7 Major Iron Rich Fruits You Should Totally Know

b7d56e428015ca31b033ff84e6555ca9 - 7 Major Iron Rich Fruits You Should Totally Know

Foods are natural sources of nutrients and the one nutrient we are talking today is iron. Iron-rich fruits can be one of the best ways to fulfil your daily iron requirements. According to National Family Health Survey 2005-2006, 56% or Indian women are anaemic.[1]

Iron- it is one important nutrient whose deficiency may lead to numerous health issues. Like, have you been feeling fatigued or tired? Or is there an abnormal pale colouration on your face? Well, these could be the symptoms of iron deficiency in you. The World Health Organization (WHO) says, there are two billion people with anaemia in the world and half of the anaemia is due to iron deficiency. [2]

Moreover, iron-deficiency is reportedly one of the top causes of disability in India.[3]

5 Major Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

1. Fatigue

It is one of the common symptoms of iron deficiency that is caused due to less amount of oxygen reaching the body tissues.

2. The appearance of Pale face

Iron deficiency leads to pale colouration on the face and inner eyelids. This is due to the lower levels of hemoglobin in the body.

3. Short breath

The lower levels of haemoglobin lead to a shortage of oxygen reaching to the body tissues, which is characterized by shortness of breath.

4. Headache

Iron deficiency leads to less oxygen reaching the brain which pressurizes the blood vessels leading to headaches.

5. Faster heartbeats

Since the deficiency of iron leads to lower levels of oxygen in the body, the heart starts working faster. This leads to faster heartbeats.

7 Iron-rich fruits

 In order to fulfil your iron requirements, we bring to you 7 iron-rich fruits that you can totally sneak into your diet.

1. Dates

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Dates are rich in iron

A 100 gram of apricots contains more than 50 percent of our daily iron requirement. Besides, being iron-rich fruit, dates are amazing sources of antioxidants. They contain elements like calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. Dates, are great sources of fiber as well.

2. Dried Apricots

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Dried Apricots are iron-rich fruits

 A 100 gm of apricot contains 2.7 mg of iron. Not just an iron-rich fruit, dried apricots are excellent sources of dietary fiber too. They contain soluble fiber that is responsible for reducing cholesterol. Soluble fibre binds to fatty acids and helps in their removal through excretion. The type of iron that we get from dried apricots are non-heme iron that is usually not absorbed easily. However, its absorption can be increased by consuming other food sources of vitamin C and heme iron.

3. Berries

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Berries are rich in iron

 Now a 100 gm of berries contain 0.3 mg of iron. Although that is a little low, berries act as iron absorbance boosters. How? Well, berries are great sources of vitamin C, be it strawberries, blackberries or blueberries.

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid enhances the absorbance of non-heme iron by preventing the formation of insoluble iron compounds. Moreover, the vitamin helps in reduction of ferric form of iron to ferrous, which is readily absorbed by the body. [4]

4. Prunes

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Iron rich prunes

 These are the dried plums. These dried versions of our beloved plums are power packed with vitamins and minerals. And yes, it is certainly one of the important iron rich fruits. It has been mentioned in Healthline that one half-cup of prunes contain 0.81 mgms of iron. These dried plums also contain a good quantity of dietary fiber, vitamin K, B vitamins, calcium, and potassium. You can include prunes into your diet by adding them to your bowl of morning cereals.

5. Watermelon

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Watermelons are great iron sources

Not a dried fruits fan? Well, here’s the most juicilicious fruit which is also a great iron rich fruit. Yes, one-eighth of a medium-sized watermelon has about 1.5 gm of iron. Not just that, watermelons are rich in vitamin C, which further increases the efficiency of non-heme iron in the body.

6. Pomegranate

pomagranate - 7 Major Iron Rich Fruits You Should Totally Know
Pomegranate: Rich in Iron

A 100 gms of pomegranate contains 0.3 mg of iron. This iron-rich fruit, pomegranate’s seeds are one of the most common recommended iron-rich fruits for fighting anaemia, that is caused due to iron deficiency. Not just that, pomegranate also contain vitamins, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid. Pomegranate helps in reducing the symptoms of iron deficiency.[5]

7. Raisins


raisins - 7 Major Iron Rich Fruits You Should Totally Know
Raisins: Iron Rich Food

Another iron-rich fruits are the raisins are basically dried grapes. A 100 gms of raisins contain about 1.9mg of iron. They contain almost twice the amount of iron present in grapes. When grapes are dehydrated to give raisins, the nutrients get more concentrated. Besides iron, raisins are also packed with carbohydrates, B vitamins, and potassium.[6] Raisins contain certain members of vitamin B complex that are responsible for the formation of new blood.


Table for daily requirement of iron for male, female, pregnant women and children

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Daily Iron requirement source


Q. What fruits are high in iron?

A. 6 Common Foods with Iron

  1. Dark leafy veggies like Spinach
  2. Red meat
  3. Seafood
  4. Beans
  5. Peas
  6. Broccoli

Q. Which nuts are high in iron?

A. Here are the 5 nuts that are high in iron.

  1. Pine nuts   10 gms = 0.6 mg of iron
  2. Hazelnuts  14 gms = 0.7 mg of iron
  3. Pistachios  28 gms = 1.1 mg of iron
  4. Almonds     10 gms = 0.5 mg of iron
  5. Cashew nuts 10 gms=0.3 mg of iron

Q.Which vegetables are rich in iron?

A. 5 vegetarian iron-rich foods

Dark leafy veggies like Spinach

  1. Pumpkin
  2. Lentils
  3. Tofu
  4. Soybeans



Psychiatry Is in the Midst of Major Transformation

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The field of psychiatry is in the midst of major changes involving the delivery of clinical care, the development of new treatments, the elucidation of the scientific underpinnings of human behavior and the education of medical students and psychiatric residents. There are a variety of reasons for these simultaneous transformations.

Approaches to the delivery of psychiatric care are changing for practical reasons: there are not enough psychiatrists to provide direct treatment for the large number of very ill patients. Most family members of persons with severe psychiatric illnesses know that it is extremely difficult to schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist on short notice. Even finding a psychiatrist accepting new patients is challenging, especially for individuals without private health insurance. Even if there were a sudden dramatic increase in the number of medical students electing to specialize in psychiatry, it would take decades before this shortage would be eliminated. So how can psychiatrists help care for a large number of very ill patients?

Recently, psychiatrists have been developing collaborative care models in which they team up with other mental health providers to work with primary care doctors. In these models, patients receive much of their treatment in a primary care home. The primary care team may directly work with one or more mental health professionals including psychiatric nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers and counselors. Common psychiatric disorders can be recognized by the primary care team and evidenced-based treatments can be initiated. The on-site team interacts with psychiatrists via meetings, phone conversations or telemedicine. If the patient doesn’t respond to first-line treatments, then he or she is referred to a mental health home where the psychiatrist takes a more direct role in providing care. Obviously, there will be patients who are too ill for the primary care team to manage. Such patients will require aggressive psychiatric care directly from the psychiatrist and the mental health team. But when such patients’ symptoms are stabilized, the primary care team can be engaged to manage the patient and continue treatment.

This collaborative care approach utilizing both mental health teams and primary care teams can provide care to a greater number of patients than more traditional psychiatric settings. Also, this model of care may encourage psychiatrists to keep up with clinically relevant scientific advances so that they can direct the implementation of new treatments – whether these involve psychotherapies, medications, cognitive training with computers, neuromodulation methods, or others.

As these changes in psychiatric care delivery are happening, psychiatric research is evolving rapidly. Much research in psychiatry is federally funded. The director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Dr. Thomas Insel, has implemented a variety of initiatives to promote more rapid treatment development. These initiatives involve basic and clinical research and stress the importance of integrating research from multiple disciplines. Teamwork is emphasized. NIMH controls much of the psychiatric research budget and therefore researchers are well attuned to these changes. Also, new methods of brain imaging and new methods for studying genetic and environmental influences are developing rapidly. Thus, the tools necessary for major leaps in our knowledge are increasingly available. There is excitement about such advances, and this is leading to more research-oriented medical students selecting psychiatry as their specialty field. At Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, there has been a substantial increase in the number of students with combined M.D. and Ph.D. degrees choosing psychiatry for their specialty training. This bodes well for the future of psychiatric research and ultimately for the development of new treatments.

As research findings lead to advances in understanding the biologic basis of human behavior and as changing models of mental health care delivery are implemented, medical education will have to adapt. Psychiatric residency programs are experimenting with novel approaches for teaching neuroscience, neuroimaging, molecular genetics and other translational science skills to trainees. Medical school courses are addressing neuroscientific advances as they pertain to psychiatric disorders. Today’s medical school curriculum in behavioral science and psychiatry is quite different and more advanced than it was a decade ago.

One other interesting educational change could also strongly impact medical education.  Undergraduates applying to medical school must take a standardized examination known as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This test just underwent a major reorganization – the first significant restructuring since 1991. As of 2015, a substantial section of the test will be devoted to behavioral and social sciences. In order to prepare for the exam, undergraduates interested in medical school will likely be taking more psychology and social science courses in parallel to biology and chemistry courses. Hopefully, this will lead to students entering medical school with a better understanding of and appreciation for the science underlying normal and abnormal human behavior.

This column was written by Eugene Rubin MD, PhD and Charles Zorumski MD.

This Psych Major Tweets Bush

The hashtag #ThisPsychMajor is trending on Twitter after would-be president Jeb Bush remarked that a Psych major might very well wind up working a Chick-fil-A (fast-food job). Naturally, a large number of the millions of accomplished psychology majors are tweeting their disapproval.

Many of the commentators proudly voice their accomplishments in providing the wide range of essential, beneficial services to society that depend on a solid knowledge of motivation, learning and cognition, social relations, healthy behavior patterns, prejudice, mental health, and yes, leadership. Many others are pointing out that psych majors vote.

One lesson of this fascinating social media reaction is the extent to which the dedicated millions of social media users can employ the platform to promote decent societal values and well-being, not negativity and scorn. Politicians and other leaders will think twice before issuing narrow-minded musings and slogans. The public can raise the quality of discourse.

Other commentators are pointing out the value of a broad liberal arts education, that helps us to think clearly, appreciate beauty, understand our world, and communicate eloquently. Over the years, there have been so many wonderful defenses of education for its own sake and of how it “pays off” in so many ways. Although many aspects of our colleges need renewal, it is hard to believe that any literate person will want to challenge the value of seeking wisdom.

But it is also important, in the context of health, to emphasize the health value of a college education. It is certainly one of the secrets of longevity. There is by now quite a lot of evidence that a college education, not simply vocational training, is the core of a pathway to all sorts of thriving and success, and to well-being and long life. The skills and personal qualities developed in formal education go a long way toward providing the basis for pathways to good health. In almost every study that has looked, more education is associated with greater health and longevity. There are a variety of sometimes-complicated reasons for this. But it is certainly way past time to stop questioning the pursuit of wisdom through the full range of academic endeavors, even including psychology.

 #ThisPsychMajor never regretted it, never stopped working, promotes self-healing, combats bias, and understands charisma.

Attachment Disturbances: Major Breakthrough in Treatment

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This book, “Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair,” is a major breakthrough in treatment.

It should be required reading by every mental health clinician and provider as a basis of treatment. If it were, there would be more positive treatment results for a wide variety of mental health issues. 

Research and Background on Attachment

Dr. Brown and Dr. Elliott along with the following contributing authors:

 Paula Morgan-Johnson, LICSW
Paula Sacks, LICSW
Caroline R. Baltzer, Ph.D.
James Hickey, Psy.D.
Andrea Cole, Ph.D.
Jan Bloom, Ph.D.
Deidre Fay, LICSW

have provided a comprehensive, step by step review of the literature and cross-cultural research on the topic of attachment. They begin with the history of attachment, how it develops in key developmental stages from infancy to teenage years, the role of the caregiver, and the key figures of the field, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. In the history portion, there is a clear and concise explanation of secure attachment and disorganized attachment. In addition, they provide information about The Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment, as well as the generational model of how attachment issues are passed down through one generation to another.

In this section of the book, there is extensive research into the concept of internal representation, object relations (introduced by Margaret Mahler), and self-regulation. From this background information emerges a precise understanding of attachment and the emerging self.


This book provides you with four distinct categories of Adult Attachment Types:

Secure Attachment
Dismissing Attachment
Anxious Attachment
Disorganized Attachment

Dr. Brown and Dr. Elliot provide in-depth research studies for each of the above Attachment types, along with the work of Mary Ainsworth in the method of Assessment of Attachment of the Strange Situation procedure.

There is also an overview of the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) and how this is a valuable tool in assessing attachment issues and classifying specific attachment types.

Attachment and Psychopathology

This section of the book covers extensive research into the following psychopathology as it relates to attachment issues:

1) Attachment: Emotional, Distress, and Psychiatric Distress

          A) Attachment and Anxiety Disorder

          B) Attachment and Affective Disorder

          C) Attachment and Bipolar Disorder- this includes Schizophrenia

2) Attachment and Somatic Symptoms Disorders, Factitious Disorders and Malingering.

          A) Somatic Disorders

          B) Factitious Disorders

          C) Malingering Disorders

3) Traumatic -Related Disorder

          A) Attachment and Dissociative Disorders

          B) Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder (DRD)

          C) Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

4) Attachment and Addictions

          A) Alcoholism and Substance Abuse

          B) Eating Disorders

5) Attachment and Personality Disorders

          A) Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

          B) Conduct Disorder and Antisocial Personality

Finishing this section of the book is probably one of most disturbing research studies; The Orphanage Study: Attachment and Complex Trauma. This study clearly shows how the various attachment types effected how the children coped with severe trauma by priests that were child abusers and were sent to manage this orphanage in New Orleans. To read that innocent children were put into this orphanage because of domestic abuse and violence, only to have caregivers that were child abusers, is beyond criminal. It was clear that the attachment type was a defining indication of how the children coped with such severe trauma.

Treatment of Attachment Disturbances

The best part about this section is that it presents each treatment with the honor and dignity that it deserves. It starts with Bowlby’s attachment-based psychotherapy, and then moves to psychoanalytic approaches.  

Other approaches include attachment based psychotherapy, dynamics-maturational model integrative treatment, and targeting dysfunctional attachment representation and internal working models. The latter approach deals with working independently of transference.

Elgan Baker’s approach works with the imagery of the good enough therapist with the patient.

The work of Bowlby, Ainsworth, and Mahler has been the base of attachment theory and treatment approaches. The focus of the therapeutic alliance and soothing holding environment has been stable in attachment treatment.

This book provides an in-depth explanation of newer methods of attachment-informed treatment, such as schema therapy for patients with personality disorders and Accelerated Experiential Dynamics Psychotherapy (AEDP), whereas other books have omitted to only promote their own theory or approaches. 

In addition to these methods are the following:

Metacognitive attachment-informed psychotherapies, which include Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT), the modular approach to metacognitive development.
Beyond mentalizing and the representational self is Mindfulness and transcendence of self. From this approach evolved a Consensus -Based Model for Attachment Treatment. This was developed by Brent Mallinckrodt in 2009.

From these various methods emerged the comprehensive treatment of Attachment Disturbances developed by Dr. Brown and Dr. Elliot, entitled the Three Pillars. The next part of the their book focuses on the explanation of the Three Pillars, then a comprehensive, step-by-step explanation of how to use this treatment approach with each attachment type. 

Three Pillars of Comprehensive Attachment Treatment

The three pillars include the following:

Pillar 1:  The Ideal Parent Figure (IPF) Protocol.
Pillar 2:  Fostering a range of Metacognitive Skills.
Pillar 3:  Fostering collaborative nonverbal and verbal behavior.

The first pillar, involving the ideal parent figure, includes the following essentials:

1) Felt secure/protection

2) Feeling seen and known/attunement

3) Felt comfort/soothing and reassurance

4) Feeling valued/expressed delight

5) Felt support for best self/unconditional support and encouragement

All of these are included in an attachment-based imagery over the course of treatment.

The second pillar fosters a range of metacognitive skills such as the following:

1) Being aware of yourself; the sense of self and of others.

2) Monitoring the accuracy of your state of mind.

3) Recognizing how the past has shaped the present and your own experience.

4) Taking a wider perspective of yourself and your life.

5) Recognition of interdependence.

There are many more aspects of this pillar that authors provide to you.

The third pillar integrates the previous two pillars into collaborative imagery and metacognitive development.

The following chapters provide a step by step approach, along with actual transcripts of sessions to show the reader how to use the Three Pillars with each specific attachment type. There are over 400 pages of information providing the novice to the seasoned mental health clinician with valuable information and training.  

What is unique about this book is that even though it is clearly designed for the education of a mental health provider, a person with attachment issues can also benefit from the information in this book.


If you are a mental health provider or a person struggling in your own therapy, my analogy is that you cannot fix the upstairs until you fix the foundation of the house, which is the core attachment issue. This book provides the history of attachment and its various therapies, as well as a new revolutionary and comprehensive Three Pillar approach that will change your life and allow the healing to occur.  This book is a must read.

Copyright ©) Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, E.D. 2016

THIS Is The Next Wave Of Hygge (And It Could Save You Some Major $$)

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Who could forget the great hygge obsession of 2017? The Danish philosophy gave us all an excuse to get a little cozier in the name of our health. And now, a new Scandi buzzword is on the horizon: lagom, the art of having “not too little, not too much.” Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, a new book by Niki Brantmark, tells you everything you need to know about this frame of mind.

According to Brantmark, lagom is all about conscious unselfishness—the idea that we all have the responsibility not to overconsume so that there’s plenty to go around for everyone. Let’s take a peek at how the Swedes adopt this innately eco-friendly mentality at home and how we can steal a page from their book.

In Sweden, wind, hydro, and solar power account for 52 percent of the electricity used, which places it at No. 1 in the world for sustainable energy use and puts it firmly on the path to becoming the first fossil-fuel-free nation. The Swedes have challenged all other countries to join the race.

These days, we’re in the fortunate position of being able to choose between different energy providers. You can help your country join the movement by checking where your electricity comes from and, if necessary, switching to a company that uses more renewable sources.

How to keep your house warm (and cool), Swedish style.

In a climate where (in the North) temperatures can plummet to -30°C (-22°F), preventing heat from escaping your home is essential. A well-insulated home has a big impact on the amount of energy we consume—not to mention keeping you toasty when the snow falls outside.

Heating accounts for 42 percent of energy use in the average U.K. home. The escalating cost and environmental impact of this means that it makes sense to follow the Swedish example of checking that we’re retaining heat (and in warmer climes, keeping our homes cool) in the most efficient way. Sometimes investments are required, but they pay off in the long run. Even small steps can help turn your home into an energy-efficient household, and it will save you pennies, too.

Layer it up.

If you’re not ready to make a larger insulation investment just yet, or you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where extreme measures aren’t necessary, adding curtains, blinds, carpets, and rugs help keep the cold at bay and your home draft-free. They amp up the cozy factor, too. After all, the philosophy of lagom isn’t about making things perfect; it’s about putting in just the right amount of effort to ensure you’re comfortable!

Wrap up.

According to a report for the U.K. government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, dialing down the thermostat by just 2 degrees (from 20ºC/68ºF to 18ºC/64ºF) is the No. 1 thing you can do to save energy at home. The report also recommended that you delay turning on your heating by one month (from October to November) and turn off radiators in unused rooms. Woolly jumpers at the ready!

Shut the door on goodbyes.

Whenever guests leave our house in winter, my husband shuts the door the moment their heel passes the threshold. I’m not kidding. As a Brit used to long goodbyes, I find this excruciatingly embarrassing, but for my husband it’s a force of habit. He explains that having worked tirelessly to establish an ideal temperature indoors, he’s not going to let all the well-earned heat escape during a lengthy farewell! I have, of course, kept my tradition of long goodbyes, but I do it inside instead.

How to adopt new energy-saving habits.

I’ve spoken to many Swedes about their engagement in saving energy at home, and more often than not it’s a learned behavior from their parents and grandparents, driven by economic reasons. Now, I’m not saying you should start feeling your way around in the dark (although, of course, a Swede will tell you a few candles would be nice…), but there are simple, energy-saving habits we can all develop that will not only lead to a healthier planet but also help save money for a rainy day (or that next adventure).

Make the change.

The right lighting can create a wonderful atmosphere at home. It’s little wonder that the average home now has 42 lights. But traditional light bulbs come at a cost. According to a report by the Swedish Energy Agency, they represent one-fifth of global electricity use, most of which comes from nonrenewable resources. Experts advise that by changing from a traditional incandescent light bulb to an efficient LED, CFL, or halogen incandescent, you’ll use 25 to 80 percent less energy, and the bulb will last up to 25 times longer.

To reduce the amount of electricity you use, shine a light on the Swedish way of doing things—and make maximum use of natural light. Arrange furniture used for tasks requiring plenty of light nearer the window and keep the glass as unobscured as possible. Not only will your efforts be gentler on your wallet, but they’ll reduce your impact on the planet, too.

If all American households changed from traditional incandescent light bulbs to LED, CFL, or halogen incandescents, the decrease in pollution would be the same as removing a whopping 1.3 million cars from the road.

Flip the switch.

In our rush to get out of the house in the morning, it’s easy to leave the lights on. And really, what difference do a few light bulbs make, right? Wrong! A whopping 90 percent of the energy used by traditional incandescent light bulbs is released through heat, and the higher the wattage, the more energy (and money) you’ll save by switching off.

Unplug at the source.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 75 percent of our electrical output from household appliances is consumed when they are not in use. To put this in perspective, if every U.K. home switched off its set-top box at the source each night, the energy saved would be the equivalent to the annual output of a power station. That’s the equivalent of making 80 billion cups of tea. Yikes!

Boil what you need.

The U.K. Tea Council calculates that Brits gulp down 165 million cups of tea per day. With 67 percent of people admitting to overfilling the kettle each time, it’s estimated that by only boiling what we need, we could save enough over a year to power half of the U.K.’s street lighting.

Stain-spot clothes.

In “the good old days” when clothes were hand-washed, people would get more wear out of them. Why not remove spots with a wet cloth and air your clothes to limit the number of washes? You could even give them a good steam by hanging them beside your shower.

Skip the dryer.

Save energy by drying your clothes on a clothesline in the garden or on a drying rack rather than using a tumble dryer. It helps your clothes last longer, too.

Looking to snag more healthy living secrets from Scandi? Check out this game-changing parenting philosophy from Denmark.

Elimination Diet Too Intimidating? Give Up Just This One Food For Major Results

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Every summer when I was younger, my family and I would trek to a famous (and enormous!) ice cream shop about an hour from my hometown. I’ll never forget one specific adventure when all five of us were packed in my mom’s 1998 forest-green van. My mom was buckling me in while holding a banana split when my brother accidentally bumped her elbow, and the entirety of the sundae (read: ice cream, extra chocolate sauce, extra nuts, whipped cream, and cherries) came tumbling onto my head. Rather than making a big stink about it, I simply used the opportunity to double my ice cream intake for the evening, using my tongue as a spoon to properly wipe up the mess.

I was faced with a new food sensitivity.

And this is how I prefer my ice cream: in abundance and all over/around me. So it was a huge blow to the system (quite literally) when I discovered via a blood test last year that I have a dairy sensitivity. Before committing to the permanent elimination of dairy, I gradually began lessening my consumption of it—first switching to an almond nondairy beverage with my coffee in the morning and making overnight oats with coconut nondairy instead of regular milk. These small decisions continued to steamroll, and I both felt better and had fewer mysterious breakouts. I then started to reach for coconut-based ice creams and nut-derived cheeses.

During the summer, however, I am bombarded with nostalgia of my family trips to the ice cream parlor. One evening, I caved and had my favorite—peaches and cream on a waffle cone—only to wake up the next morning to hives covering every square inch of my body. And this is when I realized I had to wave a tearful goodbye to my old friend dairy.

My journal kept me accountable.

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Photo: Joyelle West

As with any elimination diet, I highly recommend starting a detailed food journal. This way you can begin to recognize patterns when you have symptoms surrounding certain meals or foods. The goal is to get to know yourself a little better and learn to discern which symptoms could be stemming from certain foods. Food intolerance symptoms are vast and range greatly: bloating, sinus congestion/postnasal drip, acne, headaches, joint aches, skin rash, depression, anxiety, and fatigue, to name a few. The unfortunate part about food sensitivities is that it sometimes takes up to 48 hours for symptoms to manifest. By keeping a detailed journal, you’re able to much more easily figure out what it is that could be causing a headache or breakout.

For all you worrywarts: You don’t have to be concerned about your calcium intake when avoiding dairy. Foods like dark-green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collards, bok choy), blackstrap molasses, almonds, oranges, white beans, sesame tahini, sea vegetables, and sardines or salmon are all great sources of calcium. Pairing calcium sources with vitamin-D-rich foods also increases the likelihood of absorption, so try eating foods high in vitamin D like portobello/brown/cremini/white-button mushrooms, eggs, trout, salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, oysters, and shrimp.

It’s time to ditch the dairy.

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Photo: Joyelle West

Here are a few more easy ways to go dairy-free:

  1. Start small. Splash your coffee with an oat or coconut nondairy beverage in the morning as opposed to regular milk.
  2. Make decadent drinks using nondairy beverages—like an iced almond joy latte. Simply blend 2 cups Pacific Foods Organic Unsweetened Original Coconut Non-Dairy Beverage, 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 1 tablespoon coconut butter, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 to 2 dates for desired sweetening. Pour over ice.
  3. Make your own cheeses by soaking cashews overnight and blending them in the morning with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 clove minced garlic, ½ teaspoon rosemary, Himalayan pink sea salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lemon, hemp seeds, and a splash of Pacific Foods Unsweetened Hemp Original Non-Dairy Beverage.
  4. Have some go-to creamy texturizers on hand: Adding avocado or tahini to a salad dressing or frozen coconut milk cubes/cauliflower/bananas to make a smoothie thicker are some easy swaps.
  5. Rather than dumping a banana split onto your head, make fun dairy-free ice pops for the whole family! Peach-coconut ice pops using Pacific Foods Organic Coconut Original Non-Dairy Beverage and fresh farmers market peaches are one of my favorites!

Peaches & Cream Dairy-Free Ice Pops

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Photo: Joyelle West



  1. Sauté peaches in coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg until soft and wilted.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix full-fat coconut milk and Pacific Foods Organic Coconut Original Non-Dairy Beverage together.
  3. Combine peaches and cream mixture.
  4. Add mixture to ice-pop molds and freeze until hardened, about 4 hours.

While the idea of going dairy-free may seem overwhelming at first, it’s much easier and more delicious than you’d think. I can say this with confidence as a previous ice cream addict. Just try it for a day and see how you feel using the above tips—I dair(y) ya!

What This Celebrity Trainer Says To Anyone Who Needs Major Workout Inspiration

684580eb5c82f8ce42e4482b33743444 - What This Celebrity Trainer Says To Anyone Who Needs Major Workout Inspiration

Todd McCullough, a native of Florida, started his fitness journey earlier than most. His father owned a gym, and he was able to learn about the importance training and discipline as a child. His hard work began to pay off when he joined the Florida Gators as a starting linebacker on a full scholarship, and once again when he played for the European Football League for Italy. In an unexpected turn of events, he became a yoga teacher and now uses yoga to stay present in everyday life.

McCullough spent most of his life surrounded by coaches and trainers who made a huge impact on him both as a person and an athlete. As owner of his own business now, TMAC Fitness, he aims to provide busy people with the same attention, inspiration, and ability to tap into the present moment.

Ultimately, his philosophy is “faith, family, friends, and working hard,” and always exploring his outer limits. Watch this video to find out what morning rituals keep him motivated, how he taps into the moment, and his favorite mindful workouts.

Trainer Kenny Santucci On Why Working Out Leads To Major Breakthroughs

866faebaa58fea49d8cc8c9f732c4a5c - Trainer Kenny Santucci On Why Working Out Leads To Major Breakthroughs

Humble and all-star aren’t always complementary traits, but they describe Kenny Santucci to a T. As an NYC and N.J.-based fitness coach at SOLACE CrossFit gym, he encourages his clients to reach their own peak performance from all perspectives: mental, physical, and emotional. He’ll be the first to admit that the path isn’t easy because it means pushing to find your limits and discovering what your body is capable of, but it’s so worthwhile.

Santucci’s story is particularly inspiring because he’s not a former dancer, gymnast, or sportsman. He was the “chubby kid” and knows firsthand how it feels to be ashamed of your body, to be teased, and to feel an itch to change.

Ultimately, he subscribes to a fitness lifestyle because he believes physical challenges have the power to change you mentally and emotionally. Watch this video to find out what drives him, how he finds the stamina to keep going, and why the gym is his church.

Here Are 9 Genes That Play A Major Role In Your Health

d95f3353c62d6b735660da7c5af571bd - Here Are 9 Genes That Play A Major Role In Your Health

There’s no arguing that your mood, weight, metabolism, immune system, hormone, and overall health are—at least to some degree—influenced by your DNA. The growing awareness that our genetics play a role in our health has created a multibillion-dollar industry of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. In fact, all you need is around $100 and you can learn a ton about your DNA and your ancestry, identify distant cousins around the world, and figure out what percentage Neanderthal you are. I mean, who doesn’t want to know that?

What does it mean to get your DNA tested?

As a functional medicine practitioner, I’m more concerned with exactly what role your genetics play in the health problems you have today and how your DNA increases your risk factors for certain illnesses. So are these DNA tests worth your time and money or is it just another health fad? Let’s go over everything you need to know. First, here are two of the major tests:

1. 23andMe:

23andMe has two test options at this point. You can find out your ancestry and health information—or just your ancestry for a lower price. The ancestry portion of the report shows a map and percentages of where your DNA originated from and chat options to talk to distant relatives. The health report includes dozens of reports that tell you if are likely to have certain physical traits and other reports covering any increased risk factors for chronic health problems.

2. Ancestry DNA:

As its name implies, this DNA test is all about your genealogy. Like 23andMe, you can know the percent breakdown of where your DNA is from, but the Ancestry test has a cool family tree option for us history nerds but gives no health information.

What can these tests (really) tell you?

OK, so these gene tests may tell you if you are likely to have curly hair, increased risk factor for certain health conditions, or that you are part Croatian, but how can you use this information to optimize your health? I knew you would ask that! In functional medicine, my job is to take that obscure genetic information and practically apply it to your life. You can’t change your genes, but there is so much you can do, when you know your genetics, to mitigate your risk factors and feel your best. Here are the genes I always look at:

1. AHCY:

This an enzyme that breaks down the amino methionine by converting S-adenosylhomocysteinase into the pro-inflammatory homocysteine. People with a double mutation are more prone to have mood issues and typically do well with SAMe supplementation.

2. BHMT:

This gene instructs the enzyme that is responsible for methionine, an amino acid building block that is responsible in the choline oxidation processes, which is needed for optimal brain function. Brain issues like ADHD are associated with a change in this gene.

3. CBS:

Not the television network; instead, this is the acronym for the enzyme responsible for making the amino acid cystathionine. People with this mutation will produce more sulfur end products and oftentimes need to limit eating sulfur-rich foods like dairy, eggs, dried fruits, and legumes, as they will elevate ammonia levels, which can exacerbate their health problems. Other genes like NOS and SUOX can further cause this excess of sulfur and are associated with immune issues like asthma.

4. COMT:

This gene plays a pivotal role in making the balance of neurotransmitters and a healthy brain. A double gene COMT gene change is linked with an increased risk factor for ADHD, anxiety, bipolar, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

5. MAO:

MAO’s role is to clear out neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Changes to this gene can lead to neurotransmitter imbalances linked with depression and anxiety. People with MAO mutations as well as MTHFR have a higher rate of histamine intolerance. This can cause inflammation response when they eat even healthy stuff like fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi), bone broth, nuts, vinegar, and wine.


One of the key ways I use the DNA information from these labs is to assess something called methylation. Methylation is a big biochemical super freeway system that makes your hormones, gut, brain, and detox pathways uber healthy. It happens about a billion times every second, so if methylation isn’t functioning well, neither are you. Because most of my patients are going through varying degrees of hormonal, digestive, brain, and autoimmune issues, how they are methylating is important to me. Methylation gene changes or polymorphisms can help me customize my treatment plans.

MTHFR is not an acronym for an expletive; it’s the enzyme that converts folic acid into folate. Folate is a methyl-donor that acts like gasoline to make methylation happen. MTHFR is probably the most famous of all these polymorphisms—the Beyoncé of methylation, if you will. There are two important MTHFR mutations: A1298C and C677T. Gene changes to C677T can cause higher levels of the inflammatory homocysteine and A1298C plays an integral role in neurotransmitter function, and double mutations are linked to mood dysregulation and addictive behavior. Both of these are linked to autism and autoimmune conditions like autoimmune thyroid issues.


These little guys are needed for B12 production, another methyl donor. People with mutations in this gene typically need higher doses of B12 because their body is using it up faster than they are producing it. I also often find that people with this gene change are low in lithium. Lithium is needed for mood balance and is linked with aggression and other mood disorders. By testing blood and hair lithium levels, we are able to see if this is an issue or not.

8. VDR:

VDR stands for vitamin D receptor. As I’ve written about in the past, vitamin D is super important. Responsible for over 200 different pathways to keep you healthy, VDR gene mutations make your body really bad at absorbing vitamin D. Because of this, people with VDR changes typically require higher and consistent vitamin D supplementation.

9. Detox genes:

Other gene changes that I look at are some of your detox genes such as CYP1A2, which lets me know how well you tolerate caffeine and whether or not you can get the health benefits from coffee and tea.

Is your DNA your destiny?

OK, so now you know all this cool gene-health information, but are genes everything? Heck no! Research estimates that on average, about 90 percent of how long we live is due to the choices we make in our life, not our genes. The old view of genetics was that it was an immutable force, that if your family had a certain health problem, it would be just a matter of time before you got the same disease. Today, science takes into consideration the field of epigenetics—also known as the environmental factors that affect your DNA expression. Many of our bad and good genes are turned on and off by the world around us and the choices we make in life.

One Stanford study estimated that 77 percent of the immune system was determined by things we can control! The foods we eat or don’t eat, toxins, exposure to germs, stress levels, and medications are the determinants of the majority of our health. Since we are all different, knowing your genes is one way to know what’s best for your body so that you can support those gene weaknesses and truly thrive.

4 Major Contributors To Lung Cancer (Away From Smoking)

8047d138c03c74312c9bb0a06ed124ec - 4 Major Contributors To Lung Cancer (Away From Smoking)

When people think of lung cancer, the first thing to pop into their minds as a cause is smoking cigarettes. Though it is true that smoking and lung cancer are linked, being a smoker is not the only way to develop this disease. Many non-smokers have suffered from lung cancer, due to contaminants in the very air they breathe, which some people are still not even aware can cause such a horrendous illness.

Second-hand Smoke

Even if a person does not smoke, they are still forced to breathe in the chemicals when they are around a smoker in their home, at work, or out in public. Despite what many believe, breathing second-hand smoke is just as harmful as smoking, because what is being exhaled by the smoker contains all the same toxic chemicals they are breathing in. Thousands of non-smokers die from lung cancer each year, just from breathing in other people’s smoke.

Air Pollution

Breathing extremely polluted air can be just as harmful for developing lung cancer in an otherwise healthy person as second-hand smoke, and the longer a person is exposed to it, the higher the risk. Air pollution can be found anywhere, because of the abundance of vehicles on the road, as well as manufacturing companies and other types of businesses that release such toxins into the air. Power plants are also part of the air pollution problem. Due to the high levels of air pollution, especially in larger cities, there are thousands dying from lung cancer caused by pollution every year.

Radon Gas

Radon gas occurs naturally with the decay of uranium buried in the earth, and can travel through the soil, up into the air. It then leaks into buildings and homes through even the smallest openings, including drains, pipes, foundations, and even dirt floors. Due to the fact that it is tasteless, odorless and invisible, anyone breathing radon gas will not be aware of it until a radon test has been completed. It has been estimated by the EPA that 1 in 15 homes in the United States contain high levels of radon gas, which is extremely dangerous for all who live there.  In fact, there are between 15,000 and 22,000 deaths from lung-cancer each year that have been related to radon gas.


A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos was used all over the world for many purposes. This was due to its versatility and strength, and because of its heat resistance. When woven into a fabric and then mixed with cement, it became a popular form of insulation. Unfortunately, when the asbestos fibers are broken, they can be inhaled into the lungs, and such fibers can remain there for a lifetime. This can then lead to lung cancer, as well as another type of cancer called mesothelioma. Non-smokers are 5 times more likely to develop lung cancer from exposure to asbestos than any other non-smoker.

With so many ways to develop lung cancer, it is a wonder why cigarettes are the only thing advertised as harmful, especially for non-smokers who may not be exposed to them as often as they are to any of the other harmful toxins in the air. Knowledge is key, and reducing these other chemicals is the only way to help limit the instances of lung cancer in those who have never touched a cigarette.