, so it’s most able to take on a bigger meal, without any uncomfortable side effects. This also keeps your blood sugar nice and stable, so you don’t crash at 3 or 4pm every day!Make supper the lightest meal of the day.  Rock some soup, salad, or cooked veggies!  You really don’t need to load up on tons of calories and energy for all that sleep you’re going to do in a few hours, right? Studies¹ show that eating the main meal of the day before 3pm increases weight loss, whereas eating it in the evening (ie: dinner) leads to weight gain.Eat only when you’re hungry.  No more mindless snacking or eating for any other reason other than hunger! If stress or sadness are leading you to seek out snacks, take a moment to breathe and deal with the emotion at hand.  Food is not a solution.In the wise words of Michael Pollan: “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.”Enjoy your newfound freedom!  You are no longer a slave to your blood sugar.

 

{Image: Advancedphysicalmedicine.org}

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Sources:
¹ International Journal of Obesity, Jan 2013, Garalualet M.
Douillard J. The 3-Season Diet, Three Rivers press, 2000
British Journal of Nutrition / Volume 100 / Issue 05 / November 2008, pp 1142-1148
International Journal of Obesity (2005) 29, 711–719. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802950, Published online 5 April 2005
Clinical Nutrition, Volume 29, Issue 3, June 2010, Pages 323–330
Meal frequency and energy balance. Br J Nutr. 1997 Apr;77 Suppl 1:S57-70
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Soups: Your Quick and Easy Dinner Solution

Soups on the Organic Beauty

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

A light, delicious, vegetable-based soup makes the perfect dinner for encouraging healthy weight, quality sleep, improved digestion, and increased energy in the mornings.  Soups are easily digestible, which leaves your body primed for rest, detoxification, and rejuvenation while you sleep, instead of expending tons of energy on digesting a big meal full of slow-to-digest foods like animal protein and grains.  Plus, it is super easy to throw together a delicious, quick dinnertime soup that leaves you free to relax and enjoy your evening, without spending hours in the kitchen!  Cook a big pot for the week, and enjoy your freedom!

 

A super important trick for quick and easy soups is a good quality vegetable broth base.  My absolute favorite for a flavorful, delicious broth is Seitenbacher Vegetable Broth Powder.  It’s all natural, instant, and allows you to customize how strongly flavored you want your broth.  I use it for all of my soups!  Pacific Organics and Imagine Organics make ok ones too, but in my opinion, nothing beats the natural broth powder!

Your other tools for whipping up a dinner soup in no time at all are canned veggies.  Stock up your pantry with canned organic beans and canned organic tomatoes.  Other pantry staples include yellow onions, garlic, greens, and olive oil.

Check out our delicious quick and easy dinner soup recipes!

Quick Vegan Creamy Tomato Basil SoupQuick White Bean and Kale SoupRaw Summer GazpachoChilled Cucumber Soup with MintAny Root Vegetable SoupAcorn Squash & Apple SoupSplit Pea, Fennel & Spinach SoupThai Sweet Potato Soup

 
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Why You Need to Kick That Soda Habit, STAT.

8-Reasons-To-Quit-Soda-The-Organic-Beauty

One of the blessings and curses of living in my little Brooklyn-yoga-meditation-farm-to-table-CSA-kale-quinoa-organic universe is that I get a little out of touch with the rest of the world. I find myself assuming that everyone (well, if not everyone, than at least most people) is on a similar path. Then I’ll have a conversation with someone and be swiftly disabused of this naive notion. There is still so much work to do.

One of the areas in which my naiveté gets the best of me is soda. I have truly been living under the subconscious notion no one really drinks soda anymore. True, there has been a marked decline in our nation’s consumption of soft drinks over the last 5-10 years. As a country, we’re guzzling about 450 cans of soda a year, on average, per person — a number that hasn’t been this low since 1986.  But to me, this still sounds crazy, and it’s got to stop.

There is still a pervasive notion out there that just one soda a day is a-ok, or that drinking an occasional soft drink won’t do much harm, or that diet soda is a much healthier option.

But here are the facts: soft drinks are killers, on par with cigarettes (and no one smokes anymore, right??).  Drinking soda even occasionally does severe damage to your health, and can throw off an entire week of healthy choices.  Drinking soda regularly has you heading to an early grave, or at the very least, on a straight path towards obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Below are the 8 biggest reasons why you’ve gotta kick that soda habit, ASAP. Yes, even diet soda. And I’ll even give you a few pointers on how to make it happen!

1. Soda makes you fat, and in some unexpected places at that! Drinking regular soda increases your risk of obesity by at least 60%, contributes to belly fat, and also leads to fat buildup in weird places, like in your liver and around your skeletal muscles.  But did you know that diet soda also contributes to weight gain?  Consuming artificial sugars leads to something called metabolic confusion — when your body gets tricked into thinking you’re consuming real sugar and starts to release insulin and blood glucose, which in turn leads to fat storage (especially around the belly!).  Consuming artificial sugars also leads to overeating, as well as the tons of other health risks on this list.

2. Soda causes cancer.  This super serious risk of soda consumption is due to multiple factors.  One is the caramel coloring that makes colas brown, which is highly carcinogenic. Another is the artificial sweetener used in diet sodas — all of which, from aspartame to Splenda to saccharin, have been linked to an increased risk in cancer in both men and women.  This is no joke.  Diet soda may raise your cancer risk even more than smoking!

3. Soda makes you old.  Contrary to all those ads showing older people recapturing their youth by sipping a Coke, drinking soda accelerates aging in your body.  All soda, diet and regular, contain phosphates or phosphoric acid, an additive that contributes to that tangy flavor and everlasting shelf-life. Phosphoric acid interferes with your body’s ability to absurd calcium, which leads to brittle bones and osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, and problems with your kidneys and heart (see below).  As if all that weren’t enough, new studies are showing that phosphoric acid also shortens your life span. So all that recapturing your youth is actually having the opposite effect!

4. Soda messes with your fertility.  From the carcinogenic chemicals and the processed sugar overload, to the endocrine-disrupting BPA-lined cans and unfiltered water, soda packs a mean punch when it comes to hormonal balance and fertility.  Not only can soda impede upon your ability to reproduce, but it also contributes to other hormonal issues, like PMS, reproductive cancers, and, yes, obesity.

5. Soda is loaded with toxic chemicals.  We now know about the caramel color, phosphates and the artificial additives, but get this, even the water in sodas can be toxic.  Soft drinks are made with unfiltered water, which can be high in toxins like chlorine, fluoride, and heavy metals.  Add to that preservatives like sodium benzoate, artificial colors (like that famous Yellow #5), and artificial flavors found in sodas and that “harmless” afternoon pick-me-up or movie theater treat becomes a toxic cocktail of chemicals that you are pouring into your body.

6. Soda increases your sugar cravings.  Though most of the research around this phenomenon is centered around diet soda, the artificial sweeteners in which cause an overall increase in hunger, and particularly sugar cravings, regular soda impacts your cravings in a different way.  With regular soda, which is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, you experience a severe blood sugar spike and then an inevitable crash.  With that crash comes the biological need to raise your blood sugar to normal levels again, causing your system to crave even more sugar.  This vicious cycle means that regular consuming soda (of any kind) is going to make it that much harder to resist those cookies or cupcakes later in the day, which can wreak havoc on all your best intentions.

7. Soda is like a drug.  Here is what happens to your body when you drink a soda: Within the first 10 minutes, your system gets hit with 10 tsp of sugar, which is 100% of your recommended daily intake. The only reason you don’t vomit is because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor. Within 20 minutes, your blood sugar spikes, and your liver responds to the resulting insulin burst by turning massive amounts of sugar into fat (which you then store). Within 40 minutes, if you drank a caffeinated soda, you complete absorption of the caffeine — your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises, and your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream.  Around 45 minutes, your body increases dopamine production, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain – a physical response identical to that of using heroine.  After 60 minutes, you start to crash, and need another fix, either in the form of another soda, or something else sugary.  Your brain starts to connect soda with happiness and euphoria, and you are officially addicted.

8. Soda isn’t even food.  With many junk foods, there is at least one halfway decent ingredient that your body can do something with, but this isn’t true with soda.  It literally has zero nutritional value.  Absolutely nothing beneficial at all for your body to get some nourishment from.  I tend to think of drinking soda as a form of self-abuse, and no way to treat a magnificent, miraculous body that allows you to live and walk and love and experience this world.

9. Soda keeps you from figuring out what you really need.  When we crave sugar, and in particular, something as crappy as a soda, we are actually battling a craving for something else, a deeper need.  Maybe you are craving a break, a reward, a little excitement, or simply feeling good for a brief moment.  But when you feed that real craving with a soda, you aren’t giving yourself the chance to address what’s really missing, and a feedback response emerges.  I’m sad = have a soda.  I’m stressed = have a soda.  I’m bored = have a soda.  By perpetuating this pattern you are robbing yourself of the joy that comes from addressing and healing the root cause of your emotions, which impedes upon your personal growth, and honestly, keeps you feeling pretty miserable in your life.

Convinced?  I hope so!  Kicking that soda habit is a huge step towards getting healthier and happier, losing weight, and learning to prioritize yourself.

With my clients, I find that a one-two punch of a healthier substitution plus self-care does the trick beautifully for getting soda out of the picture.  Try it for yourself! Next time you feel like a soda, grab a kombucha, a mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, or a green juice instead.  Gradually, you can even replace those substitutions with fresh, pure, filtered water (which you can jazz up with some lemon or other yummy infusions).  And take a moment to connect to what you’re really craving.  If it’s a break you want, go for a walk around the block.  If it’s some fun you need, chat up a friend, or watch a hilarious sloth video on YouTube.  Try to inject some regular self-care and pleasure into your day (from non-food sources) and watch those soda cravings disappear!

{Image: Pinterest}

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Any Root Winter Vegetable Soup

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Any-Root-Vegetable-Soup-Organic-Beauty

There’s nothing like a warm, comforting bowl of soup on a chilly early winter evening, and throwing together an amazingsoup from what you have on hand is so much easier than you think!  Not only is this any-root vegetable soup deceptively simple, you can make it with literally whatever seasonal veggies you have on hand. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, celeriac, carrots, turnips… anything!  Perfect for those winter CSA deliveries you don’t know what to do with ; ) Make a big pot to last you all week long for a perfect, healthy dinner that will keep you slim, warm, and healthy all winter long.

Any Root Vegetable Winter SoupServes 6-8

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for serving1 large onion or 2 leeks (white and light green part only), diced2 to 3 celery stalks, diced3 garlic cloves, finely chopped3 rosemary or thyme branches2 bay leaves3 1/2 pounds mixed root vegetables (whatever you have on hand–carrot, parsnip, celery root, turnip, rutabaga, sweet or regular potato), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks2 teaspoons sea salt, or more as needed1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or more as neededJuice of 1/2 organic lemon, plus more for servingRed pepper flakes, optional

 

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot.Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.Add celery and cook for an additional 5 minutes.Add garlic, rosemary or thyme, and bay leaves, and cook for another 2 minutes.Add root vegetables, 8 cups water, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender, about 30-40 minutes.Remove rosemary branches and bay leaves.Puree the soup in batches in your blender, or use an immersion blender.  Puree until smooth.Season with lemon juice, and add a little extra salt, if needed.Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a few extra drops of lemon juice, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper (optional), and a sprig of thyme or rosemary.

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Are you a busy, stressed out woman ready to finally get off the dieting train, the stressed out mindset, and the body frustration?  Are you ready to start living the gorgeous, calm, and radiant life you’re craving?  Well I created Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. just for you!

Over the course of this 12-week online transformational program, you will:Know how to eat for YOUR body, for the rest of your life — and never utter the word “Diet” again!Understand the roots of your cravings and demystify the workings and needs of your bodyBe empowered with stress management tools that will keep you more calm, balanced, energized, and happy — no matter what life throws your wayDetoxify your home, body, and life or harmful chemicals, patterns and practices that are making you sickStart living the GORGEOUS life you know you are meant to be living!Enroll by Monday, August 4th to get $400 worth of awesome bonuses, including:AN OPTIONAL EXCLUSIVE EXTENDED PAYMENT PLAN to make the program even more affordable!A GGG GIFT BAG full of my favorite wellness and beauty tools to get you started off right! (a $100 value)A PRIVATE 45-MINUTE SKYPE STATEGY SESSION WITH ME! We’ll discuss your goals in depth and develop a custom strategy to help you get the most out of your program! (a $150 value)PLUS, THE FIRST 10 PEOPLE TO ENROLL WILL RECEIVE AN UP24 BAND to help you track your movement, eating, and sleep, and keep you motivated throughout the program! (a $150 value)Click here to get all the program details, including a week-by-week breakdown of what we’ll cover.

 

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