Welcome to Our Blog. I look forward to staying connected! xoxo Gina

Wednesday 16 April 2014

What we're talking about now...Nutrition

I thought this would be fun to do. People think they are healthy and doing all the right things but they still are 5 to 10 lbs. heavier then they want to be. They feel depressed and have anxiety. They are tired and not motivated. Once you really clean up your diet you will start to see changes. It really does matter what, how, when and why you eat. I welcome your feedback.

1.Why should I juice just vegetables and not fruit? 

This is a very important question. We need to change the way a lot of us are thinking about juicing. Juicing is not about having your sweet tooth satisfied.

I juice each day because I know that doing so will keep me healthy. When juicing, only juice vegetables. Preferably green veggies such as cucumber, celery, kale, and spinach. Add a lemon or some ginger for flavor. Be wary of juicing carrots and beets as they contain a high amount of sugar.

Fruits are very sweet and digest as sugar in the body. When you juice fruit the fiber is taken out. Instead of the fruit digesting normally throughout your body, all that sugar from the fruit goes immediately to your cells. All that sugar getting into the cells so rapidly causes inflammation in the body and can be toxic to your cells.

2. Does sugar cause wrinkles?

Yes! Excess sugar shows up as excess wrinkles on your face.

Long story short...our bodies are made up of approximately 75 trillion cells. The goal is to keep each of those healthy. To stay looking good and feeling good we need to keep all those cells healthy. We keep them healthy by making sure they get the right nutrients and prevent toxins from getting to them.

When we eat a lot of sugar it causes our bodies to go into an inflammatory state (think of your insides becoming swollen). When this happens it is hard for the cells to get the fluid and nutrients they need. In a way the cells become strangled and dehydrated. Dehydrated cells present as wrinkles on face and body.

3. Why don't I eat breakfast?

Our bodies go through a natural detox everyday from 3am to 11am. During this time it is important to let your body to do it's job (healing you) and not get in it's way by eating foods that are hard to digest. I like to start my day with a shot of wheatgrass and a green drink. On mornings when I am hungry I find that a piece of fruit keeps me satisfied until lunch.

People say they workout in the mornings so they 'need' breakfast. I am an early riser and workout several times a week before work. I find this just is not true for me. We don't 'need' anything. Try it, listen to your body. I disagree with people who say breakfast is the most important meal.

4. Is every ailment in your body a result of an emotional issue?

This topic fascinates me and my free time is spent reading on subjects like this. I am finding that it is true in many cases. I am not an expert but am drawing this conclusion more and more. A great book to begin learning about this is
"You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay.

Be open to the idea. It's not a judgement. It's not good or bad, it just is.

Digestion is directly related to good health. We are born with approximately eight football fields of enzymes in our body. I've read that by the time most of us reach fifty we have little more than a football field left.

Enzymes digest food and keeps our cells healthy. I eat to maximize my enzymes!

My comments are not geared towards children. My kids do not eat as I eat (but I am setting an example)

Find supporting information on my nutrition facebook page:


Monday 17 March 2014

The Power of Prayer...and Wheatgrass

The Power of Prayer...and Wheatgrass. 

This wonderful story was written by my good friend and is a must read for anyone with or has a loved one with Crohns Disease. 

My daughter Kara was diagnosed with Crohns Disease in 2003. After the initial diagnosis, she was fortunate to remain in remission for ten years. This past summer, in August 2013, Kara experienced her first serious flare up due to her illness. On two occasions she required hospitalisation. Once in August and again in November. After a series of tests and blood work, they discovered three abdominal abscesses. Doctors explained to us that the routine treatment for abscesses is drainage. Because of the location of her abscesses, (behind her bowel) it made this procedure very difficult, especially with all of the inflammation that was present. It was decided at this point to put Kara on "total bowel rest", which meant no food, very little liquids and and IV line called a Pic line to be inserted into her arm, which would administer her calories and nutrients, and also antibiotics. Kara began this treatment in December and it continued through January.

It was at this time that a dear friend of ours, Gina Nostrant, discussed with us the benefits of juicing Wheatgrass. I googled the benefits, and we decided to give it a try, as we had nothing to lose. We ran to the store, bought ourselves an Omega Juicer, some wheatgrass, and there the relationship began. We juiced religiously even taking our juicer with us to Florida.

In the month of January we met with two colorectal surgeons. Both expressed serious doubt that the abscesses would ever heal. Chances were very slim they told us and not to get our hopes up. They suggested Kara continue with the IV for as long as she could bear it, and then follow up with some scans to see if any progress had been made. It was their hope that inflammation would subside a bit and allow for an easier way to drain the abscesses.

Kara had a scan in January which showed significant shrinkage of the abscesses. We were thrilled. She slowly weaned herself off of the pic line, and continued to watch her diet closely, take her meds, and juice every day. Unfortunately, we were to endure one more bend in the road. Kara became sick last week, with nausea, vomiting and some abdominal pain. Once again, a trip to the doctor, where she had more blood work, and some scans. From the scans they learned that Kara had a small bowel obstruction, but the abscesses had COMPLETELY healed. We were elated to hear this, and we are hopeful that Kara's obstruction can be managed and healed with some strict dietary choices. (Let me mention, Kara had become very lax with her diet, as she was feeling back to normal). Small bowel obstructions are relatively common to patients with Crohns Disease. They are due to the inflammation and scar tissue caused by flare ups. Depending on the size and location, obstructions can be treated with steroids, diet, and in worst cases, surgery. In Kara's case, we are treating with prednisone, and hopeful this will heal inflammation and correct the obstruction.

So as of today, Kara is feeling strong and confident, that she will continue to heal, and continue to grow stronger each day. I believe that there are a lot of things that helped Kara to recover. We have a strong spiritual support group, many friends and family members who prayed for Kara, said countless novenas, and still continue to keep her in their daily prayers. I believe in meditation and the power of positive thinking. I believe in the medical community, the doctors and surgeons who shared their knowledge. But also, I will never underestimate my belief in the benefits of juicing wheatgrass. I was sold from the first second I began my research. I think wheatgrass played a huge part in Kara's intestinal healing and we will continue to juice every day!!!!

Friday 28 February 2014

Our one day JUICE FAST and how it WORKS

 Our one day JUICE FAST and how it WORKS
I have been getting many questions lately about fasting. People are interested to know why I do it and what the benefits are. I love talking about it! Thank you! It's very easy to incorporate this healthy habit into a busy life. It may seem out of your comfort zone, but anyone can do it. It's not that hard. The first week is a little challenging but then it gets easier. I have been fasting for over 4 years now, can't imagine not doing it. It resets me each week. I was especially grateful for doing it this past week. Had spent 3 days on the beach in Naples the week before. Ate what I wanted and drank a few :) Long Island Ice Teas. Felt fine, happy when I was doing it, but it's what happens 2 days later that matters. I felt like I was addicted to sugar. Fasting is a reset.
First, the answer to 'why' we fast.  That is simple
Our bodies are made up of approximately 75 trillion cells. When we can keep all of our cells healthy, we experience good health. We keep our cells healthy by providing them with the right nutrients and by keeping them free of toxins. However, we are not perfect. Thankfully God created our bodies to constantly repair, and renew.

But what's happened is that we are eating so many foods these days that are extremely hard for our bodies to assimilate and digest. So instead of our bodies healing us, healing our cells, they are working overtime just to digest all the food we are taking in.
   One day a week you allow your body to use all it's energy to restore, repair and rejuvenate itself. The energy going to digestion is now freed up to go to where the body needs it. Right now take notice of where you feel weak, or perhaps you have an injury? Your body is smarter than you can imagine and it will go to work on repairing all parts of itself that need attention. 
This is prevention at it's best. Instead of the illness appearing first, take preventive measures now, once a week. Let the body do the work it needs to do to keep you healthy. 
So, that is the 'why' and here is the 'how'.
It is easy. We fast Tuesday dinner to Wednesday dinner each week. During the day on Wednesday I will drink hot water with lemon and a few green drinks. I juice the same thing every day, cucumber celery and lemon. A lot of times by dinner I'm not really that hungry. I do believe this type of discipline has really helped my self control. Another interesting note is that, each day, the body goes through a detox/cleansing from 3am to 11am. Every day.
There is a group of people who join me in fasting each week. I like to keep in touch with them and provide encouragement and support. We talk about our symptoms, sometimes feeling really good, sometimes detoxing. It is a lot of fun and the ongoing results are all about being healthy. I would love for you to do this too. Contact me anytime to talk about it.
Great websites for more info. on fasting:

Thursday 20 February 2014

Thank you so much to Lauren Napolitano for your awesome review of Main Line Pilates. I appreciate your enthusiasm!

Fitness Friday: Main Line Pilates and Yoga
Fitness Friday: Main Line Pilates and Yoga

As my quest to find unique and nurturing communities of health and wellness on the Main Line continues, I want to write about my experience at Main Line Pilates and Yoga.
Main Line Pilates and Yoga is located on Lancaster Avenue in Paoli, PA. This studio offers Pilates equipment classes, Pilates mat classes, private and semi-private Pilates sessions and yoga classes.
Gina Nostrant, the owner of Main Line Pilates, bought this studio in 2005. A longtime athlete, Gina became enamored of Pilates through her work with Beth Downey, of Body Precision Pilates in Rosemont. (For my review of Body Precision Pilates, click here.
There are many reasons why people do Pilates. The first is a wish to be stronger and more physically fit. The second reason people start Pilates is due to injury (back pain is a frequent impetus to start Pilates). Another frequently cited reason to do Pilates is to improve your posture by strengthening your spine.
The instructors at Main Line Pilates and Yoga are certified through Body Precision, a nationally recognized program based on the traditional work of Joseph Pilates. An initial private session at Main Line Pilates involves a thorough physical assessment of your body’s strengths, weaknesses and injuries so that the instructors can tailor your Pilates work to your particular needs.
While some people start Pilates to increase flexibility and decrease pain, most people continue doing Pilates because their pain diminishes and they find that their strength has increased. Pilates helps to ensure that your body stays uniformly developed (which prevents injuries), enhances the flexibility of your spine, and offers an ever-changing workout. Pilates, more than virtually any other type of exercise, has the capacity to grow with your body as you get stronger. At Main Line Pilates and Yoga, there are offerings for the physically fit individual craving a challenging workout, the individual recovering from an injury, and the older adult who is maintaining his/her flexibility and strength.

My Introduction to Main Line Pilates

I met Gina Nostrant by chance a few months ago at a mat Pilates class at Body Precision Pilates in Rosemont. She was warm and funny and had an intensity that I found compelling. She invited me to visit her studio.
I am, by anyone’s definition, a Pilates newbie. I have long adhered to the exercise adage that if it didn’t involve rap music, I didn’t do it. As such, Pilates and yoga were far outside of my daily experience. After suffering a foot fracture this summer, however, I’m learning to embrace ‘safer’ forms of exercise.
I entered Main Line Pilates and Yoga for the first time and was struck by the stylish d├ęcor of the studio. The waiting area of the studio is chic, modern and reminiscent of a hotel in New York City. While I sat waiting to see Gina, I felt like I was at a high-end spa.
I was lucky enough to have two private sessions with Gina. Her passion for Pilates and her precision in teaching were evident from the moment that we started working. She stressed proper breathing and form, and ensured that I understood the mechanics of each exercise before advancing to a more advanced move.
Gina struck me as an incredibly impressive leader. At a surface level, she’s a coach, a welcoming figure, and a dedicated Pilates instructor. At another level, however, it struck me that Gina was invested in using Pilates as a vehicle for creating a community of health and wellness. Gina is passionate about educating her clients. She has created a health/nutrition book club, she writes about nutrition, and she blogs about her own (human and imperfect) journey toward balance and wellness. Gina’s ability to inspire, teach and laugh is the power behind Main Line Pilates and Yoga. She has created not only a top-notch Pilates and yoga studio, but also a vibrant community of resources, education and inspiration.

Fitness Friday: Main Line Pilates and Yoga

Curious to Check it Out? Here’s What You Need to Know:

Newbie factor:
  • Sign up for a few private sessions in order to learn about Pilates as well as have an instructor assess your physical strength and needs.
  • To ensure consistency in the classes, Main Line Pilates and Yoga encourages newbies (like myself) to take 3-5 private sessions before attempting a group class.
Typical person at this studio:
  • The age range of members is 35-80 years old.
  • Pilates traditionally skews more towards women, but I saw men at this studio on each visit.
What You Should Wear:
  • Wear something functional and that allows for fluid movement.
  • You will be bare-footed so if you’re suffering from mid-winter feet, you might want to spruce up with a pedicure first.
Anything Else You Should Know:
  • There is ample parking at the studio.
  • The studio is on the 2nd floor of the building.

About Main Line Pilates & Yoga

1740 East Lancaster Avenue
Paoli, PA 19301

Thursday 12 December 2013

It’s Time To Set the Record Straight – 

Veganism Revisioned


Recently, the health movement has shifted back to an animal-based diet, moving away from a plant-based diet. A lot of this has to do with people seeking something new in the realm of health, longevity, and vitality. As an intelligent, well-informed human, I’m sure you’ve heard of the new diet craze: Paleo. There are a few different versions, and the advocates have been very convincing that it is the optimal diet for humans to be eating.
Before I get into it, I want to be clear that this article is not intended to persuade anyone to become vegan or vegetarian. It is only meant for those of you who want to remain vegan or vegetarian for your own personal reasons: environmental, ethical, spiritual, etc.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with someone choosing to eat whatever they want. I find that the freedom of choice in diet is a beautiful part of the human experience. If you want to be an omnivore, cool. If you want to be a vegetarian, cool. If you want to be a vegan, cool. If you want to eat processed food, that’s fine. If you want to drink tap water, your choice.
fred2I have developed an aversion to people giving unsolicited, fear-based advise. For me, it is difficult to hear that someone has been told they have to eat meat as the only option for being healthy. This is simply not true and is a gross simplification of what a person most likely really needs (which in a lot of cases is an element or two found in animal flesh, but not exclusive to it).
So to get to the “meat” of this article (pun intended), I’ll start with a bold yet simple statement: YOU DO NOT NEED TO EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS TO BE HEALTHY, TO THRIVE, OR TO ATTAIN ANY PHYSIOLOGICAL GOAL YOU HAVE.
No matter what anyone has told you, no matter how much of an authority they are in your life for whatever reason, no matter what your life situation, you can thrive as a vegetarian and most likely as a vegan as well.
And I’m going to tell you how.
The first thing you should understand is that the “protein fear” is a story fabricated to get people to consume more animal products. Yes, everyone needs a certain amount of protein in their daily diet. Amino acids have many functions in the human body including tissue repair, neuron firing in the brain and nervous system, and as enzymes to perform the seemingly infinite bodily functions going on every second of every day. But do we need so much that we need to be eating animals to get it?
In a lot of diet books the word or category “protein” refers to animal products, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Just about every food on the planet contains amino acids. And on top of that, the body will store amino acids until you consume the right complimentary amino acids to create the necessary polypeptide chains (proteins). An extremely easy way to get all the protein you need is by incorporating a known high protein source in every meal you eat and creating variety in your sources.
Some examples of vegan foods that contain higher levels of protein (and are realistically able to be incorporated in the necessary quantities) would be:
Chlorella and Spiralina: algaes are legitimately the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and contain a whopping 50-60% protein as a whole food. The highest protein source food on the planet.
Hemp seeds: A known complete protein that contains healthy fats as well
Chia seeds: More healthy fats than protein, but a great source non-the-less
Quinoa: Also a complete protein, but lower in a few amino acids
Legumes: Makes up for the amino acids you may be missing if only eating grains or quinoa
Moringa: a superfood with a complete amino acid profile. Also extremely nutrient-dense with tons of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
fred3And besides these complete/whole foods, there are many different vegan protein supplements for those of you that need more protein based on your metabolic dieting type (more on that in an upcoming article)
A few that I have used and like are Synchrogenesis, Healthforce Warriorfood, Sunwarrior Protein, and Garden of Life.
Protein aside, as it is probably the least of your problems but the biggest of your concerns with being vegan or vegetarian, there are smaller elements that may be preventing you from being in optimal health on a vegan/vegetarian diet.
The number one reason you may be experiencing feelings of depletion or low energy and the number one reason why people who were vegetarians or vegans went back to eating animal flesh (because they “felt so good and had so much more energy”) after eating meat again is not protein; it’s B-12.
As an advocate and supporter of the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle for those who choose it, I feel obligated to tell you that there is no known vegan source of vitamin B-12, period. This may be contrary to what you have learned, but it is the truth.
Luckily there are ways to remedy this massive missing piece in a vegan diet. The easiest of which is to supplement with B-12 or a comprehensive B vitamin that contains B-12.
If you do not believe in supplementation… that’s a whole other topic. Which I will cover at some point in the future, I promise.
Another important element to consider in the vegan/vegetarian diet is DHA (docohexionic acid). DHA is probably the single most important fatty acid in brain function. It is found to have an effect on fetus and new-born brain development, on eye sight, on mood and depression, and on nerve synapses. Most people are depleted of this vital nutrient. To make matters worse, eating rancid, over-processed fat can actually block the uptake of DHA. This means that even if you are eating a diet that has adequate amounts of DHA, you may still be deficient if you are consuming fried foods, cooked animal fat, or anything that contains trans fatty acids (almost all processed foods).
An easy way to make sure you are not depleted in this vital nutrient, again, is to supplement it. There are a few vegan DHA supplements derived from algae. Premier Research Labs makes a great one.
The intention of this article was not to prove that we should all be eating vegetarian. Nor was it to inspire people to become vegetarians. The intention of this article was simply to support and give confidence to the people that are choosing to be vegetarians or vegans. No matter what your motivation, whether it be ethical, environmental, spiritual, or physiological, I want you to know that you can do it and thrive in this life.
In summary, 3 things you can do to thrive as a vegetarian/vegan:
1.) incorporate high-quality protein sources into every meal
2.) supplement with B-12
3.) supplement with DHA
Keep in mind this is an extremely simplistic approach to maximizing your success on a vegan or vegetarian diet. You can go down the rabbit hole as far as you like.
I’m a firm believer in empowering people to choose whatever experience they want in this life. It’s what makes the human experience so exciting. I also believe that there is no right or wrong in life. There is function and dysfunction, and the discernment to know which is which is completely circumstantial and therefore can never be judged as good or bad.
So keep in mind that even if someone does eat animal flesh or any animal products, it’s their choice. And they are making that choice based on their own personal experiences. Also know that when you talk to people about diet and nutrition, they are coming from a place that is very different than your own. What works for one person, does not work for EVERY person.
We are unique, both in our physiological make up and in our ethical/spiritual beliefs. It would be wise to treat each individual person accordingly.
In optimal health,
Fred Lucas
Contributing Writer, Simply Raw
Fred Lucas is a nutritionist, a chef, a restauranteur, and a chocolatier/chocolate maker. His nutritional focus for the past four years has been helping people remain in optimal health on a vegetarian or vegan diet. The restaurant and elixir bar he is soon opening in Santa Fe, NM reflects his extensive knowledge base for optimizing health and wellness.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

As I have mentioned many times, over the past few years, I LOVE reading about how to stay healthy and prevent disease. I recently sat down and put together a list of some of my favorite books. I hope you enjoy! Let me know!

Never Be Sick Again, Raymond Francis
One of my all time favorites. Great explanation of why we get sick.

The China Study, T. Colin Campbell
Not an easy read, but details the relationship between nutrition and heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder
I love this girl and this book. She explains the relationship between food and beauty.

Food Combining and Digestion: 101 Ways to Improve Digestion,  
 Steve Meyerowitz
A book everyone needs to read! All food digests at different paces. When we eat certain foods together, it literally creates an explosion in our stomach.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy
Anything is possible!

Anticancer: A New Way of Life, David Servan-Schrieber, M.D., Ph.D.
Read how a medical doctor healed himself naturally from cancer.

Hippocrates Life Force, Dr. Brian Clement
Learn to go from toxic and self destructive, to healthful and life affirming!

Super Immunity, Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
I love this nutritional guide to living happy and disease-free.

The Ph Miracle, Shelly Redford Young and Robert D. Young
Understand how to keep your body health by putting foods in it that create an alkaline environment.

Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics- A Philosophy for Achieving a Radiant Mind and a Fabulous Body, Jessica Porter

Enough said!!

Wednesday 26 June 2013

NUTRITION...Taking it to the Next Level