Better Nutrition February 2019






Brighten Your Mood, Combat

Fatigue, & Stay Calm with

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Are You Low

in Zinc?









P. 42


Hello Hormone Harmony!


Sorting Out the Conflicting Research

on Probiotics, Vitamin D, and Fish Oils P. 18







P. 34



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february2019CONTENTS/VOLUME 81 | NUMBER 2



lasagna? Yes,



29 How to Keep Your

Heart Healthy

The latest evidence on the best diet,

exercise, and heart supplements—even

if you take prescription drugs to reduce

harmful blood clots, cholesterol,

or blood pressure.

34 Sweetheart

Match Game

Test your vitamin and heart-health

smarts with this timely Valentine’sinspired


36 The Ultimate

Adaptogen Guide

This powerful class of herbs can

help soothe stress, improve brain

health, boost energy, ease anxiety,

and get your body back into balance.


Confused about


studies? Our

expert cuts

through the hype.


The country’s

top integrative


weighs in on


depletions, heart


and more.


10 TREND WATCH 3 Natural Ways to

Prevent & Treat Back Pain

How to ease the ache without the side

effects associated with drugs.

14 HOT BUYS How Lovely!

Food and supplement products that

we’re excited about this month.

16 CHECK OUT Are You Low in Zinc?

It’s easy to miss the signs of inadequate

stores of zinc.


The Truth About

Supplement Studies

When it comes to supplement studies,

it pays to read beyond the headlines.

20 NATURAL REMEDY Conquer Your

PMS Symptoms

A naturopath offers successful strategies

developed over 25 years of experience.


Breathing Easy Again

After her singing career was

interrupted by airway constriction

problems, Carla Young-Ellsman

stumbled upon an unlikely cure.


Exotic Oils for Your Face & Body

Extracted from trees grown around

the world, these oils are packed with

nutrients that nurture your skin.


Potato Problems

America’s favorite vegetable may

not be a healthy choice for everyone.


Natural Candida Fighters

These 7 foods can help ward off yeast

infections, thrush, and other issues

associated with candida overgrowth.

48 HEALTHY DISH Light & Clean

Low-Carb Lasagna

This trimmed-down version of

a comfort-food favorite—made

with spaghetti squash instead

of noodles—is sure to be a huge


8 • FEBRUARY 2019

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Bio-tract® is a registered trademark of Nutraceutix in the United States (reg. in the name of TNT Gamble,Inc).

U.S. Pat Nos 8,007,777 and 8,540,980.

©2019 American Health, Inc. | 18-AH-1309


The Way to

Your Heart

Many of us take our heart health for granted until something

happens. I recently met a man who ended up in the ER

with crushing chest pain after pushing his wife uphill in

a wheelchair. His doctor said he came very close to dying

because one of his arteries was 98 percent clogged.

Surprisingly, he had no signs that something was amiss

until that day. Now he feels like he’s been given a second

chance at life, and he wants to protect his precious heart

by making healthier food choices, among other changes.

Cardiovascular disease, which includes atherosclerosis

(hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure, can

have no symptoms. This is reason enough to fine-tune your

diet and supplement regimen. Contributing editor Vera

Tweed explores this very question in “How to Keep Your

Heart Healthy” on p. 29. She consulted the country’s top

integrated cardiologist to get his recommendations on diet,

exercise, and supplements for heart health, including drugnutrient

interactions, safe remedies for anyone with a heart

condition, and smart food choices.

“Despite decades of a low-fat diet being promoted as

the answer, recent evidence paints a different picture,” says

Tweed. “In fact, the key drivers of heart disease are sugary

and starchy foods, rather than fat.” The best medicine for

your heart, according to the latest research, is omega-3-rich

fish and other seafood, nuts, seeds, and low-starch veggies.

Red meat can even be good for your heart if it’s unprocessed.

In addition to diet, there are many other ways to love

your heart—pet a kitten, volunteer, learn to let go of toxic

relationships, drink tea, get a massage. Read about these

and other paths to physical and emotional well-being

in Healthy Habits for Your Heart by Monique Tello, MD

( I just came across this book and

found the tips and tricks for making heart-healthy habits

stick extremely helpful.

Love your heart, and it will love you back!



How to Do

a Full-Body


A natural detox

program using

herbs and essential

oils can improve all

areas of your health

and appearance.


Guide to

B Vitamins

What forms to use

for best absorption,

plus how to tell

if you’re low in

certain Bs.

Ultimate Keto


Thinking about

trying the keto diet?

Here’s everything

you need to know.

Get More at



Oatmeal Cookies

February is National

Chocolate Lovers

Month. Celebrate

with our online-only

Recipe of the Month:

Chocolate Espresso

Oatmeal Cookies.


Editor in Chief

Creative Director

Executive Editor

Associate Editor

Copy Editor

Beauty Editor

Contributing Editors

Contributing Designer Rachel Pilvinsky

Contributing Writers Jeannette Bessinger, CHHC,

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, Kat

James, Karen Jensen, ND, Emily

A. Kane, ND, LAc, Lisa Turner

Production Director Patrick Sternkopf

Editorial Offices 512 Main Street, Suite 1

El Segundo, CA 90245


Vice President &

Managing Director, HLG

General Manager

AIM Retail Group


Associate Publisher &

East Coast Sales Director


Midwest Ad Director


West Coast &

Mountain Ad Director


Retail Development Group

Director of Retail Sales

800-443-4974, ext. 702

Marketing Director

Marketing Designer

Accounting & Billing

Nicole Brechka

Rachel Joyosa

Jerry Shaver

Elizabeth Fisher

James Naples

Sherrie Strausfogel

Vera Tweed, Helen Gray

Andrew Amill

Rob Lutz

Bernadette Higgins

Donna Diamond Riekenberg

Cindy Schofield

2400 NE 65th Street, Ste. 623

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

800-443-4974, ext. 702

Joshua Kelly

Laureen O’Brien

Judith Nesnadny

Yolanda Campanatto



Chairman & CEO Andrew W. Clurman

Senior Vice President, Treasurer, and CFO Michael Henry

Chief Innovation Officer Jonathan Dorn

Vice President, IT Nelson Saenz

Vice President, People & Places JoAnn Thomas

AIM Board Chair Efrem Zimbalist III





BETTER NUTRITION, ISSN #0405-668X. Vol. 81, No. 2. Published monthly by Cruz Bay

Publishing, an Active Interest Media company. 5720 Flatiron Parkway, Boulder, CO 80301;

303-253-6300; fax 303-443-9757. © 2019 Cruz Bay Publishing. All rights reserved. Mechanical

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editor or publisher. Fraudulent or objectionable advertising is not knowingly accepted.

Advertisers and advertising agencies assume liability for all content of advertising and for any

claims arising therefrom. Articles appearing in BETTER NUTRITION may not be reproduced in

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CCC at 508-750-8400. Organizations or individuals with large quantity photocopy or reprint

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6 • FEBRUARY 2019


Lost Collagen †


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Wickett RR, Kossmann E, Barel A, Demeester N, Clarys P, Vanden Berghe DA, Calomme M (2007). Effect of oral intake of choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid on hair tensile strength and morphology in women with fine hair. Arch Dermatol Res 299: 499-505.

Barel A, Calomme M, Timchenko A, De Paepe K, Demeester N, Rogiers V, Clarys P, Vanden Berghe D (2005). Effect of oral intake of choline stabilized orthosilicic acid on skin, nails and hair in women with photodamaged skin. Arch Dermatol Res 297: 147-153. Results may vary.


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3 Natural Ways to

Prevent and Relieve Back Pain

Back pain is all too common in our hunched-over, digital world, but there are

simple ways to reduce or avoid it

“We live in a movement-deprived culture,”

says Bradford Butler, DC, author of The

Blueprint for Back Pain: The Essential

Guide to Non-Surgical Solutions. That

fact, he says, predisposes us to stiff and

shortened muscles that disrupt the

alignment of the 24 vertebrae in our

spine, putting pressure on nerves and

eventually causing pain.

Here’s an example: If you sit all day at

work, the hamstring muscles in the back

of your thighs get shorter. If you don’t

compensate by stretching, they pull on

the pelvis when you stand, stressing the

spine. To feel the stretch, stand up and,

with straight legs shoulder-width apart,

bend forward from the hips. Here are

some other basic tips from Butler:

Drink more water: Dehydration

can cause the muscles in your back to

stiffen and even spasm. And, the discs

in your spine need to be well-hydrated

to cushion vertebrae.

Keep muscles flexible

and strong: Take frequent

breaks from sitting, and

walk or move around enough to raise

your heart rate a bit and increase

blood circulation. “Muscles want the

nutrients and the oxygen that blood

carries to them,” says Butler. Yoga

is another good way to increase

flexibility and strength.

Sleep on a good mattress:

If you need to stretch out

stiff muscles when you

wake up, it’s time for a

new mattress—one that

gives you support

without pressure

points. And, don’t sleep

on your stomach.

Last but not least,

follow the

advice you

probably got as

a child: Sit up

straight instead

of slouching.

10 • FEBRUARY 2019






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Everyone deals with day-to-day stress, but

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14 • FEBRUARY 2019


Are You Low in Zinc?

You might not think about zinc, but this mineral is vital to your health—and

the symptoms of depletion are easy to overlook /// BY VERA TWEED

Zinc lozenges are a popular cold remedy,

but this unheralded mineral can do so

much more. Zinc is required for more than

a thousand different chemical reactions

in the human body, which gives it a wide

range of health benefits:




Zinc is essential for a healthy immune

system, which helps ward off colds and

other illnesses. Zinc plays a key role

in healthy cell division, which helps

protect against cancer.

In combination with other antioxidants,

zinc protects the eyes against

blindness from age-related macular


Zinc is used to treat diarrhea in

children and to treat Wilson’s disease,

a genetic disorder that leads to very

high, life-threatening levels of copper.

* Zinc is an antioxidant that reduces *

chronic inflammation and may *

protect against atherosclerosis. *


Signs You Need More Zinc *

Older people and anyone whose digestion *

is sub-optimal may not absorb adequate *

zinc. In addition, a shortfall is more likely *

among people who don’t eat animal foods.

Signs of zinc deficiency (and/or conditions

related to low zinc) include:

* Frequent colds or other infections

* Allergies

* Hair loss

* Loss of taste and smell

* Stunted growth in children

* Attention disorders in kids

* Infertility

* Poor mental function

Diarrhea and IBS

Adrenal issues

Skin lesions (e.g., acne, eczema)

Loss of appetite

Hair loss

Slow healing of wounds

Pica (eating dirt)

Eating disorders (e.g., bulimia, anorexia)

Zinc-Depleting Drugs

Studies have found that conventional

medications for heartburn and high

blood pressure deplete zinc. High

doses of the mineral may be necessary

to restore healthy levels and should

be taken under the supervision of a

health professional.

Heartburn drugs reduce levels of

stomach acid and this, in turn, impairs the

absorption of zinc and other nutrients.

One study compared effects of 26.2 mg

of zinc in supplements, twice daily, in

healthy people and those taking proton

pump inhibitors such as Prilosec and

Prevacid. Compared to the drug-free,

healthy group, those taking heartburn

drugs absorbed less than one-third of

the mineral.

Two types of blood pressure

drugs—thiazide diuretics and ACE

inhibitors—increase excretion of

zinc. Loss of taste can be a side effect

of ACE inhibitors, and a study found


Zinc lozenges fight cold viruses by coating the inside surface

of your mouth and throat. Let lozenges dissolve instead

of chewing and swallowing them. Studies show that zinc

acetate or zinc gluconate lozenges can shorten a cold by

2–3 days when taken every couple of hours, starting within

24 hours of the first symptoms. Aim for a daily total of

80–100 mg of zinc, which is a safe dose for treating a cold.

16 • FEBRUARY 2019

that people who experienced the most

loss of taste had the lowest zinc levels.

Among ACE inhibitors, the greatest zinc

depletion was seen with captopril (also

sold under the brand Capoten).

Eat Your Zinc

Oysters are the best food source of

zinc. Beef, lobster, pumpkin seeds, pork,

chicken, and yogurt are also good

sources of the mineral.

How to Benefit from Zinc

For overall health, the recommen ded

daily allowance (RDA) of zinc is 8 mg

for women (increased to 11 mg during

pregnancy and 12 mg when breastfeeding)

and 11 mg for men. Older adults with

reduced ability to absorb nutrients

may need more. The safe upper limit

for healthy people is 40 mg daily, but

anyone taking a medication that depletes

zinc may need higher doses under the

supervision of a health professional.

High doses of zinc can lead to a

copper deficiency. However, most multis

provide enough copper with zinc. In

supplements, zinc comes in different

forms—chelated zinc, zinc orotate, and

zinc picolinate are thought to be among

the best-absorbed forms.

Zinc can reduce the effectiveness of

antibiotics or penicillamine (a rheumatoid

arthritis drug) if it’s taken at the same

time as the drugs. To avoid this, take zinc

4–6 hours before the antibiotic or 2 hours

afterward. With penicillamine, take zinc

2 hours before or after the drug.

Contributing editor Vera Tweed has been researching and writing about supplements, holistic nutrition, fitness, and

other aspects of healthy living since 1997. She is the author of several books, including Hormone Harmony: How to

Balance Insulin, Cortisol, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone to Live Your Best Life.


A Liquid Zinc Assay test can help you

determine whether or not you need

more zinc—and it can be done easily

at home. Go to for

a step-by-step guide to the test.



Quantum Health




Bio Zinc


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The Truth About

Supplement Studies

Why negative supplement research may not

be so gloomy after all /// BY EMILY A. KANE, ND, LAc

Emily A. Kane, ND,

LAc, has a private

naturopathic practice

in Juneau, Alaska,

where she lives with

her husband and

daughter. She is the

author of two books

on natural health,

including Managing

Menopause Naturally.

Visit her online at

: There seems to be a lot of controversy lately about what I thought were foundational

supplements such as fish oil, vitamin D, and probiotics. What’s up with that?

—Stephon W., San Jose, Calif.

a:The more “we the people”

take responsibility for our

health, the more likely we are to live

healthy, vibrant lives. It may sound

cynical, but pharmaceutical companies,

with their profit motives and lobbyists,

need us to be chronically unwell.

I believe they go to disturbing lengths

to discredit so-called “alternative”

medicine. The level of misrepresentation

in the headlines is shocking sometimes.

It’s crucial to look at the actual studies

before making any judgements

Life on planet Earth is not what it

used to be. Less than 100 years ago,

there were no prescription antibiotics.

Potent, natural antimicrobials (which

still work today) came from minerals

(especially sulfur) and plant medicines,

including goldenseal, osha, and thyme.

While antibiotics have prevented many

fatalities—from septic war wounds to

ulcers to myriad bacterial infections—

there are inherent problems with them.

First, within 10 years of the production

of any antibiotic (penicillin was the first),

resistant strains of bacteria emerge.

Second, taking a broad-spectrum antibiotic

(which indiscriminately kills all

microbes) wrecks the body’s gut flora.

Probiotics: Healing or Harmful?

Let’s look at two recent studies that cast

doubt on probiotics. One study (not in

people, but on a gut “chip,” which is lined

with living human cells) showed that

inflammation in the gut causes intestinal

permeability (leaky gut). The researchers,

whose findings were published in the

journal PNAS, theorized that leaky

gut could allow probiotics into the

bloodstream, causing more harm than

good. I disagree. For example, in cases

of C. difficile (a hard-to-treat, hospitalacquired

infection in the colon caused

by antibiotics), pouring billions of good

bacteria into a damaged gut often resolves

the infection. Also, research has shown

that taking probiotic sachets (with

450 billion CFUs) three times daily for

6–18 weeks significantly helps people

with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

A study published in Cell tracked around

20 people on antibiotics. Researchers

divided participants into three groups:

one took nothing after their course

of antibiotics; the second group got a

fecal transplant with their own stool,

Did You


It’s important to look at

the actual studies, rather

than just the headlines.

To find full studies,

try PubMed:


18 • FEBRUARY 2019

which was collected prior to antibiotic

treatment; and the third group was

given a commercial probiotic strain that

had never been scientifically studied.

The folks who got their own fecal

transplant had the quickest return to

a “normal” microbiome; those who took

only antibiotics returned to normal

next; and the probiotic group had the

slowest recovery.

We have abundant proof that probiotics

can reduce and cure post-antibiotic

diarrhea; therefore, this one study does

not invalidate using probiotics after

antibiotics. Further, folks who need

antibiotics are probably not particularly

healthy, so returning their guts to their

pre-antibiotic state may not be a good

thing. It’s unnecessarily premature to

take one negative probiotic study and

make it the new norm, especially given

that there are hundreds of positive

studies on probiotics, not to mention

entire conferences dedicated to studying

different strains of beneficial bacteria.

The bottom line: Trust your own

experience. My favorite way to help

improve your gut flora is to eat fermented

foods and a high-fiber diet. Fiber is

the main “prebiotic” that good bugs

need to flourish.

Most of Us Are Deficient in Vitamin D

Next, let’s look at the vitamin D kerfuffle

set off by the VITAL study at Brigham

and Women’s Hospital that involved

nearly 26,000 patients. One of the

emerging “issues” with vitamin D 3

supplementation concerns Michael

Holick, PhD, MD, of Boston University,

an ardent proponent of vitamin D 3

supplements. He’s recently been accused

of profit-mongering. He helped Quest

Labs develop a test for serum vitamin D 3

(which many other labs have since started

using), and he receives a consulting fee of

$1,000 per month from Quest.

That’s nice, but it’s hardly extravagant.

Being a consultant for a large, nationwide

lab using a test that you developed

doesn’t invalidate the test—or vitamin D 3

supplementation. It is intuitively obvious

in our sun-averse culture that we

would be deficient in a vitamin that

requires exposure to sunlight for the

body to produce.

In the VITAL study, the so-called

“high-dose” vitamin D 3

amount was

2,000 IUs daily. I generally recommend

my patients take 5,000 IUs, and if their

serum levels are below 40, I’ll have them

take 10,000 IUs daily (in 2 divided doses

for better absorption, and always with

food) to approach the optimal serum

levels of 60–90 ng/mL.

Even with a relatively low dose, the

rate of death was significantly lower

with vitamin D 3

supplementation than

with a placebo (if you exclude the first

two years after the trial). If someone has

an aggressive form of cancer, then starting

a vitamin D 3

regimen wouldn’t save

them. But it can help prolong the lives

of otherwise healthy folks. In this study,

the vitamin D 3

group had 25–37 percent

lower death rates. That’s impressive.

It’s unnecessarily premature to take one negative study on

probiotics and make it the new norm, especially given that

there are hundreds of positive studies on probiotics.

The fact is, we have become an

indoor-living species. Most of us are

deficient in vitamin D 3

(and melatonin,

thanks to artificial lighting). And studies

show that adequate vitamin D 3


reduces influenza A (over

60 percent better than the flu shot). It

also reduces asthma incidence and MS

flare-ups, and, along with weight-bearing

exercise, helps maintain bone density.

Fish Oils Do Protect Your Heart

As for fish oil, the recent VITAL study also

assessed the impact of Omacor (840 mg

of marine omega-3 fatty acids) on cardiovascular

disease. “Fish Oil Has No Impact

on Strokes” and similar headlines spread

over the Internet after the study results

were released. But, according to the study’s

website (, “The omega-3

fatty acid intervention lowered the risk of

heart attack by 28 percent and the risk of

fatal heart attack by 50 percent, but had no

benefit on stroke or cardiovascular deaths

not related to heart disease. Additionally,

omega-3 fatty acids reduced the rate of

angioplasty procedures by 22 percent.”

So, “Fish Oil Has No Impact”? Lowering

rates of fatal heart attacks and angioplasty

certainly qualifies as a significant

impact in my book. also notes, “In participants

with low fish consumption (less than 1.5

servings, 3–4 ounces, per week), omega-3

supplementation led to a 19 percent

reduction in major cardiovascular events,

including a 40 percent reduction in heart

attack, as well as a trend toward a reduction

in death from any cause. Among African-

Americans, omega-3 supplementation led

to a 77 percent reduction in heart attacks,

and a benefit was observed regardless of

fish intake.” African-Americans, a high-risk

group for premature death from heart

disease, take note! No drug—ever—has

given this kind of hope. Please, take your

fish oil. Or at least eat wild salmon and

small tinned fatty fish regularly.

Do you have a question for Dr. Kane? Email it to editorial@ with “Ask the ND” in the subject line.

FEBRUARY 2019 • 19



Your PMS


A holistic practitioner

offers advice that has

worked in her own

clinical experience


From a naturopathic perspective, the

main causes of PMS are poor diet, lack of

exercise, and liver and bowel congestion.

Many different chemicals from many

different sources—including our food

and water supply and body care or

household products—resemble human

estrogen, and these hormone imposters

cause estrogen dominance in both men

and women. Some forms of PMS are due

to estrogen excess. Low thyroid function

(hypothyroidism) has also been found to

be a cause of PMS in some women.

There are different forms of PMS

(you may be a combination of types):





PMS-A (Anxiety) affects 65–75

percent of women with PMS. It’s

usually caused by estrogen dominance.

PMS-C (Cravings) affects 24–35

percent of women with PMS, usually

due to blood sugar imbalances.

PMS-D (Depression) affects 23–37

percent of women with PMS, often

due to estrogen dominance.

PMS-H (Hyperhydration) affects

about 60 percent of women with PMS.

It’s often caused by an increase in

adrenal stress hormones.

Top Natural Remedies

for PMS Symptoms

Although there is no “one

size fits all” remedy, the

following supplements have

proven to be helpful for the

majority of women with PMS

over my 25 years in clinical practice.


Indole-3-carbinol (I-3-C), diindolylmethane

(DIM), and calcium

D-glucarate help with the breakdown

of harmful estrogens. Milk thistle

and other herbs to support removal

of toxic byproducts are also helpful.

* Chasteberry, also known as vitex,

is the No. 1 botanical remedy used in

Europe to treat PMS symptoms. Its action

in the body increases progesterone

levels relative to estrogen levels.

* Vitamin B can be very helpful for


the relief of PMS symptoms such

as edema, bloating, breast pain,

depression, and irritability. Some

women find that increasing vitamin

B 6

to 150–250 mg per day one week

prior to menstruation helps.

* Prebiotics and probiotics are

important for keeping the microbiome



To minimize symptoms

of PMS, avoid or reduce

your intake of dairy

products as much

as possible.



healthy. Probiotics,

a type of good bacteria,

help to restore the gut

microbiome. Prebiotics

are fermentable fibers that

provide a source of food for

gut microorganisms, and they are

at least as important as probiotics in

maintaining microbiome health. This

is crucial not only for hormone health,

but also for mental health because the

majority of serotonin is produced in

the gut, which also affects our toxin

and hormone balance—approximately

50 percent of the estrogen “couples”

formed in the liver are excreted into

the intestines via bile. The successful

journey of these “couples” through the

intestines requires healthy microflora.

Omega-3 fatty acids block the

formation of an inflammatory

prostaglandin that promotes

inflammation and pain. Fish oil is

also effective in controlling cravings.

Try 2–4 Tbs. of flax oil daily or

2,000–3,000 mg of fish oil.

Evening primrose oil, when taken

monthly at least three to five days

prior to the usual onset of symptoms

20 • FEBRUARY 2019


has been shown to be extremely

effective in the treatment of PMS.

Take 1,000–2,000 mg daily.

Magnesium can be very helpful

for PMS symptoms such as anxiety,

depression, irritability, and headaches.

Some studies show lower levels of

magnesium in women with PMS.

Diet & Hormone Balance

There are many different foods that can

make symptoms of PMS worse, and diet

is critical not only for PMS but also for

most hormone imbalances. Generally,

it has been found that PMS sufferers

consume more refined sugars and

carbohydrates, salt, and dairy products

than women who do not experience PMS.

In addition to supplements, the following

dietary and lifestyle changes can help

minimize the symptoms of PMS:


Exercise—studies show that women

who exercise regularly do not suffer

from PMS as severely or as often as

those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

* Avoid or reduce your intake of dairy

products such as cheese and milk;

organic yogurt in moderation is fine.

* Increase your intake of high-fiber

foods such as brown rice, quinoa,

millet, and barley.

* Try to purchase hormone-free

animal products.

* Avoid caffeine and chocolate,

particularly a week or so before

PMS would normally start.

* Avoid bad fats—heated oils, margarines,

fried foods, etc.

* Avoid excess salt if you suffer from

water retention.

* Drink at least 1.5 liters of filtered

water daily.





Natural Factors


Vitex Chasteberry




P.M.S. Emotional




Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates.

Be aware of sources of estrogen

imposters (xenoestrogens) in foods,

makeup, and household products. The

Environmental Working Group (ewg.

org) is a good source of information.

Karen Jensen, ND, is a Canadian-based naturopathic

doctor with more than 25 years of clinical experience,

specializing in women’s health. She is the author of

several books, including Women’s Health Matters.



Easy Again

When singer Carla Young-Ellsman was

diagnosed with airway abnormalities,

she stumbled across an

unlikely cure /// BY KAT JAMES

In the mid-1990s, velvet-voiced Carla

Young-Ellsman of Hawaii had a budding

singing and recording career that ground

to a sudden halt when her father fell ill.

Having lost her mother at a young age,

Carla gladly signed on to be his caretaker.

Before long, she added her father-in-law’s

care to her responsibilities, starting a

long and dangerous detour in her own

life and health. The heart-breaking loss

of two close friends, as well as her two

beloved border collies—all within a

two-year period—left Carla emotionally

numb and increasingly isolated and

fearful of attachments.

Her self-destructive relationship

with food added to her numbness …

and her size, which grew from an 8 to

a 14, to a tight “large,” at which point

she stopped wearing “real clothes” and

started wearing elastic pants and huge

T-shirts to hide herself. She pretty much

stopped leaving the house, turning down

virtually all social invitations. “I basically

shut down, emotionally and physically,”

Carla says. “The rest of my family had

all become diabetic. I was determined

not to go down that road, but despite my

constant low-fat dieting, I couldn’t lose

the weight.”

Over the next several years, Carla was

diagnosed with insulin resistance, fatty

liver, and gallbladder problems. A stress

test came back abnormal. These issues

hampered her ability to care for her dad

and father-in-law, not to mention eroded

her self-image and her hopes of returning

to her singing career. After several

years, Carla started assisting a local holistic

veterinarian to help make ends meet.

Carla singing with

her band, Nueva

Vida in the late

1990s (above), and

Carla today with

husband Eric, after their

life-changing transformation

(right). “My

friends can’t believe

how my appearance

and shape have

changed,” she says.

How Airway Constriction

Threatened Carla’s Health

In mid-2017, Carla’s dentist noticed that

her airways were constricted and that

her tooth enamel was eroding due,

in part, to teeth grinding. He convinced

her to do a sleep study, where they

found that her breathing was interrupted

an incredible 19 times per hour!

Carla’s airway constriction threatened

her overall health and even her heart.

Indeed, she’d been having intermittent

Charlie horse-type pains in her chest and

even weakness on the left side of her

body for years, which were found to be

related to one of her heart valves. Carla’s

dentist urged her to see one of Hawaii’s

top speech pathologists, Carolinda “Trini”

Murphy, about her airway issues. Murphy

confirmed soft tissue abnormalities

affecting Carla’s tongue mobility, and

also a swallowing muscle dysfunction.

Most concerning, Carla’s Mallampati

score—a rating of the size of a person’s

airway capacity—was a IV, the maximum

degree of constriction on the medical

rating scale. This had resulted in darkness

under her eyes (called “shiners” in Murphy’s

line of work), serious exhaustion, and

narcoleptic episodes where she’d unwittingly

drift off to sleep many times per day. Carla

soon underwent surgery to increase her

tongue mobility and was next looking at

more serious surgery to open her airways.

Hoping to avoid it, she pursued Murphy’s

state-of-the-art training and stretching

program to open her tiny airways, and

was also put on a CPAP device to ease

her breathing at night. The CPAP lessened

the literal “heartache” she often woke up

with due to lack of oxygen.

Weight Issues & Food Cravings

Despite faithful compliance to all of her

regimens, Carla’s weight, food cravings,

and occasional heart twinges persisted.

And as hard as she tried, she still couldn’t

coordinate her swallowing muscles to drink

normally, or enlarge her airway, even after

doing Murphy’s advanced exercises and

stretches—which had been successful for

other patients. “After consulting with

22 • FEBRUARY 2019

colleagues across the U.S., Carla’s case

had me stumped,” says Murphy.

Finally, Carla’s naturopath recommended

that she try a high-fat, low-carb diet.

Carla had read about this type of diet

in my book, The Truth About Beauty,

several years prior, but her naturopath’s

suggestion prompted her to revisit

the basic principles. She began to see

improvements in her weight and heart

monitoring results by changing her

diet and taking some supplements

(recommended by her naturopath).

Feeling that she was on the right path,

Carla contacted me this past summer to

pursue an even lower-carb, higher-fat,

leptin hormone-optimizing regimen

(read more about leptin in “Transforming

Our View of Fat” at

Within a week, she began to see a big drop

in her appetite and inflammation-related

fluid retention, especially in her arms,

face, neck, and waist. She decided, with

Murphy’s blessing, to stop doing her oral

exercises to see if dietary changes alone

could improve her airways. After a couple

of weeks, she wondered if it was her

imagination when she checked her

airway in the mirror, and it looked

nearly double in size. She scheduled an

appointment with Murphy to be sure.

“When I walked in, she commented

that I looked incredible and asked what

I was doing,” says Carla. “But when she

took a look at my airway, she was

speechless. She had me drink a small

cup of water … I used to rack my brain and

did tons of practicing to get my tongue,

James, 52,

started her

dramatic selftransformation

in 1990. Since

then, she’s led

88 retreats and

has become

known as the

“Jane Goodall

of leptin.”

lips, and mouth muscles to swallow

normally, but couldn’t. When I drank

the water this time, I saw her eyes fill

with tears and she simply said: ‘You’re

done.’ I thought to myself: ‘This is either

really bad or really good news.’ She told

me that my Mallampati score was now

a perfect ‘1’ because my airways fully

opened. My lips were even closing all the

way. She said that if I’d looked like this

when I first came to see her, she wouldn’t

have even taken me as a patient. Mind

you, I’d started with one of the narrowest

airways she’d ever seen. Now, she said,

I no longer need surgery!”

Murphy’s note to me the same day

confirmed this: “When Carla walked

into my office yesterday, I first noticed

her body shape had changed. And her

face. Most notably, the ‘shiners’ under

her eyes had disappeared. After months

of working with her to no avail, I pretty

much all but discharged her today. Her

airway has completely opened and all

signs and symptoms of soft tissue and

muscle dysfunction are gone. I’ve never

seen anything like this kind of recovery.”

A New Life to Sing About

“Only a few months ago, I’d resigned myself

to a future of physical complications,” Carla

says. “To suddenly envision life without

all that is truly like a dream. I can breathe

easily again. I don’t have any heart twinges

anymore. I can sleep again. I have a waist

again. My belly is almost flat and my ‘back

flab’ is gone. I can see my collar bones, and

my thighs aren’t struggling to pass each

other when I walk. I don’t plan to weigh

myself, but I never imagined I’d achieve my

‘goal’ size 8 jeans again (and I’m still losing),

only this time the healthy way… with zero

food obsessing, starving, or shame. My

friends can’t believe how my appearance

and shape have changed. When I look at

that old photo from the early ’90s of me

with my band, I remember how I ‘starved’

to look like that and still thought I was fat!

Now, I’m not suffering or struggling at all,

and I feel far better today, and even look

better than I did decades ago!

“I had barely sung a note all these years

because my joy was gone. And though I

still take care of both my dads, I have much

more stamina and get much more done.

Most importantly, my optimism and hope

have returned. I find myself singing and

whistling all the time … I’m even hitting

new notes lately… and thinking—even at

57—about possibly taking the stage again.

Only now can I realize how caged, sad, and

ashamed I had become. But no longer.”

Carla’s husband, Eric, was so impressed

that he joined her for my educational

retreat on the Tennessee River last fall,

where they gave an impromptu concert

for the rest of my clients. After learning

about my regimen and returning to the

“real world,” Eric’s stomach pains, blood

pressure, and love-handle issues promptly

resolved. His doctor commented that his

skin color went ‘from grayish to pinkish,

like he’s a different person.’

I asked Carla if it was hard for them

to stick with my regimen, given their

former sugar addictions—Eric’s colleagues,

especially, marvelled at his unwavering

“willpower” against the donuts and other

junk he used to eat. “Other than eating on

time, it’s not hard at all because there’s just

no temptation anymore,” says Carla. “Our

sense of taste and even smell have changed

in a big way. We’ve actually never knowingly

strayed or wanted to, and that’s a first.

We see this as a life-long path for us. Our

next mission is to get our dads doing this!”

Note: For more inspiration and to hear Carla

discuss her changes in a live radio interview,

search this story on

To learn more about The Kat James Show

on Sirius XM’s Family Talk (channel 131,

Saturdays), visit

To read previous Kat James’ articles, search

“Kat James” on

Kat James has been called “a master of self-transformation” by SELF magazine in response to her self-guided,

stunning recovery from liver, autoimmune, and eating disorders that nearly took her life. Her controversial and

pioneering dietary method—now recommended at top neurology, fertility, functional medicine, and even dental

clinics—has left countless dramatic success stories in its wake and been featured at top spas and institutions such as

Omega Institute and Canyon Ranch, as well as on “Today,” Fox, and PBS, among others. Learn more about her

upcoming program retreats at or by calling 877-54-TOTAL.

FEBRUARY 2019 • 23



for your




Exotic Oils for Your Face & Body

Infused with hydrating, antiaging nutrients, exotic oils such as black seed

and marula help enhance all skin types /// BY SHERRIE STRAUSFOGEL

Exotic oils from the far corners of the world are fueling the beauty

oil craze. They’re highly versatile—you can mix a few drops into your

regular moisturizer or hair conditioner, add them to a bath, or simply

use them as-is. And they’re concentrated, so you need only a few drops.

To ensure that you’re purchasing high-quality oils, Tammie Umbel,

founder of Shea Terra Organics, says, “Look for oils that are unrefined

to maximize their benefits. They should have color and an herbal aroma.

Expensive oils are often cut with inferior-quality oils. Argan oil, for

example, is often cut with sunflower oil. Choose oils from companies that

buy straight from the source and can provide information about the origins

and production of their oil.”

Soothe dry and

irritated skin

and improve

hair growth

with Shea Terra


Egyptian Black

Seed Cold-

Pressed Oil.


parched skin

with Derma E


Sage & Lavender

Face Oil.

A key ingredient,

marula oil,

helps improve

elasticity and

hydrate skin.

Seal in moisture

for silky skin

with Badger

Damascus Rose

Body Oil, which

features jojoba,


and olive oils.

Calm rashes and

sun damage,

treat acne and

scars, and


wrinkles with

Aura Cacia



Tamanu Oil.

Did You


An added benefit to many of

these beauty oils is that their

harvesting provides economic

opportunities for struggling

communities in remote


Soften and

smooth skin,

hair, and

cuticles with

Acure The



Argan Oil.

Black Seed Oil: Made

from the Nigella sativa plant

and revered by ancient

Egyptians, this spicy oil is

used both topically and

internally. It’s packed with

antibacterial and antifungal

phytochemicals, as well as

essential fatty acids that promote

skin healing. Massage into irritated skin

to soften and decrease inflammation.

Rub a few drops into your scalp to

stimulate hair growth.

Tamanu Oil: A medicine cabinet in a

bottle, this multipurpose oil comes from

the nuts of the Calophyllum inophyllum

tree, native to Africa, Asia, and the South

Pacific. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial,

and antifungal, and is effective for

sunburns, rashes, insect bites, wounds,

acne, scars, wrinkles, and dry skin.

Marula seed oil: Collected from the

nuts of the African marula tree, the lycheelike

marula fruit produces pink oil that is

rich in fatty acid and antioxidants. This oil

helps repair sun-damaged and aging skin.

Pomegranate seed oil: Native to

the Middle East and Mediterranean,

pomegranate seed oil has powerful

anti-inflammatory powers. Studies

suggest it may help prevent skin

cancer by inhibiting enzymes that

assist in cancer cell formation.

Argan Oil: The argan plant is found

only in a small region of Morocco. A

close relative of the shea tree, argan fruit

kernels produce an oil that is high in

vitamin E and other antioxidants, plus

hydrating fatty acids. Argan helps

moisturize and nourish skin, nails, and hair.

Sherrie Strausfogel is the author of Hawaii’s Spa

Experience: Rejuvenating Secrets of the Islands (the first

book to feature aromatherapy in its pages). Based in

Honolulu, she writes about beauty, spas, health, cuisine,

and travel. Her work has appeared in more than 100

magazines, newspapers, guidebooks, and websites.

26 • FEBRUARY 2019

gets into your white blood cells


white blood cells longer than regular vitamin-C… so you

only have to take it once-a-day. *

The ONLY vitamin C able to leap through the day with

24-Hour Immune Support


My immune system is powered by Ester-C *


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©2019 American Health Inc. | 18-AH-1282






The latest evidence on the best diet, exercise, and

heart supplements—even if you take prescription

drugs to reduce harmful blood clots, cholesterol,

or blood pressure by Vera Tweed

Being physically fit and eating a

heart-healthy diet can each cut

risk for heart disease in half.

Does that mean you’ll be free of heart

problems forever if you do both? No

one has tested the premise, but you’d

certainly be in better health.



Despite decades of a low-fat diet being

promoted as the answer, recent evidence

paints a different picture. In fact, the key

drivers of heart disease are sugary and

starchy foods, rather than fat. A major

U.S. study found that people who get

25 percent of their calories from added

sugar (sodas and other sweetened drinks

are major sources) are more than twice

as likely to die from heart disease as those

consuming less than 10 percent of

calories from added sugar. Another

study found that eating foods that

trigger high blood sugar—including

sweetened drinks and starchy

foods—contributes to atherosclerosis

and doubles risk of heart-related death.

In contrast, eating more seafood rich

in omega-3 fats, non-starchy vegetables,

fruits, nuts, and seeds has a protective

effect on the heart. A moderate amount

of full-fat dairy foods and unprocessed

red meat are also good. In other words,

aim to eat more vegetables (other than

potatoes), more fish and seafood, more

fresh fruit, and some nuts and seeds.

Some dairy and meat are fine as well. Go

easy on grains, because many of today’s

dishes are overloaded with them—big

bowls of pasta, large buns for burgers

and sandwiches, and pizza with thick

crusts are common examples.


When it comes to exercise, spending

endless hours on a treadmill is not

the most effective regimen for heart

health. Activities such as brisk walking

or running at a moderate, steady pace

have been the standard for improving

fitness, but they aren’t the best. An

analysis of studies following nearly 1,000

people with heart disease found that

interval training—short spurts of intense

activity alternated with movement at a

relaxed pace—is more effective.

Here’s an example: Instead of walking

at the same pace for 20–30 minutes,

walk as fast as you can for a block and

then walk at a slower, more comfortable

pace for one or two blocks, and repeat

the cycle multiple times.

Weightlifting is an alternative. A

study at the University of Iowa looked

at 13,000 people and found that just

lifting weights—twice per week—reduced

FEBRUARY 2019 • 29

isk for heart attacks and stroke by

49–70 percent. Spending more than

an hour a week on weightlifting didn’t

produce any added benefits. The key is

to challenge muscles.

Heart-Healthy Supplements for Everyone

Whether you take prescription drugs or not, these are Stephen Sinatra’s top

supplement recommendations for a healthy heart. Don’t take vitamin K 2

if you’re

taking warfarin. Otherwise, all these can be taken with blood thinners, statins, and

blood-pressure drugs—just let your doctor know about any supplements you take.

COQ10: After age 30, take 50–100 mg daily of CoQ10 (preferably Ubiquinol). After age

60, take 100 mg daily. If taking statins, try 100 mg, and if there’s no improvement

in the way you feel, take 200–300 mg daily. If you take warfarin, make sure to get

regular blood tests and tell your doctor that you’re taking the supplement.


: After age 50, take 150 mcg daily of the MK-7 form (but not if you’re taking


FISH OIL: Add the amount of EPA and DHA in a product. Take at least 1,000 mg of an

EPA/DHA combination daily.

MULTIVITAMIN: If taking medications, take a daily serving of a product that contains

no more than 100 percent of the Daily Value (% DV in Supplement Facts) of each

nutrient. Otherwise, take any multivitamin of your choice.

MAGNESIUM: Take 400–800 mg daily. If you get loose stools, decrease the dosage.

CURCUMIN: It reduces inflammation that can damage the heart. The dosage for

patented forms (e.g., BCM-95, CurcuWIN, or Meriva) range from 250–750 mg daily;

for all other brands, follow label guidelines.

RESVERATROL: A strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance found in red

grapes and wine, it protects the heart and helps control blood sugar. Take 10–50 mg


ASTAXANTHIN: An antioxidant that gives salmon and other seafood their red color,

it protects the heart, skin, eyes, and brain. Take 6–12 mg daily.

It’s always best to take supplements with food. If you’re taking any medication,

take supplements a couple of hours after the drug.


Three out of four American adults take

supplements, and heart health is a leading

reason. However, despite the growing use of

drugs to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure,

or harmful blood clots, there’s a scarcity

of research about how to safely combine

these with supplements for optimum benefits.

Both supplements and drugs are

typically tested in isolation, and warnings

about interactions can be unnecessarily

alarming. According to the National

Institutes of Health, “Concerns about

herb-drug interactions are often not based

on rigorous research. Most herb-drug

interactions identified in current sources

are hypothetical, inferred from animal studies,

cellular assays, or based on other indirect

means.” That said, some drug-supplement

combinations can be dangerous.

Studies have found, for instance, that

St. John’s wort, popular for depression,

can reduce drug potency and should not

be taken with prescribed drugs unless

closely monitored by a physician. Based

on research and his clinical experience,

Stephen Sinatra, MD, a pioneer in integrative

cardiology and author of The Sinatra

Solution: Metabolic Cardiology also

recommends avoiding:

Licorice with blood pressure drugs,

as the herb can raise blood pressure.

Extended-release niacin with cholesterollowering

statins, as the combination

can put too much stress on the liver.

Specific blood-thinning nutrients

and herbs with drugs that thin blood,

as the combination could lead to

dangerous bleeding. (Keep reading for

more on blood-thinning supplements).

On the other hand, medications can

deplete nutrients that are vital for heart

health, and the right supplements are

essential to counteract such depletions,

reduce some drug side effects, and improve

30 • FEBRUARY 2019

heart health and overall wellbeing. Can

supplements replace the need for drugs?

Along with diet and lifestyle changes,

perhaps—in some cases.

“Certainly there are large numbers

of the population with mild to moderate

hypertension, for example, or borderline

type 2 diabetes, who can certainly come off

pharmaceutical drugs with lifestyle changes

such as weight loss, eating a better diet, and

taking targeted nutritional supplements,”

says Sinatra. But, he adds, “Pharmaceutical

drugs are life-saving in many situations,

especially in heart failure or arrhythmias.”

If you’re taking medications, Sinatra

emphasizes that it’s vital to tell your

doctor about your supplements. If it’s

possible that you could reduce or

eliminate medications, it’s a process

that must always involve your doctor.


Blood thinners help prevent harmful

clots that can trigger a stroke or heart

attack. The oldest blood thinner, warfarin

(brand names are Coumadin and Jantoven)

works by blocking vitamin K, which is

needed to form clots and stop bleeding.

Taking vitamin K supplements or eating

too many vitamin K-rich foods reduces

the drug’s effectiveness.

In addition, warfarin should not be

combined with supplements that thin

blood, says Sinatra, especially nattokinase,

The Most Studied Heart-Healthy Herb

More than 750 studies and scientific articles have

documented the benefits of Aged Garlic Extract (AGE) for

heart health. Some highlights:

AGE slowed the accumulation of arterial plaque by 80 percent and reduced levels

of existing plaque, effectively slowing down and even reversing atherosclerosis.

When taken for at least 2 months, AGE reduced harmful LDL cholesterol by up to

10 percent.

AGE lowered blood pressure by an average of 5.1 mm Hg in systolic

pressure (the top number) and 2.5 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.

ginkgo biloba, garlic, ginger, and vitamin

E in doses of more than 400 IU daily.

Sinatra says that these heart-healthy

supplements should not be problematic

for those on blood thinners: fish oil in

doses of 1,000 mg daily of an EPA/DHA

combination, magnesium, a low-dose

multivitamin (without vitamin K), and

CoQ10. However, there have been some

case reports of excessive bleeding or

reduced drug effectiveness when CoQ10

was combined with warfarin, so its use

with the drug should be monitored by a

doctor. Taking warfarin requires blood

tests, usually performed every few weeks.

Newer blood thinners such as Xarelto,

and Eliquis don’t affect vitamin K, but the

warfarin cautions mentioned above also

apply to the newer drugs.


In studies that produced these types of benefits, daily doses have ranged from 1,000–2,400

mg per day. An average recommended dose for heart health is 1,200 mg daily.



Other than St. John’s wort, licorice with

blood-pressure drugs, and extended-release

niacin with statins, supplements should

not be a problem with statins and blood

pressure medications, says Sinatra. Rather,

it’s vital to avoid these nutrient depletions:

COQ10: Statins are known to deplete

CoQ10, contributing to muscle weakness

and pain. Taking CoQ10 can alleviate

these symptoms. Drugs to lower blood

pressure and blood sugar can also deplete

the nutrient. CoQ10 is essential for the

heart to produce energy. It reduces

fatigue and risk for heart attacks and

heart failure. Exposure to pollutants also

diminishes it, and levels naturally drop

as you age. Use the Ubiquinol form of

CoQ10 for optimal absorption.


: Depleted by statins, vitamin

K 2

is essential to prevent calcium deposits

from blocking arteries and to enhance

calcium absorption in bones. For anyone

over age 50 who is not taking warfarin,

Sinatra recommends taking vitamin K 2

in the form of MK-7 (menaquinone-7).



100 mg

Nordic Naturals

Ultimate Omega

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Redd Remedies

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Garlic Extract

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In addition to keeping your doctor

apprised of your supplement regimen,

it’s prudent to have your medications

reviewed to make sure there are no

potential drug-drug interactions.

Vera Tweed has been researching and writing about supplements, holistic nutrition, fitness, and other aspects of healthy living since 1997. She is the author of several books, including Hormone Harmony: How to

Balance Insulin, Cortisol, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone to Live Your Best Life.

32 • FEBRUARY 2019



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Test your

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❶ A deficiency of which vitamin has been

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and congestive heart failure?

❷ Which vitamin is essential for helping calcium

bind to the body’s bone mineral matrix,

preventing the mineral from collecting in

blood vessels (where it can cause problems)?

❸ Which vitamin plays a fundamental role

in promoting the body’s production of

collagen, an essential nutrient for artery,

joint, and skin health?

Vitamin C



Vitamin D

❹ Which vitamin is the most important

component of CoQ10, necessary for energy

and cardiovascular health?


❺ Which vitamin has been shown in studies

to lower Lp(a), a dangerous form of

cholesterol that, when elevated, increases

heart attack risk?

Vitamin K


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34 • FEBRUARY 2019





In the trendy world of

healing herbs, you’ll

find maca, ashwagandha,

chaga, and other

adaptogens packed

by the handful into

smoothies, energy bars,

and even coffee drinks.

But with these powerful

plants, more isn’t better;

it’s best to use them

carefully, not randomly,

choosing those matched

to your specific needs

by Lisa Turner

Adaptogens aren’t like other herbs; they have a specific mode of action that

involves normalizing physiologic functions and restoring the body to equilibrium.

The term was first used by Russian researchers in 1957 to describe substances

that increase the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress. The definition was later

expanded to include compounds that are safe and normalize body functions and

strengthen systems compromised by stress.

This specific class of herbs works in part by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitaryadrenal

(HPA) axis, a neuroendocrine system that controls the body’s response

to stress and regulates energy, immunity, digestion, mood, emotions, and other

physiologic processes. More recent research has found that adaptogens also protect

mitochondria, the parts of the body’s cells that create energy, from the effects of the

stress hormone cortisol.

Because adaptogens influence the body’s innate physiology, they can take time to

work—and they shouldn’t be used indiscriminately. Start with one or two adaptogens

that target a specific condition or need, and give them time; with the exception of

energizing adaptogens like ginseng, cordyceps, and rhodiola, you may need at least two

weeks to start noticing effects. And if you use adaptogens daily, take periodic breaks;

some research suggests these breaks also enhance the ability of adaptogens to work

better. Generally, a pattern of three weeks on, one week off, is recommended.

So which adaptogens should you take? Here’s a guide to the most popular of these

potent herbs, and the conditions they best address:

36 • FEBRUARY 2019




BACOPA MONNIERI, from an herb traditionally used in

Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of conditions,

has been shown to enhance cognitive function, improve

memory and recall, and protect against age-related

neurodegeneration, dementia, and cognitive decline.

RHODIOLA ROSEA, from a perennial flowering plant

native to Europe, Asia, and North America, influences

the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine,

improving mood, energy, memory, and the ability to

concentrate. It may also help combat mental fog, boost

mental performance, and enhance focus.

LION’S MANE, a mushroom used in traditional Chinese

medicine, contains compounds called hericenones and

erinacines, which have neuroprotective and cognitiveenhancing

effects. Some studies suggest that lion’s

mane boosts proteins that are needed for the growth,

maintenance, and survival of neurons. Lion’s mane has

also been shown to treat anxiety and depression.

GINSENG, an adaptogenic root used

for thousands of years in traditional

Chinese medicine, is a potent energy

tonic that enhances endurance,

reduces mental and physical fatigue,

and improves physical and cognitive

performance. The active compounds in

ginseng, ginsenosides, have also been

shown to impact the central nervous

system and offer protection against

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression,

and other neurological disorders.



a tropical legume

native to Africa

and Asia, is high in

L-dopa, a precursor

to dopamine—a neurotransmitter

that plays a

role in executive function, motivation,

and arousal. Studies show that Mucuna

pruriens eases psychological stress and

ease depression, a common side effect

of adrenal fatigue. It’s also been shown

to improve fertility in men and protect

against Parkinson’s disease.

SCHISANDRA, which is

also known as wu

wei zi in traditional

Chinese medicine,

comes from a woody

vine native to northern

China. It’s used to treat

stress and physical exhaustion, and

studies show that it can reduce cortisol

and protect the adrenals. Schisandra

also has powerful immune-supportive

effects and benefits the cardiovascular

and respiratory systems.

CORDYCEPS, a fungus that grows on the

bodies of caterpillars (modern versions

are grown on grains, so they’re vegan),

is used to enhance energy and stamina,

and has been shown to improve tolerance

to high-intensity exercise. It’s also

an anti-inflammatory with immuneenhancing


FEBRUARY 2019 • 37

Be Mine Chocolate-Fig


Serves 2

Made with libido-boosting adaptogens plus

traditional aphrodisiac foods, this creamy,

sexy smoothie is sure to boost desire.

It’s loaded with dark chocolate, which

contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a

compound that prompts the release of

endorphins and enhances the activity of

dopamine, a brain chemical associated with

pleasure; chocolate also boosts levels of

serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter.

Figs and bananas are traditional aphrodisiac

foods, long thought to inspire desire.

This sweet treat is also spiked with maca

and ashwagandha, adaptogens known for

their ability to increase libido, relieve anxiety,

and improve mood.

For a thicker smoothie, freeze the

banana first, or add a few ice cubes. If using

dried figs, soak them first in warm water for

half an hour to soften, then drain.

1 ripe banana

6 fresh or dried figs, stems removed

1 cup almond milk

¼ cup almond butter

2 Tbs. cocoa powder

1 Tbs. maca root powder

2 tsp. ashwagandha powder

Honey or agave to taste (optional)

Chocolate shavings for garnish.

1. Peel banana and cut into chunks.

Combine in blender with figs, almond

milk, almond butter, cocoa powder,

maca root powder, and ashwagandha

powder. Purée until smooth.

2. Add honey or agave, if desired, for

sweetness. Divide equally between two

large glasses, garnish with chocolate

shavings, and serve immediately.

Per serving: 360 cal; 11g prot;

20g total fat (2.5g sat fat); 44g

carb; 0mg chol; 170mg sod;

10g fiber; 23g sugar



38 • FEBRUARY 2019

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ASHWAGANDHA, an herb native to Asia and southern India,

is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to support

the nervous system, enhance immune function, and improve

the body’s response to stress. Studies show that ashwagandha

significantly reduces cortisol levels, eases depression, balances mood, and lowers

stress and anxiety. Because it’s a member of the nightshade family, people who are

sensitive to nightshades should avoid ashwagandha, or use it with caution.


CHAGA, from a fungus that grows on birch and other

trees, has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory,

and immune-supportive properties. It contains powerful

anticancer compounds, and some studies show it can

suppress tumor progression and reduce DNA damage

by up to 40 percent.

ASTRAGALUS, from the root of a perennial plant in the pea

family, has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands

of years to improve immunity, reduce stress, and treat

heart, liver, and respiratory conditions. Studies show that

it can inhibit the growth of viruses, activate the immune

response, inhibit tumor growth, and protect against lung,

gastrointestinal, and other cancers.

TURKEY TAIL is an adaptogenic mushroom known for its

potent antiviral and immune-enhancing effects. It’s high

in polysaccharide compounds that have been shown to

help improve immune function, ward off viruses and

other pathogens, and protect against various forms of

cancer, especially breast and colorectal cancers.



MACA ROOT, from a Peruvian plant

that’s related to radishes and turnips,

is traditionally used to promote fertility

and increase sexual desire and performance.

Studies show that it can improve sperm

quality, enhance libido, and relieve

sexual dysfunction in women taking

antidepressants. It’s also been shown to

support immune function, boost physical

performance, and reduce fatigue.

MUIRA PUAMA, or “potency wood,” comes

from the roots and bark of a tree native

to Brazil. It’s traditionally used as a tonic

to treat a variety of conditions, including

sexual dysfunction, hormonal imbalances,

and lack of sexual desire. Studies show

that muira puama in a combination

herbal formula improved erectile

dysfunction in men, and increased

sexual desire and enhanced ability to

achieve orgasm in women.

Emerald Health


Endo Brain

is a blend of


including bacopa,

for better memory

and cognition.

Irwin Naturals


contains a mix

of adaptogens,

such as ginseng,

schisandra, maca,

cordyceps, and



Adrenal Strength

features the herb

schisandra, along

with astragalus,


rhodiola, and

other plants.



Super Chaga

is gathered from

Siberian Birch

trees and

processed for


Terry Naturally



and Rhodiola uses


proprietary forms

of ashwagandha

and rhodiola.

Lisa Turner is a chef, food writer, product developer, and

nutrition coach in Boulder, Colo. She has more than 20 years of

experience in researching and writing about nourishing foods,

and coaching people toward healthier eating habits. Find her at

40 • FEBRUARY 2019


Potato Problems

The most popular vegetable in the United States is a bloodsugar-spiking

starch, a nightshade vegetable, and a commonly

genetically modified food /// BY MELISSA DIANE SMITH

: I love potatoes and consider them a comfort food. But a friend recently told me that

there are some nutritional problems with potatoes—and even health risks from eating

them. From a nutrition and health standpoint, what are the most important things to

know about potatoes? —Samantha S., Eugene, Ore.

Melissa Diane

Smith is an


known journalist and

holistic nutritionist who

has more than 20 years of

clinical nutrition experience

and specializes in using

food as medicine. She is

the cutting-edge author

of Going Against GMOs,

Going Against the Grain,

and Gluten Free

Throughout the Year, and

the coauthor of Syndrome

X. To learn about her

books, long-distance

consultations, nutrition

coaching programs, or

speaking, visit her



a:You ask an important question

because potatoes are the most

popular vegetable in the United States.

Many people eat them without a thought

and without any knowledge of nutrition

problems or health risks associated with

them. The most important things to

know about potatoes are:



Potatoes seem like a harmless vegetable,

but they are quickly converted to

glucose. They can spike blood sugar

and insulin levels, and may contribute

to weight gain, which is why many

people on low-carb or low-glycemic

diets avoid potatoes.

The potato is a nightshade vegetable

that contains glycoalkaloids, which


have been implicated in the development

of intestinal permeability, digestive

trouble, and joint pain in some people.

Unless you buy organic, the chances

are good that the potatoes you eat are

genetically modified (GM), because

GM potatoes are now widespread

in the U.S. food supply. The creator

of GM potatoes, Dr. Caius Rommens,

recently wrote a book, Pandora’s Potatoes:

The Worst GMOs, warning about

potential dangers from GM potatoes.

Potatoes 101

There are many different varieties of

potatoes, and each of their

nutritional profiles vary. Russet

baked potatoes are good

sources of potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B 6


folate, niacin, iron, and manganese, but

they rank high on the glycemic index,

meaning that their carbohydrates are

quickly broken down into sugar, causing

blood sugar and insulin levels in the body

to rise rapidly. Red potatoes, on the other

hand, contain fewer calories and carbohydrates,

and slightly more niacin. And they

rank moderately on the glycemic index.

Potatoes and Weight Gain

A few studies have implicated potatoes

in weight gain. A 2009 study from

the Journal of the American Dietetic

Association that followed

42,696 participants over

a five-year period found

that eating potatoes

was associated with

an increase in waist

circumference in women.

Another study

in the New England

Journal of Medicine

that looked at the dietary

patterns of more than 120,000

participants found that

potatoes and processed

potato chips were the two

biggest contributors to weight

gain, with each serving per

day leading to an average

weight gain of 1.3 pounds and

1.7 pounds, respectively. Other

studies, however, have found no link

between potato consumption and waist

circumference or obesity.

Did You Know?

Potatoes are quickly

converted to glucose, and

can spike blood sugar and

insulin levels.

42 • FEBRUARY 2019

Potatoes Are a Nightshade

Although few people realize it, potatoes

are members of the nightshade family,

which contain toxic substances such as

glycoalkaloids that increase intestinal

permeability, or “leaky gut.” A leaky gut

is believed to set off an autoimmune

reaction when various proteins, which

should stay inside the digestive tract,

make their way into the bloodstream

and the body attacks them in response.

In one study from Digestive Diseases

and Sciences, researchers fed potato skins

(where high concentrations of glycoalkaloids

lurk) to mice with inflammatory

bowel disease, and found that gut

inflammation was significantly increased.

There is virtually no published

evidence on potatoes causing joint pain

and inflammation in healthy individuals,

but there are numerous anecdotal

accounts. For example, Mark Sisson,

author of Primal Blueprint and blogger

at, found that

eating potatoes on a regular basis led

to joint pain in his feet and ankles. But

that doesn’t happen when he eats other

starchy foods, such as yams or squash.

The New Risk: GMO Potatoes

Since the introduction of genetically

modified versions in 2015, the potato

has become one of the most common

genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

available in the U.S. So much so that they

were recently added to the High-Risk list

of the Non-GMO Project Standard.

Unlike many genetically modified

vegetables, the GMO potato isn’t designed

to produce its own pesticides or to resist

herbicides. Instead, the GMO potato

developed by J.R. Simplot is engineered

so that its flesh stays white when it’s

exposed to air or light, or even when

it’s bruised or diseased. The trait that

prevents the potato’s natural discoloration

was achieved by silencing its melanin

gene. The potato still gets damaged,

but the symptoms are hidden from

view—and from the consumer.

GMO potato developer Rommens

now heavily criticizes the crop he

created, and says the newfangled


If you’d like to avoid or reduce potatoes in your diet, there

are many delicious, healthy alternatives.


Roasted potatoes

Mashed potatoes

French fries

Potato chips

White potatoes (in a stew or pot roast)

potatoes are not really bruise-resistant

but bruise-concealing. In his book,

Rommens explains that concealed

bruises can accumulate certain toxins

that can compromise the food safety

and nutritional quality. For example,

the abnormal amino acid tyramine can

accumulate in damaged potato tissues.

Some people have a poor ability to break

down, or are sensitive to, tyramine, and

excessive tyramine intake in sensitive

people may lead to a dangerous rise

in blood pressure, or to nausea, vomiting,

quickened heart rate, or severe headache.

So, it’s possible that an unsuspecting

consumer who is sensitive to tyramine

could unknowingly eat bruise-concealing

GMO potatoes in combination with

other tyramine-rich foods, such as

blue cheese, beer, sauerkraut, sausage,

soy sauce, or tofu, and end up in the

emergency room.

Another toxic effect of the trait

that prevents discoloration in the GMO

potato is the concealment of infections.

Consumers may eat potatoes that look

perfectly healthy but actually contain

fungal or bacterial pathogens, which

often produce toxins and allergens.

Rommens is so concerned about the

toxic effects that develop in GMO

potatoes that he calls the potatoes

“the worst GMOs ever commercialized.”

Bottom-Line Advice

It’s important to weigh out the information

and decide for yourself if potatoes are

a good addition to your diet. Here are

some tips:


Roasted turnips

Mashed cauliflower

Baked yam fries

Kale chips







Look for potatoes that are labeled

Non-GMO Project Verified or, better

yet, USDA Organic. Seeking out

organic potato products is the best

way to avoid both GMO potatoes

and potatoes that aren’t sprayed

with synthetic chemical pesticides.

If you are overweight or have high

blood glucose levels, avoid potatoes

to determine if doing so helps you

lose weight or reduces elevated

blood glucose levels.

If you have a known autoimmune

disease, a leaky gut, or inflammatory

bowel disease—or are sensitive to

nightshades, including tomatoes,

peppers, and eggplants—try eliminating

potatoes from your diet, because

they are also nightshades that may

be aggravating your condition.

If it’s better for your health to shun

potatoes, there are plenty of vegetables

that work as a healthier substitute

(see sidebar above). Also be sure to

avoid convenience foods that have

potato-based ingredients (such as

potato starch) in them.

If you don’t think you need to stay away

from potatoes to improve your health,

it’s still prudent to increase your intake

of other vegetables that provide more

nutrients and less carbs than potatoes.

Do you have a question for the nutritionist? We would

love to hear from you! Please email your questions to

FEBRUARY 2019 • 43


Natural Candida Fighters

Keep this health-robbing yeast at bay with these 7 foods /// BY LISA TURNER

Candida albicans, a yeast that typically lives

in the mouth, vagina, and gastrointestinal

tract, doesn’t cause problems at normal levels.

But an overgrowth—caused by a variety

of factors including poor diet, excessive

alcohol intake, stress, and impaired digestive

function—can trigger bloating, rashes,

yeast infections, fatigue, and more.

To protect against candida overgrowth,

avoid high-sugar fruits, carbs, alcohol, dairy

products, and sugar in any form—including

honey or maple syrup. Instead, focus your

diet on lean meat, fish, poultry, non-starchy

vegetables, and healthy fats. And try these

seven foods to fight back against candida.

Coconut oil is

high in caprylic acid,

capric acid, and lauric

acid—fatty acids with

antifungal properties

that help inhibit the growth of candida

and other pathogens. The lauric acid in

coconut is also effective against mouth

sores and can help prevent candida

infections in the mouth (thrush).

Try this: Cook asparagus, slivered almonds,

onions, and garlic over low heat in coconut

oil; combine MCT coconut oil with a few

drops of peppermint essential oil and

swish in your mouth to kill pathogens.

Turmeric contains

curcumin, an anti-inflammatory

and antifungal

agent that inhibits the

growth of candida and

protects against yeast infections. One study

suggested that curcumin hampered the

ability of yeasts to attach to mouth cells, and

curcumin was also shown to be synergistic

with fluconazole, an antifungal drug.

Try this: Sauté shredded Brussels sprouts,

red peppers, onions, and minced ginger

with turmeric and black pepper; toss green

beans in curry powder, black pepper, and

melted coconut oil, and roast until crispy.

Garlic is high in

allicin—formed when

garlic cloves are crushed

or chopped—which has

been shown to inhibit

the proliferation of both fungi and

bacteria. Studies suggest that allicin

can protect against candida overgrowth

and may reduce the ability of candida to

attach to cells lining the mouth. Because

heating can damage allicin, it’s best to eat

garlic raw for maximum effectiveness.

Try this: Crush whole garlic cloves, mix

with coconut oil and minced rosemary

or thyme, and use instead of butter on

cooked vegetables; finely mince garlic

cloves and whisk together with apple

cider vinegar, olive oil, and minced thyme

for an easy salad dressing.

Ginger contains

antifungal compounds

called gingerol and

shagelol. Several

studies show that

ginger has powerful antimicrobial actions

and can inhibit the growth of candida

and other pathogens. In one study, an

antifungal cream with added ginger was

more effective at relieving yeast infections

than the antifungal cream without ginger.

Try this: Finely mince fresh ginger and

combine with miso paste, apple cider

vinegar, and sesame oil for a creamy

dressing; simmer grated ginger root and

zucchini “noodles” in vegetable broth, then

top with sliced green onions, bean sprouts,

chopped basil, and sliced jalapeño peppers.

Kimchi, a fermented

cabbage dish, is rich in

a variety of probiotics

to protect the gut from

pathogens. Studies show

that probiotics reduce gut inflammation,

protect against an overgrowth of candida

yeast, and may alleviate symptoms of

candida. Because it’s dairy-free and also

usually contains garlic and ginger, it’s

ideal for an anti-candida diet. Other

probiotic-rich, dairy-free foods include

coconut kefir, miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut.

Try this: Toss shredded spinach leaves

with kimchi, black sesame seeds, and

chopped tomatoes for an easy salad; make

turnip noodles with a spiralizer, simmer

in broth till tender, then top with kimchi.

Apple cider

vinegar has long

been used to protect

against yeast infections

and thrush. Studies

show that it has antimicrobial properties,

and may be more effective than nystatin,

an antifungal drug, in preventing candida

overgrowth in the mouth.

Try this: Combine apple cider vinegar

with chopped ginger, crushed garlic,

and turmeric, and let stand overnight

before straining for a potent fire cider;

toss shredded red and green cabbage,

red onions, chopped cilantro, and minced

serrano peppers with apple cider vinegar

and olive oil for a fast slaw.

Kale and other

leafy greens are high

in fiber, which nourishes

beneficial gut bacteria

and can help protect

against candida overgrowth. Kale is also

a crucifer, so it’s rich in compounds that

are thought to minimize the growth of

candida. Other non-starchy vegetables

for an anti-candida diet include spinach,

escarole, arugula, Brussels sprouts,

cabbage, broccoli, celery, green beans,

cucumber, eggplant, onion, and zucchini.

Try this: Sauté chopped kale and thinly

sliced mushrooms in coconut oil, then

sprinkle with very finely minced garlic;

toss quartered escarole and leeks in olive

oil and grill till tender.

44 • FEBRUARY 2019



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Indian Chicken Bowl with

Turmeric “Rice"

Serves 4

This grain-free bowl uses cauliflower instead

of rice. It's topped with a simple, flavorful

curry loaded with low-starch vegetables and

candida-fighting herbs and spices. Adjust

the curry powder to taste and add cayenne

pepper for extra spiciness. Store-bought

rotisserie chicken saves time, but you can

also use tofu, shrimp, or any white fish.

1 small head cauliflower

2 Tbs. coconut oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly

sliced crosswise

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

1 Tbs. minced ginger root

1 red pepper, cut into strips

1 cup green beans, thinly sliced on the


2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

½ cup coconut milk

2 Tbs. curry spice blend, or more, to taste

1 tsp. turmeric powder

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. white pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro leaves

1. Break cauliflower into 1-inch florets.

Working in two batches, process florets

in food processor, pulsing until florets

are chopped into small, rice-sized pieces.

Set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. coconut oil in large skillet over

medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger,

red pepper, green beans, and tomatoes.

Cook 4–5 minutes, stirring frequently,

until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir

in chicken, coconut milk, and curry

spice. Reduce heat to low, and cook

3–4 minutes, stirring frequently, until

chicken is warmed through. Season

to taste with salt and pepper.

3. While vegetables cook, heat remaining

1 Tbs. coconut oil in separate skillet. Add

cauliflower, turmeric powder, salt, and

white pepper. Cook 4–5 minutes, until

cauliflower is just tender and golden.

4. To serve, divide cauliflower ”rice“

among four bowls. Top with chicken

and vegetables, garnish with cilantro,

and serve immediately.

Per serving: 250 cal; 25g prot; 11g total fat

(7g sat fat); 13g carb; 60mg chol; 370mg sod;

5g fiber; 5g sugar







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FEBRUARY 2019 • 47


Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Serves 4

For an even simpler version of this

trimmed-down treat, you can omit the

cooking step by substituting 8–10 frozen

turkey meatballs for the ground meat.

Just place them evenly into the squash

and follow the rest of the instructions.

1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise

and seeded

1 lb. lean, pastured ground turkey, ground

beef, or vegetarian beef “crumbles,”


1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. granulated onion

Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste

1 24-oz. jar high-quality marinara sauce

1 8-oz. carton organic ricotta cheese

1 cup organic part-skim shredded

mozzarella cheese

Light & Clean

Low-Carb Lasagna

This trimmed-down version of a hearty favorite makes

the perfect comfort food for cold winter nights


Lasagna is one of those comfort foods that everybody loves and that low-carb

advocates avoid like the plague. So leave it to Chef Jeanette to come up with a lowercarb,

higher-nutrient version that has all the deliciousness of the traditional dish.

Instead of pasta, Chef used squash, a good high-fiber, low-calorie, nutrient-rich

vegetable that’s perfect for a low-carb diet. She upgraded the meat by using

either turkey or grass-fed beef, and

mixed in two of the healthiest “additives”

on the planet—garlic and onion.

Then she finished the whole thing off

with a big helping of lycopene-rich

tomato sauce (marinara). Not only

is it easy to make, but it’s a huge crowdpleaser.—Dr.


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay squash

halves face down on edged baking sheet,

and roast 35–40 minutes, until you can

dent skin with a spoon.

2. While squash is baking, combine the

ground meat, garlic, onion, salt, and

pepper in large skillet over mediumhigh

heat. Cook, stirring frequently,

until meat is no longer pink, about

7 minutes. (If using vegetarian crumbles,

you can skip the cooking step.)

3. When squash is tender, remove from

oven, reduce temperature to 350°F,

and let squash cool slightly until you

can handle it.

4. Scrape squash strands out of skin,

and transfer evenly to large baking

dish. Spread prepared ground meat

(or vegetarian crumbles and spices)

evenly over squash strands. Pour

sauce evenly over meat. Dollop with

ricotta, and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Bake 30 minutes, until hot throughout

and cheese is melted.

Per serving: 520 cal; 39g prot; 28g total fat

(13g sat fat); 28g carb; 110mg chol; 1,090mg sod;

2g fiber; 13g sugar


The fresher your spaghetti squash, the “juicier” it will be when cooked. If your squash

releases a lot of moisture, drain it for 15 minutes in a colander or sieve after scraping it out of

its skin. Alternatively, you can remove excess moisture from the (cooked and slightly cooled)

lasagna by gently supporting contents with a large pan lid and tipping the pan to drain.


48 • FEBRUARY 2019

NOW from Solgar


grown here.

PROTEIN harvested

harvested FROM NATURE

©2019 Solgar, Inc.






Fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds, ancient grain... kissed by the sun, nurtured by the rain, embraced by the earth...

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