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The Collagen of Consciousness

Miriam Ava   |   January 3, 2016   10:36 AM ET

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It's on the quiet, cool days of May, when soothing fog and buffering dove grey clouds float snugly across the sky, that one reaches clarity.

Paradoxically, the veil between the earth and the universe lifts the barriers between you and your true self. It's as if the fog purges the pores of your mind and deep-cleanses the skin of your psyche.

Feed your mind the collagen of consciousness. Rehydrate and plump up your thoughts into full potential. Juicy energy attracts true life force.

My Breakup With Social Media

Laura Aiisha   |   November 28, 2015   12:38 PM ET

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For the last few years, I've done a three-week cleanse at this time of year. It gives me pause on all of my normal behaviors as far as food and other indulgences go. It's a challenge, it's scary, and wow, I feel like a warrioress when I've made it through.

This fall I've decided to hold off on the physical cleanse and focus on a digital cleanse of sorts. I'm putting a pause on all of my projects and choosing to do a social media detox from now through the end of the year.

There's been quite a lot happening in my world over the last few years that I haven't shared publicly, and in order to give this choice context, I'm going to give you some insight into my inner world.

It all started in the fall of 2013, just as I was about to take my first trip to Bali to meet with a group of Femme entrepreneurs to powwow about our businesses and expand our possibilities in the palm of one of the most sacred beautiful places I've visited yet.

"It" meaning my shadow. My shadow started to come out of hiding and dance with me. Oddly enough it took over a year to realize that this was a dance, that I had not fallen backward, retracted, lost anything... just that I had reached another place in my journey where my shadow was ready to be seen in a larger light, greater capacity and newer perspective.

It was unsettling to say the least. At the end of 2013 I was wrapping up the best financial year in my consulting business yet. I was feeling good, strong, powerful... ready for the more better that I was sure was on it's way.

When 2014 rolled around, I wasn't prepared financially, mentally or emotionally to have one of the leanest financial years I've ever had as an adult. I was convinced I would keep climbing the financial ladder and growing not only my consulting business but also my passion-based business, which I had been pouring resources, time and energy into since 2012. The goal/vision was to transition from consulting to singing, speaking, creating and uplifting as the vehicle to share my greatest contribution in the world, and to also thrive financially.

I was sure it would happen fairly quickly as I had seen it happen for others.

At the top of the year, I lost two of my best clients unexpectedly for different reasons. It was disappointing, but I threw myself into business development for my firm and found myself losing faith, and dwindling any savings I had built up when great meetings turned into dust on the shelf, and my frustration (and fear) were mounting. It literally felt like opportunities were disintegrating into thin air, and I didn't know why.

I feel into the victim again, screaming, cursing creation (think, me standing in my kitchen, finger pointing into the air, murmuring, shouting or screaming at a power greater than myself for not having my back. Sort of hilarious to think of it now, but it wasn't very funny at the time) for "making" me struggle so much, for making other people successful in their endeavors and for making me a failure. I started to despise myself; I was jealous of others who's passion-based businesses and projects were picking up, thriving and going big on all levels. Deep inside I felt like a loser, worthless and a failure.

I wondered where the bubbly, eternal optimist went. Where did she disappear to? And how the hell could I get her back?!

Regardless of all of this, I embarked on one of the biggest solo projects I've done to date. I recorded and released five of my original songs on a self-funded, self-produced EP titled "I Am."

Honestly, I was certain that my community was going to stand behind me 150 percent, support the project to the fullest and share it all over social media with their friends and family. I was certain I'd make at least enough to recoup my investment and put some money in the bank. But what seemed to happen, like many things that year, is that even though I worked my ass off, and received support from my community, it felt like it fell flat, almost on deaf ears.

I began judging myself harshly based on how many Facebook comments or likes my posts received, or how many people shared (or didn't) share my posts (because it's all about the numbers right?!). I fell into the comparison trap over and over again, and compared myself harshly to other people, wondering why they got so much love on social media, and why my community didn't seem to support me the way I thought they would. I found myself wondering, "Does anyone even give a shit?! Am I making a difference?!"

Needless to say, I went waaaay down the deep dark rabbit hole. It was one of the most uncomfortable years I've had in many years. The shadow was dancing with me, and I was resisting.

During the summer of 2014 I hit another "wall"... with my daughter about to start her senior year in high school, I started to feel anxious about the transition our relationship and reality were starting to take. I fell into a depression for the first time in years and felt so out of sorts in my body/heart/mind/soul and in my in general life.

Scrapping by financially, with mounting credit card debt for the first time in my adult life, I felt even more worthless. How could someone with so much potential, so much drive, so many skills, experience, and ideas be struggling so much to make money? To be happy? To feel fulfilled? I felt devastated when I realized that even after all of the work I've done to transform and evolve myself, my self-worth was still directly tied to how much or how little money I was capable of generating doing my own thing.

Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, I felt like time was dripping through my fingers. I started to come face to face with the reality that I'd spent a large part of my daughter's life obsessed with being successful, and for me that meant making over $100,000 a year, being well known and respected in my industry and thriving in all areas of my life. Coming into 2015, I was carrying a significant amount of credit card debt, had few prospects on the table, had barely any money in the bank to support my daughter's college journey, and felt like a complete and utter failure.

I started to face the uncomfortable reality that I cannot get time back. I can't get 5, 8, 10 years old back with my daughter. I won't be 20, 25 or 30 again. And, it's difficult if not impossible to make that time up. There's no going back... only forward.

My daughter's senior year was one of the toughest years I've had with her. All of the things that she's experienced in her life started bubbling up to the surface. To say the year was chaotic and challenging is an understatement. I felt that my relationship with my daughter was in a serious breakdown, and I was heartbroken and finding it difficult to cope. I felt so small and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On some of the many nights she would spend out of the house, I started to realize how strong my parents were when I ran away at 16, not only out of state but across the country to California. No cell phones, no social media, just a weekly call home from their run away daughter via payphone. Their faith and trust were deep and unshakeable. Their support and experience gave me the faith and courage to carry on.

During the spring and summer of 2015 business started to pick up. My daughter recommitted to finishing high school, and things were moving forward in a positive direction. I cannot even begin to express how amazing it felt to witness my daughter graduate from the same high school I dropped out of 22 years earlier. Her ceremony was exactly 20 years from what would have been my high school graduation. Talk about full circle!!

Something new was stirring within me. I remember looking at her father and his mother as we were getting ready to leave the graduation. And I thought to myself, "I am no longer willing to carry your judgments and criticisms of me. I am FREE of you!!"

That was the moment that my newly-named "Liberation Mode" really kicked in.

I started learning how to relate to my daughter in new, more adult ways (still learning!) I started to disconnect my sense of self-worth to the amount of money I was making (this is a process!) I made changes in my spending habits, choosing to humble myself and learn how to live with the discomfort of having a heap of credit card debt.

I again went through another shadow play dance at the end of the summer and into September. My daughter was off to college in New York City, and I was, for the first time in my adult life, freer than I've ever been or felt. There is something really powerful that happens when you can begin to measure your life in 18-year chunks of time.

I began reviewing the last two-plus decades, and how this high school drop out, black stallion wild child managed to naturally birth, parent and raise a young woman while creating a career out of thin air based on the inherent skills and talents that I have. Now that is a powerful measure of success.

I started to acknowledge and recognize how much I've HELD over the last 18 years, how much I've achieved and how many amazing adventures we'd been on so far. I also started to come to terms with all of the hopes and dreams that I strived for over the last two decades that haven't come to be just yet. Like wanting to meet my king man while my daughter was still living at home as a child, so that I could provide her with a "proper" traditional family. While there's grief in my soul that this didn't happen before she left for college, it also feels like a huge relief. Like a weight has been lifted.

As I've moved into autumn and am getting settled in this transition and new reality, a few things are becoming very clear to me...

Quiet the noise
Let go
Trust the process
Clear out and simplify
Don't do or create for doing's sake
Slow down
I don't have to ride the roller coaster with my daughter or anyone else... I can become a compassionate observer
Allow things to come to you naturally

A few months ago I on-boarded a new VA and brought on another young woman to handle social media marketing for me. We were just about to dive into a whole rebranding process for "Laura Aiisha" while planning a new website launch in January and some cool projects for the new year. But I couldn't ignore the song of my soul asking me to put a pause on things, to take a break, to let it go.

Shit... this is scary for me!!

Over the last few years, I've noticed how social media affects my state. At least 50 percent of the time I find myself getting caught up in comparing myself to others and checking to see how many people have liked or commented on one of my posts. When there's a lot of activity I feel great! And where there isn't, you already know... there I go down the rabbit hole. Realizing the toll on my time, emotions and mental state social media can have, I knew something had to change.

So, ironically enough, this passionate networker, connector, community builder is choosing to silence the noise. To take a break from social media and put a pause on all of the doing I've been doing, so that I can get clear, create some space and clarify how I REALLY desire to spend my time in the new year, how I REALLY desire to contribute on this wild and wonderful adventure called life, and how I desire to feel as I live, love, generate and receive.

It feels big, scary, exciting, nerve wracking and so many other things... and it is ohhh soooo necessary and liberating!!

I know this is a longer than normal post, and I know that if you've made it this far then it's carried some value for you.

I'd love to hear your comments and some insights into what you're choosing to put a pause on (or recommit to) in order to get clearer about what you really want to be/do/create/experience/share with and in the world in 2016.

And, if you're feeling this and know someone else might too, please share.

Since I won't be on social media or a while, please send any private messages to me by clicking here. You can also stay up to date by joining my email list. Join by clicking here.

On this Thanksgiving weekend I'm giving sooo much thanks for YOU! I'm also giving thanks for life's ups and downs, because I believe that it is the full spectrum that creates the most dynamic journey.

Here's to more better!

xox

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3 Things You Need to Ask Yourself Before Doing a Cleanse

Jenn Hand   |   November 3, 2015    2:10 PM ET

Cleansing is everywhere these days! Tune into any podcast, blog or social media outlet and you'll hear claims about the benefits of juicing, fasting, and detoxifying.

But is cleansing right for you? Is it something that will benefit you in your health journey? A cleanse isn't something to be taken lightly. It involves special dietary needs and requires a lot of effort.

So before you jump headfirst into starting a cleanse, ask yourself these three things to make sure it's right for you.

1. Are you doing it to lose weight?

If you're doing a cleanse solely to shed some unwanted pounds, you may end up being disappointed. Yes, cleansing can drop weight quickly, but without proper support, those pounds can pile right back on again.

Cleansing can give you a high; you feel radiant, your skin glows, and the pounds seem to have effortlessly dropped off. But if you haven't addressed the underlying issues about why you've been engaging in unhealthy behaviors before the cleanse, you'll go right back to where you started.

Doing a cleanse is tempting, especially when you feel awful about your weight. It's a seemingly quick solution to your weight loss woes. Yes, juicing can be beneficial, and yes, a detox can clear out toxins, but if you're not in the right mindset, you may end up worse off than where you originally started.

If you've been trapped in the diet cycle for months or years on end, starting over every Monday and binge eating on the weekends, this is not the best time to begin a cleanse. Get yourself into a regular routine of eating first, and consider a cleanse once you feel balanced.

2. What's your end goal?

This is a complicated question. Your mind can easily "trick" you into thinking you want to do a cleanse to be healthy. But secretly, you may be doing it to drop a quick seven to 10 pounds (see number one).

Be honest with yourself when you ask this. Are you doing this to detoxify? To re-set yourself? To find some balance? Whatever your reason, it's important that you go into the cleanse with a healthy and realistic mindset.

Cleansing is intense. It can bring up a lot of toxins (including emotions) that must be cleared from the body. So, if you're honestly looking to re-set your taste buds, clear your system of sugar, or achieve some other healthy, holistic goal, then a cleanse can be a great tool to accomplish these objectives.

3. Is the cleanse healthy and balancing?

There are a ton of different kinds of cleanses out there. Many of them are healthy. Many of them are not. Do your research and make sure it's something that is balancing and healthy for your body.

A lot of the detoxes out there are focused on clearing out 1-2 organs in your body (most often the liver and the digestive tract). But these may be very limiting for you. You may need more. Aim to do the types of cleanses that truly cleanse your entire body. Many Ayurveda cleanses successfully detox your entire body, not just your liver and digestion. There are also whole food cleanses that encourage full body detoxification.

It's important to remember that cleansing can be very healing and detoxifying if done properly. Do your research on what the cleanse entails before you decide it's something that would benefit you.

It's important to check in with your body and ask yourself these three questions before you jump into a cleanse! Getting honest with yourself will put you on the best path for cleanse success.

Tired of "starting over" every damn Monday? Download your "Must Have Guide to End the Diet Cycle Today". To stop obsessing over your weight and body 24/7 (and to feel freedom in your eating!) visit www.jennhand.com.

Time for an Autumn Cleanse

Karri Jinkins   |   October 7, 2015    8:25 PM ET

After a summer spent enjoying long days, late dinners with Rosé wine, and iced coffees, fall is upon us. The leaves have slowly begun to change colors and the air has shifted to being a little dryer and cooler as the daylight hours diminish. According to Ayurvedic principles, our bodies are trying to adjust and become more like our exterior environment--dry and cool. Cleansing at this time of year helps keep our three doshas, Pitta, Vata, Kapha, in balance. The vata dosha, characterized as cold, dry and ever changing, takes over in the fall and if left unbalanced, can create excess toxins-ama- that accumulate in our system both physically and psychosomatically and create sickness of all sorts.

Being rather obsessed with health from a young age but also adventurous, I have tried dozens of cleanses over the years: the master cleanse, the clean diet cleanse, the juice cleanse, spent cleanse, 3 day cleanse, vegan cleanse; the list goes on and on. Each of these cleanses had pluses and minuses and most of them left me feeling lighter, but the feeling didn't last long and I often ended up getting sick after the cleanse was over.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to study with Ayurvedic Doctors, Scott Blossom and Robert Svoboda, who coached me through a week-long Ayurvedic cleanse called the Purva Karma, which left me feeling more energetic, happier, healthier and a few pounds lighter. I do this cleanse each spring and fall since the change of season is the perfect time to engage in such sense withdrawal. This cleanse involves sesame oil self-massage on the skin and eating kitchari, (a stew made of mung beans, basmati rice, ghee and herbs). I eat this 2-3 times a day and in between meals sip detox tea (a blend of cardamom, anise and fennel). At night I will take a couple of triphala pills and the last night of the cleanse I take 1 tablespoons of castor oil--inevitably followed by a number of trips to the bathroom in the morning--and the rest of the day I fast with just water and tea. I find this fast the most rewarding, feel-good and effective fast for 7 reasons:

1. I can still be a good mom and work. I'm a busy working mother, which requires a lot of energy. I'm often running from one place to the next in order to fit it everything that I need to accomplish in a day. I simply cannot do it without food to sustain me.
2. I feel nourished. Because I am preparing it daily, it's always fresh and satisfying. I tend to be very bothered by the dry and chilly wind that starts in the fall, so I find this warm stew helps keep my insides warm and my skin soft.
3. I save money. I purchase the entire cleanse kit online which costs $68 for the week, and sometimes my husband eats it for dinner too.
4. I lose weight. I don't feel hungry since the kitchari is quite filling and satisfying so I lose weight without even realizing it. My pants always fit me a little looser after this week of cleansing.
5. I get off caffeine and alcohol. Granted, the first couple days are a little difficult but after I adjust I sleep much better and I feel great in the morning. Instead of coffee when I wake up, I sip ginger tea or lemon water which helps my digestion and tastes great. I give up the glass of wine with dinner in exchange for detox tea.
6. I feel happy. Because my digestion is working better and I'm sleeping better without the caffeine, I'm in a much better mood.
7. I become more patient. Because I am forced to slow down, I am able to be more conscious and hence more patient. Cleansing isn't just about eating less or losing weight. It's also about staying away from emotional and mental toxins. That means sticking close to home and really turning my eye inward. Being gentle with myself and sensitive to both my inside and outside environment helps me discover habits I may have never noticed before. I find this week to be introspective, and I keep activities to a minimum.
Here is what you'll need:
*3 lbs. organic basmati white rice
* 1.5 lbs. split mung beans
* 1/2-1 cup blend of: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric, sea salt and asafoetida
*8 oz. jar of organic ghee or coconut oil for those vegans.
*1-bottle triphala tablets
*16 oz. bottle organic sesame oil
* Detox tea (blend of cardamom, anise seed, fennel)
*Vegetables of choice, lemon and cilantro

massage your body and scalp with the sesame oil each morning before showering.

Soak ½ c. mung beans and 1 cup rice for 8 hours.
Rinse till water runs clean then drain water from the mixture.
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 2-3 tablespoons Of ghee or coconut oil.
When oil is hot add 1tsp of spice mixture and wait for the mustard seeds to pop.
Add rice and mung beans and coat with spice and ghee mixture.
Add 3-5 cups of water, stir, and after it comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and cover for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add a vegetable of choice (such as sweet potato, kale, carrots or peas) the last couple minutes before it's finished and cook until soft.
Serve in a bowl and squeeze fresh lemon juice and sprinkle cilantro on top.

This should be enough for 1 day. Repeat this daily for the next 5-10 days. Between meals sip detox tea or ginger tea. At night before going to bed take 2 triphala tablets with water. As you near the end of cleanse be mindful not to jump straight back into your regular routine. Notice what you would like you get back to and what you would like to avoid and take the next couple days slowly so you don't undo the benefits of the cleanse.

Please join me. I start on Oct. 12 and I will be answering questions and giving details on my progress daily on twitter @karrijinkins. Here's to a healthy and happy Autumn.

Disengaging the Bomb: Five Ways to Overcome Emotional Food Cravings

Nykki Hardin   |   October 1, 2015    4:49 PM ET

In today's stressed-out, information overload society, it seems as though every article related to nutrition is some sort of piecemeal "Quick Tips" to lose weight or tackle some sort of ailment. Let's be realistic. We are not at a loss of knowledge for what constitutes healthy food choices. Our greatest challenge is one of human behavior and the ability to exercise self-control by making choices that honor our body. Most often, the problem does not lie in knowing what to do; it lies in actually DOING it! It is far more interesting and more important for us to start broaching the subject no one really talks about -- how do we care for our emotional health? What exactly is it that causes us to make the choices we do? What stands between us and our ability to make healthy choices we KNOW are in alignment with caring for ourselves?

I have always been the type to point a finger at the pink elephant in the room. While most people want to hide from it, my approach has always been to call it out, make friends with it and to get to know it inside and out. In my work, I like to shine a bright, glaring flashlight right on intangible triggers that spawn us into grabbing a cookie or a bag of potato chips instead of opting for a piece of fruit or fresh green juice. I like to call attention to that all-encompassing, sneaky, powerful voice and the underlying conversation taking place beyond our consciousness that drives us into actions we know are NOT moving in the direction of our goals.

When we shine a light on the darkness, we become empowered to disengage the bomb.

For the majority of the population, nutrition and food are far more than just functional. The choice of when and what to put in our mouths is often an emotional game. Food serves as love and nurturance in times of insecurity -- numbing in times of stress and pain, and punishment in times of self-abuse. What I have seen and experienced over the years is that unhealthy food choices or binge/starvation eating habits are a cry for help, for love, and spawn from feelings of fear, pain, boredom, and exhaustion wrapped tightly in a beautiful blanket of lack and insufficiency. That hand that reaches for the food is merely an extension of the heart longing to feel love, nurturance, support and safety. And because most of us were not taught how to acknowledge and be with these emotions -- or that it was even okay to have emotions -- instead of expressing our needs and feelings, we stuff something down our throats.

Our emotional life is one of the richest sources of our being. Emotional triggers, cravings and the corresponding conversations, are an incredible opportunity for healing. There is a voice inside crying out for attention. This is a chance to turn inward and give yourself the love and nurturance you really crave. Inside this space is important information and direction for guiding your life path. While it may be uncomfortable at first, it gets easier the more you sit with these feelings and honor yourself by acknowledging all that is really going on under the surface. This is the one of the foundational elements in my Cleanse and Nutrition Program. As we continue to make self-honoring nutrition choices and bring our hormones and energy into balance with the formulas, the voices that were so destructive and controlling before become powerless. It is a beautiful, healing process of personal empowerment and self-discovery.

The next time you find yourself in the middle of an insatiable craving, or are about to make a choice that is not in alignment with honoring your body, here are five possibilities to free yourself from the situation:

1. Free Form Writing

This may be one of the most powerful tools for all healing. Put pen to paper and let it rip. Give those feelings a voice and allow them to unleash anything and everything they have to say. This process is often very revealing. You might find yourself surprised by what comes forward! At some point, usually the energy of what comes through shifts and the words will start to take a positive spin. Ride the wave of positivity and allow it to saturate your being. When finished, shred the paper, take a drink of water, wash your hands, and be done with it.

2. Meditate

Step away from whatever it is you are about to eat, take a deep breath to realize you are okay and then sit. Close your eyes, and just watch your breath, even if it is only for 5-10 rounds. Bring all your attention to your breath and to the sensations you are experiencing. Sit with whatever is coming forward and bring your awareness to the present moment. Remind yourself that you are safe and you are enough. Even if you return to the craving and the food, you have taken a powerful, courageous step in overcoming the craving.

3. Deconstruct the Craving

The moment you are reaching for the cookie jar, take a snapshot of what is happening in your inner and outer world. Ask yourself, "What is the story going through my mind right now? Is it true? Is it really true? What is the reality of what is going on in my physical world in this present moment? What is it I REALLY need? How can I satisfy my want/need with something in alignment with my goals? How can I nourish myself with something other than food?"

This is a fantastic exercise to wake up to what is happening under the surface, to understand your psyche, how it operates, and to find new ways to nurture yourself.

4. Shift the Energy

Often the emotion of a craving stems from fear. The beautiful thing is that fear and excitement are experienced in the body in the same way. Instead of focusing on the fear, change the conversation in your mind and rewrite the script to one of positivity and excitement. Literally GET EXCITED about whatever it is that fuels you. Create a movie in your head with the best possible outcome. Notice the change in your mind, in your body, and in your desires. Use this energy to fuel a positive action that takes you in the direction of your goals.

5. Reconnect With Nature

Go for a short walk, even just outside for one block. Breathe the fresh air, notice the trees, the flowers and the life around you. Take everything in and realize you are a part of this greater whole. Experience yourself as part of the greater picture and remember you are connected, supported, and loved.

Emotions are some of the most mysterious, and most powerful aspects of human nature. This is an area we want to become intimate with in order to experience the richness and fullness of our lives. Because they are intangible, change moment to moment and often don't make sense, they can be confusing. This confusion causes chaos in our minds as we identify with our feelings and as a result, place judgment upon ourselves.

If we can purify our bodies and minds of stress and toxicity, and develop the patience to be with our emotions, we become empowered to transform our experiences and to live a purposeful, meaningful life. Perhaps our deepest need is not to have five more tips for positive nutrition choices, but instead to open our hearts to our own inner beauty, and to create a new conversation that acknowledges the majesty of the human experience.

A New Look at Juicing

Anita Mirchandani   |   August 19, 2015   11:20 AM ET

According to IBIS World, the juicing/smoothie industry had market size of 2 billion with an average of 2.9 percent growth over the last five years. At present there are at least 8 key "raw juice" brands active in the marketplace -- Suja, Blueprint and LUMI Organics to name a few -- and it doesn't look like there will be a shortage of options any time soon.

However, it's important to understand that consuming juice, similar to other food groups, should be done in moderation. While cold-pressed juices are "raw" in nature and contain a variety of vital nutrients from its fruit and vegetables, the juice form that results are easily absorbed sugars due to the elimination of the fiber and pulp. The recommended daily allowance of fruits (1.5-2 cups) per day and vegetables (3 cups) but drinking juices excessively could also turn into fat if not properly utilized as fuel (e.g., being active or exercising) and if you're at risk for diabetes or diabetic, all the more reason to proceed with caution.

At present, most commercial juice brands (i.e. Tropicana) undergo pasteurization -- a process by which foods are heated to a specific temperature for a specific amount of time to kill (or deactivate) a target number of potentially harmful bacteria. The most apparent downside to pasteurization with respect to cold-pressed juice is the loss of vital nutrients found in fruits and vegetables, thus minimizing the full health benefits. Studies have shown a loss of vitamin C and certain phytonutrients (especially phenols) due to pasteurization. Most raw juices do not undergo this process, and as a result, could potentially pose as a risk to pregnant, elderly or those with weakened immune systems.

Most recently, High Pressure Processing (HPP) has been making an appearance within a few different industries (e.g., deli-style fresh packaged meats, guacamole dips, seafood and ready-to-eat meals) including juicing. High Pressure Processing is a process that maintains the vital nutrients of fruits and vegetables while killing harmful bacteria -- maximum health benefits without the risk of getting ill. According to Hillary Lewis, founder of LUMI Organics, a cold-pressed, high-pressure processed fruit and vegetable juice brand, many juice brands do not engage in HPP due to the cost associated with the process. From the consumer's perspective, however, the 16-oz bottle of juice is not any more expensive for undergoing HPP.

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Why choose HPP?

1) Bacterial Elimination -- Once bottled, High Pressure Processing (HPP) applies extreme water pressure to inactivate harmful bacteria, while preserving the vital nutrients. HPP is a natural way to preserve food because it eliminates the microorganisms that cause spoilage without the harmful effects of using chemicals or heat, which in turn, destroys the beneficial nutrients.

2) Extends shelf life up to 8 times -- Without some processing, cold-pressed juice safely lasts only 72 to 96 hours.

3) Extreme Cold Water Pressure -- HPP uses 87,000 psi (that is five times the pressure at the deepest part of the ocean!) to neutralize harmful bacteria; no heat needed!

4) A Natural Process -- HPP maintains the integrity of the nutrients because it does not require added chemical preservatives or heat.

So what should a consumer pay attention to when choosing a juice brand?

Lewis suggests the following:

1) Has the juice undergone HPP or heat-pasteurization? While it is not regulated to include "heat pasteurization" on the label, those who have undergone HPP will certainly note it as it is a selling point in comparison.

2) Are the ingredients organic? Take a look at the label to ensure the USDA Organic Seal is present. That seal is also your signal that the juice you are about to consume is non-GMO -- a strict standard for any product to be certified as organic. For produce such as leafy greens that have increased exposure to soil and water run-off, organic makes a difference.

3) Does the label say 100 percent juice? If the label doesn't state 100 percent juice, according to Lewis, it is likely that the juice may have water added or additives such as stevia.

4) What's the first ingredient on the juice list? The FDA regulates both the nutrition facts and ingredient list. The ingredients will be listed by the most predominant onwards. Therefore, try to choose a juice with the first ingredient as a leafy green like spinach or kale.

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As a dietitian, my suggestion is to pay attention to your juice labels and of course, consume in moderation.

The One Thing Missing From Your 'Detox' Program

Jessi Andricks   |   July 17, 2015    6:29 AM ET

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You're ready to get healthy, to feel more energized and to start taking better care of yourself. You've researched the different types of cleanses and detoxes, sorted out the bad from the good, and decided on the perfect plan. You plan out your meals, shop for your groceries and eat according to your plan. You wake up early and workout, exercising with the videos, words, or pictures that come with your plan.

You continue this for the set amount of time.

You feel better, you sleep better and your skin glows.

You eat well, exercise, and feel healthy. You finally feel as if your body is on track and you have finally figured out this whole "health" thing.

Then you plan ends. Your life begins again. Your old habits creep in. Months pass and you find yourself right back where you were before you started the program.

You start to wonder why?

Is it lack of willpower? An overbooked schedule? Not enough food options? No one to workout with?

These may be factors, but they aren't the cause. The real issue is the program itself. While most programs follow a strict or preset meal and workout plan, they often forget the most important piece, the piece that would make all your hard work, your determination and your health stay for the long haul.

The thing that is missing from your detox, cleanse, or lifestyle overhaul is this: Connection. To your spirit, your soul, your inner you. Without this connection, this deeper purpose and guidance, you are automatically set up to fail at your efforts. Each and every time.

Connecting to yourself and listening to your personal needs, cravings, and desires are the key to staying healthy for the long haul. If your healthy changes are based solely on what you eat and how you move, you will only be motivated for a certain amount of time. Once the program ends and life goes back to normal, your former habits will start to fall back into place. Focusing on food and fitness keeps your progress on the surface, without addressing how your habits got you there in the first place. This lack of connection leaves you without a deeper reason to keep going. Connecting a little deeper when you detox will help you stay healthier for good by getting to the root of your unhealthy habits.

So how is it done?

Despite being left off of most programs, it isn't as complicated as it seems. Connecting to your soul, spirit, self, or whatever you want to call it is simple. It's what you discover that can be more complex.

Start connecting by creating some sort of daily reflection practice, such as meditation, writing in a journal, or even going for a walk alone. Whatever you choose to do, let it be a time that you can settle into your thoughts, your body, and your feelings. You may discover that you've lost weight, but you feel depleted or tired, or that you are starving. You may notice that you are suddenly excited to wake up early every day, when you usually crave sleep. You might realize your body feels tired, or perhaps it feels stronger, from the workout you are doing each day. You might realize you are nervous that the results won't last, that you aren't worthy of this new life, and that you are anxious about what might happen next. You could even realize that your body is already healthy, but you are trying oto live up to someone else's ideal.

Connecting will give you a chance to sort all of this out and reflect on where you are now, where you want to go, and why you got there to begin with.

The next time you decide to try a cleanse or detox, try this simple exercise with it:

Each morning, take five minutes to sit quietly, with your eyes closed. Bring your hands to rest abdomen and take a few deep breaths. Notice how you feel today. Are there any physical symptoms, such as a stomach ache, tightness, soreness, that you feel? Are there any emotional or mental feelings, like happiness, anxiety, frustration or joy. Don;t do anything more, just notice and observe.

At the end of your day, take five minutes to write about your day. Write down the 3 biggest challenges you faced and the three biggest triumphs you had. What did you do in these situations? What did you learn about your needs from them? How can you make that happen again, or make it not happen tomorrow ?

These simple practices will change your health for the better, allowing you to stay connected to your needs long after the meal plans and fitness routines end.

If you want a deeper connection today, no matter where you are on the road to health, join me for the Flourish Video Series and grab a your copy of my 3-Step Action Guide to more health and happiness today.

Detox With the Beet and Feta Lettuce Wrap

Helen Agresti RD   |   January 8, 2015    9:41 PM ET

Does your body need a cleanse? Then, this beet and feta lettuce wrap is for you. Beets are known for naturally cleansing the liver and purifying our blood from toxins. They may also help with improving stamina and overall well-being.

Oven-roasting the beets in advance is a huge time-saver. I typically roast beets soon after I buy them. This way they are ready to go into a salad or smoothie. If you're a beet lover consider adding this easy recipe to your healthy snack or lunch must-try list. You wont be disappointed. The crumbled feta and balsamic glaze compliment the beets deliciously. Detoxify your body from processed foods by eating more nutrient dense whole foods like beets.

2015-01-08-FullSizeRender.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 romaine lettuce wrap
  • 1 beet, lightly seasoned, oven-roasted, and sliced
  • crumbled feta cheese, to taste
  • balsamic glaze, to taste

Directions

1. Layer the lettuce wrap with the sliced beets.
2. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the beets and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

~Happy Cleansing!

For more healthy recipes and nutrition advice visit ProNutritionConsulting.com and "Like" Professional Nutrition Consulting, LLC on Facebook.

The Only Detox You Will Need in the New Year

Dr. Karuna Sabnani   |   January 7, 2015   12:52 PM ET

Patients come to me seeking "detox" at this time of year when they feel groggy, tired, congested, fed up, sun deprived, and have reached for one too many glasses of wine or cookies over the holidays. They ask what products they should take, what foods to eat and if a liquid diet is the answer to get rid of the yucky feeling and the holiday "bloat."

Though nutrition is key to a proper detox, what is equally important is whether you are digesting your life or not. Is life nourishing you or eating you alive? Are you satisfied and fulfilled with the life you have created? If the answer is a repeated negative, then perhaps it's time for deeper type of detox called "Self-Reflection."

2015-01-06-Reflection

1) KNOW YOURSELF:

Are you the "cold turkey" or "process" type when it comes to letting go?

Can you cut out coffee and never look back? Do you need to reduce by 1 cup daily or replace with green tea first? Maybe you ignore side effects and keep going?

Can you cut out a toxic ex-partner out of your life, cell phone and social media platforms, or do you need to keep them as a friend on Facebook, look at their old photos, process on the phone for a month and then let go?

Knowing your type will make the way you approach all needed changes a lot easier.

2) GET RID OF POISON:

What's the most toxic habit, thought, person or food in your life right now?

Be honest.

What's that something that drains you, the sticky thing that haunts you at night and is hard to let go of? That thing you want to stop, know you should stop, try to stop but keep doing because it's "hard" or feels "good" in the moment?

Wine as hydration? Eating cookies in the middle of the night? Smoking cigarettes in secret. Being a pack rat? Enduring a job you dread and hate? Staying in an abusive friendship or relationship?

This thing is where you start.

We all have different poisons. Focus all your energy on your No. 1 thing and learn ways to either cut it out or to take steps to ease it out of your life. Be ready to face the discomfort of change, it shall pass. Find support.

Once you rid yourself of the main poison, the energy you get in return is powerful.

3) WHAT DO YOU LOVE?

Imagine if everything in your life and everyone in your life brought you happiness and excited you.

Apply this to your closet, your refrigerator and your job as well.

What if you never have to wear something you "hate" because the only things you keep in your closet are there because you love them? Want to know a secret? Do the same with the friends you choose and your food. Only keep foods around that are on your nutrition plan, so at least you have a "pause" before you go choose to buy the pint of ice cream at midnight.

Get rid of food, clothes and people you are "allergic" too. Do what you love. Listen to the whispers of your heart you dismiss. Surround yourself with what you love to feel alive.

4) WHAT DO YOU TELL YOURSELF?

Listen.

What lingo do you hear on "repeat" in your head? Before you sleep? When you wake up? Negative talk? Pay attention to what you hear when you are silent that you usually try to drown out.

Thoughts are powerful.

Jot down the top three statements that show up in your thoughts. If these thoughts are not moving you towards your goals, take time to change them to cleanse your mind, and what you say to yourself.

5) CLEANSE CLUTTER:

Cleanse your home. Create the following piles for everything in your home and office: 1) Trash 2) Donate 3) Keep. Create a new place for everything you keep. Play music you love while you clean and make it fun. Hire professional help or ask a friend to assist if you need support in the process.

Cleanse the clutter of your body. Winter is a heavy, dark time. Eat more cooked greens, drink cleansing soups. Reduce heavy/toxic foods: fried, saturated fats, dairy, sugar, soda, alcohol, grains. If you overindulged recently, do a two week detox to reset your body. Increase your water intake, especially in the morning.

Cleanse your products. Rid your cabinets of chemical-laden supplies and replace with natural options. Throw out expired makeup and medication.

Cleanse your tech. Delete outdated contacts on your phone. Clean your desktop and phone of unneeded apps and documents.

Creating space to reflect is the initial step to detox your current patterns, and create the new habits you want. The beginning of a new year is the time to start over, when a natural reset button is ready to be pressed. So the next time you reach want to reach for the latest juice fad, take some time to look inward first.

Kate Bratskeir   |   January 7, 2015    8:15 AM ET

Sometimes, when a sugar craving hits, you can't help but to reach into the cookie jar a few too many times. Before you know it, all you're left with are a couple of crumbs and a bad feeling that you ate too much.

A nifty gadget called the Kitchen Safe secures the lid on your treat jar and prevents those with a sweet tooth from mindless eating. It's like a temporary sugar restraining order.

kitchen safe

The safe is equipped with a lock and a timer. Users can bolt their box of goodies for as short as one minute to as long as ten days, and there are no overrides. In other words, the box can't be opened until the timer hits zero. The technology might come in handy for anyone trying to take control over their diet; whether you've resolved to limit your sugar intake for a week or really want to save some homemade brownies for your roommate, the tool could help.

If you think you have the power to resist munching on just one more sweet, science proves otherwise. As the product website notes, human willpower is not always reliable. We have a finite reservoir of willpower, and with a lock, willpower won't have to be used. Kitchen Safe enables us to reserve willpower for the moments when we really need it.

Even more, the timer will force cookie cravers to seek distraction. When a craving is psychological -- caused by feelings like boredom, anxiety or fatigue -- many will find that after reading a few pages of a book, playing a game of sudoku or even going for a run (too much?) the craving has subsided.

kitchen safe

The product can police more than just food. It can store smartphones (if you're attempting a digital detox), cigarettes and even gaming controllers, which, depending on your level of, uh, devotion, looks like absolute torture.

5 Health Hacks to Conquer Holiday Hangovers

Dr. Rhea Mehta   |   December 8, 2014    2:54 PM ET

Whether or not you're a health nut, it's challenging to stay on your game over the holidays, especially if you're doing family dinners and party hopping. The influx of toxins from food and alcohol make it tough to fully immerse yourself in the intended joy of the season.

How can we participate in unbridled celebration at parties and gatherings while avoiding the consequences of all that merry consumption?

In this case, we're looking for a quick fix. That thing we can do or take before, during or after our binge fest to clear our systems. That thing we can do to give us the energy to be mind-body ready for the next festivity.

Here's what I suggest:

Water

This one sounds simple, but drinking water isn't often front of mind in social situations. My suggestion is to drink a tall glass of water before heading out the door and again in between alcoholic drinks. This helps prevent dehydration and the ensuing constipation, fatigue and sore throat. If you can pull it off, bringing a water bottle with you is a great option to ensure hydration. Even if you store it in your bag or boot, and only notice it on the way out. It's a great way to remind yourself to rehydrate at the end of the night. Coconut water is an added bonus, as it contains minerals like potassium to replenish your stores after a night of drinking, especially [1]. To further boost your electrolytes, consider adding sea salt to your coconut water, or to a glass of water the following morning [2].

Breath

We all know how to breathe, yes. But how many of us are actually intentional about our breathing? Most of us shallow breathe, until we're reminded of that thing called breath. And then more often than not, we'll follow with one or two deep breaths, and quickly realize how good we feel, almost instantly. This practice of bringing your attention to your breath can be very helpful in both social and stressful situations. It's calming, grounding, and if we're about to eat a meal, it can make for a more fulfilling digestion [3]. As a bonus, focusing on your breath can also positively impact your food and drink choices, thereby minimizing your cravings. To help you remember, you can place a sticky note on your smartphone with a personal note, or you can set a vibrating alarm on your device with a breathing reminder attached. Or if you really want to take it the next level, you can be that person who brings up the "are you breathing" conversation at your social gathering, to keep your friends aligned.

Digestive Enzymes

If you don't properly break down the food you eat, your body can't make sense of it. The bacteria in your gut end up taking over and having a party with it instead. The result: discomfort, gas, bloating, and in some cases, inflammation and low energy [4, 5]. Poor breakdown of food is common in social settings, when you're trying to get through the food in your mouth quickly, so you can get back to talking. If we don't chew our food enough, we fail to send the right signals to our body to release enzymes that help break it down. Of course the quickest fix is simply to chew your food better! But in case you didn't, you can give your system a lift by taking digestive enzymes in pill form [6]. They're no substitute for chewing, but they can help breakdown larger pieces of food into morsels the body can use for nutrition and energy. Take them as directed.

Fiber

You're at a party and all of a sudden you're surrounded by sweets. What should you do? Reach for some fiber. Fiber-containing foods are plant-based foods in their most unprocessed form, like nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. They'll keep you from getting spikes in blood sugar, by making sure your digestion is slow and steady. They'll also keep your excretory pathways moving well, thereby preventing constipation. If you're at a party, look for some fruit or seeds to eat alongside your sugary treat. When you're back at home, have a fiber supplement before bed, to make sure you wake up with happy bowels [7, 8]. Soaked chia seeds are my go to source for fiber, but there are several to choose from. Find one that works for you, and make it your best friend.

Antioxidants

Whether you choose it or not, if you're social, it's likely you'll be around alcohol. Given the high volume of parties over the holidays, you'll want to come up with a strategy to avoid hurting your liver, even in the slightest. Why? It's the ultimate detoxification system in the body, and when it's stressed or overloaded, it doesn't work as well [9, 10]. The liver relies on the activity of vitamins and minerals to help it with detoxification. One in particular is glutathione, a powerful antioxidant and chaperone to toxins, on their way out of the body. Glutathione stores get depleted as we age, and especially with the influx of toxins, like alcohol [11]. So, one way to circumvent this is to take antioxidants that are responsible for reducing alcohol toxicity, or toxicity in general, before and during your social outing. These include N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), vitamin B complex, vitamin C and vitamin E [12, 13]. Take them as directed.

Besides supporting you in the short-term, these health hacks can also be applied daily, to maintain long-lasting health. Give these a try over the holidays, and if you feel great, why not challenge yourself to include these as part of your new year's wellness plan?

Happy Holidays!

References:

1. Yong Jean WH, Ge L, Ng FY, Tan SN, The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water, Molecules, 2008, 14(12): 5144-5164. doi:10.3390/molecules14125144.

2. Ismail l, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration, Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 2007, 38(4): 769-85.

3. Oral digestion of a complex-carbohydrate cereal: effects of stress and relaxation on physiological and salivary measures, Am J Clin Nutr,1989, 49: 97-105.

4. Fooks LJ, Fuller R, Gibson GR, Prebiotics, probiotics and human gut microbiology, International Dairy Journal, 1999, 9(1): 53-61.

5. Haderstorfer B, Psycholgin D, Whitehead WE, Schuster MM, Intestinal gas production from bacterial fermentation of undigested carbohydrate in irritable bowel syndrome, Am J Gastroenterol, 1989, 84(4): 375-8.

6. Roxas M, The role of enzyme supplementation in digestive disorders, Altern Med Rev, 2008,13(4): 307-14.

7. Yang J, Wang HP, Zhou L, Xu CF, Effect of dietary fiber on constipation: a meta analysis, World J Gastroenterol, 2012, 28,18(48): 7378-83. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i48.7378.

8. Murakami K, Sasaki S, Okubo H, Takahashi Y, Hosoi Y, Itabashi M; Freshmen in Dietetic Courses Study II Group, Association between dietary fiber, water and magnesium intake and functional constipation among young Japanese women, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2007, 61(5): 616-22.

9. Das SK1, Vasudevan DM, Alcohol-induced oxidative stress, Life Sci, 2007, 81(3): 177-87.

10. Lieber, CS, Relationships Between Nutrition, Alcohol Use, and Liver Disease, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Department of Veterans Affairs and Kingsbridge Research Foundation.

11. Ronis MJ, Butura A, Sampey BP, Shankar K, Prior RL, Korourian S, Albano E, Ingelman-Sundberg M, Petersen DR, Badger TM, Effects of N-acetylcysteine on ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats fed via total enteral nutrition, Free Radic Biol Med, 2005, 39(5): 619-30.

12. Lee SJ, Kim SY, Min H, Effects of vitamin C and E supplementation on oxidative stress and liver toxicity in rats fed a low-fat ethanol diet, Nutr Res Pract, 2013, 7(2): 109-14. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2013.7.2.109.

13. Vidhya A, Renjugopal V, Indira M, Impact of thiamine supplementation in the reversal of ethanol induced toxicity in rats, Indian J Physiol Pharmacol, 2013, 57(4): 406-17.

Written by wellthy living advocate and coach, Dr. Rhea Mehta. You can follow Dr. Rhea on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+.

Is It Working?

Rich Siegel   |   December 3, 2014   12:00 AM ET

Soon, my buddy Paul will be making online site reservations for our July 4th camping trip. That's seven months away, you say. Yes it is, but here in Southern California, the land of too many fucking people, you have to plan ahead. If you don't, you'll be pitching a tent between a bear box and the campground dumpster.

There's a sushi restaurant we like on Sawtelle Blvd. We made our reservations for a Saturday night.

In March.

Of course, this long lead time gives my wife ample opportunity to start crossing items off The List. Each year, without fail, we haul up a half dozen of these useless Citronella candles. Supposedly, the burning of Citronella oil repels the bloodthirsty mosquitoes.

Bullshit.

Unless the mosquito decides to set down on the burning wick and thus subject himself to a little self-immolation, these candles do nothing. Personally, I like my repellents like my cough medications, that is, they should contain chemical(s) the FDA has declared potentially hazardous or addictive.

This doesn't stop my wife, or the others in our camping group, from swearing by them. Not surprisingly, Citronella falls into the same fairy tale category as organic fruit, past-life memories, and Congressional bi-partisanship.

Last week I watched a program on CNN, I know, I should be ashamed to admit that. Lisa Ling had travelled to the jungle to watch some addle-brained Americans go on a Ayahuasca weekend retreat.

There, under the moist canopy of a Peruvian rainforest and the spiritual guidance of a "shaman" (oh please), these wayward souls paid top dollar to drink a brew of banisteriopsis caapi.

Chemists say the plant contains DMT, dimethlytryptamine, and like LSD can induce severe hallucinations lasting up to six hours. I would suggest the hallucinations don't stop there.

Lisa Ling interviewed many of the participants, who after much vomiting, reported:

"I feel totally cleansed."

"It's like I was being born again."

"I was expecting to see my spirit animals. They didn't show up at first. But then they did. And now I know they live inside my. And guide me. And protect me."

The spirit animals should have warned you not to do an interview with CNN and making a total ass of yourself in front of millions of people.

I'm not sure how Lisa Ling kept a straight face. I may not be the most perceptive man on the planet, my wife can chime in on that, but Lisa looked like she wanted to burst out laughing.

One shaggy-haired participant looked her in the eye, and while stroking his soul patch said:

"I feel like I've reached a higher level of vibration."

If I thought reaching a higher level of vibration had any therapeutic effect and could ease my mid-life neurosis, I would save myself the airfare to Lima, Peru, pass on the self-inflicted hurling and hop on top of my Sears 7.6 cubic feet, front-loading Kenmore Dryer.
- See more at: http://roundseventeen.blogspot.com/#sthash.uUiRXskh.dpuf

5 Reasons To Think Twice About Colon Cleansing

Amanda L. Chan   |   October 30, 2014    2:46 PM ET

By Cari Nierenberg, Contributing writer
Published: 10/29/2014 03:51 PM EDT on LiveScience

Cleaning out the colon is sometimes necessary— for example, before a medical procedure, such as a colonoscopy. But some people do it in the belief that the process will rid their colons of excess toxins that have accumulated over time from the foods they eat, the air they breathe, the water they drink and the lifestyles they lead.

Colon-cleansing enthusiasts believe that periodically cleaning from the inside out removes waste stuck to the colon walls. This waste buildup also supposedly produces toxins that enter the blood and may be slowly poisoning people, contributing to a variety of symptoms — fatigue, bloating, irritated skin and weight gain — and health problems, from depression and allergies to arthritis and cancer.

Cleansing proponents promote two ways to clean the colon. One method involves taking bowel-clearing laxatives, powders or supplements; using enemas; or drinking herbal teas topurportedly release colon waste and discharge toxins. But using this method might feel more like frequently running to the bathroom with diarrhea.

A second method is called colonic irrigation or colon hydrotherapy, in which a practitioner flushes out the colon by sending gallons of water into the body through a tube inserted into a person's rectum. This procedure can cost about $80 to $100 per session.

But does colon cleansing flush out toxins, as its supporters suggest, or does it flush money down the drain?

Medical professionals say that the body comes well equipped with its own built-in mechanisms to eliminate harmful substances: the liver and kidneys. In fact, colon cleansing that is done to help remove toxins is an unnecessary and potentially dangerous practice, especially colon hydrotherapy.

"Every week, someone asks me whether colon cleansing is safe and whether a person should be doing it," said Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and the author of "A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach" (Harlequin, 2011).

She typically tells her patients there is little research on colon cleansing methods, and that most physicians don't believe in these treatments or advise their use. [The Poop on Pooping: 5 Misconceptions Explained]

Wolf said people's curiosity about cleansing possibly stems from the idea that the bowel is a dirty place, and that getting rid of waste is a good idea. She said she usually doesn't recommend colon hydrotherapy, but has suggested it for a few people to use as colonoscopy preparation when traditional methods have failed. She's also recommended it for patients who had severe constipation, before there were strong drugs that could help remedy this problem.

"We don't know enough about colon cleansing to know the real truth," Wolf told Live Science. "It's an area we should learn more about."

Wolf outlined some of the potential side effects and dangers of colon cleansing methods.

1. Colon cleansing can cause side effects.

"We don't have real data on either the healthy or unhealthy side effects from cleansing methods," Wolf said. Most of the known side effects come from case reports described in the medical literature and not from research studies, of which there are few.

Colon cleansing with laxatives, herbal formulations or enemas might increase a person's risk of becoming dehydrated if the individual does not drink enough fluids, Wolf said.

Inducing diarrhea can also change people's electrolyte levels. Shifting levels of sodium might cause lightheadedness, and low potassium levels may cause leg cramps or abnormal heart rhythms, Wolf said.

Some herbal cleanses have also been linked with liver toxicity and aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder.

Case reports suggest colon hydrotherapy may cause abdominal cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. More-severe complications may include perforating the bowel, serious infections, electrolyte imbalances, kidney problems and heart failure.

2. There's little scientific evidence that colon cleansing actually removes toxins from the body or improves health.

A review study published in 2001 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that there were no rigorous studies to support the practice of colon cleansing as a way of improving or promoting general health.

And because cleansing products and methods rarely name the specific toxins they supposedly remove from the body, there's been no research measuring how effective cleansing practices may be at actually eliminating these substances, or demonstrating the health benefits of removing them, Wolf said.

3. Cleansing is not an effective strategy for weight loss.

A person who does a cleanse may initially lose a few pounds, but that is a temporary loss, resulting from the removal of water weight and stool, and not from a permanent loss of fat. Although it could be motivating to see results on the scale for a few days, cleansing is not a long-term solution to a weight problem, Wolf said. [5 Experts Answer: Is There Such Thing as a Healthy Juice Cleanse?]

4. Colon cleansing and colonic irrigation are not safe for everyone.

Wolf said she would worry about people with kidney disease or heart problems trying colon cleanses, because these individuals already have trouble maintaining fluid balance in their bodies, and the electrolyte shifts could be an issue. She said she would also tell people with gastrointestinal problems, such as Crohn's disease (a condition involving inflammation in the GI tract), ulcerative colitis (which involves inflammation in the large intestine), and recurrent diverticulitis (in which a person develops inflamed pouches in the wall of the colon) to avoid colonics.

Colon hydrotherapy is also risky for people with connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, because of the possible risk of a puncturing a hole in the bowel, as well as anyone who had prior colon surgery or severe hemorrhoids.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women should also steer clear of colon cleanses.

5. Cleansing's effect on gut bacteria is unknown.

Trillions of bacteria live in the colon, and eliminating them or changing the population of beneficial and harmful bacteria in that organ could be a problem.

"A colon cleanse would never get rid of all the bacteria, but research is increasingly finding that a lot of bacteria in the colon is very healthy," Wolf said. Some of the good colon bacteria play a role inkeeping bad bacteria at bay.

Scientists don't know if colon cleanses and colon hydrotherapy disrupt the bacteria in the colon or cause an imbalance in the microbiome, Wolf said. "It hasn't been studied," she said.

Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How To Vacation Your Way To A Better You

SmarterTravel   |   September 23, 2014    1:19 PM ET

Do something good for yourself on your next getaway. Book a trip that will have a lasting impact on your health and well-being. Maybe it's a yoga retreat in the Costa Rican rainforest or a beachside boot camp in Santa Barbara that celebrities love. This roundup of wellness travel reveals trends on the rise (floatation therapy and antigravity fitness classes included) and where to experience them.

Yoga Retreat

Trend: Getting into the habit of mindful living at yoga retreats.

According to the latest Spafinder Wellness 365 trends report, the simple act of mindful living is one of the most pervasive wellness trends in 2014. Yoga retreats and hybrids (SUP yoga, yoga on horseback, etc.) are cropping up around the globe to teach us to stay present, focusing on the here and now of every movement and breath. They cater to the growing masses of overstimulated, overscheduled, and overstressed souls longing to learn the practice of living in the moment … with the hope that it will stick back at home.

Where to Go: Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is among the country's most established yoga retreats. At Shreyas in Bangalore, India, yoga is taught in traditional ashram style with daily practice, meditation, chanting, community service, and a strict vegetarian diet. The new Nepal Yoga Retreat & Spa Centre in Kathmandu combines yoga with volunteering and daily hikes. Costa Rica's Anamaya Resort yoga retreat and eco-lodge sits in the lush rainforest overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Antigravity Fitness and Floatation Therapy

Trend: Suspending gravity to disconnect from the "weight" of the world.

Perhaps there's no better way to truly let it all go than to feel the effects of weightlessness. The floating trend is on the rise, especially in Sweden—the unofficial capitol of the world's float-focused centers—where you can float effortlessly (with Dead Sea-like buoyancy) in isolation in a dark, warm pod filled with Epsom salt-infused water that perfectly matches your body temperature. Research shows that float therapy improves creativity, problem solving, self-visualization, relaxation, and pain relief. For weightlessness on the fitness front, aerial and antigravity classes suspend participants from the ceiling with silk fabric slings, Cirque du Soleil-style, allowing a greater range of motion and ability to hold stretches longer.

Where to Go: You'll find float centers and aerial and antigravity classes in major cities around the world. Try the luxurious Aman Spa at Amangiri resort in Utah with a chamber built into a canyon cave. Or head to Six Senses Spa at The Alpina Gstaad in Switzerland. Aerial and antigravity yoga is new at MarBella Corfu hotel in Greece and at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. Take an in-water spinning class at NYC's Aqua Studio.

Hotel-Chain Wellness

Trend: Hotels rebranding with comprehensive wellness programs.

Major chains are on a health kick in 2014, rolling out new wellness programs that stretch beyond the standard pool or fitness room. Rooftop fitness classes, in-room equipment, and free workout apps are among the most popular additions. According to Wellness Tourism Worldwide research, you'll also start to see more Vitamin C-infused showers, dawn-simulating alarm clocks, and melatonin-producing lighting. This year, Intercontinental Hotels Group unveiled EVEN, a new hotel chain dedicated to wellness. The New York City property is the first of 100 planned.

Where to Go: W Hotels partnered with the industry's yoga rebel, Tara Stiles, for an exclusive in-room FIT workout video and tip cards. Westin did the same with Charlotte Dodson for its Westin Well-Being Movement campaign, which includes a mindful meditation app and running gear you can borrow. Omni Hotels has treadmills in some guest rooms. Kimpton Hotels sport free loaner bikes and personal trainers. Try a rooftop dry-surfing fitness class at Revere Hotel Boston Common or rooftop yoga at Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa.

Agritourism and Farm Stays

Trend: Food tourism intersecting with wellness travel.

Spend a vacation at an organic farm, tasting fresh-from-the-earth flavor, and see if it doesn't inspire your quest to eat whole foods that aren't processed, genetically modified, or loaded with additives. A farm stay, where you can plant or forage and learn cooking secrets, will bring you back to sustainable aspects of well-being. Stress dissolves when you settle into the simplicity of life on the farm and feel gratification in completing daily chores. Work with the horses and learn volumes about self-awareness and communication.

Where to Go: When you stay at Greece's Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm & Guesthouse, you can help out in the olive grove and herb fields. At autumn's annual knife-in-hand course at La Tavola Marche in Italy, you'll learn how to forage for mushrooms, slaughter and butcher a hen, and then butcher a whole pig. Closer to home, try the equine experiences at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa in Tucson or at Old Stone Farm in the Hudson Valley.

Outdoor Boot Camp and Extreme Fitness

Trend: Working up a sweat with extreme fitness in gorgeous outdoor spaces.

Around the globe, destinations are beginning to fully leverage their landscapes for outdoor adventure and fitness. It's in response to a growing segment of travelers who want to combat stress, improve fitness, and lose weight outdoors by pushing themselves to the extreme, according to Wellness Tourism Worldwide. What does it look like? Think circuit training in exotic natural spaces with expert coaches. One example: The hardcore Tough Mudder obstacle courses and boot camps. They draw hardcore competitors to destinations in North America and Europe for grueling slogs through mud.

Where to Go: At Four Seasons Whistler's Triathlon Training Camp, you get a professional coach, performance diagnostics, and a nutrition plan. Try a women-only Surf Goddess Retreat in Bali, or combine surfing with jungle hiking and whitewater rafting. Run up sand dunes or box in a coconut grove with Wildfitness transformative holidays. For outdoor boot camps, the GI Jane in England, Tuscany's Castiglion del Bosco, Santa Barbara's Sky Ranch Fitness at Bacara Resort & Spa (a Julia Louis-Dreyfus favorite), and Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands offer interesting programs.

Meditation and Stillness Retreats

Trend: Seeking healing and purpose through stillness and spiritual practices.

Instead of blasting through a checklist of must-see tourist sites, an increasing number of travelers are opting to spend vacation time in quiet meditation. These spiritual seekers are finding healing and purpose in meditative pilgrimages, retreats, temple stays, and workshops around the world. The benefits are sublime. Studies have shown that meditation can minimize the release of the stress hormone cortisol and boost self-awareness and body awareness. Another bonus: You'll learn you really can survive a digital detox.

Where to Go: The Mindful Stillness Retreat at Alila Villas Soori in Bali leads participants in meditative excursions and exercises that are followed by individual consultations. Head to New York's Finger Lakes region for meditation retreats at the Springwater Center. The Golden Door in Escondido, California, has daily meditation sessions, chakra meditation, self-hypnosis, and a labyrinth for walking meditation.

Holistic Health Retreats

Trend: Restoring the natural balance of mind, body, and spirit.

In search of optimal wellness, travelers are spending their hard-earned vacation time at holistic health retreats to explore the benefits of alternative medicine. Here, teams of holistic providers develop your treatment plan, combining modern medical advancements with ancient medical techniques and therapies. Wake up and start your day with guided yoga or meditation, then move on to individualized sessions for acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, or psychotherapy.

Where to Go: In the Swiss Alps, a doctor-led team at the Lonhea Alpine Clinic customizes seven-day plans for everything from weight loss to sleeping problems. Soukya international holistic medical center in India has treated Prince Charles, Camilla Parker Bowles, and dignitaries from around the world. Weeklong Cancer Help Program retreats at California's Commonweal retreat center include support sessions, lectures, massage, and meditation. In Arizona, the Waldorf Astoria Spa at the Boulders Resort runs brain-fitness neurobics programs to help with arthritis and other range-of-motion challenges.

Weight-Loss Resorts

Trend: Memorable, life-changing weight-loss experiences in supportive, social environments.

When the doctor orders a lifestyle change and you know "going it alone" isn't going to work, it's time to book a weight-loss resort trip. Immerse yourself in a program with fitness, nutrition, education, relaxation, and camaraderie to get you started on the journey—without the tempting bag of chips in the kitchen pantry. Past participants say the secret to their success in the resort programs lies in the accountability, structure, and time dedicated for new habits to take root.

Where to Go: An offshoot of the TV series, The Biggest Loser Resorts (Chicago, Malibu, Niagara, Amelia Island) run group-oriented workouts, serve calorie-controlled spa cuisine, and present an enlightening educational series. At Hilton Head Health, personal training, massages, private consultations, and hands-on cooking lessons are part of the program.

Cleansing and Detox Retreats

Trend: Purging the body of contaminants, allowing it to self-repair and regain balance.

Environmental pollutants and chemicals in our food can wreak havoc on our bodies, causing allergies, digestive problems, and immune system suppression. Find out your toxicity level at one of a growing number of detox retreats around the world, where a specialist will customize a safe cleanse for your specific needs and body type. Take the traditional Eastern approach with an Ayurvedic program that incorporates massage and meditation, or go for the Westernized programs that introduce you to juice fasting.

Where to Go: In Iowa, The Raj's Ayurvedic cleansing program begins with the ancient technique of pulse diagnosis and includes herbalized steam and oil relaxation treatments as well as gentle enema treatments. At the six-day Perfect Health workshop at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, you'll have a mind-body consultation with an M.D. before your Ayurvedic treatments and cleanse. Book a juice-cleanse package at Kimpton's Topaz Hotel in D.C. and at Kimpton's Hotel Palomar in San Francisco.

Hot Springs and Thermal Baths

Trend: Soaking in the health benefits and social experience of natural hot springs.

Some trends never go out of style. Bathing in hot springs, the world's oldest spa experience, is one such trend—it even predates Roman times. Spafinder research points to a marked rise in people seeking out social experiences, and hot springs continue to be popular places to relax and connect. Several new developments and major refurbishments of traditional hot springs are happening around the world. It's no wonder. A study presented at last year's Global Hot Springs Forum showed that thermal mineral waters with at least one gram per liter of minerals resulted in 100 percent positive outcomes for pain improvement and quality of life.

Where to Go: Next summer, at the edge of Yellowstone National Park in Paradise Valley, the Royal Teton Ranch Hot Springs is set to open with geothermal pools, a spa, and rustic cabins. In the meantime, check out our list of great hidden hot springs.

Read the original story: Wellness Travel 101: Vacation Your Way to a Better You by Jamie Moore, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

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