The Truth about Organic Foods – Part I

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We just wrapped up an interview in North Scottsdale, Arizona on “The Truth about Organic Foods” and thought we’d share a sneak peek of information we covered.

Q: What is the definition of “organic”?

The dictionary definition means: “relating to, or derived from living matter.” This could apply to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as well as non-GMO foods…and the nebulousness of the nuance is what confuses consumers. It’s important to discuss the semantics involved with words such as ‘conventional’, ‘natural’, and ‘organic’…none of which contain their commonsense meanings.

Conventional should mean traditional, it doesn’t. Organic should refer to a branch of chemistry. it doesn’t. Natural should mean something like “untouched” or pure. It really doesn’t.

Which word is “best?” Organic, surely. But chemically, this word encompasses everything from poison to cure. [Dog poop is organic matter but we don’t want to eat that! ] If only we could trust the word “natural.”

It comes as no surprise in this linguistic crisis that we equate transgenic biological manipulation to selective breeding, but this is obviously a false equivalence.
We ought to be able to call food “food”, but the very terminology has been warped beyond recognition.

The USDA regulates organic certifications and requires that a product be grown and processed using farming methods that keep biodiversity and foster sustainability in terms of soil, resources, and ecological balance. Synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers are prohibited, although certain approved pesticides may be used. Generally, organic foods do not contain bio-engineered genes, are not irradiated, and do not include industrial solvents or synthetic food additives.

Q: We commonly see the term “natural” on food labels. How does this differ from organic foods?

The word “natural” connotes something healthy and non-toxic but is very overused in marketing and not well-regulated. Petroleum is “natural” but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Also, the words “natural” and “organic” are not interchangeable terms. You might see “natural” and other such claims as “all natural,” “free-range,” “no antibiotics added” or “hormone-free” on food labels. These terms are not regulated and may or may not be truthful. Only foods that are grown and processed according to USDA organic standards can be labeled as organic.

Q: Is it true that genetically modified foods have lower nutrient content?

Some argue that there is little difference between conventionally raised produce and organic, but we have seen scientific research suggesting the genetically engineered food has less nutrients than organic. Also, it makes common sense to those who understand what is done to the quality of the soil and the plant itself when pesticides and genetic engineering are introduced.

A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives looked at the diets of nearly 4,500 people living in six US cities and assessed organophosphate exposure levels, which are among the most commonly used insecticides on US farms. Those who ate conventionally grown produce were found to have high concentrations of organophosphate metabolites, whereas those who ate organic produce had significantly lower levels.

In this way, when you eat organic what the food doesn’t contain is just as important as what it does. This is especially true when it comes to pesticides. These chemicals have been shown to cause cancer, organ [liver, kidney] and blood diseases. They over-work the immune system and our detoxification systems. Pesticides lodge and accumulate in our tissues and can weaken our immune systems, which makes us more vulnerable to other carcinogens and pathogens.

If you don’t want to be a guinea pig in this dangerous experiment, consider opting out and sticking with what nature has provided us with for thousands of years.

Q: Are there any scientific studies that show that organic foods are better for our health?

Some compelling evidence comes a 4-year study funded by the European Union called the Quality Low Input Food (OLIF) Project. The researchers found that organic food is more nutritious than conventionally-grown produce. The organic produce contained more antioxidants and minerals. Milk from organically-fed cows had more antioxidants too.

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, reported higher antioxidant as well as lower cadmium and pesticide residue levels in organically grown produce.

Organic foods are fertilized in ways that support higher levels of certain nutrients and antioxidants. Plants can produce more antioxidants as a response to stress (i.e. pests).  These foods may be higher in nutrients and come with the added bonus of not being pesticide-ridden.

Food grown in healthy soil, with natural fertilizers and without harmful chemicals (and genetic modification), is going to be more nutritious and less toxic than food grown in the opposite type of situation.

Recipe: Butternut Squash + Apple Soup

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I think we’re ready to admit: it’s autumn. A chill in the air, crunchy leaves underfoot, and the season’s bountiful harvest all point to one mission – making one of our favorite soups. Grab some squash from your farmers’ market or from your backyard and we’ll begin!


Too tiny to use but oh-so-cute!

Prep & cook time: 30 min
Servings: about 8
3-4 tablespoons high-quality butter or olive oil (for a dairy-free option)
4 lbs butternut squash, roasted (average butternut squash weighs 2-3lbs so plan accordingly)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
3/4 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup pumpkin seeds (topping)

Roast butternut squash first. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, cut squash open lengthwise and remove seeds. Place squash upside-down on baking sheet and pour about 1/2 cup water on the bottom of baking sheet (or enough so it surrounds squash and helps to steam it). Roast 25-30 minutes, until flesh is fork-tender.

Meanwhile, melt butter/olive oil in pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender (about 8 minutes). Add the roasted squash, apples, and water/vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cinnamon and turn off burner to cool food slightly. Then, in small batches, transfer mixture from pot to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. If too thick, add more liquid. Season with salt & pepper, transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Optional: serve with blue corn chips or whole grain crackers.


The Cost of Clutter – Death, Peace, and Money

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Almost imperceptibly, we slowly accumulate increasing piles of…stuff. Like cholesterol blockages in arteries, clutter doesn’t happen overnight but its effects can be just as deadly. It’s true, people have died from extreme clutter, or hoarding, in their own homes – by fire from which they couldn’t escape or crushed and hidden beneath their stuff. It’s estimated that up to five percent of the U.S. population has a problem with hoarding and a CBS News poll found that 1/3 of Americans say they have too much clutter in their homes.

About 10% of American families rent storage space for belongings which don’t fit in their homes or items they aren’t ready to part with. That money serves your stuff, instead of your life and growth. Then there are some people who will forgo renting space but choose larger homes to contain their clutter.

It’s simple to put a dollar figure on the cost of rented storage spaces, but what about the clutter in your home? The first step is to assess and take stock of your possessions and the space they own in your home. In a single room, take a look and estimate the cost of what you’re not using and what you don’t love. Unworn clothing, make-up purchased years ago, jewelry, knick-knacks, spider-webbed sports equipment, and paper all have a financial cost. If you find that a certain item tugs at your heart or causes an emotional response, that’s an added cost (which can be greater than the financial one!).  Add up the cost of the items – what you remember spending or the item’s price tag. If you’re still paying it off, record that too. A perusal through one’s closet may show hundreds of dollars of unused, cluttering clothing, shoes, and accessories. Are you still paying on the $2000 television purchased 3 years ago? Guess what, even if it breaks (and if the term ‘planned obsolescence‘ means anything to you, it will), you’ll still pay for it AND the new television. Is anything worth the stress of those monthly bills?

Another tactic is to figure out how much each square footage of your home is worth and then discern how much of the space is ‘owned’ by clutter. If you own your home, take the current, roughly estimated value of the home and divide it by the square footage (i.e. $75 per square foot). If you rent, we find it’s easier for clients to add up the total rent for the year and divide by the square footage of the home. Once you have this number, multiply it by the square footage of space stuff is taking up in your garage, bedrooms, living room, and basement. You may find a surprising estimated cost for the clutter in your space. Whether you’re paying a mortgage or a landlord, are you writing that check mainly on behalf of clutter storage?

How about money spent for replacement items? Have you purchased a new pair of sneakers only to find some in your closet from last summer? Clutter costs us money and time when we buy duplicates of stuff we already own but can’t find. 

Part of this equation should be a discussion on safety and health. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, most accidents occur in the home. Clutter can pose risks for falls and accidents. Slipping on laundry thrown down the wooden basement stairs? Kids toys? Feeding what could have been a small house fire with paper clutter? Also the growth of allergens like dust and mold can be expensive to treat.

When you are disorganized, you can’t function effectively, much less optimally. Much like a small business, you need to have an organizational structure for your home life. Misplacing checks in piles of paper, late fees, tax penalties, and library fines are all extra dollars out your door. At a very basic level, time spent looking for car keys is time that could have been spent relaxing, working, or socializing.

Clutter also costs us time by demanding our attention. We have to work around it to get groceries in the car, pay our bills, find a useful item, and make a meal. What could normally be accomplished in 15 minutes can take 3x as long! The extra hours of housework are a time and energy drain that could be used for creative endeavors, education, hobbies, or any number of productive projects.

Clutter can also affect your mental health. You know the feeling when you enter a dwelling and the space is bright, clean and welcoming versus one where shoes are strewn all over the dirty floor. One client felt her life was becoming unmanageable and she was dealing with increasing amounts of anxiety and depression. It turns out that she didn’t need pharmaceutical pills, she needed a clean and welcoming sanctuary to call home. We made a few recommendations and she flew with it, hiring an organizer to help her declutter and a housekeeper for occasional, detailed visits. As of this writing, she reports feeling calmer and more emotionally stable.

What about the sheer joy and lightness of being that comes with having space to twirl around your room without running into piles of stuff? A place for you and your family to grow, expand, and learn in a clean and orderly environment? The contented sigh as you look over and see flat surfaces without piles on top?  Living in peace is priceless.

Perhaps the biggest cost is an intangible one: clutter impedes and causes procrastination for personal growth. It’s just one giant, clutter-y obstacle to overcome on living a life you desire.

We can become prisoners and Stuff is our warden. We tie up our money in rarely used sports equipment, shirts that don’t fit quite right, gadgets, and various entertainment. Some people develop Stockholm syndrome with their clutter, relating positive feelings for their stuff and imbuing it with sense of human comfort to counter-act their loneliness. Liberate your stuff, liberate yourself. tweet this

When there is too much stuff around you, it’s like being a plant in a tiny pot. It’s overly challenging to thrive and grow when you are tucked into a bunch of clutter. The answer, of course, isn’t moving to a larger space. The solution is to put your space on a diet. Once you get rid of stuff and get organized, that’s when you begin to expand your wings and take off!

Ready to take charge and get support? Come to our Declutter your Home, Clear your Mind class this Thursday!

Self-sabotage: Nutrition Behaviors


As nutrition specialists, the advice most people seek is directly related to food and the client’s current diet. What should we eat? How much and how often? Is the newest fad diet deserving of the hype? While being worthwhile questions, what most people are completely unaware of are the problems stemming from nutrition behaviors rather than the food itself. For example, a person who chooses to have a snack while watching TV as a way to ‘unwind’ after a hard day, is developing a potentially dangerous nutrition behavior….even if it’s healthy food! 

Why would snacking on a nutritious item, such as fruit or nuts, be considered unhealthy? Nutrition behaviors can manifest and translate in a variety of forms. Let’s say that the late-night snacker started correlating this time as a type of soothing therapy. Eventually, this could become a habit of snacking as a way to relax – which could then lead to emotional over-eating. Does it seem unrealistic? It’s not – and, on the contrary, is quite common. Throughout the course of many years of nutrition coaching, we have witnessed a plethora of nutrition behaviors – many of which negatively influenced the diets of those displaying the behaviors. Our intern relays a particularly significant encounter:

“I had the honor of meeting a very determined, hard-working, and joyful man currently dealing with type 2 diabetes. It should be noted this man was cognitively disabled and required the aid of home-health nurses to make sure he kept up with his personal hygiene, medication regimen, etc. Prior to my encounter with him, he saw great progress with his HgbA1C test results (an average blood glucose over the span of 3 months) – nearly a 3% drop. When I met him, however, his HgbA1C showed a semi-significant spike. I was left baffled. This man has shown much improvement in his nutrition behaviors (in terms of diabetic control), so why has he now started to digress?

I started the counseling session reviewing the basic information that was initially covered in his sessions– what are carbohydrates, what foods have carbohydrates, how much carbohydrates should he eat. He answered every question without hesitation. I then shifted the focus of the counseling sessions away from his diabetes to his nutrition behaviors. I started to realize a trend. He would eat more sweets when he was alone. Initially I thought this was because he was not being monitored so he could get away with eating whatever and whenever he wanted. An interesting fact then surfaced – he was making so much progress that his home-health nurse visits were going to become more seldom. And that’s when it hit me…he was sabotaging his own blood sugars so he would qualify for more home-health nurse visits because he was lonely. He did so completely unable to bridge the concept that, while he was being very clever, he was doing so at the cost of his own health. His nutrition behaviors turned literally destructive so that he would not have to be so lonely.”

This is a powerful example of how we can use food as so much more than fuel for our bodies. In fact, it’s often the case that nutrition behaviors and the relationship people have with food that are the problem rather than the actual food itself.

The Person behind the Professional – My Healing Story


A short jaunt over to the “about” tab will give you some of my professional story- the multiple degrees and certifications from such renowned institutions as The Ohio State University, Columbia University, Cornell University, and more. However, client curiosity around why I chose this satisfying profession has led me to share more about the person behind the professional.

“You’re so lucky to be thin and healthy, you can eat whatever you want!”

This phrase has been said to me at various points in my life. I wanted to believe it was true because then I’d only have to stay thin in order to be healthy, right?

Early Life through Adolescence 

Let’s begin at the beginning. As an infant and small child, I had gastro-intestinal issues and was on repeated rounds of antibiotics for both active infections and as a prophylactic measure for something the doctors told my parents I should ‘grow out of’. That never happened. I was painfully poked and prodded, given barium and multiple x-rays, and underwent extensive testing. At age 5, I had major surgery to correct part of my urinary system and we all hoped my problems would be over.

…But they weren’t. Over the years I would intermittently get to live the life I loved – full of energy, activity, and vitality. Other days and weeks, even months, I would go to bed one night and wake up in pain, feverish, and unable to leave the house. If it was a weekend, that was the worst, because it meant me having to wait days to see the doctor while being in acute pain. Sometimes I think about how much of my life I’ve spent curled up on the couch, overloading myself with fluids and prescription medications, and wondering if I’d ever truly be well and free of what felt like a health curse.

An Unhealthy Obsession

Somewhere around ages 15 and 16, I developed disordered eating practices and patterns. As mentioned above, thinness was associated with health and I was also praised and envied by others for being ‘so tiny’. It was rewarding to be small & athletic- I was always the ‘flyer’ in gymnastics as the lightest person in 7th grade gym class but was still strong enough to do 18 pull-ups! As my body changed and I went from 89lbs at age 15 to over 100lbs at 16, I had problems adjusting and, like some others, developed a sense of body dysmorphia. Recruited to run track as a sprinter in high school, I felt the need to be light so I wouldn’t weigh myself down with extra poundage. Eating for athletic performance? I knew nothing about this. Lunch was a Twix bar from the vending machine and an apple; these were justified on vegetarian grounds at the time. My friends and boyfriend were worried about me and, to both my annoyance and twisted sense of pleasure, they gave extra attention to me and my meals. I felt I could better control the stress of school and life if I could just control my weight. Now I can recognize that part of this disordered eating had roots in food intolerances…the so-called healthy cereal, bread, and pasta gave me stomachaches. By eating less or barely at all, I felt better and had more energy. Buuuuut, I still had cravings…

I craved sugar and carbs like an addict. Baking cookies, eating ice cream, and having salty pretzels became a regular occurrence. During one particular day, I couldn’t find the sweet-enough item I was jonesing for so I took a spoon out of the drawer and went straight for the bag of brown sugar in the pantry. That feeling of desperation to get my sugar fix was reminiscent of an addict doing whatever it took to get alcohol, heroin, or meth. I realized this was a problem but felt powerless over my cravings and berated myself for not having enough willpower to stick to my ‘healthy diet’.

Forays into Health Education

As a teenager with aims to become a doctor and a passion for learning about health, I was already building a library of books on traditional and holistic healing theories. Nearly everyone has a go-to health-nut friend and I was that person people would come to about their acne, blood sugar levels, anxiety, depression, and even their parents’ issues. This challenge was enticing to me and I’d go home and look through my library for ideas on how to use nutrition, herbs, and alternative therapies before presenting my findings. I had great faith and quite a lot of scientific evidence that nutrition was a key part of the puzzle; it was just so overwhelming and hard to implement the knowledge. (This is later where behavior change and accountability with my health coaching would come in.)

The College Years & A Turning Point

When starting college, at a youthful time in life that is associated with being at the epitome of health and fitness, I wasn’t feeling it.

Besides the recurrent illness itself still playing into my college years, I also had acne breakouts, skin rashes, stomachaches, constipation, alternating periods of high energy and lethargy, anxiety, depression, hormone imbalances, and my increased weight had my BMI dangerously close to the ‘overweight’ category. For the first time in my life, instead of informing me that I was in the lower percentile for weight and height, I horrifically received a talk from my doctor about the need for ‘diet and exercise’. I threw my hands in the air with exasperation. What did that really mean anyway?

It became apparent to me during my sophomore year of college that I might have to withdraw from the university due to not being able to attend classes more than sporadically. I, the person who loved learning and had been a precocious teenager taking college classes, was about to give up. I put aside my studies in German and political science because I knew I didn’t have another option- I was desperate and compelled to learn more about why my body was so upset.

I did a lot of internet searching while still faithfully visiting my multiple doctors. Between and during fresh rounds of antibiotics, I was learning bits and pieces about gut health, sugar, probiotics, herbs, and medical ‘cures’. Eventually, I took a course in nutrition and had an epiphany. THIS is what I wanted to do with my life. Instead of doctoring with surgery and medications, I could utilize food in helping people heal! But first I had to heal myself and that required a lot more than what I already knew from years of my nutrition hobby. That year, I started my third undergraduate degree- this time in dietetics. I received another small miracle in late 2005 when I visited a website with a link to a nutrition school in Manhattan that offered to educate me on all the different dietary theories and to help me heal my own life so that I could help others heal theirs.

It amazed me that I, a lay-person and nutrition novice, through learning about the human body’s systems and the interactions of nutrition, could put pieces of the puzzle together that my urologist, general practitioner, and ob-gyn could not. It just made so much sense, I couldn’t ignore it.

I stopped relying on doctors to ‘fix me’ and started taking responsibility– for every morsel of food I put in my body, getting enough water, sleep, and exericse, as well as managing stress better. I acted as though my life depended on dietary diligence and application of lifestyle improvements, because it did.

The first time I was able to effectively mitigate a healing crisis with herbs, nutrition and fluids, I was astounded. Maybe I didn’t have an antibiotic deficiency at all – maybe I didn’t need to have my doctor’s phone number on speed-dial…..I scarcely dared to hope that perhaps, just MAYBE, my body wanted to get better and all I needed to really do was pay attention to it and supply it with the tools it needed in order to repair itself.

As I rose into the role of president of my own life, I knew I still needed a cabinet- a group of experts who would help me achieve a higher state of health. I hired acupuncturists & massage therapists and have consistently had a health coach who inspires me and keeps me accountable to my health goals. Having a health-minded partner and friends is huge in this area too. No (wo)man is an island.

Illness and Fear, with a Twinkle of Hope

Having a recurrent illness does a lot of things to you. One of these is creating fear that you’ll always have this condition, pain, and misery.

It did the same to me. Since I had suffered for this long, fear told me my life would probably always be like this. I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to hold down a job without running through my sick days like crazy. I had fear that I couldn’t be in a great relationship or see my friends when I wanted to because I never knew when I could count on being well enough. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to travel without bottles of supplements and the possibility of needing to find a store to buy more, or even more dreaded, visiting a doctor.

But, at the same time, I knew health was possible because I had those short periods of true vitality and energy…. and that’s what I would strive for.

The Cost of Illness and Disease

My illness and health conditions cost me (and my parents until age 18) thousands of dollars in the form of co-pays, prescriptions, and expensive tests. It cost me money that I couldn’t earn due to being unable to show up to work as well as college tuition for classes I couldn’t attend.

But not all costs are associated with ones from the wallet. This illness was cheating me out of education and better grades, a sense of security, time with friends, and vitality….it OWNED me. And I was tired of being its sick, sad slave.

How Nutrition Changed Everything

Let’s talk about the diet I had growing up. First let me say that my parents are wonderful people who tried the best they knew how. My mom recounts how, even though she’s not a fan of vegetables, she would always get them in for her pregnancies. We grew up eating ‘healthy’ cereals such as Total, Kix, and Special K with skim milk. Junk cereals were relegated to the weekends along with coveted pancakes and bacon and eggs dishes. Our lunches were not the fruity snacks, white bread sandwiches, and sugary treat meals our school companions had – we had whole wheat bread sandwiches, a piece of fruit, juice or water, and 2-3 small cookies. Dinners might be a stir-fry, pot pies (oh the trans-fat! *shudder*), microwaved meals, pasta, and usually some vegetables at every meal. Snacks were ice cream, pretzels, and occasionally candy such as Snickers or M&Ms. I drank milk, juice, and (not enough) water. When I became a vegetarian, my parents didn’t really know what to do with me. I didn’t either. I just knew meat was out of the question. So I was left with oh-so-many carbs in my very low protein and fat diet (this was the low-fat craze from the ’90s going on.)

I started healing as best as I could during my adolescence but it wasn’t until years later, particularly during my year of school in New York that I made myself and my healing more of a priority. I kept a food journal, had a a health coach who encouraged me and provided ideas and accountability, I did elimination diets/food sensitivity testing and found a few foods that were associated with my digestive issues, skin, and hormone issues. I realized the connection my brain/gut had was real and that my mood improved when I started giving myself better food. Genetic testing gave me an additional layer to my already-healthy-eating plan that has also lead to improved mood, digestion, eye-health, and hopefully decreased risk for diseases.

Food has become the foundation for a healthy life along with lifestyle factors and ‘primary food’ – the areas of life that feed our souls, not our stomachs- including having a meaningful life I love and share with others.

How my Life has Transformed

The thousands of dollars I’ve spent on my education to learn about nutrition as well as self-care has been worth every single penny. I’m glad to continue to invest in myself through buying organic, healthy, anti-inflammatory and genetically-appropriate foods and supplements, to get massage and acupuncture, and….to take rejuvenating vacations. Compared to the dollars spent in co-pays, medication costs, expensive tests, and doctors visits, I now experience less pain, less negative side effects from medication, and waaaay more fun and pleasure.

Through applied, bio-individual nutrition, the benefits to my health have been: clearer skin (no make-up!), drastically improved stomachaches and digestion, little/no cravings, much better mood and outlook on life, and an increasingly balanced life.

In terms of my illness, the changes I was making in my life started adding up. I could soon go a solid week without another infection, then I slowly reached my first month without a healing crisis. As of this writing, knock on wood, I have been free and clear of the former ‘health curse’ for over 3 years. 

There is a moment in our lives when most of us experience a great shift. Everything changes. For me, this came when I decided I would no longer be a prisoner to this illness and I was willing to do whatever it took to get better. That moment of commitment, as Goethe reminds us, is when the “entire universe conspires to assist you.” The results I’ve experienced as well as my healing team of health professionals and personal relationships are a testament to the veracity of this statement.

A Healthier Obsession

During the deepest and darkest times of my life and with my health condition, food became an obsession. When a person is sick, all they can think about is how they don’t want to be sick and how they can get better. For me, this manifested as anxiety around food (especially low-quality food in social situations) and disordered eating.

These days, quality food is not an obsession. Orthorexia is a real issue, but it’s not one I have. What I do have is a strong set of values and awareness around organic/non-GMO, sustainably grown foods.


Health involves so much more than being thin. I think about what people have told me and how such a simplistic statement puts focus on the wrong areas of life.

Though I find it a bit traumatic to revisit this time in my life and reflect upon the pain and discomfort involved, I let gratitude for my healing overshadow it. I’m so thankful that I’ve healed my body and that this experience has enabled me to empathize with my clients as I empower them to also leave health issues, doctors, lists of medications, pain, and unwanted weight behind so they can step into the life of vitality they deserve. We all deserve this.

Red Velvet Smoothie

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We brought this smoothie to a client session and she and her daughter loved it so much, they begged us to send the recipe. Luckily, because of what we learned in kindergarten, we’re sharing it with everyone!

1/4 cup frozen beets
1 cup cranberries (helps prevent UTIs)
1/2 cup frozen raspberries (if you’re not a fan of chewing seeds in your smoothie, leave these out)
1 cup kale (or spinach)
3 tbsp hemp protein powder
Water – enough to thin it out and be drinkable
(if you need additional sweetness, add a bit of honey)

Load all ingredients into high-powered blender and enjoy!

Learn about Rhabdomyolysis


Rhabdomyolysis, or “Rhabdo” for short, is the death of muscle cells (rhabdo from Greek meaning “rod”, myo – “of muscles, relating to muscles” and lysis meaning “to break”). When muscle is damaged or strained from work, it releases a protein called myoglobin into the bloodstream. If the levels of the protein get too high, they can cause damage to the kidneys and even cause renal failure.

Though it’s not a new condition, rhabdomyolysis has been recently associated with popular high-intensity workout regimens which typically have participants pushing beyond their limits with extreme power-lifting along with challenging cardiovascular activities. However, there are other different causes including dehydration resulting from drug or alcohol, trauma, heat stroke, medications, and infection.

One of the signs of rhabdomyolysis is dark, red, or brown-colored urine and can be accompanied by fatigue, muscle weakness, fever, and difficulty moving limbs as well as nausea and vomiting.

To help avoid injury during high-intensity exercise, it’s important to have proper training and diet. Whether you’re just beginning an intense workout regimen or have been training for years, every athlete needs to know the risk for rhabdomyolysis.

Remember to never push your body for too long or too hard in exercise as well as to have proper nutrition and fluid intake so you can effectively flush out myoglobins through your urine.