April, 2012
Posted on April 7th, 2012 by in Nutrition

Turning Point: Q&A with Mark Hyman, MD

Doctor, heal thyself. That was what Mark Hyman set out to do when he was flattened by chronic fatigue syndrome. What he discovered what that information isn’t the solution—connection is.

Q Describe what you do in 15 words or less.

A Empower self-healing by addressing the root causes of illness using food as medicine.

Q Tell us about a turning point in your life.

A After working hard as a family doctor in a small town in Idaho, and then as an emergency physician in the inner city, I was hit with chronic fatigue syndrome. It made me stop, look at everything I had learned, and rethink disease, medicine, and health. That started me on my journey of self-healing and discovery of functional medicine, a powerful roadmap for solving the puzzle of chronic disease.

Q What do you love about teaching?

A I deeply believe that we can each be empowered to take back our health, to learn how our bodies function, the miraculous ways in which they were created, and how to work with them to optimize and enhance their natural functioning.

Q What are you passionate about right now?

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Posted on April 6th, 2012 by in Nutrition

Cilantro: 10 Ways to Use the Superfood

Adored by many, loathed by some, cilantro can be used in countless ways to enhance chilly winter days with a tasty, healthful dose of nutrition. Often used in Mexican, Asian, and Caibbean cooking, and rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, cilantro can provide a healthful boost to many a meal. It’s even considered to be therapeutic. John Bagnulo, PhD, nutritionist at Kripalu notes:

Cilantro is a wonderful herb that has remarkable attributes for treating heavy-metal toxicity. Animal research has shown that cilantro contains molecules that prevent the deposition of lead and mercury in tissues. I recommend eating cilantro for people that have been exposed to toxic levels of heavy metal.

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Posted on April 5th, 2012 by in Healthy Living

Smile-asana: The Posture of Happiness

Ever hear a yoga teacher instruct you to “gently turn up the corners of your mouth”? A smile not only affects your mood and the moods of those around you, but it can actually forecast your future. Humans begin to practice this universal expression of joy and satisfaction even before birth: 3-D ultrasound technology shows that babies smile in the womb. Children smile as much as 400 times per day, which is why they’re believed to be the most carefree among us. As for adults, only one-third of us smile more than 20 times a day. We hope the fun facts below will increase your smile stats!

-In a study at the University of California, Berkeley, researchers examined photos in old yearbooks and were able to predict with some accuracy how well students would score on standardized tests, how long and fulfilling their marriages would be, and even how much they would inspire others.

-A 2010 Wayne State University research project looking at smiles on pre-1950s major-league baseball players’ cards found that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life. The players who didn’t smile lived 72.9 years, while those who grinned in their photos lived an average of almost 80 years.

-In a Swedish study, researchers found that it’s very difficult to frown when you’re looking at someone who’s smiling. (But we knew this already.)

-Smiling can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine, while increasing the level of mood-enhancing chemicals such as endorphins.

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Posted on April 4th, 2012 by in Yoga

The Yoga of Burlesque

Image courtesy of Kate Drew Miller.

When I moved to the Berkshires from Brooklyn, I knew that a number of things were in store for me: my new job; plenty of opportunities for yoga; friendships honed from previous visits to Kripalu; and learning to drive. What I did not anticipate was becoming a performer in a burlesque troupe.

Actually, I take that back. People love to manifest things around the halls of Kripalu. They hope for relationships, emotional breakthroughs, job growth. The idea is that if you yearn for something in your life, set an intention to make it happen, and verbalize it, then the universe will provide. Me? I found myself telling folks left and right that one of the things I wanted to create was a co-ed burlesque troupe called Big-Girl Panties.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, burlesque is “a theatrical entertainment of a broadly humorous, often earthy character consisting of short turns, comic skits, and sometimes striptease acts”—and it usually does not involve dudes. That’s why the idea of a co-ed troupe was so innovative! I’ve always been theatrically inclined, but this would’ve been something on a whole new level, especially considering that I was starting a whole new life, and ready to explore new ventures. Sure, all my talk of Big-Girl Panties was a good-natured joke, but one that, deep in my heart, I thought might actually happen.

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Posted on April 3rd, 2012 by in Nutrition, Studies, News, and Trends

Vitamins and Antioxidants, with a Grain of Salt

Living in the Information Age means that we’re constantly bombarded with data—much of it contradictory—about our health. A recent example: In a University of Paris study conducted among 2,500 men and women, researchers found that taking fish oil supplements was linked to a higher incidence of cancer in women. But wait: Haven’t we been told for years that fish oil supplements were good for us, acting as antioxidants to reduce the risk of breast cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease?

It’s certainly not the first time a new study has challenged our established way of thinking—and that’s not always a bad thing. But it’s important to keep in mind that many new studies that are released—and reported on—are not complete, says Kripalu’s Healthy Living Director of Medical Education Lisa B. Nelson, MD. A recent study that reported calcium supplements increase the risk of heart disease in women older age 50 had many women eliminating their calcium intake entirely, while other reports about the benefits of certain vitamins or antioxidants, like vitamin D and beta-carotene, have led to dangerous overconsumption.

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