5 Signs A Restricted Airway May Be Affecting Your Child’s Health

Dr. Stuart Frost

Dr. Stuart Frost

For most people, breathing is automatic – the air goes in, the air goes out, and we don’t even think about it.  But for those who have airway problems, it is never that simple –  especially for children.

“Children who suffer from air-passage problems never get enough oxygen to the brain, which causes them to never get enough sleep,” says Dr. Stuart Frost, an orthodontist and author of The Artist Orthodontist: Creating An Artistic Smile is More Than Just Straightening Teeth (www.drstuartfrost.com).  “They typically do poorly in school and seem inattentive and lethargic.”

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes blocked during sleep, causing a pause in breathing.  Those pauses in breathing, known as apneic events, often lead to a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Frost says.

He says signs a child may be impacted by airway blockage include:

  • Snoring. Snoring is caused by the vibrations of excess tissue blocking the airway.  When children snore, orthodontists look for a blockage of their airway, from the tip of the nose down to the throat.
  • Mouth breathing. When there is no room for the tongue to reach the roof of the mouth (the palate), it can rest in the back of the throat and block the airway.  Also, when a child’s tonsils and adenoids are enlarged, they can reduce the size of the airway at the back of the throat. “Either situation can make it too hard for children to get enough air when breathing through their nose,” Dr. Frost says, “causing them to open their mouth and jut their lower jaw forward during sleep.”
  • Clenching or grinding teeth. “If children who are 7 or 8 have baby teeth that are worn from grinding, we know it’s because they’re not getting enough air,” Dr. Frost says. During sleep – and sometimes even when they are awake – their lower jaw is constantly repositioning either side to side or forward to back to open their airway so they can breathe, he says. An expander appliance can widen the nasal passages to help the child take in more air when breathing through the nose.
  • Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).  Some children who have been diagnosed as ADD may actually just have breathing problems during sleep Dr. Frost says. “ If a child is continually not getting enough oxygen during sleep, the brain will eventually kick in a hyper-alert state to stay alive,” he says. “A child whose brain is hyper-alert tends to bounce off the walls.”
  • Bedwetting: A brain that is starving for oxygen can’t wake a child when the urge to go to the bathroom strikes during sleep.  The child will sleep right through any warning sign the brain sends.

Depending on what’s found during an examination, the solutions for a restricted airway could include braces with an expander appliance, along with surgical removal of adenoids or tonsils.

“When sleep apnea is not addressed in childhood, over time it can lead to health issues in adulthood,” Dr. Frost says. “By taking care of it when the person is younger, it can save years of restless nights and half-awake days.”

About Dr. Stuart Frost

Dr. Stuart Frost, author of  The Artist Orthodontist: Creating An Artistic Smile is More Than Just Straightening Teeth (www.drstuartfrost.com), is an orthodontist and sought-after speaker who has given seminars, lectures, and speeches throughout the world to dentists and the general public on groundbreaking dentistry. He graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and has continued his education at the University of Rochester, where he accomplished a one-year fellowship in Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and a two-year certificate in orthodontics.

Instagram “Health Foods” that are Surprisingly Unhealthy or Caloric

From Whole Foods to pricey health food stores, cafes, and coffee shops, certain foods and ingredients have become trendy among health and calorie counting foodies.  Who has not heard of matcha, Acai, cold-pressed juice, and gluten-free baked goods? In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find food and drinks that are delicious, healthy and not calorie laden?  While certain Instagram accounts may have you convinced these “magic foods” exist,  Dr. Niket Sonpal is a NYC gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine who cautions health enthusiasts to do a deeper dive into what they are eating and imbibing. 

Gluten-Free Baked Goods

Despite the fact that less than one percent of Americans are believed to have celiac disease, customers and food brands alike have gotten caught in the gluten-free food obsession. Dr. Sonpal explains that “To mimic the taste and texture of wheat gluten, companies will use corn, oat, and rice flours, which aren’t necessarily better for you.” One study found that participants who consumed rice-flour-based baked goods had higher levels of metals within their system than the control group, which is linked to rice’s natural arsenic and metal content.

Smoothie Bowls

Their vibrant colors and pleasant toppings give smoothie bowls the appearance of a well-balanced breakfast, but don’t be fooled: they are loaded with sugar. Unlike traditional smoothies that come in useful, portion-controlled bottles, smoothie bowls tend to be larger and have more surface area, which makes it easy to add additional toppings. For example, the Chunky Strawberry Bowl from Jamba Juice contains 590 calories and 58 grams of sugar. 


Google “acai berry” and a wealth of purported benefits like weight loss and antiaging results will return. Does this trendy health food hail from Brazil really live up to the hype? Dr. Sonpal says that “While the fiber-rich fruit does tout more antioxidant properties than pomegranates and blueberries, many health claims don’t mention that it logs in 247 calories per 100 grams, 26 grams of which are carbohydrates.”  The takeaway?  Unless you are using acai at home and controlling your portions, an acai bowl could cost you almost 600 calories per serving! 

Almond milk

The fact that it’s dairy-free and low in calories has made it the default milk among many people who try to eat healthily. Dr. Sonpal explains that “though unsweetened almond milk, like dairy milk, is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, it’s really low in protein. (Just 1 or 2g protein in a one-cup serving.)

Protein Bars

Protein bars, which are sometimes also energy bars, contain numerous artificial ingredients and have as much nutritional value as a milk chocolate bar. That said, some protein bars can be healthy if they contain healthy, whole, and very few ingredients that make up the bar. Dr. Sonpal cautions, “If you see upwards of 15 ingredients in your protein bar, I would say stay away from it.”


If you look at all the salads, grain bowls, and other healthy dishes on Instagram, you’ll probably notice that the people posting them seem to be eating a great deal of avocado. “Avocados are very nutritious and packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and fiber,” says Dr. Sonpal. Many Instagrammers go overboard. “An entire medium avocado contains 250 calories and 23g fat,” Sonpal says. “Keep your serving size to a quarter of a medium avocado, which would be 60 calories and 6g of fat.” 

Veggie Chips

The pieces of actual veggies in veggie chips are so thin and processed that most of the nutrition from the vegetable is gone. “Instead, try whole-grain pretzels, baked corn chips, crackers made with seeds and nuts, or popcorn,” Dr. Sonpal suggests. To keep from turning a bag of chips or box of crackers into a meal, divide them up into sensible portions ahead of time.

Cold-pressed juices
Cold pressed juices have risen in popularity over the past few years, and with the hefty price tag tacked on to them (one serving of juice can be as much as $12!) one would assume guzzling some would provide you with all the nutrients you could possibly need. Unfortunately for your wallets, and your diets, that is not the case. While made of whole, raw fruits and veggies, the fiber from these foods are often stripped during the juicing process. On top of that, fruits like apples can be added to cut the bitter flavor of leafy greens, which can bump the carbohydrate content up to 20-30 grams of carbs per juice! Dr. Sonpal warns that “because there is no fiber or protein in these juices, guzzling one can cause blood sugar levels to spike too, leaving you right back where you started: hungry and craving something nutrient dense.”

Matcha Lattes

Matcha is one food trend that has taken the center stage. Some restaurants offer matcha pancakes. While matcha is packed with antioxidants and provides detox health benefits that cannot be disputed, ordering up a latte may not be the magic elixir you bargained for.  A 12-ounce matcha latte from a popular coffee chain packs 24 grams of sugar and will set you back 190 calories.

Agave Nectar

Agave syrup is derived from the sweet nectar of the Agave tequila plant and is often perceived as a “natural” alternative to processed cane or beet sugar or other zero-calorie sweeteners. The syrup is touted by manufacturers as a safer sweetener for diabetics because it is lower on the glycemic index (a measurement of how certain foods affect blood sugar levels), Dr. Sonpal says that “no reliable human studies exist reinforcing this claim. Agave syrup is just like any other sweetener- no better, no worse”.

About Dr. Niket Sonpal is a native of Long Island NY and a graduate of the Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill Hospital–Northshore LIJ Health System. He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn. Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology & hepatology at Lenox Hill Hospital and will continue his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He now serves as the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brookdale University medical center.

He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.

6 Tips for Seniors Getting Into Yoga  

Written by Karen Weeks, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Exercising can be done in any type of situation. Yoga, for example, is one that has many advantages. An article from Harvard Health Publishing showed that the benefits of yoga are profound. It can improve cardiovascular health, increase overall fitness, and promote a more mindful attitude. If you’re getting into yoga, here are a few tips to make it worthwhile.

Go Easy on Yourself

Regardless of your fitness level, yoga can be incorporated into your regular fitness routine. It can also be adjusted based on medical conditions you have. Don’t feel like you have to be able to do a backbend or even touch your toes. Instead, do what is the most comfortable for your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Talk with your doctor before you start a new program.

Focus on your breath

Yoga is all about the breath. Research has shown that trying different yoga breathing techniques can promote the anti-inflammatory benefits of yoga and help you get the most out of your exercise. As you breathe out, your muscles relax, which can help you with tougher poses. Focusing on your breath can also give you practice in meditation since yoga is a meditative act.

Add Stretching to Your Daily Routine

Stretching has a lot of benefits, especially if you do it regularly. You’ll ease tension in your muscles and body and become less stiff. As you work on stretching, take it slow, and don’t feel like you have to push your limits. Simply do what is comfortable and over time your flexibility will improve. Flexibility is a long journey, but it can help you prevent injury and increase mobility.

Take a Group Class for Seniors

Taking yoga in a group gives you a chance to bond with other people. You can also work closely with a trained teacher and increase the chances that your workout is a success. You’ll find a lot of people in similar situations and abilities as you. Working in a group can also help you stick to your commitment to exercise, as well as learn new methods or variations that you might not be able to find on your own. A class can help you find like-minded people who you can grow with.

Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation helps you focus on the present and pay attention to what’s going on with you and your body. If you deal with stress, this can help you calm yourself down and move forward. There are many different methods to practice mindfulness meditation. You can practice breathing techniques or listen to a guided meditation on an app. Start off small; five minutes is a good starting point, and then you can move onto practicing meditation for longer than that. Remember it’s called “practice” for a reason; you don’t have to be perfect.

Do It at home If You Can’t Go Out

If you are unable to leave the house, you can still do yoga at home. Yoga participants who practice at home have reported improved mindfulness, healthier BMIs, and improved overall well-being. You can find videos online to help you learn, or, if you’re lucky, a yoga instructor can come to your house to teach you. You can also have your caregiver do yoga with you or help you with some of the more difficult poses.

Yoga’s ability to help individuals manage stress and control chronic conditions is one reason it’s recommended by sources such as the Mayo Clinic. You’ll be able to enjoy increased mobility and develop a new hobby. Whether you do it at home or in a studio, yoga is for everyone.

Head or Tails….ALS or Lyme Disease?

Written by Jo Ann Simon

Flip a coin to decide what incurable disease you might have?  I wish it was as easy as that. In my experience, it took much more time, research, testing and hoping for a diagnosis that we could literally live with.  My husband was diagnosed with Lyme Disease and three years later he died from ALS. He was diagnosed with ALS as well, after and during positive Lyme Disease testing results.  I do not believe this was a coincidence. I believe that Lyme Disease was the catalyst that allowed ALS to accomplish its deadly deed.

We traveled down the road of Hope thinking that it the similarities of the two diseases might lead us to a good result with medicine, pure determination and lots of research for a cure.  Treatment of antibiotics for Lyme was our champion to solve the mystery of which disease it was. After that failed, IVIG Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions for autoimmune diseases(from the plasma of approximately a thousand or more blood donors) helped to extend his life and improve his overall health.

The definitions of these diseases both speak to the neurological effects that create neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders that occur in the central nervous system of the body.


Lyme dis·ease

an inflammatory disease characterized at first by a rash, headache, fever, and chills, and later by possible arthritis and neurological and cardiac disorders, caused by bacteria that are transmitted by ticks.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.

The culprit can be the spirochete borrelia burgodorferi bacteria of Lyme Disease or the unnamed foreign invader of ALS in the brain that triggers motor neuron disease, or are they the same?

Our research, testing and discovery brought us through a maze of doctors, hospitals, treatments and various results.  We celebrated when we thought it might be MMN Multi Focal Motor Neurothopy or Guilliane Barre, both treatable motor neuron diseases, but further testing eliminated that glimmer of hope.

Five little known facts about ALS and Lyme Disease

  1. ALS and Lyme Disease have common ground with the auto immune and the central nervous systems (http://als-cure.com/als-lyme/almost-all-als-patients-are-lyme-positive)

  2. Common symptoms range from fatigue, numbness, muscle weakness and twitches, speech impairment, and cramping (https://www.holtorfmed.com/als-another-lyme-related-disease/)

  3. Recent studies that show that a significant percentage of ALS diagnosed patients test positive for Lyme Disease (https://www.holtorfmed.com/als-another-lyme-related-disease/) (http://als-cure.com/als-lyme/almost-all-als-patients-are-lyme-positive/)

  4. In some cases, patients diagnosed  with ALS actually had Lyme Disease instead ( https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-michael-conner/man-diagnosed-with-als-di_b_8891262.html)

  5. Lou Gehrig, the namesake of ALS lived very close to Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was born (http://als-cure.com/)

The most important take away from this experience is that everyone needs to protect themselves, their family, friends and pets from ticks.  Prevention of a tick bite could save your life! Prevention is the best medicine.

  • Use bug spray that has DEET (Off or Repel products) or Picaridin (Sawyer, Fisherman, Skin So Soft products).  These are effective to deter ticks and can be found online, or at your local pharmacy, or department store.

  • If you are walking in grassy wooded areas, tuck in your pants to socks and wear long sleeve shirts so that your skin is not exposed.  They might still jump on you for a ride, but you can eliminate them by running your clothes in a hot dryer for 10 minutes so they turn into harmless toast.

  • You can treat your shoes and clothes with Permithrin, a synthetic pesticide that repels ticks from 5 to 70 washes, depending on the product.  Insect Shield in North Carolina will treat your clothes for up to 70 washes, or you can treat yourself with different products such as Sawyer insect repellent which can be purchased on line or at your local pharmacy, grocery or department store.  L.L. Bean and Cabela’s sell pretreated clothes and camping gear.

  • Protect your pet. If you stopped your pet’s tick preventive over the winter, get it started again NOW. Outdoor dogs and cats will likely be the first family members to find a tick and bring it home to you.  There are two types of products to use. Products that kill ticks on contact – quick tick gone or kill ticks after their lunch – bite to die. Talk to your vet to decide the best product for your pet.

  • Get professional treatment for your property to eliminate the threat of ticks in your outside living areas.  This does not stop the threat elsewhere, but at least you can sleep at night not worrying about the ticks on your doorstep.

  • Do a tick check every day.  This is especially important for your children and pets since they normally spend the most time outside

About the Author:

Jo Ann Simon, a corporate executive, is a lifelong nutmegger, living in various locations in the state of Connecticut. She is a constant traveler, exploring the world including her favorite country, Italy. When she is not traveling, Jo Ann loves spending time with family, friends and seven grandchildren. Her day job is running an Electronics Contract Manufacturing Company. Painting fine art, gardening and writing fill in the blanks of her life. Palm trees are essential in her personal landscape with beaches to match and to sink her feet into the soft sand.

Connect with Jo Ann Simon on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and her blog. Learn more about Jo Ann Simon and Rose Colored Glasses please visit, www.joann-simon.com.

What to Look for in a Daycare for Your Baby

Between coordinating childcare, figuring out a new schedule and beginning to feel like a normal person again, life with a newborn can be a lot to handle. Finding the right daycare center on top of it all can seem like a nearly impossible task.

Consider these suggestions to find the right daycare for your little one.

Look for safety first.

One of the most important things to look for is evidence that your potential daycare follows safe practices, including at nap time.

“When you first walk into the infant classroom, check for see-through cribs,” said Naomi Lennis Hicks from the Park Avenue KinderCare. “Teachers should be able to see your baby every moment of every day, even when they’re sleeping.”

You should also ask how teachers at the daycare put babies to bed and what’s allowed in cribs. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, babies should sleep on their backs on a firm surface without pillows, blankets or toys in bed with them.

Find a place that follows each baby’s schedule.

Although babies’ schedules are never 100 percent predictable, an accommodating daycare may work with parents to follow their children’s routine as closely as possible.

While some daycares enforce naps at certain times, you can look for an option that takes into account each baby’s sleeping needs. Teachers should know how to watch each child closely for signs of tiredness. Eye-rubbing, sucking on hands or fingers and heavy-headed nodding are all signs that it’s time for some shut-eye.

Whether baby likes rocking, singing, being held or using a pacifier, a daycare that partners with parents to learn what works best for each baby can be a more comforting option.

Make sure the center is clean and tidy.

When classrooms are spick and span, it’s typically a sign that a daycare and its teachers are paying attention to the details, while also likely employing a dedicated cleaning staff to ensure the space is safe for babies to crawl and play.

In infant classrooms especially, keep an eye out for shoe-free policies and disposable booties for visitors to use.

“We have a bootie- or sock-only policy, and many of our teachers even bring their own slippers just for the classroom,” said Sheila Silveria with the Mercantile KinderCare Learning Center. “As soon as babies are ready to start crawling, it’s important to give them freedom to explore. A shoe-free policy is the best way to keep their little hands and mouths away from germs and dirt while they discover the world.”

For many parents, the most important thing is that their babies are safe and happy, meaning they can rest assured they made the best decision for their family. Find more information and tips to find the right daycare at kindercare.com. (Family Features)


Epidemics, Fear and Denial: How Every American Is Threatened

Written by Jane M. Orient, M.D.

This is the one hundredth anniversary of the great influenza pandemic of 1918. In his book The Great Influenza, John M. Barry described it as the deadliest plague in history. It killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

The lack of a vaccine did not cause the flu. All epidemics start with an index case—which may or may not be identified. The great influenza may have begun in a patient in Kansas. The significance of the case was reportedly recognized by a country doctor, who was ignored. As the nation mobilized for World War I, and draftees from across the country were thrown together, illness spread and became much more virulent. Transport ships became “floating caskets.” Troop trains were “rolling coffins.” But Woodrow Wilson denied the existence or severity of the epidemic, and effective public health efforts were thwarted.

Despite this history, and the expenditure of billions of dollars, the U.S. is not much better prepared than in 1918. There have been warnings, such as Ebola, severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (SARS)novel H1N1 flu, and the 2014 outbreak of enterovirus D68 in schoolchildren. But when the threats recede, the nation goes back to sleep.

When different populations are thrown together, as in boot camp or college dorms when new freshmen arrive, there is a lot of sickness. Each group has a different pattern of colonizing microorganisms to which its members have immunity and others do not. There are terrible historical examples of native populations in the New World being devastated by diseases of European settlers.

Epidemics can happen naturally or through neglect—or they could be caused deliberately. Biological warfare is probably the very worst weapon of mass destruction.

One scenario is to embed a suicide agent incubating a deadly disease in a mass of migrants. Or there are doubtlessly innocent persons infected with deadly diseases to which Americans have no immunity among thousands of migrants overwhelming our border—from Central America and many other places.

The mainstream press and even part of mainstream medicine promotes denial. For example, an NBC News article quotes Dr. Paul Spiegel, who directs the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health: “There is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease.” The danger of introducing disease is “a false argument used to keep migrants out.” The article even quotes a study that purportedly shows that hepatitis, tuberculosis and HIV “generally only spread within the affected immigrant communities and not to the wider population.” Perhaps there is an invisible shield between an infected migrant and an American but not between him and someone newly arriving from his country?

Is this denialism?

No, that term is for those who don’t believe that we can change the climate and save the Planet by cutting off energy from the fuels that power 80 percent of the world’s economy. The supposed mainstream of media and organized medicine insists that “climate change”—catastrophic and human-caused—is the existential public health threat that eclipses all others. Let’s have uncontrolled migration, but tight global control of essential fuels.

Is concern about the caravan just “fearmongering”?

We don’t hear that term applied to those who say we must treat a child missing some mandated vaccines as a “Typhoid Mary” and bar him from schools or doctor’s offices—even though nobody ever caught a disease from a child that wasn’t infected with it. Rather, that’s the word for those who warn about tropical diseases, even if they are much more common and deadly than indigenous measles. Or for those concerned about tattooed MS-13 gang members, rapists, jihadists, human traffickers, and other criminals intent on harming Americans. Such people also infect, molest, assault, or murder people in their own countries and in the caravan.

Our nation faces real threats that produce genuine body counts from violence and disease. Instead, we are supposed to worry about carbon dioxide, invisible dust particles, and imperceptible phobias and isms. Not just worry, but shut down industries and shut out dissenters from public discourse.

A wall is indeed proposed—to confine the half of America that votes the “wrong” way and wants to protect American lives, liberties, and property.

We need an outbreak of common sense.

 Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is currently president of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Since 1988, she has been chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Pima County (Arizona) Medical Society. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare, and the second through fourth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. She authored books for schoolchildren, Professor Klugimkopf’s Old-Fashioned English Grammar and Professor Klugimkopf’s Spelling Methodpublished by Robinson Books, and coauthored two novels published as Kindle books, Neomorts and MoonshineMore than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics. She is the editor of AAPS News, the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness Newsletter, and Civil Defense Perspectives, and is the managing editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Mareya Ibrahim Presents the Eight Hottest Healthy Food & Beverage Trends for 2019

For the seventh consecutive year, Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie, breaks down the top 8 healthy food and beverage trends like a master butcher.


As our society gets more and more frazzled, fried and wigged out, the need to bring balance and stabilize cortisol production is the holy grail of functional foods. Traditional herbs, roots and plant foods like holy basil, ginseng, maca, rhodiola, mushrooms, and spirulina all fall into the category and are showing up in more ready-to-consume preparations like Moodbeli’s Calming Adaptogen featuring ashwaganda and ginger, Amare’s GBX SuperFood which highlights spirulina with a gut balancing probiotic blend and Four Sigmatic with their Superfoods Adaptogen Blend, including reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, ginseng, ashwagandha, ginger and more.  Just add the powder to water or your favorite nut milk or warm beverage.  Stay calm and sip on.   


Our need to feed on the go lends itself to this big trend, where all you do is add water to make a complete, macronutrient balanced meal. Proportioning good fat to protein to carbs in the right ratio helps your body become a fat burning, metabolic super machine.  You can find these replacements in vegan powder products like Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal, a USDA organic meal replacement that features 20 grams of protein, sprouted fruit and veggies and 44 superfoods.  MeleShake, a grass-fed whey protein shake that gives you 35% protein, 40% carbs and 25% fat, does the macro proportions for you. Orgain offers a USDA Organic vegan Meal Powder that’s low on sugar but high on protein and fiber with only 1 g per serving.  Get your real nutrition in a cup that’s better for you than one of those sugary smoothies or coffee drinks. 


Frozen foods have never been the darling of the grocery store and let’s face it, never taste or look as good as the picture on the package.  Now, there’s a new wave of ‘real’ food meals that take you from breakfast to dinner that are big on flavor, sustainability and quality, leaving out the garbage while staying reasonable in their sodium content. Good Food Made Simple’s breakfast burritos and enchiladas are made with cage-free eggs and artisan ingredients.  Tribali Foods offers a line of frozen protein patties and sliders made from organic grass fed and finished beef, organic free-range chicken and natural pork that are heat-and-eat ready.  Saffron Road takes you on a journey with their ‘world cuisine’ flavors, including a sesame ginger bowl featuring wild caught salmon that’s also certified halal.  Evol’s Nutrition Bowls offer a wellness message with each variety, like the Boost Be Well, a vegan balance of soba noodles in a creamy cashew sauce. You don’t have to give the freezer section the cold shoulder anymore. 


Although seemingly basic, it’s the formula for life – H20. 2 molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Now, water is getting extra, going the distance to do more than just provide hydration for every cellular function in your body.  It’s got new bennies, from delivering protein to electrolytes, antioxidants to essential amino acids and even more oxygen.  O2 is an oxygenated natural recovery drink that claims to offer 7x more oxygen than tap water, 2.5x more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and with some of their varieties, a little pick-me-up from natural caffeine. Fizzique, a sparkling protein water, gets you 20 grams of whey isolate protein in one serving of their fruit flavored, ready to drink creations – with zero carbs or sugar at 80 calories per serving. Blk Water, which looks like its name, gets its pitch-black color from fulvic and humic minerals that claims to have 77 naturally-occurring trace minerals, trace elements, amino acids, and electrolytes along with natural prebiotics and probiotics – but won’t stain your teeth.  You may want to ‘tap out’ from tap water entirely. 

5) Baby Food Gourmet

In all of the developments behind clean, fresh food for adults and even pets, somehow the little ones got left behind, relegated to tasteless purees from a shelf-stable jar.  Now, there’s a new crop of real food without preservatives available for baby to toddler’s developing palate.  In fact, in my new book “Eat Like You Give a Fork,” (St. Martin’s Press, releases June 4th, 2019), I discuss why introducing a variety of real food flavors, aside from salt and sweet, are so critical before the age of 3 to encourage a lifetime of healthy eating.  Purees and meals can come straight to your door from companies like Pure Spoon, who offer HPP (high pressure pasteurized) baby food puree and Nurture Life, who deliver their fresh meals for babies, kids and toddlers.  Little Spoon, whose ‘Babyblends’ offer flavor and nutrient combinations to boost brain and muscle function while developing ‘adventurous’ palates, bring flavors like Blueberry Chickpea Spinach Pear Rosemary right to your baby’s mouth.  You can also find USDA organic and cold-pressed Once Upon a Farm Fresh blends in the refrigerator section of grocery stores in a squeezable pouch, using ingredients like avocado, flax and hemp seeds. That way, they won’t cry at a kale salad when they sprout teeth. 


Studies show that even healthy eaters enjoy a glass or two.  So now, you can have your cake-tail and eat it, too, with sustainable liquor, wine and beer options that cut down on sugar, carbs, and creepy chemicals and colors.  Rather than using additives, refined sugars and artificial ingredients, Batiste “Rhum” is sweetened with 100% fresh sugarcane and no additives, made in an eco-friendly facility.  FitVine, whose motto is ‘we crush grapes, you crush life,’ offers a line of wines, all weighing in at less than 1 g of sugar for the entire bottle, with reduced use of sulfites and no added artificial flavors.  Square One makes a 100% USDA organic rye vodka with botanical additions like bergamot, botanical, cucumber and basil for a mood and flavor boost. Even beer is getting more conscientious with major bottlers like Budweiser, Beck’s, Corona, Michelob and Coors trimming down each skinny ‘beer pop’ to 2-4 grams of carbs per serving.  Now that doesn’t mean drink the whole 6-pack, but you don’t have to blow the eating plan to blow off some steam. 


It looks unwieldy before it’s cut, but this exotic-sounding, crunchy veggie is gaining popularity fast for its exceptional nutrition profile and versatile usage.  High in fiber, vitamin C and B vitamins, jicama used to be considered more of a ‘Mexican’ cuisine veggie (nicknamed the Mexican potato), but because of its relatively mild flavor, it’s getting a lot more mainstream attention on menus in formats like fries, slaws and salad croutons. Xica Foods, makers of jicama sticks and jicama tortillas have reported skyrocketing popularity of their products at over 50% sales increase YOY for the last two years.  At about 50 calories per 1 cup serving you can almost eat with abandon when the urge to crunch takes over.  Although it is considered a starchy vegetable, it is high in inulin, a soluble fiber that won’t spike blood sugar.  According to Melissa’s Produce, a specialty distributor, other veggies gaining big popularity include celery root and kohlrabi.  Looks like we’re getting back to our (veggie) roots. 


No, it’s not the male part of a tiger.  Tiger Nuts aren’t actually nuts at all.  They’re a tuber that grow like potatoes and carrots but the reason they’re the next ‘it’ superfood is they’re high in prebiotic fiber (trend from my 2017 report) which help probiotics do their thing while managing blood sugar, they’re rich in minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, important for brain health, and help to maintain a healthy digestive system – plus they’re low calorie and super satiating. They can be eaten whole or used to make flour or milk, with a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat to help you feel fuller, longer.  ‘Fat fillers’ are a key strategy in my upcoming book, so tiger nuts make the perfect in-between-meals snack, without sabotaging your diet.  You just earned your stripes. 

Mareya Ibrahim, aka The FoodieFit is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, speaker, patented inventor and 25+ year food industry veteran.  She is the author of the upcoming book “Eat Like You Give A Fork” with St. Martin’s Press and host of the Facebook Live Show, The Real Dish. This is her 7th annual Healthy Food & Beverage Trend Report.  Learn more at www.MareyaIbrahim.com.

Give Your Eyes a Rest

Tips to reduce digital eye strain

Imagine how strained and tired your arms would feel if you carried around a 10-pound rock for 12 hours. That’s essentially what you’re doing to your eyes when you focus on digital devices all day.

If you’re experiencing headaches, eye fatigue, burning, stinging, redness, watering, blurred vision or even pain in the neck and shoulders after extended time on your devices, you may be experiencing digital eye strain.

A 2018 study from employee benefits company Unum found that nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States spend more than 12 hours a day looking at various digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and television screens. In the same study, 34 percent of respondents said they feel they spend too much time on their devices.

In today’s always-on digital culture, it can be hard to escape the need to stay connected, but making a few slight adjustments can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

Dr. Chris Wroten, an optometrist and partner at Bond-Wroten Eye Clinic, suggests a simple, easy-to-remember rule of thumb for relaxing your eyes.

“Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds,” he said. “This 20-20-20 rule can help relax the eyes and allow them to focus on non-digital objects in the distance.”

Other tips to reduce digital eye strain include:

  • Reduce the brightness or contrast on your screen to a comfortable level. You can find these controls in the settings of your phone or tablet and on the monitor or keyboard of your computer.
  • If your glossy screen is prone to glare, consider an anti-glare protector to reduce reflected light.
  • Try adjusting the ambient light around you. Strategically placed lamps can produce the proper lighting and result in less visual fatigue than fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
  • Maintain good posture and adjust your seating to assure you’re viewing screens at the proper angles and distances. The top of your computer monitor should sit just below eye level at about an arm’s length away from your face.
  • Ensure your prescription is up to date, especially if you wear corrective lenses. If it’s been longer than a year since your last eye exam, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor.

Good visual health should be a component of maintaining your overall health and well-being. While the frequency of visits to your eye doctor typically varies for individual needs, most healthy adults should receive a comprehensive eye exam every year or two, which is included in most vision insurance plans. Eye exams can detect vision problems and allow you to adjust with corrective lenses, if necessary. This visit can also allow you to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, including eye strain.

Many employers offer vision insurance, and your human resources department can usually provide information about vision plan options. Vision insurance can be an affordable solution and offer benefits typically not included in a health insurance policy. It can cover routine eye exams, most likely offer a benefit for corrective lenses and may provide discounts for additional lens options. Some vision carriers, like Unum, also offer online tools or mobile apps to help you manage your benefits and find qualified, in-network eye doctors in your area.

For more information about digital eye strain, consumer research regarding device dependence or vision insurance, visit unum.com/vision. (Family Features)


7 Ways to Boost Energy Without an Energy Drink

Written by Dr. Niket Sonpal NYC Internist and Gastroenterologist

After seeing the news about a research study out of the University of Texas Health Center in Houston, which found the diameter of blood vessels to become “dramatically smaller” 90 minutes after consuming a 24-ounce energy drink, I decided to offer some ways to boost energy without an energy drink.

While the 24-ounces used in the study of 44 healthy, non-smokers in their 20’s, is 3 times the size of a typical 8-ounce energy drink, there is plenty of research out there that shows chugging energy drinks is not the best way to get more energized.

When we look at the levels of sugar and caffeine in these energy drinks and the habitual nature in which they are consumed, we see issues such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, thickening of the blood, gastrointestinal irritation plus anxiety, sleep disruption and restlessness.

Here’s what I suggest consuming for a more sustainable and healthy way to energize.

1. Hydrate with water.

The idea is to follow the 8×8 rule. Eight ounces of water 8 times per day which adds up to a half gallon. Most people are not getting anywhere near this water intake opting for coffee, juices, sodas or energy drinks instead. I challenge my patients to try the 8×8 rule and even declare going “H20 Only.” By the third day, they notice they’re feeling more energized.

2. Exercise 30 minutes per day.

Something as simple as going for a fast-paced walk elevates heart rate and healthy blood flow. This improves stamina and gets energy flowing throughout our bodies. A lot of people claim they don’t have time to exercise which calls for creative ways to get exercise in. I had a client add dancing for 30 minutes upon her arrival from work with her 4-year-old daughter. This provided a way for both mom and daughter to get moving in a fun easy way right at home.

3. Sprinkle in chia seeds.

These low carb seeds have an energy packing blend of protein, fats, and fiber. Chia seeds regulate blood sugar, so you won’t have these spikes then drops. They deliver big time nutrients with very low calories. Loaded with antioxidants, chia seeds were a highly valuable energy staple for Mayan and Aztec warriors in ancient Mexico who consumed them knowing they would be sustained, not hungry and energized for hours and hours.

4. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Omega 3’s are big-time energy enhancers. Eating salmon, sea bass, tuna, oysters, shrimp, seaweed salad, walnuts, edamame, and cauliflower are just a few Omega 3 rich staples to add to the shopping list.

5. Get good quality sleep.

Many of my patients who see me for gastrointestinal issues often benefit from getting disciplined with setting a bedtime, wake time and enhancing the quality of their sleep. This could be simple things such as pre-sleep meditation with an app, removing the television from the bedroom, buying curtains that block light, setting the temperature to suit your body best, buying new sheets and even a new mattress.

Making the bedroom a comfortable haven for quality deep sleep is incredibly important. Sleep is our time to recharge and when it is disturbed, we will feel sluggish during the day.

6. Get more magnesium.

Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which can be thought of like the “magic button” of energy within our cells. According to studies, about half of the people in the USA and Europe aren’t getting the recommended amount of magnesium (300 milligrams for women and 350 for men).

Interestingly, most Americans and Europeans complain of energy drains and sluggishness and typically attribute their lack of energy to busier, more demanding lifestyles. However, the problem, most commonly, is a lack of magnesium which helps us convert food into energy, create proteins from amino acids, and helps regulate our nervous system.

7. Get more B12.

Known as the “energy vitamin” it’s important to note that the only time B12 will give you energy is if you’re deficient in B12. It’s wise to get complete blood work done to see if you are in fact deficient in B12 in addition to other key vitamins and minerals.B12 is found in beef, fish, and dairy and these days more and more people are cutting red meat and dairy out of their diets.

B12 helps to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen, so when there’s a dip in red blood cell production we’re being deprived oxygen which leads to feeling run down, the first tell-tale sign of B12 deficiency. Body weakness, shortness of breath brain fog, forgetfulness and lack of focus are also symptoms. Yogurt, Swizz cheese, fortified cereals, Shiitake mushrooms, and clams are other great sources of B12.

About Dr. Niket Sonpal:

Dr. Niket Sonpal is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn who specializes in Gastroenterology. He is a graduate of the Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill HospitalNorthshore LIJ Health System. Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Lenox Hill Hospital and continues his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He now serves as the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brookdale University medical center.

He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.

Does Your Skin Have a Holiday Hangover?

What to Do When Libations Take a Toll on Your Skin

It’s holiday time again. Although Thanksgiving has passed, the “booziest” holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s are yet to come.

This post-Thanksgiving period between now and the New Year are when even average people tend to binge drink. What many people don’t realize is that drinking alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on your appearance. Alcohol dehydrates your body including the skin- your body’s largest organ. This happens every time you drink. Extra cocktails can be adding years to your face in the form of wrinkles, poor texture and lack of radiance.

Dr. Stanley Poulos a board-certified San Francisco area plastic surgeon explains that, “frequent alcohol consumption is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol. Since alcohol increases your blood flow, it often causes blood vessels in your face to dilate (sometimes permanently) and often burst, leaving behind broken capillaries and red spots that are difficult to get rid of,” offers Dr. Poulos. 

Here’s a look at what alcohol can do to wreak havoc on your appearance.

Brittle hair.

What’s worse, drinking too much doesn’t only affect the appearance of your skin; it will dehydrate your hair, making it more prone to breaking and split ends. Weak, brittle hair in addition to premature wrinkling, can easily add 10 years to someone’s appearance. 

Dark circles, bloodshot eyes and even blindness.

In much the same way that alcohol causes broken capillaries on your face, it irritates and enlarges the tiny blood vessels on the surface of your eye (the sclera) causing a “bloodshot” appearance. If vanity doesn’t get your attention, how about blindness? “Because excessive drinking robs the body of some nutrients required to maintain eye health, it can lead to a condition called alcoholic optic neuritis, which impairs eyesight and, over time, can result in blindness,” cautions Dr. Poulos.

Some tips to avoid a “skin hangover” include… 

1. Stay hydrated.

Aside from giving up booze altogether, Dr. Poulos says it is possible to minimize the unwanted effects of alcohol by constantly staying hydrated. “That means drinking a full glass of water for every cocktail you have. Drink even more water before you go to bed to flush the alcohol out of your system, so you wake up less dehydrated, puffy and flushed,” he advises.

2. Take care of your skin before bed.

Taking care of your skin before hitting the sack is also crucial. Dr. Poulos advises fully washing your face and then applying a moisturizer, like a hydrating serum before getting into bed. “Sleeping with dirty skin makes it prone to clogged pores and acne.”

3. Prop pillows and use tea.

One of the best ways to minimize the eye and face puffiness is to sleep on two pillows, slightly propped up. In the morning, rubbing ice cubes all over your face helps, too. “One of the best ways to deflate eye puffiness and reduce the redness is to place cold tea bags over the eyes. The tannins in the tea help constrict blood vessels,” adds Dr. Poulos.

4. Cover up what you can’t cure.

To camouflage the redness in the face, use a green-tinted primer before applying makeup, which should help neutralize any redness. If you must use foundation, look for a lightweight, moisturizing formula.  Avoid powders, as they are often more drying.  

5. Consider lasers.

When at-home remedies aren’t making much of a difference. There are pricier measures you can take to minimize the effects of alcohol. “Certain laser treatments can reduce redness and spider veins on the face. It’s important to see someone who is well trained to administer the laser treatment,” suggests Dr. Poulos. 

6. Choose your booze wisely.

If you are going to consume alcohol know that different alcohols have different effects on the skin, but as a general rule, the clearer, the better. Vodka, gin, and tequila leave your system quicker. “If you’re going to drink anything, drink vodka that doesn’t have a grain in it, like potato vodka. It’s a lot clearer and smoother, so it gets in and out of your body quickly,” says Dr. Poulos. Most physicians agree that although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, if you can remember to drink in moderation and stay hydrated, you can save your skin.

7. Reach for Caffeine

Grab an extra-large coffee, then give your skin a little caffeine boost, too. Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels and is a good option after a night of drinking, since alcohol dilates blood vessels. “This can make the area around your eyes look puffy and bloated,” explains Dr. Poulos, who recommends keeping an eye cream with caffeine handy.  

8. Go for Yogurt

Dr. Poulos advises slathering it on as a face mask and to make sure it’s plain yogurt.  Because it’s anti-inflammatory, it will help soothe redness, another side effect of drinking too much, especially for those who have rosacea, he notes. Leave it on for five to ten minutes before rinsing.

9. Put Your Face on the Rocks.

“Take the ice cubes out of the freezer, put them in a hand towel and rub them over your face,’ says Dr. Poulos.  He suggests doing this to minimize puffiness and swelling. Use cold teaspoons to de-puff around the eye area.

About Dr. Stanley Poulos

Dr. Poulos is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and Co-Founder with Ingvar Hvistendahl, M.D of Plastic Surgery Specialists recognized as one of the premier aesthetic surgery clinics in Northern California.

Dr. Poulos helped pioneer the quick lift facial rejuvenation surgery in California and has extensive experience in body contour procedures. With over 30-years’ experience in aesthetic procedures, Dr. Poulos has been on the forefront of innovative procedures such as the quick-lift facial rejuvenation, mommy makeover, and vaser lipo-contouring. Dr. Poulos combines his consistent knowledge of new treatment options with his mastery of facial and body symmetry.

His recent focus has been on the gastric balloon, a groundbreaking, non-surgical, medically assisted, outpatient procedure offering weight loss to those seeking to lose between 30 and 75 pounds who may be ineligible for the more invasive gastric bypass surgery. This exciting new procedure allows patients to achieve optimal health and, when combined with exercise and proper nutrition, the results have been exceptional.

A graduate of the University of Texas Medical School, Dr. Poulos completed his internship and residency at UC San Francisco. He completed surgery and plastic surgery training in San Francisco prior to entering private practice in Marin County where he co-founded PSS (www.psspecialists.com).