Massage Therapy & Reflexology - San Francisco
Healthy Living Tips
by Dawn Ciliberto
Disclaimer - I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a doctor, but I've had to deal with my own health issues, lost over 50 lbs, had my own business and dealt with the stresses of life just like many others. My interest in psychology, nutrition, and healthy living in general has led me down a wonderful path of learning. This area is dedicated to my own personal journey with health, nutrition, well-being, my own personal observations and research, my own personal suggestions, and what has worked for me and for others as they have shared with me. Take from it what you want, consult with your own health professional as you see fit.
I plan on updating this area after my move to California. Lots to do here. Lots to add as I've learned so much more. 

Meanwhile, previously, ...

It would be wise to be educated in the benefits of magnesium for good health. It's necessary for muscles, bones, nervous system, and more. Taken before bed, it relieves tension by helping the muscles relax and so offers a better night's sleep. Also, Co Q-10. Great for keeping the teeth and gums healthy, as well as good for the heart and so much more. Vitamin D. Another good one. I've been so busy working lately that I haven't been out in the sun as much, so today I took 5000 mg. of Vitamin D. I don't take it every day, but during season while I'm so busy, it would probably be a good idea. I've been taking Tri-Iodine as well, having looked up info about this by Dr. Brownstein. I know it should be monitored by a doctor, but I'm my own guinea pig, and I feel great, even with a very busy season with lots of work, so I'm happy with my choices. I suggest people google these things and learn for themselves. In addition, I'm enjoying smoothies every day with handfuls of spinach, kale, swiss chard mixed in so I'm getting the necessary greens on a daily basis. 

GMO's - I am convinced from my investigating; i.e., listening to and watching various documentaries, interviews, and research from scientists that genetically modified and pesticide laden produce is extremely... EXTREMELY damaging to our health. Even if you do not realize it right now, it is doing harm. We are all in this world together, and then narrowed down to countries, states, cities, towns, neighborhoods. I would hope that more people would wake up and realize how important this is. For the good of us all, I would hope people will choose organic foods which will then create more demand for this. That is the only way it can change. 

Focus on the Good
We all know the basics - get enough sleep, exercise, proper nutrition.  Then why are there so many people with health problems? Because we know what we should do, but we don't always do it.  We're human.  We get caught up in the actual process of living life. We're on the run, have too much to do, and not enough time.  Why? Because we try to cram too much into one lifetime. And in the process, we miss out on so much since there's not enough time/attention/focus to truly experience each moment for what it really is.  I was walking out to my car in a hurry, as I often do. But I paused as I put my hand on the car door when I realized the beautiful sound of birds in the trees above and across the street. They were louder than normal, chirping away as I'd never heard before.  New birds arrived for spring? Maybe. I stopped and listened for about a minute and looked around, appreciating the life around me -  the beauty of the green trees, the well-manicured lawns, the bright blue sky with puffy white clouds. There was no need to hurry. One minute wasn't going to make that much difference, except for the benefits. I felt so much more refreshed, calm, appreciative of my life, as I finally got in the car and got on my way. 
So, one very important healthy living tip would be to stop for a moment or two and appreciate what you have around you. Look at the positives in your life. Focus on the good.  That's a big step one.
Eating Habits
What I eat has a huge impact on how I feel.  Understanding the effect of different foods guides me in choosing what is right for me. If I want to wake up refreshed for a full day of activity, then I make sure I have protein and veggies for dinner the night before, and no heavy desserts before bed. Higher protein and lower carbs, easy on the fats and I'm good to go. A small breakfast of egg and toast and I'm energized until noon.  Lunch consisting of protein and veggies as well as a good helping of tuna salad wrapped in a romaine lettuce leaf, followed by a nice glass of refreshing water with lemon, and I'm set til dinner.  London broil with salad topped with Caesar dressing and I'm fueled for the evening.  Snacks consist of an apple with a couple slices of cheese, or celery with cream cheese or celery with peanut butter, if I want a between-meal treat.  Eating this way keeps me energized, refreshed, feeling good, and at a healthy weight.
This is how I ate for about 18 months while losing that extra 50 lbs. Light on sugar, very little bread, almost nothing that's made with flour. Almost.  Yes, there were some occasions. In the very beginning, it was NO carbs, NO sugar for about 2 weeks. After suffering through that (it was not easy), my metabolism seemed to change and the weight started coming off. I eventually did include a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee, along with a healthy dose of half and half. And always real butter.  Some things I just HAD to have. But even with those small vices, and the very occasional half a pizza, or pan of brownies, or special events with friends, I managed to slowly drop the dress size from a 16+ to a healthy size 4/6.  Now, along with reflexology, massages, occasional exercise, and continued eating habits of moderate to low carb, healthy amount of protein and veggies, and occasional fruits, I am feeling better than ever. The knowledge of proper nutrition and how it effects me empowers me, gives me the feeling of control that is needed to maintain this throughout the rest of my life.  I am thankful for the knowledge, attitude and determination to succeed in health and wellness.

Cod Liver Oil and Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
It has recently come to my attention by some clients and also some of my research that Cod Liver Oil mixed with fresh orange juice is a good addition to the diet to help with arthritis. It appears from studies that an enzyme is formed from protein when there is arthritis that destroys cartilage. By taking cod liver oil with orange juice, it prevents this enzyme from forming. Recently, Dr. Oz also mentioned on his show that you can actually use cod liver oil topically as well.  

Are your muscles always "tight" even after a massage? Do you have a hard time relaxing? Are you constipated? It could be that you're lacking in magnesium. Muscle cells grab calcium from the blood when they contract, and they grab magnesium from the blood in order to relax. Before bed would be a good time to take that second dose, as most magnesium supplements suggest to take twice per day. So, why not one at breakfast to start your day, and one before bed to help you sleep?  Also, magnesium acts as a natural stool softener by relaxing the intestinal muscles, as well as helping to attract water into the intestines. Calcium supplements without magnesium may create an imbalance in the body. Also, certain medicines, in addition to stress, alcohol and cigarette smoking can rob the body of magnesium.  This is something to discuss with your doctor to see if you could benefit from magnesium supplements or possibly get more magnesium from your diet. Some foods with higher amounts of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, and beans. I suggest doing your research and checking with your doctor to see if you can add magnesium to your diet. 


Getty ImagesBy Ashley Macha

Are the fruits and vegetables you buy clean enough to eat?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a list of 49 of the dirtiest and cleanest produce.

So before you hit the grocery store, see how some of your favorite fruits and veggies measured up.

Did one of your favorites make the list? Don't worry, the EWG recommends purchasing organic or locally grown varieties, which can lower pesticide intake by 80% versus conventionally grown produce.

This stalky vegetable tops the dirty list. Research showed that a single celery stalk had 13 pesticides, while, on the whole, celery contained as many as 67 pesticides.

Chemicals fester on this vegetable as it has no protective skin and its stems cup inward, making it difficult to wash the entire surface of the stalk. It’s not easy to find locally grown celery, so if you like this crunchy veggie, go organic.

Peaches are laced with 67 different chemicals, placing it second on the list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables. They have soft fuzzy skin, a delicate structure, and high susceptibility to most pests, causing them to sprayed more frequently.

This red, juicy fruit has a soft, seedy skin, allowing easier absorption of pesticides. Research showed that strawberries contained 53 pesticides. Try to buy strawberries at a local farmer’s market for a sweet dessert.

Apples are high-maintenance fruit, needing many pesticides to stave off mold, pests, and diseases. The EWG found 47 different kinds of pesticides on apples, and while produce washes can help remove some of the residue, they’re not 100% effective.

Blueberries (domestic)
These antioxidant-rich berries have a thin layer of skin that allows chemicals to more easily contaminate the fruit. Domestic blueberries were loaded with 13 pesticides on a single sample, according to the EWG. Imported blueberries also made the list at No. 14 for the dirtiest produce.

Sweet bell pepper
This crunchy, yet thin-skinned, vegetable is highly susceptible to pesticides. According to the EWG, sweet bell peppers showed traces of 63 types of pesticides. While some pesticides can be washed away, many still remain.

Spinach, kale, collard greens
These leafy green vegetables are on the list, with spinach loaded with 45 different kinds of pesticides and kale 57.

In 2006, Dole recalled bagged baby spinach after multiple E. coli illnesses associated with the vegetable made their way across the country.

Grapes (imported)
These tiny fruit have extremely thin skins, allowing for easy absorption of pesticides. And think twice before buying imported wine. The grapes that go into the wine could be coming from vineyards that use too many pesticides.

Have you ever indulged in a potato skin at your favorite restaurant? You might want to think twice before eating the skin. This spud was highly laced with pesticides—36, according to the EWG—that are needed to prevent pests and diseases.

Cherries, like blueberries, strawberries, and peaches, have a thin coating of skin—often not enough to protect the fruit from harmful pesticides.

Research showed cherries grown in the U.S. had three times the amount of pesticides as imported cherries. Because cherries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that neutralizes carcinogens, it’s worthwhile to buy organic or seek imported ones.

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