Tag Archives: nutritious america

Increase Your Body’s Fuel Efficiency in the Winter

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

We all know what a fuel efficient car is, well at least the basic idea behind it. I mean, I couldn’t point one out to you on the street’ and if you wanted to tell me to look for one you would have to say something like, “Abra, the red one, the small red car” then I would get it. A fuel efficient car reserves energy so as not to gobble up fuel, it saves money, it’s better for the environment, and overall makes a lot of logical sense.

But when I tell people that in the winter our bodies are looking for ways to conserve energy, to be more fuel efficient, I am met with resistance. Slow down? Conserve energy?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that people should live in harmony with their environment, to honor the seasons and their affect on our bodies.

In winter nature slows down, hibernates, the energy of the earth goes inward and internally begins the process of renewal for spring. To live in harmony with your environment during the season of winter means to honor the same principle: slow down, calm down, conserve energy allowing your body to prepare for renewal in the spring. Winter health in TCM is focused on the kidneys. Kidney health is the core of vitality, the source of strength throughout the body. When the kidneys are weak we age faster than we should, we feel more tired, our sex drive is decreased and their is an overall lethargy throughout the body.

To embrace winter and all the glorious peaceful qualities that come along with it align your food and exercise regimen with the season. (more…)

Cool Chicks Know It’s OK to Eat Egg Yolks

Karen Sherwood for Nutritious America

A 44-year-old, weight-obsessed, female client walked into my office with a punch-drunk look on her face. “My doctor says I have high cholesterol”, she said.

I asked her what she’s been eating the last six months. She quickly pulled a list from her doctor out of her purse, detailing all the things she was to omit from her diet. I took it and read, while she scanned my facial expression for reassurance. On this list I saw butter, cheese, red meats, ice-cream, shell-fish, and egg yolks. Then she told me that a typical breakfast for her was three egg whites, a large glass of no-pulp orange juice, vanilla skim latte, and a low-carb bagel. “I stay away from egg yolks all all cost,” she said. Her lunch was typically a 6-inch Subway sandwich, fat-free chips, and a Diet Coke. She told me that sugary sodas and salty chips were necessary for her to beat her typical afternoon slump (along with two more cups of coffee), but they were all “fat-free” so the doctor said it was fine. Later, dinner was a Chinese-chicken salad and a few glasses of wine.

I see this over and over again. It is the situation of a client who has been given partial information. What I don’t understand is, when did something as natural as an egg become villainized and substituted with baked Goldfish crackers in efforts to control cholesterol levels? Sometimes, in an attempt to be healthy, a client can end up causing more harm than good to his or her body. It’s simply a matter of not knowing the facts.

So Let’s Take a Look at the Egg. (more…)

Will the Real Fat Trap Please Stand Up? A Response to Tara Parker Pope

Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

I read an article in the New York Times a few days ago called “The Fat Trap” and I can’t seem to shake it. The article, written by Tara Parker Pope, highlights the newest research in what she called the ‘fat trap’, losing weight but not being able to keep it off.

I found the article to be a somewhat fatalistic snapshot of the journey from weight loss to maintaining a new weight. Some of the points made were valid, like the call to focus on prevention; helping people before weight gain becomes an issue, but most of the research sited in the article seemed fatally flawed to me.

The Fat Trap” opened with a research study of 50 obese men and women. In the study they had the participants lose weight by going on an extremely low calorie diet of a mere 500-550 calories per day.

The research showed that despite best effort, the 34 participants that ultimately remained in the study regained an average of 11 of the pounds lost and also reported feeling far more hungry and preoccupied with food than they had been before.

What is most perplexing to me is why we continue to conduct research on obesity using the same methods that we know have failed time and time again. Of course, a dramatically reduced calorie diet will result in cravings. When one’s body is depleted of the very sustenance it needs to be satiated there will be cravings to follow. (more…)

Eat More Seaweed! We’ve Got 5 Good Reasons

Seaweed is the ocean’s mineral and vitamin bank surpassing any and every food on the planet for diversity of nutrients. So guess what? That thin dark sheet that holds together your sushi roll has more nutrients than any item inside the roll. If you eat sushi you are consuming some seaweed, but what if seaweed was as much a staple in your diet as salad? (I am assuming of course that salad is a staple in EVERYONE’S diet!) In Japan, seaweed is an everyday food and there is research that suggests that the frequent occurrence of seaweed in the Japanese diet is linked to the low occurrence of cancer and other illness. Let’s break it down:

Nutritious America’s top 5 reasons to make seaweed a staple in your diet are:

1. Seaweed has wonderful natural detoxifying properties. It contains aljinic acid, which binds out toxins in our body and allows for their natural elimination. We are regularly exposed to so many toxins, both environmental and biological, that it is becoming more and more important to increase the body’s natural ability to detoxify. Seaweed is a fantastic detox tool. (more…)

Flex Your Habit Muscle in 5 Simple Steps

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

For great abs you do sit-ups and for stronger legs you do lunges, but when you are looking to adapt a habit like consistent healthy eating you snap your fingers and hope everything will change over night. Sure change can temporarily occur when you are on a short term “diet”, but what about when the diet is over? Are you sticking to those healthy eating habits? Or do you go right back to your “old, unhealthy” habits?

One of the biggest obstacles in weight loss is creating life-long, sustainable healthy eating practices. So let’s exercise those habit muscles, medically called habitious muscularous healthivious (just kidding), so you can get in the healthy groove without having to execute brute force or willpower. It’s as simple as 1-2-3-4-5. In the same way you squat to get the best butt in town you can follow these five simple steps to exercise the habit muscle and create sustainable healthy habits. (more…)

3 Grab-and-Go Snacks That are No Good for You

By Karen Sherwood for NutritiousAmerica.com

In these last few days of October we rush around in search of the perfect costume, the most awesome carving pumpkin, and candy for the trick-or-treaters. And even before we have opened that first piece of Halloween loot we are bombarded with Christmas commercials, displays, and reminders that the rest of the holiday season is literally around the corner. Tis’ the season to have less and less time and a greater need for quick grab-and-go treats, sustenance to get you through.

There are so many options when it comes to grab-and-go snacks the grocery store isles are literally overflowing with them. Snacks claiming to be healthy, claiming to have a host of health supportive properties, but do they? Our Nutritious America detectives recently skimmed the grocery isles in search of questionable on-the-go healthy snacks.  Here are a few of the most popular culprits complete with our always unbiased opinions! (more…)

A Mushroom a Day Helps Keep Breast Cancer Away

By Karen Sherwood for NutritiousAmerica.com

Mushrooms have long been considered a medicinal food in eastern cultures, touted for their anti-inflammatory properties and range of micronutrients.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s new book, “Super Immunity, The Essential Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free,” presents new research on multiple foods including mushrooms. Specifically mushrooms in relation to their immunity boosting and cancer preventative properties.


Mushrooms contain three important compounds that make them cancer fighting soldiers — Anitgen Binding Lectins, Aromatase Inhibitors, and Anti-Angiogenic Properties. Big words with really big fighting power.

Mushrooms contain ABL, Antigen Binding Lectins, proteins which bind to abnormal cancer cells and activate the bodies defense system against them. ABL also works to be sure that the body does not replicate abnormal cells hence preventing the spread of cancerous cells and tumors.

In relation to breast cancer, mushrooms help the body reduce the level of estrogen and prevent estrogen from stimulating breast tissue through compounds called aromatase inhibitors. Estrogen plays an important role in the development of breast cancer, so mushrooms certainly have a protective effect. (more…)

5 Foods to Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

I am asked more frequently about cellulite in my practice than any other health concern. It is the plea from women everywhere, the curse of generations. “Why me?” I have spent hours in session hearing the cellulite lament.

Thanks to the media’s use of airbrushing we are bombarded with unrealistic images of women with perfectly smooth legs and not an ounce of cellulite. One can feel like they are all alone on cellulite island, like the only woman in the world that has “orange peel” skin (I refuse to liken cellulite to cottage cheese, I refuse!) In this era of “false” perfectionism it is difficult to embrace our imperfect selves, and really, really difficult to embrace our cellulite. I always encourage my clients to release the negative focus on those dimply thighs. It’s amazing how cellulite begins to disappear when you magically stop drawing attention to it. That is a great first step toward feeling better about your and your body, we are all imperfect in the most perfectly beautiful way. (more…)

New Research Finds Coffee May Help Women Fight Depression. How Depressing.

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

Before you refill that coffee mug read this.

Last week a new research study from Harvard was released that stated drinking caffeinated coffee may help women fight depression. Women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 20% decreased risk of developing depression over the 10 year period compared with those that consumed one cup or less a week, according to a study released in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A holistic nutritionist weighs in:

I am concerned that this research is giving the green light to an extreme coffee habit, which in my opinion, can be ultimately detrimental to your health. When this study was released last week Twitter was filled with “tweets” of joy like, “coffee brews to beat the blues,” and this tweet from Arianna Huffington, “Caffeine can cure depression in women. One more reason for coffee addicts like me to celebrate our addiction.”  Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy a cup of Joe from time to time, but it’s how people tend to misread research to reinforce an unhealthy habit that’s got me down. Researchers cautioned that more study is needed before they’d recommend adding several cups of coffee a day as therapy, but how many people skipped over that caution?

And what about the negative effects of 4-5 cups of coffee per day? (more…)

Coconut Sugar is a Nutritionally Superior Natural Sweetener

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

Seems like there is a hot, new “healthy sweetener” on the market every 10 minutes and as soon as you are convinced that this is the ONE, new reports come out saying, “NO, stay away!” Frustrating, I know.

Let’s look at the star “healthy sweetener” of the moment, Coconut Palm Sugar. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?

What exactly is Coconut Sugar?

Coconut sugar is an unrefined sweetener derived from the nectar of the blossom or bud of the coconut palm tree; not the coconut itself but the bud that would form a coconut. This is important because this bud is the source of all nutrients that are being fed to the maturing coconut, kind of like the umbilical cord from mom to baby. Skilled farmers, called “tappers,” tap the bud and release the sap. The sap is then heated and crystallized. (more…)