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How Eating Like Your Ancestors Can Help You Lose Weight

Blog Photo FastingBy Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN

The key to losing weight in 2016 might be found by going back in time and eating like our ancestors.

What if fasting was a part of your healthy lifestyle and offered the benefit of weight loss? Please, don’t get nervous and don’t go anywhere. Keep reading. This is the real deal.

We’re talking about intermittent fasting and it’s how our ancestors ate – think feast or famine. When there was food available, they ate; when they didn’t have food, they didn’t eat. They couldn’t run to a fast-food restaurant or pop a frozen-food entrée in the microwave.

Intermittent fasting does not mean you have to starve yourself. It does ask you to look at your lifestyle, notice how often you eat and especially observe late-night snacking – you know, when you’re stressed and watching late night television to take your mind off things and unconsciously eating the bag of potato chips or pint of ice cream.

What if you stopped eating after dinner and didn’t eat again until breakfast? There you go – intermittent fasting! 8pm to 8am – 12 hours of intermittent fasting. Maybe your schedule is 7pm to 7am; not a problem. There’s flexibility here. It’s not the time that matters; it’s the timing – setting yourself up for a period of 12-14 hours when you are not eating. And giving your body a chance to detoxify and rejuvenate itself.

The benefits of intermittent fasting are well-studied and vast, including:

  • Improve metabolic efficiency and metabolic flexibility
  • Reset your body to use fat as its primary fuel source
  • Boost enzyme production to facilitate digestion and weight loss
  • Generate production of human growth hormone
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Reduce markers of chronic inflammation

Intermittent fasting is one aspect of the revolutionary weight loss program offered at Blum Center for Health this month. We want to help you lose weight and we want you to keep it off with a healthy lifestyle plan.

Learn more and join our Group Weight Loss Program.


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What is Kitchari?

By Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN980827_920155898020966_3217417002046508483_o

Kitchari is an ancient Ayurvedic meal consisting of Mung beans and rice cooked into porridge. Kitchari (kitch-ah-ree) literally means mess – referring to this warm, delicious, satisfying (not messy!) porridge.

The Ayruvedic culture discovered the magic of the Mung bean; they do not cause gas; they are anti-inflammatory; and they are hypo-allergenic.

As a cleanse, kitchari is eaten for 7 days – breakfast, lunch and dinner as a mono diet, meaning eating one food. This limits the diversity of food which helps decrease inflammation while supporting digestive enzymes and the entire process of digestion.

At BCH we perform the Kitchari Cleanse once a year, during the winter months.  We  find this cleanse both nourishing, healing and weight reducing. Typically, a pound a day is lost with ease.

Kitchari is comfort food, warming and nourishing for this time of year.

Learn more at our Winter Fat Flush cleanse here and join us on January 10th for ether the morning or evening session! And don’t forget if you are too busy to make Kitchari at home, you can pick it up already prepared from Organic Pharmer!


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5 Tips to Eat Mindfully During the Holidays

By Susan Blum, MD, MPH

1.  Stick to your healthy diet during the day if you know you have a holiday party at night.  It sounds logical, but it’s easy to start indulging during office parties or grabbing unhealthy snacks while you’re on-the-go. If you stick to a healthy diet all day like veggies and lean protein, you can treat yourself at night. 

2.  Never leave the house hungry.  Have a healthy snack like carrots and hummus around 4-5pm before you leave for your festivities and you’ll be less likely to fill your plate at the party. 

3.  Taste Everything!  Try bites of all the food offerings but leave the rest on your plate.  If you ate a snack and you’re not starving, you will be able leave your plate full but still enjoy indulging in the holiday fare. 

4.  Swap water in between cocktails to stay hydrated and full. 

5.  Reset on Monday!  I always tell my patients to enjoy themselves during special occasions and plan to reboot on Monday with a full day of healthy juices and foods that detoxify the body. It takes the stress and guilt off holiday eating and guarantees to soothe the digestive system and replenish the body with vital nutrients and antioxidants.  At Organic Pharmer, we offer a 1 – Day Reboot cleanse just for this purpose! 

Wishing you happiness and health this holiday season!

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Are Your Hormones To Blame?

By Darcy McConnell, MD  stone tower

The holiday season is a good time to make a few simple changes that can make a big difference in how you feel.  Healthy food, fresh air, and targeted supplements balance your hormones and build up your reserves against stressors. 

Do any of these issues sound familiar?

  • difficulty losing weight
  • fatigue
  • low libido
  • thinning hair 
  • bad skin
  • anxiety and irritability
  • depressed mood
  • brain fog

Or are you just not feeling like yourself lately?

When we consider hormones and their relationship to these symptoms, we tackle the big picture.  It is never simply a low thyroid issue – nor are estrogen and testosterone levels solely to blame.  There is an entire hormone orchestra that can fall out of tune, and when this is addressed appropriately, we feel better!

The holiday season is also one of insight and peace. A great time to find your calm! 

So my first recommendation for a hormone-balancing change is to add a mindfulness practice to your routine and make space for it every day.  That can be as simple as a five-minute deep breathing exercise in the morning before your coffee or tea.  Or it can be a short walk outside in the fresh air.  Restart the meditation practice you’ve put on hold.  A yoga practice or other movement routine counts as well, as long as it’s done mindfully. And don’t forget to mix it up!  Changing your routine keeps it interesting and helps you stay on track.  These kinds of mindfulness exercises support the adrenal glands and are the first steps toward harmonizing your hormones.

Join me in December for a discussion of the science behind the hormone orchestra and seven simple changes you can make to ease those chemical messengers into line and get back to feeling like yourself!  

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Healthy Thanksgiving Side: Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

Healthy Thanksgiving Side: Whipped Sweet Potato Bake

Untitled designChef Amy gives us a healthy, dairy-free version of a Thanksgiving favorite.

She chose healthy fats, like coconut oil,  as an alternative to butter, and used coconut milk to give sweet potatoes a creamy, thick consistency.  Warm autumn spices and a touch of maple syrup add a rich flavor the whole family will love!

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The Bloat Blog

By Mary Gocke, RDN, CDN


C892C2EF-7610-4971-802D-FD7AE558D4E4Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

Your stomach looks like you’re in the third trimester and you’re not even pregnant.

You have a beer belly and don’t drink beer.

You produce gas that could be lethal?

You’re always searching for an Altoid to fix wicked bad breath?

These are all signs of a gut gone bad! 

Honestly, the causes can come from a variety of offenders.  It could be gluten, dairy, fructose, stress, or an overgrowth of bad bugs in your gut.

As nature would have it, gas is produced in the large bowel and for the most part does not cause any problems.  But when bloating and gas happen in the small intestines, it can become problematic and produce a distended, fermenting belly.

It’s embarrassing, but the good news is that it is fixable.

Usually, the biggest gas producer is DAIRY and the reasons are twofold.  Dairy contains lactose and most us are missing the enzyme that breaks it down, so it forms gas.  The other reason is the protein in dairy, casein, is highly allergenic.  A reaction to casein can cause inflammation in the gut that results in bloating.

So first, remove the dairy from your diet.  Then join me on November 16th for a free talk on how you can Beat the Bloat by changing your diet.  We’ll also discuss the medical tests that can help identify the cause of your bloat and the supplements that help reverse your chronic big belly.  Register Online

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Tweak Your Pantry, Improve Your Health!

By Teresa Ingrasciotta

Reap huge health benefits by making simple changes to your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Here are the 10 categories of must-haves to keep on hand…


Healthy Kitchen!-21.  Plant Proteins for a Protein Punch

Black Beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Kidney Beans, White Beans.

Choose organic dried black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney or white beans. Soak and cook with a piece of Kombu seaweed for additional thyroid-supporting benefits. Cook a huge batch in your crockpot or pressure cooker; freeze in individual packets to have ready to enjoy! For a quick go-to, keep canned, BPA-free beans in your pantry.

2.  Gluten-Free Grains & Flours

Experiment with some easy-to-find grains and flours available at all health food stores, and some supermarkets. Sorghum, Amaranth, Gluten-Free Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Wild Rice, Buckwheat, Chickpea, Coconut, Almond, Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, are just a few popular choices. Store flours and grains in your fridge.

3.  Health-Supportive Fats & Oils

Instead of bread, enjoy almond (or other non-peanut) butter on a piece of fruit like an apple, pear, or banana. Cook with high-heat tolerant fats like Coconut Oil or Ghee. Save your Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil for salad dressings or to finish a bowl of your favorite steamed veggies. Tahini (ground sesame seeds) is not only great for hummus; keep it handy for dressings, marinades, and sauces.

4.  Salad Dressings

Be gentle on your gut and instead of harsh wine vinegars, choose apple cider vinegar (preferably raw, unfiltered), lemon, or lime juice to make your vinaigrettes.

5.  Seeds & Nuts

Walnuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Sunflower Seeds, and Pumpkin Seeds are great combined into trail mix with Unsweetened Shaved or Shredded Coconut, and a small amount of dried fruit. Blend Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Hemp Seeds into your smoothie, or enjoy sprinkled on your food. Store all seeds and nuts in the fridge.

6.  Sweeteners

Choose the best quality you can find and always-in moderation!! Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 70% Cacao), Carob Powder, Dried Fruit: Raisins, Cranberries, Currants, Honey (raw and local preferred), 100% Pure Maple Syrup (Grade B preferred), Raw Cocoa Nibs or Powder, Unsweetened Shaved or Shredded Coconut.

7.  Sea Vegetables

Chock full of thyroid-supportive iodine and minerals, keep Kombu, Dulse, Kelp, Nori, and Wakame in your pantry. Hydrate and watch grow into healthful greens to add to your soups and salads.

8.  Fresh Produce

Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, Ginger, Lemons, Limes, Onions (red, yellow), and Winter Greens: Kale, Chard, and Collards, etc.

9.  Frozen Foods

Kale, Spinach, Organic Berries; Chicken Breasts and Turkey (ideally organic and pastured), Grass-fed Organic Beef.

10.  Dried Herbs, Spices, and Condiments

The foods you prepare will be significantly enhanced not only in taste, but also in nutritional value by adding these into your pot, pan, or marinades. Also, the more herbs and spices you use, the less salt you’ll need! Periodically check the expiration dates and make sure to replace them since they will lose their potency, taste, and nutritional benefits the longer they sit in your pantry.

Try these: Bay Leaf, Cardamom, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Cinnamon (sticks or ground), Coriander, Cumin, Curry Powder, Fresh Ground Pepper, Ginger (ground), Cloves (ground), Himalayan or Sea Salt, Nutmeg, Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes, Rosemary, Thyme, Turmeric; Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Mirin, Rice Milk, Tamari (gluten-free), Vanilla Extract, Arrowroot, Vegetable Stock or Bouillon Cubes

Join our next Pantry, Fridge, and Freezer Makeover Class where you’ll learn how to incorporate these and many more items into your lifestyle. You’ll also learn an easy way to unravel the sometimes confusing Nutrition Facts Labels and Ingredients Lists. The class is free, but the knowledge you’ll gain is invaluable!

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Inflammation: Causes, Effects, and Solutions

LivingHealthyInflammation, simply put, involves your immune system’s attempt to heal or hurt you. It can vanish quickly after completing its job or continue to flare—sometimes so much that diseases result. By learning about inflammation’s causes and effects, we can develop insights into powerful strategies for optimal health and healing.


Dr.Blum shares her insight on Inflammation with Living Healthy.   Read the article here:

Click here for the Digestive Enzymes she recommends in the story.

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Why We Care About Kale

Kale is one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens you can eat. From a nutrition perspective, it’s the vegetable that will give you the most bang for your bite.

Dr. Susan Blum explains why we care so much about kale:

It Helps The Digestive System: Kale is loaded with fiber that aids in elimination. This process helps flush waste and toxins from the body.

Calcium & Iron: Who says you need to drink dairy to get your daily calcium? Or eat meat to get your iron? The calcium in kale will help keep your bones strong, and the iron will support energy and strength.

Vitamin Packed: Just one cup of kale contains 134% of your daily Vitamin C, 684% of Vitamin K, and 204% of Vitamin A needs!

Antioxidants: Kale contains many antioxidants including carotenoids, flavonoids, and phytonutrients called thiols. Antioxidants are the antidote to the environmental stressors and exposures of every day life.

Kale Is The Ultimate Detoxifier: All of these antioxidants and vitamins work to lower inflammation and protect the body from disease. Much of this activity happens in the liver. Kale provides these powerful nutrients to help your liver do it’s job: clear out toxins.

Celebrate National Kale Day with us on October 7th by making a simple kale salad, adding kale to your smoothie, or trying one of Organic Pharmer’s Top 5 Kale picks! #kaleday2015





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Stop, Take Stock, & Detox

Are you thinking about starting our fall Group Detox program? With over 80,000 chemicals used in our environment today, we can understand why.  The risk for accumulating toxins is unbelievably high.  Detoxing once or twice a year is essential for the body to function properly and to ward off disease, lethargy, brain fog, and extra pounds.

There is a science to detoxifying your liver and it’s best to prep prior to starting any detox program. Detoxing safely and effectively is our first priority, and prepping will help your body avoid the shock of removing sugar and inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet when you begin the program.

Mary Gocke, our Director of Nutrition, offers tips you can start incorporating a week or two before your detox program.  Feel prepared, empowered, and ready for success!

1.  Stock Your Fridge: Eat large amounts – 7 servings a day – of deeply colored fruits and vegetables.  Colorful fruits and vegetables will give you antioxidants to safely remove toxins from your body through your liver.  Antioxidants prevent tissue damage, or oxidative stress, that often accompanies a detoxification program.

2.  Wake Up and Don’t Smell The Coffee:  Instead, brew organic green tea. This will also support and prep the liver (antioxidants from the tea) while weaning your body off caffeine.  Coffee is highly sprayed with pesticides, herbicides and fungicides – you do not need to be putting these extra toxins into your body!

3.  Pantry Purge:  Stop buying sugar laden and processed foods and do not allow them in the house.  If they are already there, toss them (without the guilt!).  You’ll be less likely to be tempted or to cheat on your detox with these items missing from your kitchen.

4.  Hydration Station:  Increase your water intake to better hydrate your body before you start!  A well-hydrated body performs much better than a dehydrated body.  Here’s an easy way to remember to hydrate.  Fill a glass of water before bedtime and put it on your nightstand.  When you wake up in the morning, drink your glass of water before getting out of bed.  That extra hydration will energize your body and help flush out toxins before you even step your feet on the ground.

These simple, everyday tips to a healthier lifestyle can be incorporated to prep and support a detox program, and will benefit anyone who is looking to make small healthy steps to lasting change.

Join Mary for her medically sound detoxification program.  Info session begins on 9/28 or you can join us online in our 21-Day Do It With US program!