Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Best Natural Whitening Toothpaste

I have been doing a lot of research on the hype of using charcoal powder for brushing teeth for a whiter, cleaner smile and I finally found what I think is the best one out there!  I got interested in it as a natural alternative to whiten teeth instead of using chemicals.  It's different than the charcoal we use for cookouts. The charcoal used for brushing teeth is reheated and oxidized.  It's called activated charcoal and has natural adhesive qualities that let it bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque, taking them off your teeth for good when you spit it out.kombucha tea 

As far as safety goes, the fine, odorless and tasteless powder is okay to ingest, that’s why it’s sold in health food stores in tablet form. In tablet form it is used to clean the gut and detox because it binds to toxins there.  I truly believe it can be used daily except for pregnant or lactating women who should do it only once a week because we don't want what is swallowed to then detox the body and have the detox  upset the baby.  

Youtube is full of videos of people using it and it does look weird for sure.  Good news it is easy to clean out so there is no black residue to find later.  Lots of companies have charcoal toothpastes, even Colgate has one but the one I use and love is Carbon Coco.  

If you are not interested in black toothpaste to whiten your teeth (what a paradox) then my other favorite toothpaste is Himalayan Neem and Pomegranate toothpaste which sounds like a weird flavor but tastes great!  It's all-natural and specifically fluoride free.  Buy it on Amazon or at the office for your convenience.


Monday, March 19, 2018

DIY How to Make Kombucha

Kombucha is simple to make yourself. We recommend you give it a shot because brewing your own unpasteurized kombucha is rewarding when you consider the cost of purchasing store-bought bottles.
To learn more about the health benefits, read here. It's beneficial to drink at least half a cup daily to get the health benefits.  This recipe makes about eight cups of kombucha, but you can also double the recipe to make more, and you still only need one SCOBY disk.

Kombucha Recipe

kombucha tea
Yields: 8 cups
You need:
  • 1 large glass or metal jar or bowl with a wide opening
Avoid using a plastic jar or bowl because the chemicals in the plastic can leach into the kombucha during the fermentation period. Ceramic pots might cause lead to leach into the kombucha once the acid comes into contact with the ceramic glaze. Look for a big metal or glass jug/jar/bowl and make sure the opening is wide enough to allow a lot of oxygen to reach the kombucha while it ferments.
  • 1 large piece of cloth or a dish towel
Secure this material around the opening of the jar with a rubber band. Do not use a cheese cloth, as it allows particles to pass through. You can even try using an old thin cotton t-shirt or some simple cotton fabric from any textile store.
  • 1 SCOBY disk
You can find a SCOBY disk in health food stores or online for relatively inexpensive amounts. A SCOBY disk can be vacuum-sealed in a small pouch and shipped directly to your house for only a few dollars, while still preserving all of the active yeast ingredients.
  • 8 cups of water
I would use filtered water, if possible.  
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar or raw honey
Yes, this is one of the few times I’ll tell you to use real sugar! Most of it is actually “eaten” by the yeast bacteria during the fermentation process, so there is very little sugar left in the recipe by the time you consume it. It is important to use only organic cane sugar and not white refined sugar.

  • 4 organic tea bags
Traditionally, kombucha is made from black tea, but you can also try green tea to see which you prefer.
  • 1 cup of pre-made kombucha
You’ll need to purchase your first batch or get a cup from a friend who has recently made homemade kombucha. For future batches, just keep a cup on hand for the next time. Be sure to purchase only organic, unpasteurized kombucha. Pasteurized varieties do not contain the appropriate live cultures you need.
1. Bring your water to boil in a big pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, remove from heat and add your teabags and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Allow the pot to sit and the tea to steep for about 15 minutes, then remove and discard tea bags.
3. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature (which usually takes about one hour). Once it’s cooled, add your tea mixture to your big jar/bowl. Drop in your SCOBY disk and 1 cup of pre-made kombucha.
4. Cover your jar/bowl with your cloth or thin kitchen towel and try to keep the cloth in place by using a rubber hand or some sort of tie. You want the cloth to cover the wide opening of the jar and stay in place but be thin enough to allow air to pass through.
5. Allow the kombucha to sit for 7–10 days, depending on the flavor you’re looking for. Less time produces a weaker kombucha that tastes less sour, while a longer sitting time makes the kombucha ferment even longer and develop more taste. Some people have reported fermenting kombucha for up to a month before bottling with great results, so taste test the batch every couple of days to see if its reached the right taste and level of carbonation for you.
Usually, the warmer your home is, the less time the kombucha needs to ferment. Once you’re happy with the taste, put your kombucha into smaller glass bottles and refrigerate the kombucha for at least 24 hours to allow it to cool and finish carbonating. The longer you refrigerate it before opening, the more fizzy it will be.
Note that as the fermentation process happens, you will notice that the SCOBY disk “grows” a second SCOBY disk. Many people call the SCOBY that you purchased and used to make the kombucha the “mother” SCOBY and the second SCOBY that grows the “baby.” The mother SCOBY is located on top of the baby.
You can actually use the newly formed baby SCOBY to create a whole new batch of kombucha, so you don’t want to throw out the baby disk. Store the baby SCOBY in a bit of already-made kombucha in a glass jar while not using it so you have it on hand to start a new batch when you want it. It will be “active” for several weeks when it’s stored in some kombucha at room temperature on a counter top or in a pantry.
While some people prefer to keep the mother SCOBY disk attached to the baby, others prefer to throw away the mother SCOBY once the kombucha is finished fermenting.
Keeping the mother disk hasn’t caused any reported problems or contamination. According to some sources, the mother disk can keep fermenting new kombucha batches for about another month after its first use but will then become inactive and should be thrown away.

Brewing Flavored Kombucha

The recipe above is for a basic, unflavored kombucha. You can try adding unique flavors like fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, ginger root “juice” made by blending ginger and water, blended berries, fresh-squeezed orange, pomegranate or cranberry juices.
We recommend doing this after the kombucha has fermented and is ready to drink, although some people prefer to add flavor-enhancers to the kombucha a day or two before it’s done so the flavor can intensify. Either way seems to work well.

Storing Kombucha

Once your homemade kombucha is complete you’ll want to store it in a clear glass bottle or jar with a tightly fit lid, preferably not metal, if you have the option. Plastic bottles may swell or harden and color from dyed jars can get into the drink.
When bottling kombucha, leave an inch or less of air at the top of the bottle. This should allow for an appropriate amount of carbonation.
It’s important never to shake a bottle of kombucha and risk exploding its container. Try holding your entire hand over the lid as you open it to prevent it from popping off unexpectedly.
Be sure to refrigerate your completed kombucha to extend its shelf life. If you’ve added flavoring, consider that when storing the kombucha. For example, fresh fruits will go bad in the kombucha long before the drink.

Kombucha Precautions

Most people experience great benefits drinking kombucha and have no adverse side effects.
Kombucha side effects seem to be more of a risk when making homemade kombucha because contamination is possible, and the SCOBY disk and finished product aren’t tested for quality like they are when manufactured commercially. If you’re going to brew your own, use sterile equipment, clean working spaces and high-quality ingredients.
A small percentage of people experience bloating, nausea, infections and allergic reactions when drinking kombucha. Because kombucha has a high level of acidity, it’s possible that this can cause problems for people with digestive problems like heartburn or sensitivity to very acidic foods.
If you are concerned about these issues, start drinking a small amount in moderation and gradually work your way up to drinking more in order to see if you have any negative reactions to it. Stick to about eight ounces per day or less, especially in the beginning. To limit your risk, buy pre-made, unpasteurized kombucha that’s been tested for bacterial contamination.
Kombucha is brewed using black tea and sugar, which when fermented, turns into alcohol in very small amounts (only about 1 percent of kombucha is believed to be alcohol). So a warning to those who are avoiding alcohol.

Otherwise enjoy this healthy drink!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

6 Reasons to Drink Kombucha Daily 
Kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits extending to your heart, your brain and especially your gut. How does this drink make such a huge difference in your body?
Due to the fermentation process involved in creating kombucha, it contains a large number of healthy bacteria known as probiotics. On more about how fermented foods help gut health, read here.  These bacteria live in your digestive tract and support your immune system by absorbing nutrients and fighting infection and illness.

Since 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, not only will drinking kombucha help the immune system but it also helps the brain.  The majority of neurotransmitters that you need for good brain chemistry is made in the gut so to have a healthy brain, feel good and think well, you need a healthy gut.  It’s no surprise that the gut is considered the “second brain.” Drinking kombucha every day can help you to maintain peak immune, gut and brain health.

Kombucha is a fermented beverage consisting of black tea and sugar (from various sources, including cane sugar, fruit or honey) that’s used as a functional, probiotic food. It contains good bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. Patients ask me if they can drink kombucha even though they I told them to stay away from sugar and the answer is yes!  It is because the sugar that is used in making kombucha is eaten by the bacteria so by the time we drink it the sugar is in the bacteria and not too much is free-floating in the drink.  That is why when you look at the ingredient list most of the time sugar is not an ingredient.  There is none left after the fermentation process is complete.  

After fermentation, not only is the sugar gone but kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, B vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic acids). The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a “SCOBY” (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green teas. Contrary to common claims, a SCOBY is not a kombucha mushroom.
If you are interested in kombucha, it’s generally available for $3-5 at natural health food stores and some grocery stores. Others make it at home (which I’ll discuss a little later on).
Some people find it a healthier substitute for sodas, satisfying that craving for a fizzy drink.

The following probiotic strains make up this health elixir: 

  • Gluconacetobacter (>85 percent in most samples)
  • Acetobacter (<2 percent)
  • Lactobacillus (up to 30 percent in some samples)
  • Zygosaccharomyces (>95 percent)
There is some debate about the benefits of unpasteurized kombucha because of the 20th/21st century notion that pasteurization makes drinks “healthier.”  It’s not true for milk and the same holds for kombucha. The bacteria killed during the pasteurization process is the same stuff that can help your gut function more efficiently. “Pasteurized kombucha” should probably be called “kombucha-flavored tea” because the benefits of healthy bacteria have been lost during that process. The healthy benefits of the good bacteria are no longer there.  

One consideration is that pasteurized kombucha is not continually fermented. This means that if a commercial unpasteurized kombucha product is left on the shelf too long, the alcohol content (initially below .5 percent for most products) may rise somewhat. Be sure to purchase your kombucha from trustworthy sources and drink it within a relatively brief time after purchasing. If you make kombucha at home, the same rule applies.

6 Benefits of Kombucha

1. Helps prevent a wide variety of diseases
Kombucha contains powerful antioxidants and can help to detoxify the body and protect against disease. Related to this disease-fighting power is the way these antioxidants help to reduce inflammation. This inflammation-reducing, detoxing quality is probably one reason kombucha might potentially decrease the risk of diseases.  One reason this happens is because antioxidants reduce oxidative stress that can damage cells, even down to DNA. Being exposed to a lot of processed foods and chemicals within your environment can lead to this stress, which in turn contributes to chronic inflammation. While normal black tea does contain antioxidants, research shows that the fermentation process of kombucha creates more antioxidants not present in black tea. Kombucha may specifically influence the activity of two important antioxidants known as glutathione peroxidase and catalase. It was also discovered to contain a metabolite of quercetin.  Quercetin is associated with a long lifespan and massive anticancer properties. Research from the University of Latvia in 2014 claims that drinking kombucha tea can be beneficial for many infections and diseases “due to four main properties: detoxification, anti-oxidation, energizing potencies and promotion of depressed immunity.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24192111)

2. Supports a healthy gut

These antioxidants also help the gut but kombucha supports digestion also because of its high levels of beneficial acid, probiotics, amino acids and enzymes.
Some research has shown kombucha’s ability to prevent and heal stomach ulcers in mice which could be the same in humans too. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21776478)
Kombucha can also help heal Candida from overpopulating within the gut by restoring balance to the digestive system.  With enough good bacteria in the system Candida cannot grow.  
Candida and other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix, and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. If you feel like kombucha is exacerbating the problem, consider that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed. You can always bring kombucha in to your next appointment to get it muscle tested

3. May help improve mental state
Kombucha doesn’t just help your digestion; it might be able to protect your mind, too. One way it can accomplish this is by the B vitamins it contains. B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, are known to increase energy levels and contribute to overall mental wellbeing.
The gut-repairing function of kombucha also plays a role in mental health. Depression may be a major symptom of leaky gut, specifically due to the way that bad gut permeability contributes to inflammation.  A 2012 study published in Biopolymers and Cell examined kombucha as a functional food product for long-term space exploration (yes, you read that right). They drink it in order to prevent or minimize the effects of anxiety and depression.  The study was done on astronauts but if it works for them it would work for us Earth people too.

4. Powerful antibacterial agent

This one seems a little counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But it’s true – because of the type of bacteria found in kombucha, drinking the live cultures actually destroys bad bacteria responsible for infections. In lab studies, kombucha has been found to have antibacterial effects against staph, E. coli, Sh. sonnei, two strains of salmonella and Campylobacter jejuni. 

The last of those, C. jejuni, is probably the most common cause of food poisoning in the US. It can sometimes be followed by a condition called Guillian-BarrĂ© syndrome, where the immune system attacks the nervous system. Because of the immense dangers of foodborne infections and significant costs to treat, the FDA is very interested in potential treatment methods for C. jejuni.

5. Helpful in managing diabetes

Although some practitioners warn against kombucha for diabetics, it seems that some research suggests just the opposite. This is assuming, of course, that you are consuming kombucha without a high sugar load.
Particularly due to the functions of antioxidants in kombucha, it seems to help alleviate diabetes symptoms. This appears to be especially true in terms of liver and kidney functions, which are generally poor for those with diabetes. 

6. Good for the cardiovascular system

Kombucha has been considered to be beneficial to the heart for some time, although research efforts in this area have been scarce. However, it seems clear that, in animal models, kombucha helps to lower triglyceride levels, as well as regulate cholesterol naturally. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25856715)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Toxic-free Makeup:
I'm always on the hunt for better, healthier products and makeup is one of those things that is hard to find good products with natural ingredients.  The first line of natural makeup that I fell in love with was 100% PURE.  They use organic fruit for color in their products.  For example this is the ingredient list for an eyeshadow:
  • Oryza Sativa (Rice Starch), May Contain Pigments of Daucus Carota Sativa Root (Carrot), Cucurbita Pepo (Squash), Prunus Armeniaca Fruit (Apricot), Prunus Persica Fruit (Peach), Carica Papaya (Papaya), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa), Punca Granatum (Pomegranate), Rubus Fruticosus Fruit (Blackberry), Vaccinium Angustifolium (Blueberry), Rubus Idaeus Fruit (Blueberry), Coffea Arabica (Coffee), Camellia Sinensis (Black Tea), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai), Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla), Lavandula Angustifoli (Lavender), and Solanum Lycopersicum Fruit/Leaf/Stem (Tomato), a-tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oil, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado ) Butter, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Red Wine Resveratrol (Wine), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), may contain Mica (natural shimmery mineral).
This line of makeup can now be found in Duane Reades throughout NYC which is nice because it is hard to pick a makeup out online.  However in some of their foundations is titanium dioxide which is a heavy metal that I need to help people detox from.  When titanium shows up as a problem in the office I have people look at their toothpaste, chewing gum, SPF lotions and makeup to see if there is titanium in those products.  It is used as a whitener for teeth in toothpaste and gum and it helps block sun rays in SPF lotions and makeup.  It actually is used in food too and can be found in your Coffee Mate and M&Ms as a food coloring.

When trying to figure out if your products have titanium in them or not you are looking for the word titanium and it is usually listed as titanium dioxide.  Unfortunately more companies are trying to hide is and are listing titanium dioxide by it's nomenclature "CI 77891".  Instead find SPF lotions and makeup that use zinc, or zinc oxide.

I just recently found Omiana makeup line that is very natural and even though a few of their products do have titanium their strength is a whole titanium-free line that makes it really easy to buy without having to read every single ingredient list.   They also have mica-free makeup which some people are sensitive to.  Mica is not a heavy metal but is a mineral used to make makeup shimmery.

Why take the extra time to read labels and stay away from titanium?  Because it could cause cancer.  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC): Although a Working Group with this agency believes that titanium dioxide is “possibly carcinogenic to humans” they cite “inadequate evidence” to classify the substance as carcinogenic (912). Rather the IARC remains to list the substance as poorly soluble and a low toxicity particle despite an emerging body of evidence opposing this aged belief.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): NIOSH acknowledges that titanium dioxide causes the most immediate threat when the metal is inhaled. In order to reduce risk for lung cancer and pulmonary inflammation, the agency simply recommends minimalizing exposure to titanium dioxide (8).

Scientific evidence is there.  It only depends on whether or not you want to look at it.  Dunkin' Donuts a few years ago removed it from their donuts because they were concerned.  Check out the story here. Not that I would ever say Dunkin' Donuts is healthy now but I do give them credit for that choice.