liver-teaching"Cleansing is ridiculous. You know what's been around longer than that state-of-the-art juicer? Your kidneys. And your liver," says author Sloane Crosley. Livers have been around since mammals have existed. But for all their hard work, most of us couldn't name 3 of the liver's tasks. And we're not to blame. The liver does a LOT. Main chores are to detoxify, digest, and store nutrients. Thanks, liver! If the liver gets sluggish or diseased, though, things start to back up. The first sign is yellow skin or eye whites. Why, you ask? Bilirubin, a yellow molecule, comes from the breakdown of red blood cells and normally gets added to bile. When the liver slows down, bilirubin backs up in the blood and things start to look yellow - ie, jaundice. It's normal for newborns to have jaundice for a few days after birth. In the womb, the placenta filtered the bilirubin for the baby. Over time the liver catches up on its tasks and everything goes back to normal.    
BoneThugsIt's the kind of question that our mothers harass us with. When we voice our answer, doctors stare at us disapprovingly. This is also the reason we avoid dietitians, or outright lie to nurses and grandmothers. When you're old, you won't want to move much anyway, right? What am I talking about? Calcium! It's National Osteoporosis Day, so in the spirit I calculated yesterday's calcium intake: Almost Zero (you know, if you count a piece of cake or 2 miscellaneous eggs). As much as I'd like to ignore this and pretend I get plenty of calcium, I don't want to have a hunchback at 60 years old. My great aunt is 90 and still travels the world! Talk about inspiring. So how do you get more calcium? And not just in your diet - how do you make sure it gets into your bones and stays there, after you're old and prone to falling from natural declines in your sense of balance? I'll give you a hint: dairy doesn't make your bones any less frail. So what are good sources of calcium, then? Click the link, or read on: leafy greens (especially kale), nuts (almonds!), seeds, soy, and white beans. See Whole Food's list for more ideas. Exercise is also great for strengthening bones, but it needs to be weight-bearing, like these workout ideas (floating in the pool doesn't count). Try yoga, running, or dancing! Do you have any favorite workouts or calcium-rich recipes?  
IntestineFoodIntolerance With Halloween and the holidays right around the corner, it might come in handy to speak the language of your intestines. Do you have any food allergies? Do you know the difference between allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity? According to Wed MD, almost 30% of Americans think they have a food allergy, but only 4 to 5% have true food allergies. Allergies cause the immune system to get involved. This means your body makes histamine, which starts an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can show up as hives, eczema, itchy mouth, nausea, diarrhea, sneezing, and even anaphylaxis. Food intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by not having enough of the specific enzymes needed to break down what you ate. The most familiar example is lactose intolerance, which can be fixed by taking lactase enzymes when eating dairy. Other tell tale signs of intolerance include diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, and migraines. See the University of Maryland's write up about common food intolerance culprits here. Lastly, food sensitivity is a general term that includes any adverse reaction to a food (unless, of course, you get food poisoning, which is caused by eating spoiled food). Do you have a favorite dessert recipe that makes your intestines happy? I'm dying to make this raw, vegan, non-gluten, no refined sugar dessert (Has nuts, though). Let me know if you try it!
StomachSmoothie Need more energy in the morning? Consider starting your day off with a smoothie! According to a great article by Wed MD on energy, "You feel better, mentally and physically, when you've had a meal that combines carbs and protein." Fruits are a great way to get carbs without processed sugars and flours. Now for protein, how do you know if you're getting enough? See this handy article that explains how much protein you need and where to get it, even if you're vegetarian. Below are some smoothie ideas that combine carbs + protein. If you have a favorite smoothie recipe, please share!   Oatmeal Smoothie 1 cup Water 1 cup Oats 1.5 cups Kale or Spinach 2 cups Chopped Fruit (1 banana, plus berries or whatever you have lying around) 1/4 cup Peanutbutter Add 4 Ice cubes (add ice after everything else is blended; it will add a nice texture & cool things down)   Berry Smoothie - Easily disguises tastes like kale and flaxseed, Hooray! 1 or 2 Bananas 1/2 cup Frozen Berries Almond Milk (or Water - gives it a thinner consistency. Add ~1/4 cup at the beginning. At the end you can add more if you want it thinner) 1 spoon of Peanutbutter (gives a nutty taste, if you're into that sorta thing, plus a smoother texture) Kale or Spinach (optional, but adds a ton of nutrients, fiber, and a great plant source of calcium. The taste is hidden by the rest of the ingredients) Flax seed (optional. A plant source of Omega 3 fats. Also makes your hair + nails grow strong and faster!) 1 other fresh fruit of your choice (Optional, but makes it even more delicious! Choose from: peeled orange, pineapple, or any fruit sitting in the fridge that needs to be eaten) A few ice cubes (add at the end for texture)   Want more? See this woman's facebook page - a ton of smoothie ideas here!