Brussels-Sprouts-Pomegranate-Molasses-640x480

5 – Holiday Survival Tips

The Holiday Season is here and with that the feeling you gave up your New Year’s resolution of eating healthy long ago. So you might as well overeat and be merry and set your calendar to Jan 1st 2017 to start another diet, right? Not necessarily! Why not start a new eating and lifestyle regimen today?! Make it an early bird resolution!

Read below 5 survival tips for this Holiday season.

1. Before any Holiday shopping spree or gathering: EATEgg, Apple, Thirst quencher. EAT before you leave the house to shop or to party.

  • Egg as a good source of protein will make you satiated for longer therefore you’ll not be tempted to overeat on a basket of rolls in the restaurant, gobble up hors d’ouvres at the office party or buy more food at the market than you really need. A hard-boiled organic egg makes a great snack that is easy to carry!
  • Apple a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber will also make you satiated for longer preventing you from overeating. It is high in water content and can keep you hydrated. It is also easy to carry!
  • Thirst quencher: drink water, an unsweetened iced/hot tea, kombucha or sparkling water. They are low in calories and will keep you hydrated. A lot of times we eat thinking that we are hungry but it reality we are thirsty!

2. Stock Up with Healthy Nutritious Food. Decrease your sugar intake. The key to healthy eating is to have nutritious foods handy. We’re all going to eat when hunger strikes so have healthy foods around you in order to make healthier choices.

  • Have dried fruits, nuts and seeds handy for great nutritious snacks or bowls.
  • Raw or dry-roasted almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds add important minerals like zinc and magnesium. The last one being important for strong, healthy teeth!
  • Apples, pears, and pomegranates can make a dramatic Holiday centerpiece.

3. Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce. The latter fruits and vegetables are picked the more vitamins and minerals they will provide.

  • Add more seasonal vegetables as side dishes for this Holiday season. Pumpkin is a Holiday favorite! Butternut squash and Brussels sprouts are good choices too.

4. Add Variety to your Holiday Menu

  • Try out different recipes. Choose seasonal produce and experiment with new grains such as quinoa, faro and buckwheat. For recipes email: pontes@nutritioness.com

5. Enjoy Healthy Beverages. What you drink also counts!

  • Keep water and iced or hot tea handy. Avoid packing on the calories by drinking heavy creamy, sugar-caffeine loaded beverages.
  • Drinking water can help stave off cravings if they grab you at the wrong moment.
  • A dash of fruit juice turns plain seltzer into a refreshing spritzer.
  • Warm no sugar added apple cider brewed with cinnamon sticks is a cold-weather favorite.

Anamaria Pontes, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Nutritionist. She is available for private consultation. To receive guidance with your early New Year’s resolution and to schedule a session, please contact at 917.215.5439 or email: pontes@nutritioness.com

2016_new_years_resolution

Did you know that more than 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week in February? Will yours?

Having New Year’s resolutions seem to be an end of the year tradition. Popular ones being: Losing weight, getting healthy and fit. Chances that these resolutions were not accomplished in the past are high. But at the end of the year, good intentions are renewed! We have a sense of fresh start! After the remorse of overeating during the holiday season sets in, our intentions get stronger and more powerful!

Come the first of January resolution-ers are enthusiastic to change. They join the gym, yoga, Crossfit and try to figure out the best diet or detox out there. By the second week of February, 80 percent of those resolution-ers develop another kind of remorse: Disappointment of not sustaining their resolution. Why is that with such good intentions it all seems so elusive?

In order to achieve New Year’s resolutions of losing weight, getting healthy and fit, it takes changing behavior. We set all these resolutions but we fail to address our ability to sustain motivation and handle stress and discomfort involved in changing.

Changing behavior does not happen overnight. From December 31st to January 1st, behavior will not change as the clock hits midnight. It takes time to set in new behavior and sustain it. It takes practice, so before hitting the gym daily until second week of February, to never set foot on it again, exercise your brain to break bad habits and overcome unhealthy behavior!

How? Here are some useful tips:

  1. Set realistic goals. In my practice I saw clients setting as their new year’s resolution to stop eating sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol all together, but they have no idea what to eat instead and they tend to set themselves for failure. Saying you choose to only have one piece of cake on your kids’ birthday or yours is more realistic than saying you will never eat cake again!
  1. Develop partnerships. Be accountable to someone, to your kids, partner, a gym buddy or a health practitioner such as nutritionist. Having someone to report to, can build up your motivation to keep going. Set a game if necessary: Have a gym buddy and whoever skips training has to pay the other a movie ticket, for example. A nutritionist can coach you on how to develop and sustain healthy behavior.
  1. Replace your unhealthy behavior with a healthier one. If you are trying to cut on the 6 cups of coffee per day, for example, replace few with a cup of green tea. You are still having a break but choosing something healthier! Choosing molasses instead of refined sugar, brown rice instead of white rice or walking around your block instead of smoking a cigarette are other examples.
  1. Create challenges: Don’t allow yourself to procrastinate! Create opportunities to challenge yourself, such as: I challenge myself to write my report before watching TV. I challenge myself to go to the gym in order to enjoy my glass of wine. I challenge myself to eat more vegetables this week so I can buy myself a new piece of clothing. By creating daily challenges, you are exercising your brain to change behavior and keep yourself motivated to sustain your new year’s resolution!

Anamaria Pontes is a Registered Nutritionist. Her coaching will make sure that your resolutions do not fail by the second week of February. Anamaria will empower and guide you to develop a sound and nurturing relationship with food and physical activity! For further information or to schedule your session contact Anamaria at: pontes@nutritioness.com

 

 

 

 

Brussels-Sprouts-Pomegranate-Molasses-640x480

5 – Holiday Survival Tips

The Holiday Season is approaching and with that the feeling you gave up your New Year’s resolution of eating healthy long ago. So you might as well overeat and be merry and set your calendar to Jan 1st 2016 to start another diet, right? Not necessarily! Why not start a new eating and lifestyle regimen today?! Make it an early bird resolution!

Read below 5 survival tips for this Holiday season.

1. Before any Holiday shopping spree or gathering: EATEgg, Apple, Thirst quencher. EAT before you leave the house to shop or to party.

  • Egg as a good source of protein will make you satiated for longer therefore you’ll not be tempted to overeat on a basket of rolls in the restaurant, gobble up hors d’ouvres at the office party or buy more food at the market than you really need. A hard-boiled organic egg makes a great snack that is easy to carry!
  • Apple a good source of complex carbohydrates and fiber will also make you satiated for longer preventing you from overeating. It is high in water content and can keep you hydrated. It is also easy to carry!
  • Thirst quencher: drink water, an unsweetened iced/hot tea, kombucha or sparkling water. They are low in calories and will keep you hydrated. A lot of times we eat thinking that we are hungry but it reality we are thirsty!

2. Stock Up with Healthy Nutritious Food. Decrease your sugar intake. The key to healthy eating is to have nutritious foods handy. We’re all going to eat when hunger strikes so have healthy foods around you in order to make healthier choices.

  • Have dried fruits, nuts and seeds handy for great nutritious snacks or bowls.
  • Raw or dry-roasted almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds add important minerals like zinc and magnesium. The last one being important for strong, healthy teeth!
  • Apples, pears, and pomegranates can make a dramatic Holiday centerpiece.

3. Take Advantage of Seasonal Produce. The latter fruits and vegetables are picked the more vitamins and minerals they will provide.

  • Add more seasonal vegetables as side dishes for this Holiday season. Pumpkin is a Holiday favorite! Butternut squash and Brussels sprouts are good choices too.

4. Add Variety to your Holiday Menu

  • Try out different recipes. Choose seasonal produce and experiment with new grains such as quinoa, faro and buckwheat. For recipes email: pontes@nutritioness.com

5. Enjoy Healthy Beverages. What you drink also counts!

  • Keep water and iced or hot tea handy. Avoid packing on the calories by drinking heavy creamy, sugar-caffeine loaded beverages.
  • Drinking water can help stave off cravings if they grab you at the wrong moment.
  • A dash of fruit juice turns plain seltzer into a refreshing spritzer.
  • Warm no sugar added apple cider brewed with cinnamon sticks is a cold-weather favorite.

Anamaria Pontes, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Nutritionist. She is available for private consultation. To receive guidance with your early New Year’s resolution and to schedule a session, please contact at 917.215.5439 or email: pontes@nutritioness.com

sleep

Home remedies for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which blockage in the respiratory tract causes breathing to stop briefly while you sleep. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. Symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • Snoring
  • Attention problems
  • Dry mouth and sore throat
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Headache upon waking up

The link between sleep apnea and tooth decay: People that suffer from sleep apnea usually sleep with their mouth open, which will dry up the saliva and cause dry mouth and sore throat. Salvia is important because it has a protective effect on the teeth. It regulates the acidity of the mouth helping to protect against bacterial infection. Bacteria are present in plaque and they cause damage by releasing acids that breakdown the protective enamel of the tooth. In the absence of saliva, in the case of dry mouth, the teeth are less well protected against the bacteria that can cause tooth decay. 

The ancient healing system of Ayurveda comes to the rescue offering some simple home remedies to tackle sleep apnea.

  • Black pepper powder is used to treat respiratory blockages. Drink before bedtime while hot: One glass of hot water with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 teaspoon of honey, mixed well.
  • Cinnamon powder helps to open blockages that cure sleep apnea. Mix well 3 teaspoons with hot water. Drink it at anytime during the day. You can also make a paste of 3 teaspoons of cinnamon powder mixed well with 1 tablespoon of water. Apply this paste in the forehead, chest or any other area that you feel congested.
  • Nasyam (nasal drops) is an Ayurvedic treatment used for sleep apnea. It lubricates the nose, cleanses the sinuses and alleviates headaches and allergies symptoms. It also delays aging and improves voice, vision, and mental clarity. Our nose is the door to the brain, so nasal drops nourishes prana (life force) and brings on intelligence. I recommend Nasya Oil from Banyan Botanicals. Follow the steps below in order to benefit from this amazing Ayurvedic treatment:
  1. In the morning lying face up, head back by lifting the chin up, apply 2 drops of room temperature coconut or Nasya oil, into each nostril.
  2. Sniff it and breath in.
  3. Close right nostril inhale and exhale, close left nostril inhale and exhale
  4. Turn the head to the right inhale and exhale, turn to opposite side inhale and exhale.
  5. Don’t swallow mouth content. Spit it out. Gargle with water 3 times then spit it out.
  • Breathing exercises also called Pranayama can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. The breathing exercises strengthen and tone the upper airway muscles making you to breath easily. It also reduces stress and frees the mind from negativity. Start this practice under the guidance of a well-trained yoga instructor or schedule a consultation with me so we can go over the best technique for you.
  • Achieve your proper body weight by eating healthy! Obesity is a common cause for the onset of the condition. Eat a balance diet with whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice and millet, lean organic protein, a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and omega 3 rich foods such as turmeric, wild-caught salmon and flaxseeds that contain anti-inflammatory properties. Eat 4-5 walnuts per day as they improve breathing
  • Be physically active! Since obesity is a common cause of sleep apnea, losing the extra pounds can manage the condition. Be more physically active! Walking for 30 minutes or three short walks of 10 minutes per day is a good start for beginners. Dancing, swimming or jogging are also fun ways to slim down!  
  • Hydrate yourself! Drink enough water, preferably at room temperature and/or caffeine free tea, throughout the day. This habit will prevent blockages and nasal obstruction. Different people have different fluid needs, generally 2 liters is a good amount for most people.
  • Avoid: White sugar and highly processed foods, such as sugary cereals, cookies and sodas. These foods make you put on weight and are usually calorie empty (they provide calories but no nutrition). Obesity, as said, is a common cause for the onset of sleep apnea.
  • Lavender: In a tea form or in your bath, this herb will help you to sleep better because of its calming effect. For the tea use 1 tbsp of dried or fresh buds into a cup of hot water using a reusable tea bag. For a relaxing bath add ¼ cup of dried lavender flowers to your bathtub. You can also use few drops of lavender essential oil mixed with 1 tbsp of carrier oil, such as coconut oil or your favorite lotion, for a relaxing self-massage.

Not sleeping properly can make you feel lethargic and miserable during the day instead of feeling your best! Schedule a consultation with me and we can go over your unique nutritional needs, which can help you to achieve your normal body weight, have more energy and a more restful night sleep. These practices will make you feel energized to do the things that makes you happy!

The instructions are not medical treatments, and no diagnosis will be made. The services provided are therapeutic, yet they are not replacement of any physician’s care when indicated.  

Anamaria Pontes is a Registered Nutritionist and Ayurveda Therapist. She will empower and guide you to develop a sound and nurturing relationship with food and physical activity in order to achieve optimal health. Anamaria integrates the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda,Western Medical Nutrition Therapy and fitness. Her counseling supports longevity and will advise you on how to restore vitality and realize enduring well-being. 

pontes@nutritioness.com
917.215.5439

ayurveda

Ayurveda, my perspective

In India, while furthering my knowledge and practice of Ayurveda, I was invited to write an article about my perspective and experience of this ancient healing system. It was published into their newsletter, Siddhar Neri Karutharangam and given to all the conference’s attendants on January, 8th 2015. It was very satisfying to contribute to their work on continuing informing people about the healing powers of Ayurveda and Siddha Medicine. I am thankful to my guru, Dr. Sundar for this opportunity. 

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cardamom

Benefits of cardamom for a healthy smile!

At Holistic Dentists, Dr. Lewis Gross and his staff focus on patients’ total wellbeing, not just isolated problems. Nutrition is no exception. It plays an important role on a healthy mouth and total wellbeing. As their nutritionist, I want to share the benefits of cardamom for a healthy smile: 

Cardamom is an exotic and fragrant Indian spice used in many of their dishes including sweets. It is the third most expensive herb, being saffron and vanilla the other two. Many may think that this herb’s only purpose is to add aroma and fragrance to culinary. However the cardamom delivers many health benefits. The most important types of this herb are: Green, black, brown and ground cardamom. The green cardamom being the highest in quality you can find.

This article emphasizes on the benefits of cardamom to a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile! 

The benefits of cardamom:

  • Improves digestion. It is used to treat heartburn relieving from acidity in the stomach preventing acid reflux, which can damage the teeth’s enamel.
  • Aids on healing mouth ulcers, sore mouth and throat because of its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties.
  • Prevents infection and heals gum and teeth because of its antiseptic and antimicrobial actions.
  • Improves bleeding gums condition because of its vitamin C content. The deficiency of this vitamin is linked to bleeding gums.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties that limit pain and swelling, especially in mucus membranes, the mouth, and throat.
  • It is a good source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Important minerals for strong teeth and bones. Strong teeth will be less likely to suffer decay.
  • Increases saliva and prevents bad breath. When you chew on a cardamom pod it increasing saliva flow helping to cleanse the teeth. Increased saliva flow works as carrier of important minerals to remineralize the teeth.
  • Has an antispasmodic action so it is used to treat muscular spasms. It can be beneficial to relief symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. People suffering from TMJ experience increased pain and discomfort when the musculature around the jaw spasms.
  • Increases the saliva pH because it is an alkaline forming food. Saliva is a medium, which bathes and carries nutrition to teeth. It is super-saturated with calcium and phosphate at an alkaline pH of 7.
  • Helps to release toxins from the body. A body with fewer toxins is slightly more alkaline. Bacteria cannot thrive in an alkaline environment, less bacteria in the mouth means less cavities and less tooth decay.
  • Contains powerful antioxidants that can help combat cancer such as oral cancer.
  • It augments the amount of glutathione in the system. Glutathione, being a powerful antioxidant can naturally detox mercury in the body. The secret of its power is the sulfur chemical groups it contains. Sulfur is a sticky, smelly molecule. It acts like fly paper and all the bad things in the body stick onto it, including free radicals and toxins like mercury and other heavy metals.
  • Cardamom essential oil is often added as an ingredient in some lip balms to impart its taste and to make lips smooth.

Cardamom should be an essential spice on your cupboard that will add an exotic flavor to beverages and bland dishes along with many health benefits! Here are some examples on how to use this aromatic spice: 

  • Tea prepared from 1 teaspoon of freshly crushed cardamom seeds or couple bruised cardamom pods, infused in 1 cup boiled water for 10-15 minutes will warm you up in the cold weather. Strain it before serving.
  • Boil organic grass-fed milk or almond milk with couple bruised pods of cardamom for a warm and relaxing experience that can induce sleep. Strain it before serving it.
  • Add 2-3 pinches of cardamom powder per cup of coffee. It neutralizes the effect of caffeine.
  • Add 1-2 pinches of cardamom powder to your favorite smoothies for an extra edge.
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cardamom to your rice pudding or tiramisu recipe.
  • Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of cardamom to your favorite baking recipes, such as banana bread or muffin. Just add the spice when you are mixing in the rest of the dry ingredients for a rich flavor in the finished loaf. Adjust quantity according to taste preference.
  • Sprinkle cardamom powder on baked or steamed fruits. It goes very well with steamed apple slices.
  • Add few pods of cardamom to a casserole dish will give a lamb, chicken or vegetable casserole an extra zing.
  • Add a couple of bruised cardamom pods when boiling your rice for a subtle flavor that goes very well with curries and vegetable dishes.
  • Be courageous and add a couple of bruised cardamom pods to your favorite soup recipe for a lovely, warm and rich flavor.  
  • Pop a cardamom pod into your mouth and chew it for its many benefits and a fresher breath! 

The recommendations above do not replace a visit to the dentist!
Visit Holistic Dentists for comprehensive holistic dentistry.
Schedule a consultation with me at Holistic Dentists for more tips and an individualized program to improve your mouth and overall health!
Learn more at: www.holistic-dentists.com

Holistic Dentists
17 Park Place
New York, NY 10007

Special Precautions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Cardamom seems to be safe for pregnant and breast-feeding women in food amounts. But larger medicinal amounts should be avoided until more is known.

Gallstones: Do not take cardamom in amounts greater than those typically found in food if you have gallstones. The cardamom seed can trigger gallstone colic (spasmodic pain).

Anamaria Pontes, MS, RD, CDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Ayurveda Therapist
917.215.5439

carnival blog

Fall and Early Winter Season Guidelines for Balanced Health

I’m so excited to be sharing this post with you today as part of the Women’s Holistic Health Blog Tour hosted by Vivinne (Kala) Williams from YogaBlissDance.com. Each participant whether yoga teacher, healer, herbalist, has an expertise and shares their tips on how women can maintain their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

Read yesterdays awesome post “How to treat yourself like a loved one | Women’s Holistic Health Blog Tour” by Emily Burrows:   http://www.emilyburrows.com/#!How-to-treat-yourself-like-a-loved-one-Womens-Holistic-Health-Blog-Tour/ci4x/BF2F43BC-0A66-48C9-8D97-C618392E6F6A and tomorrows article: “A Loving-Kindness Practice for Women” by Vivinne (Kala) Williams, Yoga teacher/massage therapist

Fall and Early Winter Season Guidelines for Balanced Health

Ayurveda, the science of living is an ancient healing system originated in India. In Ayurveda, everything is composed of five elements: air, space, fire, water and earth. These elements are described in a simplified form as three vital energies, also known as doshas. Each dosha is a combination of two elements: Vata (air + space), Pitta (water + fire), Kapha (water + earth). In Ayurveda doshas are described by their qualities.

Ayurveda recommendations during fall, a Vata Season:

The seasons of the year have their own qualities, knowing these qualities can empower you to prevent unfavorable changes that can affect your health.
Fall and early winter are windy, dry, rough, cool, subtle and erratic. Vata shares the same qualities. It is also mobile as the wind, dry, rough, cool, subtle and erratic. Because they share the same qualities, fall and early winter are considered to be a Vata season. In the Ayurvedic principles like increases like, so during the fall/early winter season Vata can easily become unbalanced or not in equilibrium within your unique constitution. Regardless of which elements are most predominant in your constitution, the elements of Vata: air and space are at some degree still present in your body and they can be increased during the fall/early winter season creating an imbalance in your constitution that could affect your health. There are few simple steps to balance Vata during the fall/early winter. Some of these steps we already instinctively follow. At summer time we tend to eat more raw foods such as salads and fruits which are refreshing and appropriated for the summer season, during the fall/early winter season we crave for more hearty, grounding vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash. These foods naturally overcome the dry, light, and erratic nature of the fall/early winter by bringing to your body more grounding and nourishing energies. It is important to make eating and lifestyle choices that counter the effects of each season in order to maintain an internal sense of equilibrium year around.

The knowledge of Ayurveda teaches us that a dosha is increased by those experiences that have similar qualities and decreased by opposite qualities. Therefore, if Vata season is dry, rough, cool, subtle and erratic it will be less aggravated if you incorporate more practices that bring warmth, nourishment, oiliness, and grounding energies to your diet and lifestyle. The following general recommendations are good to be followed during the fall season by most people. If you know your unique constitution you can tailor a more precise routine to favor your Ayurvedic doshic type.

Women and the Vata Season

According to Ayurveda, Vata is the cause of most disease in the body due to its unstable qualities. This is seen in reproductive and hormonal problems. Menstrual, pre-menstrual, pre-menopausal and post-menopausal problems are signs of a Vata imbalance, even if Vata is not predominant in your constitution. Menstrual disturbances such as pain, discomfort and emotional swings are due to a Vata imbalance and should not be accepted as normal. Menopause as the fall season is a time of transition a time of letting the need to do and achieve go, a period of wisdom and grace and should not be seen as a difficult time. If you are experiencing menstrual or menopausal problems, your Vata could be out of balance. During the Vata season symptoms could be exacerbated so follow the recommendations below and notice if symptoms ameliorate. Shatavari root is an amazing herb to take when experiencing menstrual disturbances. It cools the body; strengthens and nourishes the reproductive organs. It promotes vitality and rejuvenation and maintains a healthy production of female hormones. It also supports the menopausal transition. Contact me for dosage information. Since there is no one way that disease will manifest schedule a consultation with me to find out your dosha constitution and investigate any doshic imbalance.

Diet during Vata Season

Nutrition is an important way to keep you constitution in balance throughout the year. During fall/early winter season choose foods that are nourishing and grounding such as:

  • Fruits: Apples (steamed), avocado, bananas, dates, lemons, limes, mangos, oranges, papaya, soaked prunes, soaked raisins.
  • Vegetables: Beets, carrots, chilies, garlic, okra, onions, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potato.
  • Hearty grains: Amaranth, basmati and brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat.
  • Legumes: Kidney beans, black lentil, miso, mung beans, tur dal, urad dal.
  • Nuts and seeds
  • High quality protein: Organic eggs, organic chicken and turkey, grass fed beef, duck, wild-caught fish, venison and bone broth.
  • Omega 3: fatty fish like salmon and mackerel and turmeric.
  • Healthy oils: Ghee (clarified butter), olive, safflower, and sesame.
  • Vitamin D: Ghee and cod liver oil.
  • Sweeteners: Molasses, raw honey and raw sugar.

All spices are good for Vata season. Experience with them in your cooking. My favorite ones are: Cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, rosemary and turmeric. Avoid raw cold foods, during the fall season foods should be lightly cooked, moistened and served warm. Have regular meal times and drink plenty of fluids, preferably teas, throughout the day.

Lifestyle Practices during Vata Season

  • Establish a daily routine and get into the habit of doing the same things around the same time of the day.
  • Going to bed by 10pm will guarantee that you get enough rest before dawn.
  • Do a self-massage using organic sesame or coconut oil. Add one drop of lavender oil for a more relaxing experience. Oiling is very beneficial to counteract the dryness experienced in the Vata season.
  • Steam bath and humidifiers can be beneficial in order to preserve internal moisture.
  • Practice gentle yoga preferably in the early morning an evening hours.
  • Practice 10-15 minutes of meditation daily.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the colder weather outside. Wear a hat or a scarf to cover your head and ears from the wind and cold. If your hands are usually cold, wear gloves when outside.
  • Stay away from drafts, loud noise and negativity.

 Powerful Herbs for Vata Season Support

  • Ashwagandha: Promotes sound sleep, relieves stress and supports the nervous system. Contact me for dosage information.
  • Triphala: Promotes proper elimination. Contact me for dosage information.
  • Cumin, coriander and fennel. Make a tea using ¼ teaspoon of each in order to improve digestion.
  • Ginger: Add to soups, sauces and tea. It promotes digestion and warmth.
  • Licorice: It can also help to promote digestion and warmth.

The above recommendations will help to keep you grounded and bring a sense of stability through the Vata season! Remember to enjoy this wonderful season as we watch leaves fall to the ground we can reflect that fall is a time of transition, to letting things go and to practice getting out of the way and letting the higher force to take charge of our lives.

Anamaria Pontes, MS, RD, CDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Ayurveda Therapist
www.nutritioness.com
917.215.5439

apple

Alkaline Forming Diet

 

Picture_Alkaline_chart

One apple a day can keep…the dentist away! Apple is an alkaline forming food. The typical Western/American diet is acid forming. Americans aiming for better health need to eat more alkaline forming foods. So what are alkaline and acid forming foods? I will get to it but first let’s understand about pH. A neutral pH is 7.0 anything below it is acidic and anything above it is considered alkaline.

Different parts of our bodies have different pH ranges. The pH of the stomach is acidic because of its digestive acids, which will breakdown food particles and digest them, while the pH of blood is slight alkaline at 7.35. Any shift in the blood pH and the body will use its mechanisms to bring it back into balance.

Dr. Gross, the director at Holistic Dentists at Tribeca is known as a pioneer in alternative and integrative dentistry. He focuses on providing dental care that is beneficial to overall health. Observing his patients dental health and using the saliva test strips at his office, he has noticed that overall his patients tend to have acidic saliva. The saliva closely parallels the blood when it comes to pH, normal blood pH is 7.35 and normal saliva pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.0. Acid forming foods such as refined sugar and white flour, alcohol, red meat among others and some lifestyle practices like stress, negativity, tobacco and excessive medication can make our saliva and body slightly acidic. With that in mind Dr. Gross invited me to become part of his integrated practice to provide counseling on how to heal and prevent cavities with nutrition. I also provide nutrition counseling on periodontal disease, heavy metal detox, and alkaline forming diet.

One of the amazing things our bodies are capable of doing is to bring our blood pH back into balance at all costs. Here is how it does it: When you eat or drink an acid forming food or beverage the body needs to neutralize it and bring its blood pH back to normal range, so it asks for help from other body systems. Teeth and bones are made of minerals that are alkaline like calcium and magnesium. When your blood is slightly acidic the body will leach out these important minerals from your teeth and bones back to the blood stream to balance the blood pH. It is a great mechanism so there is not a drastic drop in the blood pH, which can lead to coma and death. However over time this can cause teeth and bones to become weaker and tooth decay and osteoporosis to set in. When your body has been dealing with this scenario for too long it will also be slightly acidic, a perfect environment for cancer cells to grow and thrive.

Americans aiming for better dental and overall health need to eat more alkaline forming foods, which also provides more tooth forming minerals. If your blood is too alkaline it is also out of balance and other illness can arise. The key here is to keep it in balance. So what are alkaline and acid forming foods? Alkaline forming food is a food item that can be acidic in nature such as lime but it turns to be alkaline after digestion. On the other hand an acid forming food is a food item that can be alkaline in nature but it turns to be acidic after digestion, such as red meat.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms below your body could be slightly acidic.

  • Constant fatigue
  • Frequent sighing
  • Constant acidic saliva
  • Easily running out of breath
  • Often feeling like you cannot get enough air
  • Muscle pain or cramping after walking short distances

You can also test the pH of your saliva using pH test strips. Normal saliva pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.0. Foods that were recently eaten can interfere with pH readings so test one hour before or two hours after eating. Do not wash your mouth with anything else as this will simply record the alkalinity of the water or liquid you have just used. If your saliva pH is consistently at 6.5 or below, your body could be slightly acidic. If it consistently reads above 7.0, it could be slightly alkaline.

In order to correct a slightly acidic body, aim for a healthy diet of 75% of alkaline forming foods and 25% of acid forming foods! Follow the list provided. Keep it in mind that stress, negativity and tobacco increases acidity. On the other hand, physical activity, breathing exercise, meditation and positive thinking can bring your body pH back into balance!

Holistic Dentists has a less invasive, more holistic and integrated approach to treat your dental issues. Its dentistry uses mercury and BPA free procedures and integrates other disciplines, such as cranio-sacral therapy and nutrition. If you are due for a cleaning or you have another dental issue, Holistic Dentists is the place to take care of you. The well trained dentists, the nice ambience and the super friendly staff will make you forget, you are on a dentist office!

Holistic Dentists is located at 17 Park Place in Tribeca
212-732-2200.
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Plants. So many plants.

Ayurveda comes to the rescue to beat seasonal allergies

After a long harsh winter season all we want is to enjoy the weather outside. But how can that be possible when we experience endless sneezing, sinus congestion and a stuffy head? These are all signs that pollen and pollution are creating an allergy reaction. Many find relief on over-the-counter drugs and many do not. Besides over-the-counter drugs are associated with some unwanted side effects. Antihistamines are associated with drowsiness, dizziness, stomach problems, dry mouth, nose and throat. Nasal corticosteroids can cause headache, nausea, nasal dryness and irritation and long-term use can cause fungal infections of the throat.

Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge), one of the world’s oldest medical systems, that aims for balance in nutrition and lifestyle practices. Ayurveda has a holistic approach to improve or eliminate your allergy symptoms that is natural and also cheap! Follow the steps below for a misery-free spring season:

  • Neti Pot is part of Kriyas, a yogic practice that cleanses and purifies the internal organs and energy channels. This technique is used to clean your nasal passageways:
    • Warm up some distilled water until it is lukewarm, add a pinch of the neti salt to the lukewarm water, and mix it until the salt is dissolved. Usually the neti salts come with a measuring scoop
    • Add the lukewarm water with the neti salt to the neti pot
    • Over a sink turn your head sideways and place the neti pot into your nostril. The key here is to relax and allow the water to flow through one nostril to the opposite one, some may go down your throat, do not panic, just spit it out
    • Repeat to the opposite nostril

The water might not flow easily, which can be due to a blockage in the nasal passageway of inflammatory material. Relax and try it once more, you will be glad you did! Place the neti pot into your nostril once again and inhale slightly through the same nostril allowing the water to flow upward, with some patience it will flow to the opposite nostril. Switch to the other side. Beginners can use half the pot for each nostril; eventually you will be able to do an entire pot for each nostril. Keep your neti pot clean and sanitized to avoid microorganisms’ growth.

  • Nasyam Oil is an ayurvedic practice that helps to lubricate the nose, and cleanse sinuses. It treats allergies, headache, and asthma. It also improves vision and hearing; it prevents premature graying of hair, early skin wrinkles and degeneration of brain cells. It also delays aging. In other words it is an amazing practice that brings many health benefits!
    • Lying face up, head back by lifting the chin up, apply 4 drops of sesame, sunflower, coconut oil or anu thailam (also an oil), into each nostril
    • Sniff it and breath in and out
    • Close right nostril inhale and exhale, close left nostril inhale and exhale
    • Turn the head to the right inhale and exhale, turn to opposite side inhale and exhale. Don’t swallow mouth content. Spit it out
    • Stand up and gargle with water 3 times then spit it out

The coconut oil should be liquid consistency; to warm it, place few drops in a tablespoon and bring it to candlelight until warm to touch. Do not use hot oil!

Our nose is the door to the brain, so nasal drops nourishes prana (life force) and brings on intelligence. Sesame oil is better for Vata dosha (constitution), sunflower and coconut oil for Pitta dosha and calamus root oil is better for Kapha dosha. The practice of pranayama (breathing exercises) also cleanses the nasal passageways. Choose a pranayama practice according to your dosha. Find out your dosha through an Ayurveda assessment, part of my nutrition assessment and plan.

  • Healthy eating. Follow a healthy diet in order to enhance your immune system and protect you from an allergy reaction from pollen and pollution. Add plenty of vegetables and some fruits to your daily eating habits in order to meet you vitamin C daily needs, this vitamin is an antioxidant that increases the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. Vitamin C is also a histamine inhibitor. Histamine activates the inflammatory response in allergy reactions.
  • Raw local honey. 2 tablespoons per day. Make sure the honey is RAW to guarantee it contains all the living enzymes needed to protect your body from a histamine reaction. Make sure it is also LOCAL, which means that the honey is harvested nearby where the same sorts of plants are blooming. 

According to Ayurveda, allergies are related to digestion so improving you digestion means improving your allergy symptoms. Below is a list of foods that slows down digestion and produces excessive sinuses mucus, both contributors to your allergy symptoms:

  • Milk and dairy products including cheese and ice cream
  • Oily foods, such as doughnuts
  • Fried foods
  • Cold beverages
  • Leftovers
  • Foods cooked or reheated in a microwave

Eat foods that will expel toxins from the body, like bitter greens (arugula, collard greens, kales, and watercress), and spices like cinnamon, garlic, ginger and pepper. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water through out the day, one sip at the time! Make sure the water is at room temperature. Spice it up with chunks of ginger and/ or the juice of a lemon or lime. Tea is also a great way to increase your fluid intake.

Note: Your hair can collect pollen when you are outside. Wash you hair before going to bed to avoid pollen to fall into your pillow, which can result in an allergy reaction by you inhaling it during the night.

The recommendations above can be done daily. Either one of them may bring relief to your allergy symptoms but a combination of them all can help stop your allergy now and from returning next year!

Bring your health into balance by discovering your dosha type, also known as your constitution, through an Ayurvedic analysis.

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioness, which will empower and guide you to develop a sound and nurturing relationship with food and physical activity in order to achieve optimal health. Nutritioness integrates the ancient knowledge of Ayurveda, Western medical nutrition therapy, and fitness. My counseling guides individuals to restore and maintain vitality and supports longevity. Please follow me here for periodical posts on nutrition, fitness and wellness!

 

 

 

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The anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties of Turmeric

Turmeric is the root of the Curcuma longa plant. It is an India spice from the ginger family. Turmeric is recognized for its bright yellow color, giving curry powder its particular hue. It has also been used to add color and taste to commercial mustard, butter and cheeses.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and potentially slow down the signs of aging. Free radicals can damage the DNA, cell membrane and even cause cell death, therefore increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Curcumin benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Thus it has protective properties against various inflammatory diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, atherosclerosis, dermatitis, and colitis.
  • Antimicrobial: For centuries in India turmeric has been applied to minor cuts for its antiseptic properties. Bruises and bumps are also treated with turmeric in order to reduce swelling and inflammation. A great home remedy to aid sports injury healing: Mix turmeric with water to form a paste and apply to the wound. Be aware, that applying turmeric for long periods of time can cause a yellow discoloration of the skin that may be difficult to remove.
  • Anticarcinogenic: Lately curcumin has gained much attention for its chemopreventive* properties.

* Chemoprevention is the use of medications, vitamins, or other substances in the diet, such as antioxidants, to prevent, suppress or delay the development of cancer.

Animal research demonstrates that curcumin inhibits the three stages of carcinogenesis: initiation, promotion and progression of cancer. More research is being conducted to test the same effects in humans, and so far these studies strongly support that curcumin’s antioxidant properties, inhibit tumor development, growth or metastasis in humans.

Recommended dosage for adults:

  • Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
  • Dried, powdered root (ground): 1 – 3 g per day
  • Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
  • Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
  • Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day

Incorporate turmeric to your home cooking, in your favorite recipes, to add color, flavor and health benefits!

Recipes:

  • Add 1-2 tbsp of ground turmeric or cut root to your favorite soup recipe. Cook as directed.
  • Drink turmeric tea. Bring four cups of water to boil, add 1 tsp of ground turmeric, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, add lemon, ginger, or honey to taste.
  • Steam your vegetable of choice, such as cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, or yam. Add 1 tbsp of safflower oil and 1 tsp of ground turmeric to a saucer, then lightly sauté them. Add salt to taste. It will taste wonderful!

People who are allergic to ginger or yellow food colorings are more likely to be allergic to turmeric.
Consult your doctor if you are taking any blood thinner medication before taking turmeric, since it can make the effect of the drug stronger and increase your risk of bleeding.