The Hart Blog

The #1 Way to Understand Your Dietary Needs

Posted by on Mar 9, 2016 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

Bio-individuality — variables include: age, gender, genetics, lifestyle, stress level, physical fitness . . . and on and on. And, many variables change as we age and go through adolescence, puberty, give birth, experience menopause, etc. You know if a diet is unsuccessful — if it is unsustainable in terms of denying you the foods your body loves and craves, if it is too difficult to find and/or prepare the foods you must eat, or if it leaves you with little energy or bloated.

At Hart Acupuncture & Nutrition, our naturopaths, nutritionists, acupuncturists and therapists often encounter frustration and even illness in our patients who follow a diet plan with good intentions only to fail to reach their weight and health goals.

An approach we advocate is to learn your individual bio make-up and develop a customized diet plan. Check our Events Calendar for opportunities and workshops.

We highly recommend that you begin a My Life Daily Journal where you will record the foods you eat for meals, snacks and alcohol or other beverages you consume. Also, you will make note of your daily exercise (or lack of) and grade the day on its stress level. Note other clues your body is giving that it is out of sync including bloating, lethargy, irregular movements, etc. Together with the tests that your doctor will order, you journal is the best information that will bring you closer to understanding your particular dietary needs.

Our patients often find that a journal also helps them become more aware of themselves in ways that allow them to make improvements in other facets of their daily life. When written down, one sees the lack of spiritual life, pleasure, friendship and other connections.

Start today with a simple spiral bound notebook and pen. Keep it in your purse or by your bedside or wherever you are most likely to use it. Enjoy the process of reviewing your day. Give this as a gift to yourself, just a few minutes of time and attention.

 

Fridge/Freezer Storage Tips

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

 

Following recommended storage practices for the refrigerator and freezer will help your food stay fresher longer and reduce the risk of food-borne illness. Below are some tips and a helpful chart!

 

  • fridge chartConfirm you have the correct temperature. Use a food appliance thermometer to determine if the temperatures in your fridge and freezer are within recommended guidelines. Food safety experts at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend keeping refrigerators at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) and freezers at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit (minus 18 degrees Celsius).  If the temperature is too warm can decrease foods’ shelf life and increase the growth of unhealthy bacteria.
  • Produce Practices — Store first, Wash later. Generally, it is better to wash produce just before eating. If washed prior to storing in the refrigerator, the moisture can accelerate spoilage.
  • Two-hour from cooked to cool. Foods should be stored in a refrigerator or freezer within two hours after cooking.
  • Wrap it Tight.  Be sure stored foods are tightly wrapped.  To conserve space and prevent freezer burn, if you use a sealable bag, try to squeeze out as much air as possible.
  • OK to Refreeze. While it is generally safe to refreeze partially thawed foods, keep in mind that refreezing can cause foods to become watery or soft.  Also remember that freezing does not eliminate bacteria or parasites. Although it does prevent the growth of microbes, freezing won’t eliminate those that already exist in your food.
  • Keep cool during a power outage.  If the refrigerator power goes out, foods should keep for 1-2 days depending on the contents.
  • Plan ahead.  Make a point of using stored foods before opening or purchasing more and get to know how long various foods last in the fridge or freezer.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. If you’re not sure whether a food item has gone bad, remember that smelling or tasting the food is not a good indicator of safety. That’s because most harmful bacteria can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. The best policy is to simply throw it away.

 

A-Z Guide Storage Chart

Embrace Zucchini Season!

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Dairy Free, Gluten-free, Healthful Eating, Low Glycemic Index | 0 comments

IMG_1302Eating fruits and vegetables is important to keep your body healthy, well-hydrated and toxin-free and right now, zucchini is a win-win food: it’s abundant, it’s inexpensive, it’s nutritious and it’s great for weight loss. You can eat it raw, sliced in salads or shredded into slaws, or cooked in vegetable stews, soups and the all-famous zucchini bread (see recipe below!). It even pairs well with chocolate in muffins and breads.

Zucchini is extremely low in calories, but it gives you the feeling of being full making it an excellent way to satisfy your appetite without adding a bunch of calories. Plus, zucchini has a high water content and is rich in fiber. This fruit (we think of it more commonly as a vegetable) promotes eye health, and prevents all the diseases that occur from vitamin C deficiency like scurvy, sclerosis, and easy bruising. It helps to treat asthma and contains a high content of vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein and fiber. Zucchini also has significant quantities of potassium, folate, and vitamin A, all of which are important for maintaining good health. Zucchini, when eaten regularly, can effectively lower your homocysteine levels.

Anyone who has cooked with zucchini knows that it has a high water content (95 percent!) so you need to salt the zucchinis first and then allow the excess water to get drained out before the preparation is done. While you are eating this fruit, do not remove the skin because it comprises the important nutrient—beta-carotene—the vitamin component acting as an antioxidant thereby protecting cells from oxidation damage.

If you’re like us and have a garden or CSA, you probably have a few zucchini lying around the kitchen.  Why not try a paleo zucchini banana bread?  This is a paleo recipe that is gluten free and dairy free and comes from Boulder Natural Health. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 1/2 c almond flour
1 1/2 teasp baking soda
1/2 teasp salt
1 teasp cinnamon
1/4 teasp nutmeg
1 cup grated zucchini
3 eggs
1 TB honey
3 mashed bananas
1 TB coconut oil
1/4 c raw cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the dry ingredients into a bowl.  Combine the wet ingredients into a separate bowl.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.  Pour the mixture into a bread loaf baking pan.  Bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until brown on top.  Remove from oven and allow time to cool.

Edible Treats of Spring Gardens

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

asparagus

This Fresh Asparagus with Red Onion and Pecorino Cheese salad is even better the next day!

by Marlena Pecora, L.Ac, LMT

It’s spring and that means our menus often shift from the oven to the grill, from heavy to light, and includes fresh, locally grown seasonal garden treats. Farmer’s markets may be slow to populate their bins and baskets but by now you should be seeing spinach, asparagus, rhubarb and in New England—even fiddleheads. Whole foods are a hallmark of a sound wellness approach.

In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is viewed as the season of rebirth and new growth. Spring belongs to the wood element and dominates the energetics of the liver and gallbladder. By appropriately adapting to the changing climate in the spring we become less susceptible to seasonal health problems. The naturally sweet and pungent flavors of spring can help regulate the Qi (vital force) throughout the body.

Spring Market Vegetables:

Spinach

Spinach with its dark leafy greens can be small (perfect for eating raw in salads) or large, which can have a tougher texture and be best suited to be eaten steamed or sauted. Because it is one of the foods on the list of foods containing the highest amount of pesticide residues, be sure to include it on your list of vegetables that you want to be sure are organically grown. Add spinach to pastas, soups, sandwiches and salads—even on pizza and in omelets!  Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.

Asparagus

These gorgeous green spears are an early spring delicacy, their season generally is considered to run from April through May but can extend through July. The perennial vegetable has adorned backyard gardens and been the bragging right of many a gardener. Eaten raw in a crudite platter, steamed as a side dish, sauteed with olive oil and fresh lemon, or roasted and even grilled, this versatile vegetable deserves its popularity. Health benefits: excellent source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells. Rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals and it is packed with antioxidants.

Try this Fresh Asparagus with Red Onion and Pecorino Cheese Recipe — it’s one of Marlena Pecora‘s favorites: “I love this really simple spring (chopped) salads. It’s raw, crunchy, tangy and a delicious accompaniment to BBQ and summer foods. Or I like sweet potato chips to scoop it up with! The key is to chop everything really really small, make sure to use red wine vinegar, and let it sit for a couple hours to meld the flavors!” She also notes that she’s not a huge advocate of dairy and although the recipe calls for Pecorino Romano (a Sheeps milk cheese; easier for the body to digest), folks can substitute with nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy flavor. Experiment with the recipe by adding fresh peas and herbs…

Rhubarb

A New England treasure, rhubarb is often paired with strawberries, making one think of it as a fruit, but it is actually a vegetable. Its tart flavor and its customary uses also lend to its reputation of a fruit classification. Rhubarb is especially appreciated because it’s one of the first edibles to appear in the spring garden. Rhubarb enhances flavor when combined with strawberries, raspberries, apples, and other fruits. Rhubarb also makes a wonderful sauce for chicken, venison, halibut and salmon. Muffins and tarts benefit from a handful of diced rhubarb, which holds moisture. Health benefits: Low in saturated fat and sodium and very low in cholesterol, rhubarb is a good source of magnesium, dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, potassium and manganese.

Fiddleheads

Fiddlehead ferns are one of the delicious telltale signs of spring. While there are a few varieties, the most edible and the one most commonly found in markets are ostrich ferns. These tightly wound, disc-shaped vegetables are the curled fronds of a young fern, which were harvested during spring before the frond has a chance to mature and uncurl. They have a bright green color, snappy texture and a grassy, woodsy taste. They should not be eaten raw; steam or saute and enjoy alone, in a salad or in a risotto dish. Health benefits: Fiddleheads contain various vitamins and minerals, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are a source of antioxidants and dietary fiber. They are low in sodium, but rich in potassium.

Blow off seasonal allergies with these tips

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

Spring is both welcome and yet can bring a host of unwanted allergens into our lives. Whether you suffer from full-blown allergies to pollen or have the occasional reaction to dust, the experience can range from miserable to debilitating. Symptoms that point to allergic reactions include tiredness, scratchy throat, itchy eyes or watery eyes, sneezing, head pressure, sinus inflammation, and headaches.

Best practice is to build up your immune system to prevent inflammation through a diet rich in a balance of whole foods, grains, fruits, vegetables and desirable sources of proteins and carbohydrates. Ask us for a free Anti-Inflammatory Recipe Book created by nutritionist Pauline Weissman.

1. Drink alkaline water. Tap or bottled water is acidic and acidity has been linked to allergies. Hydration is key to cleansing the bodily systems.

2. Supplements can help. Bee pollen, sea buckthorn and others. Best Defense?

3. Avoid dairy. Cow’s milk protein (casein) can spark respiratory symptoms. Replace milk with almond or coconut milk, ice cream with sorbet, and in general avoid dairy which can promote the formation of mucus.

4. Infuse your water with Green Tea. The urge for a hot cup of tea is a winter thing but not the need for the powerful antioxidant phytonutrients in green tea. Bring water to a boil, steep a bag or two of green tea, let cool, then fill a large pitcher with ice and the concentrated tea. Add fresh mint, lemons or lime and store in fridge.

5. Eat one apple daily. The adage holds true! Apples, onions, berries, cauliflower — these vegetables and fruits contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties.

6. Detox with salt. Mix a quarter teaspoon of sea salt with one cup of water and while leaning over a bowl or sink, tilt your head while pouring solution into one nostril allowing it to run into other nostril. This cleanse will remove mucous.

7. Lower stress. Chronic stress interrupts the immune system. Easier said than done? In fact, controlling stress is more achievable than you might imagine. Add a walk to your post dinner routine, replace TV with an audio book, spend a few minutes journaling about your day — these are small yet important ways you can influence your stress levels.

8. De-dust your house. Remove feather pillows and bedding, which are traps for dust mites. Vacuum and dust regularly. Remove carpeting if that is an option. Use a HEPA filter machine.

Focus on Farm Shares

Posted by on Apr 11, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

veggiesCommunity Supported Agriculture (CSA) or buying directly from the farm is gaining in popularity as more and more people wish to know more about the origins of their food, who grows it, how it is grown, and how we can support the farming community. Below are three Connecticut farms that are well worth a visit.

 

Urban Oaks Farm, New Britain

This not-for-profit farm is dedicated to growing quality, certified organic produce year-round. Its main crops are salad greens, cooking greens, heirloom tomatoes and herbs. Also grown are sweet and hot peppers, Italian and Asian eggplants, melons, cucumbers, assorted summer squashes, zucchini and other southern New England crops. Year-round they harvest lettuces, salad greens, kales, chard, spinach, collards, herbs and more from their greenhouses. The farm is a member of the North Oak NRZ and is one of two urban farms in the Connecticut. Urban Oak is committed to being a working farm, to the children in our neighborhood who they consider to be the children as the future of urban farming. Urban Oaks offers Winter and Summer CSA’s.

Location: 207 Oak St. Between Allen St. & Lasalle St.

Hours: Year-round on Fridays from 2 pm – 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm.

Phone: 860.223.6200

Email: urbanoaksorganicfarm@gmail.com

Holcomb Farm, Granby

Holcomb Farm is a 367 acre working farm and community gathering place, operated collaboratively between the Town of Granby, Connecticut and a Board of Directors comprised of local citizens. The property was donated to the Town of Granby by Laura and Tudor Holcomb. Generations of previous Holcombs have worked the land since the early 1700’s. By agreement, activities at the Farm center around Education, Agriculture, Arts and passive Recreation, in accordance with a long-standing Plan of Use that stems from the original donors.

The farm’s mission is to preserve, promote and protect the agricultural heritage of the Farm and legacy of Laura and Tudor Holcomb.  One program is Fresh Access, a charitable food donation program. Fresh Access pays for donation of 10% – 15% of the Farm’s crop production to social service agencies both locally and throughout metro Hartford, to provide fresh, healthy, crunchy produce to people who may not have regular access to healthy food, especially fresh vegetables.

Holcomb Farm is offers many events and activities, including concerts, art classes, education and exercise. One of the primary activities at Holcomb Farm is farming and they are dedicated to responsible agriculture, sustainable growing practices, and fresh, local food. They have more than 27 acres of cultivated land, growing a variety of vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers. Most of the food they grow goes to their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shareholders.

Hours:
Trails – Dawn to Dusk
Buildings – Based on event hours
CSA – Tues 2-6; Thurs 3-7; Sat 9-1

Location: Holcomb Farm is located at 113 Simsbury Road West Granby, CT 06090

Phone: (860) 844-8616

Sub Edge Farm, Farmington

In the 1920’s the farm was purchased by architect Theodate Pope Riddle. She named the farm “Sub-Edge” and used the farm to educate the students of her school, Avon Old Farms, about agriculture. During World War II the farm became part of the Old Farms Convalescent Hospital. Blinded veterans lived on the farm and were trained to adjust to living without sight and were taught new skills like bookbinding, woodworking and farming. In the second half of the 20th Century the farm was stewarded by the Fisher Family who preserved the land as open space forever into the care of the town of Farmington and Avon.

Today the family farm grows five acres of vegetables, fruits, flowers and culinary herbs. They offer a 100 share CSA program, have a farm shop and do wholesale to local restaurants and schools. They raise pigs, broilers, layer hens and 100% grass-fed beef. Their crops  are certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC. Owners Rodger and Isabelle bring a passion for good clean food to their growing and are committed to sustainable and organic farming practices.

Location: 199 Town Farm Rd, Farmington, CT 06032

Contact: Email: hello@subedgefarm.com

Hours: Will re-open for the season; contact the farm for hours

Eating Your Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

1277560_99475835There are the ingredients in foods and beverages that we all know can be a barrier to a good night’s sleep—caffeine, sugar and alcohol are three of the biggest—but there are also ingredients in food that can be effective aids to satisfying and restorative sleep.

  • Fish, Bananas, Legumes: Melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone that kicks in at night can use a a boost of Vitamin B6 found in these foods.
  • High-glycemic-index (GI) triggers insulin which can increase the ratio of sleep-inducing tryptophan relative to other amino acids in the blood, allowing more tryptophan to get into the brain
  • Pay attention to calcium levels, a deficiency can prevent good sleep (think dairy products like kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese or deep green vegetables like kale and collards; even better combine them in one dish)
  • Make fiber and magnesium-rich diets a priority if you want to stay asleep once you’ve fallen asleep (think whole grains, like freekeh)
  • Regulate your circadian rhythm with Vitamin D to allow for appropriate mineral intake (think sunshine, as well as foods)
  • Antioxidants derived from vibrant colored fruits and vegetables (think strawberries, tomatoes, cabbage)
  • Give your cells a helping hand (think of potassium-packed foods like spinach)
  • Take Vitamins A, B, C & D and repeat daily (think fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds)

Learn more about the properties of food and how they affect are linked to good sleep: “Don’t Snooze on Nutrition: See How Foods Affect Sleep” by Firas Kittaneh

Learn more about the effect poor sleep has on weight gain: “Experts say that being sleep deprived leads to weight gain, other disorders

Learn more about the relationship of sleep to other health issues: “Sleep and Disease Risk

More Reasons to Be Tobacco-Free

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

A new study credits at least five diseases to tobacco use—in addition to the well-known diseases including lung cancer, artery disease, heart disease, chronic lung disease and stroke, researchers have found that smoking is linked to significantly increased risks of infection, kidney disease, intestinal disease caused by inadequate blood flow, and heart and lung ailments not previously attributed to tobacco. Check out awesome internet casino games by Maple Leaf and win real money online!

If you think the time is right for you to kick the habit, congratulations. Good news is there are tools to help you succeed. At Salud Integrative, we recommend a supplement to help bolster your immune system. Self Defense bolsters long-term health and vitality while it combats the daily onslaught of free radicals created by pollutants, tobacco, indoor and environmental smoke, synthetic building materials, electromagnetic radiations, and physical and mental stress.

1) Nicotine Replacement Therapy — To help with cravings, consider a natural option: caffeine. Sources include coffee, dark chocolate and tea.

2) Identify Triggers — Be prepared for situations that provoked tobacco use (social, stress-related, post-meal, etc.) and have a replacement behavior ready.

3) Game on — Play games that delay your next cigarette like counting to one hundred can work or crossword puzzles. Also, try meditation or visualization.

4) Buddy up — Enlist a family member or friend to help you with your quest. When you feel out of control, call them. Alternately, join a smoking cessation program and find a mentor.

5) Picture it — Imagine yourself tobacco free. What will you look like? Feel like? Remember the message you give to your children and loved ones by quitting smoking.

Give Your Valentine a Smart Way to Feel Good

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Healthful Eating, Healthy Living, High Antioxidants | 0 comments

1421654_99841224-1Valentine’s Day and the word “sweet” go hand-in-hand. On Saturday, make something special for your sweetheart that will make them happy + smart and taste amazing. Your secret ingredient? Chocolate, of course!

Why smart?

As reported in a recent Harvard Health Blog, there are compounds in chocolate known as cocoa flavanols that have been linked with improved thinking skills.  The article goes on the explain that flavanols in cocoa have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage.

Be aware, though, that the amount of cocoa used in chocolate varies by manufacturer. And flavanols are often destroyed in the production of chocolate. Also, dark chocolate has more cocoa and more flavanols than milk chocolate. To get the therapeutic benefits of dark chocolate you’ll need to purchase chocolate that contains 70% cacao content.

We like the recipes at eatingwell.com for nuts and fruit dipped in chocolate.

Why happy?

Raw chocolate is a healthy alternative to processed chocolate. Called “cacao,” it contains a neurotransmitter known as anandamide that is considered to stimulate happy emotions. Neurotransmitters are brain functions that inform our moods, thoughts and energy.

Raw cacao is also a healthy choice because it contains antioxidants (anti-aging properties) in addition to other healthy compounds like, protein, fiber, iron, zinc and magnesium. A detailed explanation of cacao can be found in naturalnews.com.

We found three delicious V-Day treat recipes at MindBodyGreen.com.

Multi-Vitamin Use Study Shows Benefits

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in Healthy Living | 0 comments

Alternative Medicine.A recent study published in the Journal Of Nutrition studied whether taking a multivitamin might help reduce the risk of death from heart disease.

We know that several factors influence the risk of disease — diet, exercise, drinking and tobacco, which is what makes this study significant because it includes that data. The conclusion favors the practice of multi-vitamin use.

In the early 1990s, researchers began studying a group of about 9,000 adults, all of whom were in their 40s or older. The researchers went into the people’s homes, interviewed them about their health habits. They also asked about multivitamin use and what they have found, 20 years later, is that women who reported taking a daily multivitamin with minerals for three years or longer had a lower risk of dying from heart disease.

At Salud Integrative, we recommend Salud Naturals’ “Self-Defense: Phytonutrient Cell Protection” to our clients and patients. This product promotes long-term health and vitality while combating free radicals created by pollutants, tobacco, indoor and environmental smoke, and more. The scientifically formulated multivitamin/mineral blend increases stamina, boosts energy, maintains healthy mood states, harnesses anti-aging potential, supports the nervous system, and protects brain, immune, and cardiovascular cell viability.

To learn more, consult your physician or caregiver or contact us at Salud Integrative.