Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Food Cravings: Tips and Strategies for Success!

By Sally Byrd, N.D.

Food cravings are a sign of an unhealthy, unbalanced body. Many times they are a symptom of chemical addiction from our diet, mental stresses, our environment, and hectic lifestyle. Liking or wanting a certain food compared to ‘craving a food’ is entirely different. When your body is not receiving the nutrients it needs to operate well, it will increase your desire for more food until your body gets the nutrients it needs to function.

Depending on your willpower, what you have in your pantry or if you are eating out, the choices for healthy foods are limited so junk foods usually win. This is why so many American are overweight, nutrient depleted, emotionally challenged stressed out and why they have difficulty managing their eating behavior.

Many nutritional deficiencies for essential fatty acids, minerals, amino acids and chlorophyll will cause constant craving for unhealthy foods especially carbohydrates-all types of sugar, potatoes, breads, pastas, pizzas and the traditional comfort food of our society.

The popular higher protein, lower carbohydrate diets will work to some extent but adding the extra nutrients are essential for long term dietary effectiveness and positive lifestyle changes.

Keys to Curbing Carb Addictions:

1. Get on your Blood type diet at least 75%. Change at least 5 of the most damaging foods for each type.
2. Go to http://www.dadamo.comand scroll down to food values. Check the foods that you eat daily (pick 5: protein & carbs are more important in the first phases) and if they are on the avoid list – stop eating them –get up to at least 5 foods that you will avoid. Get in a habit of this first phase food elimination for 3-4 weeks and check the list again and start on 5 more foods that you frequently eat. Most people can handle this and it is as overwhelming as a complete ‘cold turkey’ change. There are so many healthy substitutions that even frequent travelers have options.
3. Keep your fluid level high. Drink healthy teas: green, white tea, rooibus, mint, chamomile, ginger, dandelion root, rose hips, & licorice root teas. Spring water w/lemon or lime essence, some juices –beneficial to your blood type (dilute them) to equal 1/2 your weight in oz. (i.e.: a 150 lb. person should consume 75 oz of healthy fluids).
4. Ditch the java, energy drinks (like red bull) ALL SODA …..Coffee, guarana sodas increase insulin levels in the body which will increase carb cravings. They also create an acidic environment in all the wrong places. This leads to disease and unhealthy food choices and could lead to serious diseases like diabetes and arthritis
5. Get a urine or blood test to see what minerals or amino deficiencies you may have. Also check for heavy metal toxicity.
6. Add the nutrients that you may be lacking in supplement from and check your food list for compatible foods that are rich in these nutrients. Many people will find that they are low in Taurine, L-Glutamine, Chromium and Chlorophyll.
7. For low energy & mid-afternoon cravings; try a Green super food drink or bar (Greens+ ) with 1,000-2,000 of L-Glutamine and other key nutrients like a sugar balance type supplement to stay alert and focused for the rest of the day . Most women are so deficient that a common magnesium supplement & amino acids will subdue most cravings.
8. Start taking essential fatty acids like Evening Primrose, Sesame, Pumpkin Seed, Flax or Borage seed oils to repair the cellular wall and reduce the constant hunger that many people experience. I find Evening Primrose oil in the dose of 2-3 grams daily can impact most women in a positive way – cravings, skin, hormones and weight control.
9. Get a series of colonics. This speeds up the cleansing process and starts internal tissue repair. Add Glyine -1,000 mg to your nutrient regime.
10. Keep Moving: we all know about exercising. If this is a challenge, find something that you like to do. It does not have to be in a gym or fitness center. Dancing, gardening, walking, yard work even house work helps your bodies’ immune system stronger. For weight loss you may have put in more time but do something for at least 30 minutes every day!
11. Use an infra-red sauna and sweat out poisons, to regain cellular strength.
12. Depending on your budget try a form of bodywork like reflexology, massage, chiropractic or acupuncture to further strengthen the way your system functions.
13. Eliminate any silver fillings that contain mercury. These will reduce you immune support and cause an unbalanced system.
14. Write out a goal list and stick to it: use a before picture on your mirror, appointment book or refrigerator.
15. Pray or mediate for emotional strength.

Key nutrients to consider are:
1. Green Superfoods: Greens+, Perfect Food, Green Vibrance, Amazing Grass, Chlorella, Spirulina, Wheat grass
2. Amino Acids: Glycine, L-Glutamine, Taurine , Combo of all 22
3. Minerals: Magnesium, potassium, chromium, selenium
4. B-Complex with extra Folic Acid & B-12 (methyl form)
5. Water Enhancers: Cell Food, Trace Mineral drops, Willard Water
6. Anti-Aging3 Collagen (reduces sweet cravings)
7. Sugar Balance (Dr Ven has one but there are others too)
8. Egg White Protein: Jay Robb, Major Egg, Amerifit
9. Healthy fats: Evening Primrose, Borage, Black Currant, Sesame, Flax, Chia, Salba, Pumpkin Seed Oil and marine source DHA.
10. Cleansing: Renew Life, Zand herbals, Dr. Venessa Liverclean, Jarrow Artichoke & Curcumin
11. Healthy raw Salt: Himalayan, Celtic, Real salt, Lima Salt

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

7 Simple Strategies to Kill Carb Cravings

By Dr. Leslie Van Romer

1. Satisfy Your Hunger Drive 
A cultural myth that many people believe is that you must control your hunger drive to lose and maintain ideal weight. Delete that myth from your brain! Your hunger drive cannot be controlled. It is a natural instinct, and like all human instincts, it keeps you alive.

When you’re thirsty, you drink. When you’re sleepy, you sleep. When you’re hungry, guess what? You should eat. Simply fill up on the right foods that satisfy your hunger drive.

Cravings, triggered by hunger, can be crushed, if you stop waging war with your hunger drive and start satisfying it by filling up on the best-for-you foods.

2. Fill Up on Good-Guy Carbs
For all the carbohydrate confusion, there is one glaring fact. All carbs are not created equal. The good-guy carbohydrates, sourced by whole, fresh fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains (brown rice, not breads) and legumes, satisfy your hunger drive, thereby calming cravings. When a bad carb craving hits, fill up on nature’s best-for-you foods first and the craving will fade.

Hint: For cravings to disappear, you must eat enough of the best-for-you foods to really and truly fill you up.

3. Ditch Bad-Boy Carbs
Bad boy carbs incite cravings so steer clear of them. The more refined sugar, desserts, baked goods, breads, salty snacks, and chocolate you eat, the more hooked you get. If they are out of sight, they are much easier to avoid.

The natural sugars and sodium in fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes, are your biggest allies to successfully fight and conquer carbohydrate cravings. When cravings call, be sure to first load up on these foods, especially whole fruits and vegetables, to render those sabotaging urges powerless.

4. Graze on Fruit for Breakfast
Fresh fruit expedites your freedom from cravings. The challenge is eating enough fruit when traditional food faves demand attention. Rather than feasting on the typical bad-boy carbs which trigger cravings (dry cereal from a box, quick oats, brown-colored white toast, pancakes, pastries), fat-laden bacon and eggs, or just a cup of coffee, why not fill your morning with nature’s best craving crushers – fresh fruits?

Pay attention to your hunger drive and eat enough whole fruits, approximately four to ten, to fill you up and satisfy you. Grazing on whole, fresh fruits until noon helps shut the gate before the cravings get out, gain momentum and sneak attack later in the day. Try it. See how many whole fresh fruits fill you up and behold your incredible shrinking cravings!

5. Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
Whether at home, work, or on the go, think ahead and keep healthy snacks with you at all times – cut-up veggies, fruit, and raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. That way, when cravings start, your fortifications will stop them dead in their tracks.

6. Stop the Diet-go-Round – Forever
Sure diets work, for a while – until they don’t. But they are excellent at one thing – adding red-hot fuel to your cravings.

First, diets deprive you of your food faves - until you can’t stand it, give in, and sneak them back into your life. Second, diets restrict calories and portions, leaving you hungry, making you crave more, and building that food frenzy to a height that consumes your thoughts and your life until … you give in. Third, diets often limit the major nutrient, carbohydrates. With a shortage of good-guy carbs, cravings take control and you grab the first bad-guy carb in sight. The result: you feel like a hopeless failure one more time.

7. Add and Wiggle!
Okay. Let’s face it right now. You’re not perfect. You will never be perfect. Nor do you have to be perfect to finally be free from food cravings. So give yourself some wiggle room. Instead of proclaiming that you’re never ever going to be seduced by one of your food friends again, try a new strategy.

Think addition, not subtraction. In other words, instead of trapping yourself in a restrictive food-box of “can’t haves,” think about which foods you “get to” add to your day that will give you the most nutrition for your calorie buck. These are the very same foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes – that will stop those cravings.

Then, follow the 80/20 Rule. Eighty percent of the time when meals and snacks are routine without holidays, birthdays or get-togethers, add and fill up first on those best-for-you foods. The other twenty percent of the time, don’t worry about it and wiggle! Just beware you don’t wiggle too much.

No matter how diligent you are at incorporating these strategies in your daily life, if you are a mere mortal, there will be times when things go awry. No worries, with persistent mindfulness, time, and patience, you can free yourself from cravings and build your body-dream-come-true.

With years of experience, and a thriving private prac-tice, Dr. Leslie Van Romer helps her clients with the prevention of diabetes, breast cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, fatigue and premature aging through healthy and conscious lifestyle and diet choices. Her new book, Getting Into Your Pants, empowers readers to lose weight and boost self-esteem, energy and health with do-able food and life-style choices. For more information, visit or call 1-888-375-3754.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Healing Compulsions

By Mary O’Malley, author of The Gift of Our Compulsions

My life is a testimony to what can happen when you change your relationship to your compulsions.

At one time I gained 97 pounds in a year. At the same time I was drinking and using drugs! And I tried every diet, therapy and medical plan that promised to get rid of these so called obnoxious behaviors.

I thought none of this worked because I wasn’t committed enough. I also thought that everybody could do it but me. So I would try even harder only to spiral down into self-hate, confusion, and despair. In the depths of my despair, I finally had to admit that controlling my compulsions didn’t bring me the peace I so desperately longed for.

And thankfully so, for as I learned how to cultivate a new type of relationship with them I not only healed my compulsions; I also experienced the deep and lasting healing I was longing for.

It is important to realize that there was a time when you absolutely loved being you!

When you were an infant you were wide open to life, at home inside of yourself, comfortable in your own skin. You may have no mental memories of this time, but your body does. It remembers when there was no part of you that wasn’t okay. You hadn’t yet bought into the belief that you needed to be any different than what you are.

Then slowly, as you experienced moments when life scared you, overwhelmed you and disappointed you, you learned how to pull back, tightening your body, holding in your breath and containing your feelings. You began to live an inner conversation that said you needed to be better or different in order to be okay.

Rather than accepting yourself as you were, you began to hide all of the unacceptable parts of yourself deep inside, hoping they would go away and leave you alone.

But the feelings that we are afraid of don’t just dissolve when we ignore them. In fact, they influence our lives from underneath our everyday awareness.

For all of us, there came a time in our lives when holding in our life energy and distracting ourselves wasn’t enough to keep these feelings at bay, so we learned how to take care of ourselves through some form of compulsion.

By compulsion I mean any recurring activity we use to manage our feelings and around which we have little or no control. We can get compulsive about almost anything – overspending, overeating, overworking, overplanning, overworrying, overexercising, overdrinking, overcomputerizing, etc. Many people are compulsive without even knowing it.

It isn’t until the computer crashes or the credit card is canceled or the doctor says you can’t eat a high-fat diet that it becomes clear just how much a particular activity controls your life. To make matters worse, our whole story around compulsions is that they must be gotten rid of. So we try to control these urges, only to have them control us and this is where many of us are caught.

The old style of working with compulsions is to try manage them, but managing keeps us on the surface of our experience. If we aren’t aware of what is going on inside of ourselves whenever we are compulsive, we will live in reaction.

Reaction creates contractions in our minds, bodies and hearts, and these contractions, if left unattended, fuel our compulsions because it is what we choose not to observe in our lives that controls us.

There is strong evidence that managing compulsions doesn’t work. Take overeating for example. It has been widely reported that 95-98% of every pound that is lost in the United States is gained back, plus some, within a year and a half.

The tricky thing is that management does appear to work initially, but eventually it gives diminishing returns for compulsions don’t heal the feelings that are fueling them. They just numb us out. And even though they promise us that they will take away our pain, they actually do the opposite, leaving us caught in a seemingly endless cycle of trying to control our compulsions only to find ourselves being controlled by them. And if we do manage to control one compulsion, another one usually pops up to take its place.

Rather than managing our compulsions, a more effective way is to engage with them. The two qualities that make up the art of engagement are curiosity and compassion.

Curiosity is an alert acceptance coupled with a passionate interest about whatever is happening right now. Moments of pure curiosity are powerful beyond our wildest imagining.

The second quality of engagement is compassion. The power of compassion is that it dissolves problems rather than trying to solve them. This dissolving comes from compassion’s ability to meet ourselves as we are. Compassion understands that no amount of becoming ‘better’ will ever bring us the healing we long for.

All lasting healing happens when we can be compassionately present for whatever we are experiencing in this moment, for the quickest way to the healing that we long for is to stop striving for results and start meeting things as they are.

I call the ability to be present for our experience ‘treasure hunting,’ for hidden in everything we have turned away from inside of ourselves is a treasure that contains the lasting healing we long for.

Whenever we are compulsive, instead of turning away, this is the perfect time to turn toward our experience. The more we bring our compassionate attention to our compulsion, the more we can unravel the ball of struggle that made compulsion enticing in the first place. As we do so, we literally transform the feelings we hid inside of ourselves that are fueling our compulsions. When we meet whatever is there with curiosity and compassion, our old patterns and feelings finally lose their power over us.

Management gives us short-term results; engagement brings us the lasting healing we long for. Management keeps us caught in a cycle of controlling, only to be controlled. Engagement brings us to a place where we trust ourselves again, knowing we are okay, life is okay and everything will be okay.

As you become interested in engagement, know that patience is an important ingredient on the journey. It took a long time to weave the web of compulsion. It will take a while to unravel it, but the invitation is to begin right now.

For just this moment, let go of any judgment you have for being compulsive and instead, respect yourself for taking on the great teacher of compulsion. And know that as you learn how to listen to your compulsions, they will become your guide back into a life of true satisfaction and fulfillment.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What to do when you can't lose the weight

By Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.

Some of you are finding that despite proper eating and exercise you simply cannot lose the extra weight. Our research has shown that there are a number of things contributing to this and that when you treat them the weight will often begin to disappear.

This is discussed at length in my book From Fatigued to Fantastic!, which teaches people how to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and goes into detail about how to effectively treat the problems discussed below. In these illnesses, which are characterized by fatigue, insomnia, "brain fog" and often widespread pain there is an average 32 lb. weight gain.

The good news is that our research shows that effective treatment is available for 91% of these patients and a fringe benefit is that not just do they feel great but they also lose their excess weight.

These are the most common ones:

1. Hypothyroidism. Over 26 million Americans suffer with hypothyroidism, and less than one third of them are being properly diagnosed or treated! This is the case despite most of them having what their doctors mistakenly consider to be normal blood tests. As long as your thyroid function is inadequate, it will be nearly impossible for you to keep your weight down.

One patient that I treated had lost 50 lbs. by her 4 month follow-up visit, in addition to having no pain and having great energy. She was understandably thrilled. Many of the factors contributing to weight gain in these syndromes also affect the rest of us.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance with low body temperature (under 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), achiness and poor mental function. You don't have to have all of these. Having even a few of these symptoms is enough to justify a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone. It should be adjusted to the dose that FEELS best while keeping the free T4 blood test in the normal range.

2. Nutritional deficiencies. When you are deficient in vitamins or minerals your body will crave more food than you need and your metabolism will be sluggish. To keep it simple and avoid the need to take tablets all day, I recommend that you use a high-quality, premium multi-vitamin/multi-mineral with energizing nutrients.

3. Poor sleep. The expression "getting your beauty sleep" actually has a basis in fact. Deep sleep is a major trigger for growth hormone production. Growth hormone stimulates production of muscle (which burns fat) and improves insulin sensitivity (which decreases the tendency to make fat). 100 years ago, the average American got 9 hours of sleep a night. Because it raises growth hormone, getting the 8-9 hours of sleep a night that the human body is meant to have can powerfully contribute to your staying young and trim! If you have insomnia, eating some turkey before bedtime can help as it contains high levels of tryptophan. Herbals can also help.

4. Yeast overgrowth.
Clinical experience has shown that fungal overgrowth (also known as Candida albicans) contributes powerfully to both sugar cravings and weight gain. Although we do not know the mechanism for this, we have repeatedly seen excess weight drops off once this overgrowth is treated and eliminated. The main causes of fungal overgrowth are excess sugar intake and antibiotic use. Common problems caused by yeast overgrowth include chronic sinusitis and/or spastic colon (gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation). If you have either of these, you probably have fungal overgrowth. The good news is that treating this will not just help you to lose weight but can also eliminate your spastic colon and sinusitis! My book or the treatment protocol on my web site (see will teach you how to effectively treat this.

5. Carnitine deficiency, which is present in most people with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is another major problem. Unfortunately, this deficiency forces your body to turn calories into fat and makes it almost impossible to lose fat. Simply taking carnitine does not help adequately however, as it does not get into cells optimally. I recommend that people take acetyl-L-carnitine 1000 mg daily (which does get into the cells more effectively) for four months, as this can help both energy and weight loss.

6. Adrenal stress support. Start by making an attitude change. Whenever you notice that you're getting anxious or worried ask yourself the simple question "Am I in imminent danger?" The answer is almost always no, and you'll find that your adrenal glands relax as you realize this. If you have problems with relaxing or letting go of worry, my book, Three Steps to Happiness: Healing through Joy, can help you get from where you are to a life that you love! If you are experiencing hypoglycemic episodes, consider taking an adrenal glandular that includes DGL licorice.

To summarize, several factors contribute to persistent weight gain. These include inadequate thyroid function, poor sleep, nutritional deficiencies and yeast overgrowth. Treating these problems can result in marked weight loss.

It is no longer necessary to be on extreme, unsustainable or unhealthy diets to lose weight and keep it off. The recommendations above will not just help you stay trim, but they will leave you healthy and full of vitality as well!