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SHOULD YOU AVOID NIGHTSHADE FOODS?

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Nightshades

We know vegetables are part of a healthy diet, but what about nightshade vegetables?  And what the heck are nightshades anyway?

Nightshades are in the Solanaceae family of plants.  They include:

White Potatoes
Tomatoes
Peppers  – red, yellow, green, jalapeno; also includes paprika & cayenne pepper (but not black pepper or white pepper)
Eggplant
Nicotine
….and the lesser known nightshade, Goji Berries

So what is it about Nightshades that make them potentially problematic?

Plants produce alkaloids primarily designed to help protect them from insects. The active alkaloid in nightshades, is a drug-like alkaloid that may compromise function in the bodies of sensitive individuals. There is no solid research evidence showing an impact on the nervous system or joints, but it there are many people, especially those with joint pain, but also many with digestive complaints as well as nervous system disorders, who feel a lot better when nightshades are eliminated from their diet, as it seems to relieve a variety of conditions.

Some researchers believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact only be experiencing the effects of nightshade consumption; in fact, one in three arthritics will react badly to nightshades.  Though not yet understood how, nightshade foods may remove calcium from bones and deposit it in soft tissue, setting the stage for arthritis. For this reason, researchers have recommended that all individuals with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other joint problems like gout eliminate nightshade foods from their diet.

My Personal Experience with Nightshades:

As a young child I had psoriasis on one of my knees.  If you aren’t familiar with psoriasis, it is an autoimmune skin disorder that sort of looks like eczema but generally occurs on the outer elbows and knees (although it can occur anywhere on the body) as opposed to the inner elbows and knees as typically characterized by eczema.  There are many different types of psoriasis, but the common type has clearly defined borders and the skin flakes in round white patches, which causes it to itch – a lot.  Sounds delightful, I know.  🙄  It is notoriously difficult to treat, but a healthy diet and a well functioning digestive system is of utmost importance; I believe it is for this reason that mine cleared up almost 20 years ago when I began my journey towards living a healthier lifestyle.   Unfortunately, about a year ago I was hospitalized for a few days with a severe bacterial infection in my leg (that’s what happens when you scratch a cut on your leg with not-so-clean-hands, folks surpriseops: ) and was given massive doses of antibiotics; not surprisingly, since antibiotics destroy the balance of gut flora, especially at those high doses, the psoriasis returned.

Since many experts believe that Nightshades should be avoided not only by those with joint pain and problems, but by people with autoimmune disorders in general, I decided to give it a shot and gave up ALL nightshades for 3 months.  Want to know what that’s like? Well, never mind the fact that I LOVE eggplant and tomatoes/tomato sauce but eating at a restaurant or at a friends house became almost impossible.   Restaurants love using Paprika on EVERYTHING – and friends just thought I was more nuts than usual as I picked the peppers and tomatoes out of their salads.  I stuck with it, though, because I had to see for myself if this was a contributor to the problem.  After the 3 months although there wasn’t much of an improvement in my skin condition, I did learn that high amounts of nightshades, tomatos in particular, did make the itching worse.

So what’s the bottom line?

For as many articles as you will find that nightshades are bad for you, there are an equal number of articles you can find that say it’s simply not true and there is no scientific evidence to support this theory.  Ever the practical realist, here’s my simple take on it:

If you have any of the issues above, especially joint pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorder, eliminate nightshades from your diet for 3 months to see if it makes a difference.   Less than 3 months just isn’t enough to really come to a good conclusion, although if you are sensitive to them you should feel some improvement right away.  If it doesn’t make any difference at all, enjoy.  If it makes somewhat of a difference, than have them in moderation, cooked, for this lowers the alkaloid content by 40-50%.  If you have noticeable improvement in your symptoms, then obviously stay away!

Have you tried avoiding Nightshades and did it help you?

Share in the comments below!

UPDATE JULY/2014: I recently had a skin biopsy and, as it turns out, I was mis-diagnosed as a child and never had psoriasis.  What I have, in fact, is eczema.  While health experts believe that it the same leaky gut that contributes to both psoriasis and eczema,  there are other differences pertaining to these conditions and it may explain why avoiding nightshades did not work for me.

 

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MARCH 2014 FITNESS PROMOTIONS!

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This month, Beachbody has some amazing challenge pack deals going on – check them out, and when you order you will get me as your FREE coach to help you reach your goals every step of the way! happy

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Choose the LES MILLS COMBAT or LES MILLS PUMP Challenge Pack and get an all-in-one solution for your best body ever. Plus, get 50% off LES MILLS equipment. Order now—time is extremely limited!

Here’s what you’ll get:

LES MILLS COMBAT or LES MILLS PUMP fitness program.

Engineer your perfect body with LES MILLS PUMP. This barbell based, rapid weight loss and accelerated strength training program can give you the tight, toned, and lean body you’ve always wanted in as little as 3 workouts per week!  Check out the preview below:

With LES MILLS COMBAT, you’ll punch, kick, block, and strike your way to an outrageously shredded body. Beachbody’s first mixed martial arts workout includes 7 muscle defining workouts that harness the explosive techniques of Karate/Kung Fu, Capoeira, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai/Kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do and Boxing with the hard hitting cardio of high intensity interval training to blast calories and help you carve a lean, chiseled body in just 60 days. Here’s the preview:

A 30-day supply of Shakeology®—the superfood shake that helps give you energy, reduce cravings, and accelerate your fitness results*—delivered on Home Direct.**

A FREE 30-Day VIP Trial Membership to the Team Beachbody® Club, where you can access tips, fitness and nutrition tracker tools, and more.**

Plus, as part of this limited-time special offer, you can get 50% off of selected LES MILLS equipment.

Contact me with any questions.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  For my orthodox Jewish followers, this product has Vegan flavor options but is not certified Kosher.
weight, Rebecca Lazar - MARCH 2014 FITNESS PROMOTIONS!

**With Home Direct, you’ll be enrolled in our monthly autoship program, and with your trial membership, you’ll be enrolled in our monthly VIP membership. Cancel either at any time.
weight, Rebecca Lazar - MARCH 2014 FITNESS PROMOTIONS!
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BEAUTIFULLY HEALTHY EVENT MARCH 2014

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Attention Ladies:  come join us on March 23, 2014 for this fabulous, FREE event! RSVP to reserve your spot and book your free consultations – spaces are limited.  Please spread the word and share with friends.  We look forward to seeing you all there!

Beautifully Healthy Event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have specific beauty consult questions regarding this event, please contact Rina; for health & fitness info contact us.

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TOP 25 WORKOUT SONGS

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Workout musicIf you workout, you know how important it is to have really good music playing – the “right” song can make you run that extra mile, lift that last rep when you feel like your muscles are going to give way or just make you keep going even if you feel like you’re going to pass out.  The “wrong” song can bore you, leave you feeling weak and tired and make you give up way before you are ready.

Everyone has different tastes and styles of music that give them that extra pump so I’m not writing this to tell you my playlist is better than yours.  You may think mine sucks and even if you agree with many of them, I’m certain there will be some snickering at a few of my choices – Justin Beiber? What? Selena Gomez? Hey don’t judge me, sometimes I think I’m still a teenager full of angst and I’m okay with that!  I’ve also got classic (and totally cliche) workout music from the Rocky Soundtrack because frankly you’re not an exercise fanatic if you’re missing those.  There’s a mix of oldies but goodies and newer songs but they all have one thing in common – an awesome beat and sometimes even better lyrics.

When my headphones – that would be Bose SIE2i Sport Headphones only, baby – are in my ears and my Ipod nano is clipped to my shirt playing these songs, I am unstoppable…..so if you ever catch me at the gym and I totally ignore you, rest assured I’m so lost in the music, the lyrics and the pounding rhythm, it wouldn’t matter who or what was in front of me because I’d be completely oblivious.  My advice is just snap your fingers in my face to get me out of my trance happy

Here are my most often, top 25 go-to workout songs, in no particular order: (Click on the song to listen in Itunes)

Cooler Than Me (Single Mix) – Cooler Than Me – Single

Far from Over – Frank Stallone

More (RedOne Jimmy Joker Remix) – Usher – Single

Robot – Miley Cyrus Can’t Be Tamed

Beggin’ – Madcon – Single

Fancy Footwork – Chromeo

Walking On a Dream – Empire of the Sun

Danger Zone – Top Gun (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Beauty and a Beat (feat. Nicki Minaj) – Believe

International Love (feat. Chris Brown) – Planet Pit

Amnesia (Radio Edit) – Ian Carey & Rosette – Single

Ghosts n Stuff – Deadmau5

It’s Time – Night Visions – Imagine Dragons

Turn Me On – David Guetta (feat. Nicki Minaj)

Safe and Sound – Capital Cities

Africa – Cryzp

Naturally – Selena Gomez and the Scene – Kiss & Tell

Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) – Journey: Greatest Hits

Training Montage – Rocky IV (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Love Is a Battlefield – Pat Benetar – Best Shots

Can’t Get You Out of My Head – Kylie Minogue – Fever

Higher – Taio Cruz – Rokstarr

Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida

Eye of the Tiger – Rocky IV (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Stayin’ Alive – The Best of N-Trance OR Stayin Alive – Capital Cities – Kangaroo Court – EP

By the way, if I had to choose only one song and nothing else, hands down it would be Separate Ways by Journey.   A close second would be Far From Over by Frank Stallone  – the movie Stayin’ Alive may have sucked but if that song doesn’t get you in a workout groove, nothing will.  So there you have it.  And now I’d love to know…..what’s on YOUR workout playlist? Share in the comments below.

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THE SOLUTION TO BACK & KNEE PAIN

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recommend-fpr

A few years ago, after many months of intense exercise, I developed a serious back and neck pain problem.  At first I wanted to blame the program I was doing, which was P90X, the famous Beachbody Home Fitness program that I loved, but I soon started to realize that the issue was a lot more complex than that.  At 5’10” I unfortunately had years of poor posture, including making the common mistake of overworking the muscles in the front of my body ie. chest, abs, quads, and not focusing nearly enough on the muscles in the back of my body including upper back, glutes and hamstrings.  This is a common cause of creating an imbalance in the muscles, with the body constantly trying to re-align itself to better posture, while fighting against the contracted muscles of the front of the body.  It seems really simple to understand but I, like most people, tend to enjoy working more of what we can actually see in the mirror and I was guilty of not looking at my body objectively the way I always do when I train a client.

Because of this imbalance, my lower and middle back, as well as my neck*, hurt constantly.  To make matters worse, I was told after an MRI that the pain was not caused by a muscular imbalance, but rather by herniated discs and arthritis.  It’s too long to explain here why I later came to the conclusion that this idea is not valid, but you can learn more by reading Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, by Dr. Sarno.  (At first, I was completely opposed to the ideas in this book, but the more I read, the more I was convinced at the validity of the content).

Anyhow, after the MRI, it was recommended that I go to physiotherapy and stop exercising; I was also told I would probably never be able to workout that intensely again, which caused a great deal of psychological stress and worry (again, see Dr. Sarno’s book, above, which explains how this creates a cycle of increasingly more pain).  I ended up going to numerous physiotherapists and chiropractors, as well as specialists in acupuncture and nothing, I mean NOTHING helped – in many cases I just felt worse, with pain that extended into my head, behind my eyes, down my left arm and into my knees – even into my right foot.  At this point I was really frightened and depressed so I contemplated paying thousands of dollars for spinal decompression, which may work for some people but (a) I couldn’t afford it and (b) frankly it scared the hell out of me after reading some patient reviews.  I also want to note that, as a Holistic Nutritionist, I was taking all the “right” supplements such as Curcumin, EFA’s and following an anti-inflammatory diet, but it simply wasn’t enough to correct the problem.  Although they certainly helped decrease my level of pain and I would recommend it, when the cause of the problem is structural, those imbalances must be corrected.  Unfortunately, the particular “specialists” I went to were as clueless as I was and gave me ineffective treatments and exercises that only made the issue worse.

After about a year of suffering, interestingly through an upgrading course I was taking online, I finally found someone who was able to help me in ways I never thought possible – a chiropractor named Dr. Nick Tsaggarelis, who specializes in Active Release Technique. In this technique, according to the description of the method, “the provider uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and mobility of the soft tissue. Using hand pressure, the practitioner works to remove or break up the fibrous adhesions, with the stretching motions generally in the direction of venous and lymphatic flow, although the opposite direction may occasionally be used.”

Well, here’s MY description:

It hurts like hell!  No really, it does. I’m pretty sure I cried the first time and cursed out Dr. Nick like a trucker. surprise   Apparently this is not an uncommon reaction since he merely smiled and continued torturing me.  Obviously, it was well worth it, because after a few sessions, along with the back pain home exercise program he helped to create called the FPR Program, I was finally pain free.  You can’t imagine the relief I felt at knowing that I could continue to do the things I love, with only a few minor modifications to prevent that type of pain again.  The knowledge I gained regarding muscular imbalance was invaluable as well and has helped me work with my clients more effectively.

So what is the FPR Program?

FPR – or the “Feeling Pretty Remarkable” Program, is a series of straightforward, easy to follow exercise programs created by leading medical professionals that you can do in the privacy of your own home for 15 minutes a day.  It does not require fancy equipment or a lot of space; they were to designed to be simple and effective by re-training the muscles of the body that are out of balance and, in turn, make you pain-free. There are 4 levels t each program, so you start off easy and progress every 3 weeks over a 12 week period, at which point you will be amazed at how much better your back feels.  The FPR knee pain relief program is equally as effective if your pain is focused in or around your knee joint.

Please note that I would never endorse these products if I didn’t use them myself and recommend them to many of my clients, all of whom have experienced excellent results.  I’m happy to report that, even after several years, I am still able to do high intensity exercise programs and I am mostly pain-free, except when I overwork certain muscle groups.  When this happens, I simply take a break for a few days, and do the exercises I learned in the FPR programs.  Occasionally,  I will re-visit my chiropractor and have some torture – I mean, active release technique winking – done on me in order to maintain my active lifestyle.

To purchase the FPR Back Program, click HERE.

To purchase the FPR Knee Program, click HERE.

If you have any questions regarding either of the above programs, please ask in the comments below and I will be happy to help you as best as I can.

*Although the low back pain program was not specifically designed for neck pain, in my particular case it helped for neck pain as well as low back pain. Please consult with your Doctor, Chiropractor or other specialist if you have neck pain before doing the FPR low-back program.

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