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Here are answers for only a few questions I hear regarding shopping locally, reading labels, and shopping for organic foods. Why do people need to use local farmers’ markets?

When you buy local you are choosing food that is closer to the date of picking and therefore higher in nutrients than foods that came from a greater distance.  Also, many organic farmers don’t want to or can’t afford to pay the fees for their produce to be certified organic, so you have to ask them.  Talk with them to find out about their farming practices and whether or not they use pesticides.  Most farmers will also advertise where their farms are located.

What should I look for on food labels?

This is a loaded question but here are a few answers.

Whole grains: look for the word “whole” in the ingredients list before grains like wheat and look for at least three grams of fiber per serving.

Fats: The nutrient list should say “0 trans fat,” the fat that raises the risk of heart disease.  Check the ingredient list as well for partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated fats, also forms of trans fat.  Take special care when purchasing “low fat” foods and look for artificial sweeteners.

Sugars: Aside from dairy products, aim for less than 10 grams per serving, the lower the better.  Take special care when shopping for “low fat” foods and check the label for artificial sweeteners.  Many manufacturers will add sugar or artificial sweeteners on reduced fat products.  These products should be avoided.  Go for the full fat versions instead, unless they contain trans fats.

Sodium: Avoid products with more than 480 milligrams per serving.

Which organic foods are most important to buy to avoid pesticides and additives like hormones?

Organic fruits and vegetables should top your list, particularly those where you eat the skin like berries, greens, and summer squash. Aim to buy organic dairy, meat, and chicken to avoid the added antibiotics and hormones.  Whenever possible buy locally; not only has a lot of energy been expended to get that organic apple from Ecuador to you, but the apple has also lost a lot more nutrients en route than a local organic one picked the same week you buy it.


When I speak to people about dietary habits I find for the most part there are about 20 foods that consistently make up 80 percent of a persons diet throughout the year.  It’s summer now, time to switch things up again.   Look for these foods on your next shopping adventure. Buffalo is grass-fed, which means you are getting a better balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Most often you will find it as ground meat or in patties but you may find steaks at quality butchers and farmers' markets.  The meat is much leaner than beef but has many of the same characteristics.

100% pomegranate juice with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids may slow aging and lower heart disease risk.  Adding small amounts to water is a refreshing way to enjoy the juice and may help you increase your water intake.

Bulgur Wheat is the spine of tabouli salad.  Follow package directions, and then toss with a little olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, and parsley.  It’s a great base for many fresh summer salads.  Add a variety of fresh chopped vegetables for a cooling side salad or snack.

Asian noodles like soba or buckwheat are high in fiber, and their rich stores of flavonoids may lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.  I love them in the summer because they make for great cold salads.

Fennel bulb is an aromatic vegetable high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium.  Slice it very thin and add to salads.

In Season: Pineapple

Although pineapple is available year-round, it’s peak season runs from March through July.  Aside from the irresistible taste, there are some healthy reasons to indulge in this flavorful fruit.  It’s a great source of vitamin C, which protects from heart disease, cancer, and cataracts: it contains manganese, which helps keep your bones strong.  Pineapple is also a good source of bromelian, a natural anti-inflammatory that is helpful for addressing the symptoms of sinusitis, gout, arthritis, swelling and bruising.  Plus, pineapple contains an enzyme that helps relieve indigestion; making it a dessert your tummy will appreciate. One cup of raw pieces weighs in at 76 calories, 1.9 grams of fiber, .6 grams of protein, .7 grams of fat (none of it saturated), 2.0 milligrams of sodium, and no cholesterol.

For both flavor and health benefits, fresh is best when it comes to pineapples.  Select one that is heavy for its size and a sweet tropical aroma at the stem end.  It should have a strong color and be slightly soft to the touch, with crisp, dark green leaves.  Signs of over ripeness are yellow or brown tipped leaves as well as soft or dark areas on the skin.

Cut it up and store in an airtight container with some of its own juice for a healthy treat.  If you are unable to use it within 3 days, freeze for use in blended drinks.

Suggestions for eating:

Eat it plain.

Kebob it:  Thread fresh pineapple chunks on skewers with meat and veggies for grilling.

Add wedges or chinks to all types of salads- fruit, tossed green, chicken, and tuna to name just a few.

Grill or broil pineapple slices for a great burger topping or dessert.

Use it in relishes and serve with simply prepared chicken and pork dishes.  See my Mango Pineapple Salsa Recipe.

Take leftover rice or other hearty grain and pan fry with pineapple

Conscious Eating

One of the things I enjoyed about my trip to Paris was taking on a different lifestyle for a while and absorbing the local customs.  Part of which included quiet, slow, relaxing meals.  Parisians and Americans do not have the same social habits surrounding food.  For instance, I observed that Parisians never eat while they are walking.  They don’t even drink a cup of coffee on the go.  Only once did I see someone eating on the metro and it was an overweight woman eating some sort of gummy candy.  The only thing they might eat while walking is a small chunk of bread from a baguette.  I didn’t observe any home environments, but in restaurants people really took their time.  And your waiter will never ask if you would like your check because it’s considered rude or pushy.  People sit, chat, observe, and eat their meals slowly.  There must be something to this way of eating, as their diets are not particularly healthy (at least not to our standards), yet only a very small portion of their population is overweight or obese. Compared to the French, American’s dine in very odd ways.  Standing up at the kitchen counter, driving a car, on the subway, discussing business deals, watching television, reading a magazine, going through the mail, searching the net, and playing video games are just a few.  Be honest with yourself.  How many times during a week do you eat while doing something else?  It’s unfortunate that eating is no longer viewed as an activity in and of itself.  What most people don’t realize is that while we eat food, we are also assimilating energetically whatever else is going on around us.  During eating, the body is an open and receiving mode, and we take in more than just the vitamins and nutrients in our meal.  We also absorb what is happening in the environment around us.  If we eat in an ugly, noisy, neon lit room, the energy of that space is going to affect us. If we eat quietly in a beautiful park or by the ocean, we will also absorb the positive qualities of those surroundings.  When eating with other people, we absorb their moods, their laughter, their complaints and their busy minds.

Many Americans suffer from a range of digestive disorders, from acid reflux to irritable bowel syndrome and more. Often these conditions take a long time to develop, so don’t think that you are immune if your are not experiencing these problems. These conditions are connected not just to what we eat, but how we eat it.  Our bodies have sensors that connect our guts to our brains and our five senses.  When these sensors are triggered, they get our digestive juices flowing, helping us to properly process our food.  These sensors tell us when we have had enough to eat, so we don’t overload our systems.  But when we eat too fast, on the run or under stress, these sensors don’t have enough time to go off.  Our bodies are unable to rev up and prepare for digestion.  By the time our brains get the message that we are getting full, we’ve already scarfed down a huge meal and moved on to our next activity.  As a result, our bodies barely recognize that we have eaten, even though there is plenty of food in our stomachs.  I’m sure you’ve had this experience.  For example, many of us eat while sitting in front of a computer and wonder why we feel hungry an hour later, and some of us will then eat more.  This overeating can overwhelm the body and aside from adding on weight can eventually lead to chronic conditions.

The body likes to be relaxed, inactive and in a peaceful environment when assimilating food.  The body doesn’t want to be in a tense “fight or flight” mode, alert for danger and unexpected events.  In this heightened state, the heart beats faster, and blood goes to the center of the body.  Proper assimilation of the nutrients in food is essential to health, and if we want this assimilation to take place, we need to be calmer like you would be if you were to sit down for a relaxed meal.

Another aspect of healthy eating is to eat with all your senses.  We need to see our food, smell it, and spend time enjoying it.  People used to enjoy food by eating dinner together.  This traditional daily ritual had a binding effect on the family as a unit.  Sharing meals made the family more cohesive.  This mindset is rapidly changing.  In some families, each member will eat dinner at a different time, sometimes even all at home, but at different times.

Whether you are single or part of a family unit, experiment with ways to eat in a calmer, quieter, more loving way.  Maybe you can organize your family to eat a home cooked meal together once a week.  Notice the difference this makes in your energy and connection with your family and your food.  Try simple rituals to make mealtime special, like eating off your good plates, lighting a candle, listening to soothing music, or saying a blessing before your meal.  If you tend to eat at your desk at work, try to change this habit.  Try simply going into a different room to eat, or better yet eating outside.  Look for a co-worker whose company you enjoy and set a date to eat with them.  Be creative and discover what you can do to bring your body into a more relaxed state during your meals.  It could make a very big difference to your long term overall health.

I want to talk a bit about the importance of chewing in conjunction to conscious eating.  Most people use a fork like a shovel, putting the next bite in before they have finished the previous one.  It’s part of your fast paced culture.  Aside from missing the enjoyment of a long, relaxing meal, eating quickly can be detrimental to our health.  Digestion actually begins with the chewing process.  If you think about your stomach working to break down every little bit of food you put into your mouth, it makes sense that the more you break it down in the chewing process, the easier the digestion process will be.  If your food is not properly broken down before entering the esophagus, it can remain undigested and cause bacteria overgrowth in the intestines.  In addition, the action of chewing and the resulting production of saliva both send a message to the stomach, intestines and entire gastrointestinal system that the digestion process has begun.  These organs can then prepare for their digestion tasks and keep the body in balance.

Chewing also makes food more enjoyable.  The sweet flavor of plant foods is released only after they have been chewed thoroughly.  Complex carbohydrates start breaking down in the mouth by and enzyme in saliva known as amylase.  It is only by chewing the carbohydrate rich foods thoroughly and mixing them with amylase that we can taste all of their natural sweetness.  Therefore, this sweet flavor becomes a reward for chewing.

I don’t have a recommended amount of times that you should chew a bite, but in general I do recommend putting down your fork or utensils in between each bite to help you focus on the food in your mouth.  Once you are done chewing, then you can take your next bite.  It can be difficult to focus on chewing when eating with others, so try eating on your own and focus on fully chewing each bite.  Turn off the TV, resist the urge to read and really focus on your eating experience. Use all your senses.  You’ll see that it takes you longer to eat your meal, but that you get full faster.  Another useful tip to help people slow down is to try eating with chopsticks since you can only pick up a limited amount of food with them, and it can be a fun eating adventure.  ld like a check, it’s considered rude or pushy.  People sit, chat, observe, and eat their meals slowly.  And even though they have a fairly high fat diet, there are very few overw

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the ???

Should you eat before your work out? Is it better to exercise on an empty stomach so that you tap into your fat stores and burn them away?  What if you have a sensitive stomach?  Should it be carbohydrates or protein or both?  The bottom line is that when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods before exercise, you will perform better, both mentally and physically, during the workout.  The question then becomes, what works best for your body Got a Sensitive Stomach?

If so, choose low-fiber and low-fat foods before exercise as they are easier to digest.  Also, try to eat at least one hour before beginning your workout.  Avoid foods like peanut butter and high-fiber cereals before your workout.  Fat and fiber hold food in the stomach longer, and with your sensitive stomach, you want the food that you eat to be digested and out of your gut when you start exercise.  Some good low-fat, low-fiber options are:  Banana, low-fat yogurt, and whole wheat English muffin.

Trying to Burn Fat?

While it’s true that exercise on an empty stomach allows you to burn fat during exercise, this does not translate to a reduction in body fat.  When the body is burning fat for fuel during exercise, it inevitably means that you are working out at a lower intensity.  What does that mean?  It means that you are burning fewer calories per minute of exercise.

To really blast through fat stores, you need to be in the carbohydrate-burning zone.  When your body is using carbohydrate to fuel exercise, it means that you are burning more calories per minute.  If  carbohydrate is not available, your intensity drops, both physically and mentally.  Therefore exercise on an empty stomach generally feels much harder.  Choose a satisfying meal or snack, but keep the high calorie additions to a minimum if you are trying to loose body fat. Give yourself 30-60 minutes to digest and then hit a high intensity workout.  Best lower calorie carbohydrate-rich foods to blast fat:  cooked oatmeal with some berries or banana;  whole grain (look for sprouted bread) toast with a light spread of almond butter (less than 1 tablespoon) and natural preserves; or low-fat yogurt and fruit such as fresh berries.

What about Protein to build Muscle?

Eating protein-rich foods before exercise won’t necessarily lead to muscle gain.  Focus your attention on complete protein from animals such as chicken, salmon, and turkey post workout when your muscles are more receptive to the muscle-building affects of protein.

Before any workout you need carbohydrates.  Carbs power exercise, especially high intensity workouts like weight lifting, cycling and running.  You can blow through your glycogen stores (carbohydrate stores) during a heavy lifting or cardio workout.  And when glycogen levels get low your mental and physical energy will drop.  When trying to build muscle choose pre-workout meals that provide carbohydrate and a bit of protein for extra calories.  Best muscle-building options are: Hummus and raw vegetables; Oatmeal with fruit and some low-fat chicken sausage; baked sweet potato topped with cottage cheese; or snack on edemame (soy beans).

Prime your body for exercise by choosing carbohydrate-rich foods for your pre-workout meal.  When possible, give yourself at least 30 minutes to digest the food and absorb the nutrients.  Experiment with which foods which work best for your body.

Detoxifying Spring Seasonal Food: Millet

Millet is a grain that is fairly high in protein.  It is a gluten free wheat alternative excellent for consuming in the spring.  It has a sweet and salty flavor; is a diuretic; strengthens the kidneys; is beneficial to stomach and spleen-pancreas; moistens dryness; is alkalizing; and is anti-fungal- one of the best grains for those with Candida overgrowth. This simple spicy dish is versatile and is a hearty accompaniment to wIld salmon, a green salad, or steamed vegetables.  You can toast millet in a little oil before cooking to bring out the flavors.  For softer millet, add more water.  You can find this in boxes in the grain section of gourmet grocery stores or health food stores.  If the store has a bulk section it can often be found there as well.

Herbed Millet with Steamed Vegetables

1 cup millet

2 cups vegetable broth or water

½ onion finely chopped

3 small cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage.

Rinse millet well.  Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat.  Cook for 30-40 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.  Serve warm with steamed vegetables, chopped raw vegetables, fish or a salad.  Makes 4 servings.

NATURALLY DETOXIFYING FOODS: Foods to eat and Foods to avoid

Whether you are transitioning to a cleansing lifestyle or simply want to be more knowledgeable of which foods to consume to improve digestion and overall health these are good guidelines to follow. Maintenance Nontoxic Diet Guidelines

  • Eat organically grown wherever possible.
  • Drink filtered (or properly purified water).
  • Eat a natural, seasonal cuisine, focusing on fresh foods as much as possible.
  • Focus foods on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
  • If dairy and meat are part of your diet focus on low-or non-fat dairy products (particularly organic yogurt), fresh fish (not shell fish), organic poultry, and wild game such as buffalo.
  • Rotate foods, especially common allergens such as milk products, eggs, wheat, and yeast foods.
  • Cook in iron, stainless steel, glass, or porcelain cookware.  Avoid Tefflon and other fabricated non stick finishes
  • Avoid or minimize cured meats, organ meats, refined foods, canned foods, sugar, salt, saturated fats, coffee, alcohol, and nicotine.

Foods to Include during a Cleanse

  • Dairy substitutes: Rice and nut milks such as almond milk and coconut milk.
  • Non-gluten grains: brown rice, millet, amaranth, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, potato flour, quinoa, gluten-free oats.
  • Fruits and vegetables: unsweetened fresh or frozen whole fruits, water-packed canned fruits, diluted fruit juices, and raw, steamed, sautéed, juiced or roasted vegetables.
  • Animal proteins: fresh or water-packed fish, wild game, lamb, duck, organic chicken, and organic turkey.
  • Vegetable protein; split peas, lentils, and legumes.
  • Nuts and seeds: walnuts; sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; hazelnuts; pecans; almonds; cashews; nut butters such as almond or tahini.
  • Oils; cold-pressed olive, flax, safflower, sesame, almond, sunflower, walnut, canola, and pumpkin.
  • Drinks: filtered or distilled water, decaffeinated herbal teas, seltzer or mineral water.
  • Sweeteners: brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, fruit sweetener, and blackstrap molasses.
  • Condiments; vinegar; all spices including sea salt in moderation, pepper, basil, carob, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and tumeric.

Foods to Exclude or Minimize during a Cleanse

  • Dairy and Eggs, even organic.
  • Butter and mayonnaise.
  • All processed foods: boxed cereals, frozen meals with additives, bread, canned goods.
  • Gluten including sources from bread and grains including wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, and oats.
  • Certain fruits and vegetables: oranges, orange juice, corn, creamed vegetables,
  • Animal protein in the form of pork, beef, veal, sausage, cold cuts, canned meats, frankfurters, and shellfish.
  • Soybean products such as soy sauce, soybean oil in processed foods, tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy yogurt, and textured vegetable protein.
  • Peanuts and peanut butter.
  • Specific oils: shortening, processed oils, commercial salad dressings, and spreads.
  • Drinks: alcohol, all coffee, caffeinated beverages, and soft drinks.
  • Sweeteners: white and brown refined sugars, honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice.
  • Condiments: ketchup, relish, chutney, barbecue sauce, and teriyaki sauce.

RENEWAL AND BALANCE: Why Everyone Needs to Detoxify

In an ideal world our food would nourish us and give us the nutrition we need to replenish our systems.  But since the world is far from ideal, our bodies need much higher levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants just to cope with our toxic environment.  The food we eat is for the most part “mass manufactured” and compared to 50 or 100 years ago, depleted in essential minerals, vitamins and may have genetically modified aspects which are very foreign to our bodies. Getting adequate nutrition from our depleted foods is simply not enough. Here are 8 other reasons why cleansing is important:

  • Many people eat non-foods like MSG, saccharine, nutrisweet, splenda, artificial colorants and flavors which put stress on our systems.
  • Almost all foods have pesticides, chemicals (PCB's, Dioxins), and Fluorides which come into our bodies each day.
  • Most meats have antibiotic, hormone, and chemical residues.
  • Most fish have mercury and chemical residues.
  • Even if we are drinking purified water, most of us shower in water that is full of chemicals, or sit in Jacuzzi’s or swimming pools that are full of chemicals that enter our system every day that must be dealt with.
  • Our foods are contaminated with phthalates from plastic wraps, Styrofoam, Tupperware, and non-stick coatings from fry pans which enter our system.
  • Our clothes, mattresses, and sheets, are full of chemicals, flame retardants, preservatives, and anti-fungals which enter our bodies through the skin.
  • Our air is full of carbon monoxide, petrochemicals, lead, mercury, plastics fumes, etc. which enter our bodies when we breathe.

Thus to flourish we must supplement and consume more foods that are naturally detoxifying.  Click here to learn more about my 12-week Spring into Action Cleansing and Renewal program.  And Click here to learn what foods you should be eating more of, and which ones you should be eating less often.

Make Small Changes for Big Rewards

When your diet is focused on detoxification it is also very important to get regular exercise as it stimulates sweating and encourages elimination through the skin. Exercise, including weight training also improves our general metabolism and helps overall with detoxification.  For this reason, regular aerobic exercise along with weight training is key to maintaining a nontoxic body, especially when we indulge in various substances such as sugar, caffeine, or alcohol.  Since exercise releases toxins in the body, it is important to incorporate adequate fluids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Sometimes people get discouraged because they set goals that are a bit unrealistic and then punish themselves for not accomplishing their goals fully.  In truth, the longest-term success starts with small, short-term goals.  I find when my clients set weekly or mothly goals it leads to more permanent changes in their food choices and physical activity level.  Try these simple strategies to keep yourself on track.

  1. Keep track of your progress.  Try keeping a simple journal of your day’s activities including sleeping, eating, exercise and entertainment to discover the glitches and negative habits holding you back from your aspirations.
  2. Find more ways to move.  Sure, a 30-minute cardio workout at the gym is ideal for breaking a sweat, but committing to adding small doses of additional movement throughout your day will help put you in a mindset for exercise.  Opt for the stairs, add an extra walk to your dog’s schedule, get off the subway a stop early, hit pedestrian-friendly shopping areas, spend 15 minutes when you immediately get home for some stretching or yoga.
  3. Fatigue your muscles.  Don’t’ be afraid of lifting some weight and sweating a bit.  Fear of bulking up keeps many people (primarily women) from challenging themselves with heavier weights.  If you skimp on the pounds, you won’t stimulate the need for muscles to grow stronger and tighter.  Choose enough weight so you can complete eight to 12 reps. The last rep should be tough, but not so difficult that you can’t maintain good form.

"Spring into Action" Teleseminar Nutrition Program

Are you are ready to take your health and fitness to a higher level and would like some help? What you may be missing when it comes to making lifestyle and dietary changes that will allow you to take your health and vitality to a higher level is the right coaching and support.

For the first time ever I am offering a 12- week series of live holistic nutrition teleseminars valued at $1200 for FREE.

Do you ask yourself these questions?:

How can I reduce and eliminate un-healthy cravings?

How can I reach and maintain a healthy weight?

How can I adjust my diet so that I recover well from my workouts?

How can I have vibrant energy and mental clarity all day long?

How can I get the support I need to improve my health?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, it is worth your time to take a look at this video link here. The 12-week program incorporates a nutritional cleansing program and this video explains the health benefits.

Intrigued? If you are interested in learning more about nutritional cleansing and the 12- week program contact me today to get your questions answered such as:

What cleanse program will fit into my lifestyle and goals.  The nutritional cleanse can be easily modified to meet your individual energy needs and schedule.

How can I do this affordably, with no extra out of pocket expenses?

When will the program start and how do I prepare for the start of my program?

To support you in creating these healthy new habits my 12-week Spring into Action live and recorded teleseminar series will include the following topics:

Remember this FREE course is valued at $1200 Creating an environment for success.

Learn the difference between Primary and Secondary foods and how lifestyle affects your physical health and your relationship with food.

Breaking the food craving cycle.

How food choices can improve performance in endurance, strength, and flexibility.

How to incorporate more whole foods into your diet, including what to shop for and how to prepare.

Experimenting with the energy of food.  How to use a food log and learn how foods affect your energy.

The importance of hydration and nutrition intake in relation to exercise.

Sugar cravings and how to address them.

Improve digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

Self care for a healthier you.

The psychology of eating- it’s not that you don’t have will power.

Continuing with your success and how to move forward.

Each teleseminar will include time for you to ask questions, and the calls will be recorded so you can review them at any time.

The teleseminars will be on Monday's at 7:30 pm EST.  The first call will be Monday March 29th so contact me now to learn about the program and to enroll.  or 917-292-2069

For more information on Carla Weier visit For more information on the Isagenix Nutritional Cleanse visit