Chronic fatigue effects over 1 million Americans according to the CDC, and there is not one specific treatment available for chronic fatigue. While the medical field is quick to diagnose chronic fatigue, discovering the root cause of ongoing fatigue is still a mystery to most medical doctors. Nowadays terms like chronic fatigue get thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean? Is it a real disease? Are we born with chronic fatigue syndrome (or CFS)? How do we get it and is it contagious? These are all questions I have heard from my patients. So first let’s talk about what CFS is and how many people it effects. Then we can get into how we can treat chronic fatigue; you may be surprised at how this is done.

Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Diagnostic Criteria
As you can see above, diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome requires at least 6 months of fatigue as well as a minimum of 4 of the listed criteria. There is not a specific blood test or biomarker that your doctor may use to diagnose you with chronic fatigue syndrome. This means that your diagnosis is solely up to your subjective complaints and your doctor’s intuition. If you are seeing a medical doctor and get this diagnosis, you may be left wondering “why is this happening to me?”. While most doctor’s will be satisfied by simply diagnosing chronic fatigue, the follow through of treatment is lacking. The same way there is no specific test to diagnose this condition, there is also not a medication for the treatment of CFS, as it’s cause usually differs from patient to patient. This may be one of the reasons that a medicine has not been developed for chronic fatigue: Although over one million Americans are suffering from CFS, many of them suffer for different reasons! Let’s talk about why.

What are the causes of Chronic Fatigue?

As mentioned, chronic fatigue syndrome can have many causes. In fact, there are usually multiple factors that manifest to become chronic fatigue syndrome.

In the world of holistic primary care, we try to identify each one of these factors and return the body to homeostasis or balance in the three realms of stresses. As a chiropractor in Miami, most of the patient’s I see for chronic pain, also tend to have issues with chronic fatigue. The same goes for many of the patient’s with autoimmune disorders and hormonal issues. So why are these patients all so different, but have chronic fatigue in common? Get ready, because this part can get tough to put together- but once you understand it, it makes perfect sense.

Patients with chronic fatigue have physical, chemical, and emotional stresses that contribute to an overall imbalance. This imbalance ends up draining their bodies of vital nutrients and minerals that maintain their state of health and wellness. There are multiple predisposing, as well as environmental, factors that play a role in chronic fatigue, making it so difficult to treat. Let’s start with the predispositions.

Our DNA is coded to perform certain processes on a regular basis that run all of the systems in our body. These processes are then carried out by enzymes that use vitamins and minerals as essential parts of the process. Some people have what are known as genetic mutations, polymorphisms, or SNP’s. SNP’s create a variation in our body’s natural process and can speed up and slow down different processes making each individual completely different. There is one SNP, in general, that plays a large role in chronic fatigue syndrome. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami, I have found that the majority of my patients have the MTHFR gene variant. So what does MTHFR do for us?

The MTHFR gene is vital for making B vitamins readily usable by the body. This is huge for patients with chronic fatigue because B vitamins play an essential role in energy production and also in new cell proliferation. The MTHFR SNP makes the water soluble B vitamin viable to enter a cell, where it’s action occurs, by undergoing the methylation process. It is a simple chemical reaction that happens over 80 billion times a second in the body, however it can occur up to 60% less efficiently for those with the MTHFR mutation.

Understanding the role of how the body uses these vitamins is of the utmost importance because people with the MTHFR mutation are already behind when it comes to energy production. Now let’s look at how else chronic fatigue can become a reality for this population of people.

As previously mentioned the MTHFR SNP decreases the body’s ability to make new cells. This includes both white blood cells and red blood cells. White blood cells make up our immune system meaning people with the MTHFR variant are more susceptible to having immune deficiencies. In addition, our tissues are nourished by our red blood cells. Most people with the MTHFR variant (and a lack of usable B vitamins) have a sort of functional anemia that does not deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the body. This means that in the event of a stressful environment, someone with the MTHFR variant has more of a chance of catching a cold from a virus or bacteria as opposed to someone who may be more genetically efficient and more importantly, less deficient in vitamins and minerals.

Sometimes these immune system offenders like viruses, bacteria, fungus, and mold, stick around longer than intended and start to drain the body of its nutrients even more! Some of the biggest culprits here are viruses. Almost all my patients with chronic fatigue have elevated antibodies to Epstein Barr Virus, Cytomegalovirus, Hepatitis, Herpes 1 or 2, and even Varicella. Once we contract a virus we always have it. Our immune system is designed to suppress these viruses but in times of stress or nutrient deficiency, they can run rampant throughout the body and severely drain the body of its B vitamins and anti-oxidants.

This becomes a vicious cycle in which the body is trying to defend itself but is running low on gas. Our body though, amazing as it is, will pull gas from other areas of the body and as a result we start to see fatigue and other symptoms develop. The B vitamins that we need to make new cells, make energy, make anti-oxidants, and detoxify our blood are being used up way to fast by the immune system and therefor lacking in other areas. This is why a comprehensive blood panel from a holistic chiropractor will tell you more about how to heal from chronic fatigue than anything else.

Many times the MTHFR SNP plays a role, but it is also possible that the stomach can be involved in malabsorption of the same B vitamins. This is why sometimes chronic fatigue syndrome can also come from your gut. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami, I send many of my patients home with a stool testing kit. This test is an essential part of discovering the patient’s nutrient absorption and also their immune activity (70% of the immune system is in the stomach). Most people with the MTHFR variant have lowered immunity, meaning they have probably visited their MD and taken a round of antibiotics. These antibiotics wipe out the “good” flora or bacteria in our stomach and create even more of an immune system problem. (This is why it is so important for you to see a holistic chiropractor when you’re sick, as we can use a multi-factorial approach to aiding your immune system rather than wiping out a large part of it with antibiotics.)

So now we have a person with:
• Lowered immune function due to the MTHFR variant,
• Opportunistic infections due to unbalanced stomach bacteria (dysbiosis) which up regulate the immune system and drain it’s nutrients,
• And a genetic inefficiency to make energy.

This is one of the reasons that swollen palpable lymph nodes are part of the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue. A chronic low grade infection is usually present along with dysbiosis and nutrient deficiency. This is one of the ways that many chronic fatigue syndrome patients are similar but also so different. While they may have similar case presentations, they may also have different infections which makes finding the cause of the fatigue an individualized diagnosis and therefore requiring individualized treatment.


Treatment of Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Treatment of chronic fatigue consists of specific treatments to help balance the patient physically, chemically, and emotionally. As a holistic chiropractor in Miami I have found that starting with the stomach is extremely important. Chemical treatment includes removing harmful substances and any unwanted guests like bad bacteria, fungus, yeast, or parasites is essential. Resolving inflammatory conditions of the lining of the stomach are also important as this inflammation plays a role in proper nutrient absorption. Reinoculating the stomach with the proper flora or bacteria aids in proper digestion, removal of toxins, immune modulation, and also nutrient absorption.

Balancing blood chemistry, which can reveal other nutrient deficiencies, also plays a pivotal role in healing from chronic fatigue. This may include adrenal support, liver detoxification, hormonal rejuvenation, and even neurotransmitter balancing. Additionally, looking for gene variants such as the MTHFR can aid in specifying treatment even more for each individual. For example one type of B vitamin may be useless for a certain genetic make up and it may be too potent for someone with a different genetic make up. Again, this is one of the reasons there is not one specific treatment for chronic fatigue.

Physically, chiropractic treatment has been vital in helping to remove pain from the muscles and joints which prohibit the patient from exercising and moving properly. Depending on the presentation of the patient, relief care may first be necessary which consists of intensive physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments. Moving into wellness care aids to maintain balance of the nervous system which controls everything involuntary in our body. Chiropractic ensures that the patient is adapting to treatment, and also daily stress, as best as possible.

Exercise is also a must. This is case dependent and must be done to tolerance. Exercise however is essential in stimulating the body at the proper time to restore adrenal and hormonal function that has been unbalanced for so long once someone has fatigue for that length of time.

Emotionally, the patient must find time to de-stress. Picking up a new hobby, working with their hands, stimulating creativity are all ways that I recommend we “distract” the body from it’s ongoing stress response and allow the body to “catch up”.  Taking a break from technology and focusing on breathing properly is where most patients start. Progressing to mediation and yoga is recommended and adapting these to their lifestyle will only improve quality of life for each patient in the future.

In closing, I would like you to remember that chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome are multi-factorial manifestations of lifestyle choices, sometimes genetic make-up, immune status, gastrointestinal function, and history of antibiotic use. If you or a loved one are suffering from chronic fatigue and your doctors are running out of answers or ideas, you may consider seeing a functional medicine doctor or holistic primary care chiropractor such as myself. I am dedicated to helping people realize that there is an alternative to “living with disease and symptoms” and that is to truly heal from our ailments. The process can be a long and difficult one, however if diagnosed and treated properly, the results can be outstanding and the change in quality of life of patients that heal from chronic fatigue is monumental.

Dr. Raymond Tolmos is a graduate of the Florida State University with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from the college of Human Sciences. He then attained his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Florida.
Along the way to his education Dr. Tolmos was a personal trainer at the Florida State gym, L.A. Fitness, and Gold’s Gym as well. Besides one on one training and nutritional advice Dr. Tolmos also taught group exercise classes. He feels that all of these experiences to this point have helped him become a better Doctor of Chiropractic.

How many of us would consider a ten day silent meditation as a learning experience? I thought it would be a nice getaway, time to be with me. Never did I imagine that ten days of silence would teach me more than any book or class.

Upon my arrival to the meditation center, I was escorted to the dining area where all students were gathered awaiting the instructions for the next ten days.   There were nineteen women and seven men of different ages gathered around the dining area chatting while anticipating that soon the echo of chatter would fade and the sound of a pin drop would be heard.   Moments later, the manager of the center appears and plays the instructions from a tape recorder–yes, it was pretty antiquated to say the least, but we weren’t at the Apple Headquarters.   The instructions: no talking, no eye contact, no reading, no cell phone, no books, no writing, no exercising, no killing of any insects-including Mosquitos. After the recording finished, the manager said, “From now forward everyone is to honor these noble rules.”

Every morning, we gather in group at 4:30 AM in the main hall for group meditation, and then spending about 12 hours each day learning and practicing the Vipassana meditation technique. The goal is to sharpen your mind, to raise your awareness and to know yourself better.


Five Lessons I Learned in Ten Days:


1) The moment is yours.

This moment is all you have; what do you want to experience?   Too many times we are living in yesterday or tomorrow and not in the now. We hear it often, but don’t experience it enough-enjoy the now, it’s all you have.


2) Pain and Attachment

I have often pondered on the question, what causes pain? Our attachment to things, feelings and people causes a constant state of desire to the attachment. As soon as the “attachment” is taken away, pain sets in. Imagine you lose a watch that is very expensive, you get sad and may even cry at your loss of the watch. Now imagine your colleague has the same watch and it goes missing; this time you don’t cry or get sad. The attachment is to the object and it causes misery. Attachment causes pain.


3) Love is yours.

This one lesson is a bit difficult for most to comprehend. No one can actually GIVE you love; it’s yours, always has been and always will be. Others can share their love with you, but never give it to you because love is within you and you already possess it. This in essence proves the notion that you are love.


4) Know thyself.

All great sages and religious leaders advise us to know thyself, not just intellectually, emotionally or devotionally, but know reality experientially. Experience directly the reality of our mental/physical phenomenon; this is what helps us be free from suffering.


5) Compassion heals.

Over ten days of silence and the most important lesson was on my way back home at the airport. I stopped in the food court and picked up a sandwich. After I ordered my food, there was a change of shift. I observed a fragile and sensitive young man who came to the register taking people’s orders in a genuinely friendly manner. I noticed he would often made mistakes on the register and as soon as he made a mistake, he would get very flustered, so much so that his co-workers didn’t want to be around him and it was quite obvious.   Instantaneously I felt his suffering as if it was my own. As soon as the customers cleared, I approached him and he warmly welcomed me and asked to take my order. I glanced over at his name tag and responded, “No. thank you Jacob. I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you are doing.” Jacob began to cry and reached out for my hand and we cried together. Everyone faces the “universal problem” of suffering, the remedy is also universal…compassion heals. What I saw in Jacob was merely a reflection. Sometimes it’s that simple, people are in need of compassion.


We all seek growth; sometimes we seek it externally, yearning for external praise, status or things. But, growth happens from the inside out, contrary to what we have been conditioned to believe.   It is not wrong to try to get rid of the apparent external cause of your suffering. But it is more important to get rid of the internal cause.


May you all experience this ultimate truth. May all people be free from misery. May you enjoy real peace, real harmony, and real happiness.


Be Happy,

Rula Sater

Rula Slater — Summer of WellbeingRula Sater is a certified coach and Master Neurolinguistic program practitioner. She incorporates meditation and mindfulness in her work with her clients. She primarily works with those in leadership capacity coaching them on breaking down obstacles, understanding how to better communicate and how to reach and utilize their true leadership potential. Additionally, Rula provides leadership training to organizations seeking to create an exceptional leadership workforce. She has been recognized as a Top 40 Trainer Under 40 in North America by Training Magazine. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organization Psychology.


Visit me at http://www.rightcoachforlife.com or drop me a line at metamorphosiscoach@gmail.com

signs that you are toxic

Inevitably there will be times in our lives when we will be toxic. In fact, it’s probably no coincidence that as I write this blog, I, in fact, am toxic. You see, we are human, and during our very human moments we do things like eat too much pizza (because it’s quick and cheap!), speak on our cell phones too much, or expose ourselves to too many chemicals, like household cleaning products. Because I’ve been on this “learning path” for a while now, I’m pretty aware of when things are not working for me. My body screams at me like it’s been doing for the past two weeks. Not a fun time! After quite a healthy run, I’ve been experiencing severe digestive issues, sinus headaches, increased allergies, and painful back aches. YIKES! Right now, I’m TOXIC, and I’m slowly making those shifts I need in order to get back to my optimal state.


Do you know when you are toxic? 

As you may know, I’ve been blogging about the book by James Jordan, Your Health is in Your Hands. We’ve covered becoming your own health detective, the importance of nutrients, and this week, we cover the nasty role that toxins play in our health (or lack of health!). There is such a wealth of information in Jim’s book. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the e-book ($6.99 on Amazon) so you can get into the granular, amazing information he provides. Oh, and did I mention this is a quick and easy read? No encyclopedia here! It’s a wonderful reference for everyday folks like you and me. What I hope to do in this post is offer a few simple ways to understand what can make us toxic, and a few simple steps you can take.


What’s a Toxin?

Jim defines a toxin as any substance that creates irritating or harmful effects, undermines our health or stresses our biochemistry or organ function. The three primary categories of toxins we get exposed to daily include chemicals, heavy metals and radiation. And, this really caught my attention:


Basic Maxim

Your rate of detoxification must exceed your intake of toxins or you will age faster, 

develop chronic illnesses and die prematurely. 

This must be understood if you are serious about taking charge of your health.


How do we Detox?

I’ve already highlighted a few of these in my earlier posts, but I’ll list them again, and refer to them as S.H.E.A.D.:  SLEEP, HYDRATE, ELIMINATE, ASSIMILATE & DIGEST.  Not too complicated, right? Get enough sleep (this was a big one when I blogged about Ariana Huffington’s book, Thrive, last summer), drink about 4 oz of water every 30 minutes, eliminate (I’ll say it like a Mommy…. GO POTTY REGULARLY!), get  your nutrients, and support digestion by eating the right foods and getting your nutrients. Here’s a fun fact: We really do need our 8 hours of sleep! Getting our Zzzz’s helps our brains clear away the waste that is responsible for diseases like Alzheimer’s, and other neurological disorders! 



How do we lessen the duration and quantity of toxins we are exposed to? 

My answer? One small step at a time. We are exposed to thousands upon thousands of chemicals daily. Let’s try not to get overwhelmed by this thought, but make a few SMALL and SMART decisions that are within our control. For example, cleaning products. Part of the reason I am experiencing some of the symptoms I have right now may be due to the fact that I had to fire my cleaning lady! As a result, I am doing lots of heavy lifting around the house and making contact with lots of chemicals. One step I intend to take immediately is to purchase natural cleaning products. Other chemicals we often don’t think of, which can suppresses our immune system, poison our nervous system, and can contribute to health issues like cardiovascular disease, and ADD, include: refined sugar, MSG, sulfites (in wine!), all fake sugars, and BPA from plastic bottles! Keep it simple…use non-refined, organic or natural sweeteners, and use BPA-FREE bottles. You don’t have to stop the wine, but consider buying organic, sulfite-free wine. I do!


Heavy metals are another source of yuckiness! Most heavy metals come in the form of pollution. They, literally, are heavier versions of lead, mercury, arsenic, and many others. These pollutants get into our foods and can be found in our medications, vaccines, antibiotics, and in dental fillings and crowns! I was not aware of the latter until I had my first consult with Jim. I had so many mercury fillings in my teeth, and that’s one of the first things I did—remove all my mercury (amalgam) fillings. And get this…


(According to a study) On average, 81% of the symptoms (many!!) were cured or improved after amalgam removal!!!


Because heavy metals can decrease the normal activity of our enzymes to a mere 5%, the result is our compromised health. One of the common health issues many experience today is called Leaky Gut Syndrome, which causes inflammation (the cause of most illnesses today!), pain, and irritation to the immune and nervous system.  Aside from removing our amalgam fillings, a few other simple steps we can take include: doing a heavy metal detox program at least once a year (resources in Jim’s book), take regular clay baths, eat cilantro, chlorella, coconut oil, and medicinal mushrooms, like shiitake! And probably the best simple step….SWEAT (via exercise and sauna), which appears “to be a potential method for elimination of many toxic elements from the human body.”


The last toxin we’ll cover is radiation. One of Jim’s mentors, Michael Coyle, shared with Jim that (non-ionizing) radiation will be the number one environmental factor affecting our health in the 21st Century. Non-ionizing sources of radiation include our cell phones, microwaves, computers, electrical appliances, and more. Excess exposure to these can cause fatigue, headaches, foggy thinking, depression, sleep disturbances, ADD, ADHD, and increased risk of certain types of cancers (brain) for high volume cell phone usage. Now, I’m not any more willing than you (most likely!) to stop using all of my convenient, shiny, productive electronics. But, I can say that I can see the potential affect it is having on me and my son, who now uses a tablet for all his school work. This is the challenge of the future. Some of the simple steps we are taking include: keep our electronics at least one foot away from our bodies (especially during sleep…no phone under your pillow!), limit our microwave use (don’t stare at your food while it cooks!), use our cell speaker phones as often as possible (or a headset), take detox baths often, and get our nutrients (helps to rid us of toxins as I mentioned in my last post).


I hope you’re a bit more enlightened, as I am! What I love about Jim’s book is that although it’s very technical in providing all of the science behind what our bodies do and don’t need and the effects on our bodies (potentially very dangerous over time), the solutions truly are very simple. With a bit of dedication and patience (and lots if intention), we really can be smart detectives and change agents for ourselves and those we love.


Now, go detox, folks!

It’s your life, lead it well!





Do you often look back to those weird home remedies that your parents or grandparents had for every ailment under the sun? I still use some of them and wish I had asked more questions growing up. I want that library, now that I’m open to learning! These were healing products found in nature that were readily available and didn’t require a visit to the doctor or a prescription. They certainly didn’t require any insurance!
With my thoughts on natural remedies I continue our reading of Your Health is in Your Hands, by James D. Jordan. If you didn’t catch part 1, you can find it here. In this blog, I continue with the idea (in the book) that the majority of illnesses we get, or our general “un-healthy” feelings, stem from toxins, stress, and/or nutritional deficiencies. Today I focus on nutrients.
I have delicious memories from my childhood, savoring one of my favorite comfort foods that my grandmother, Amelia, made me— a large bowl of hot “harina”, or cooked cornmeal. I loved putting sugar on mine (FYI—I don’t do this today!!!), but she always made us eat it with a raw egg on top! I enjoyed it, but always thought it was strange. I questioned, “Will the raw egg make me sick?” Well, it never did. Today I know that not only are eggs a great source of protein and omega-3 fats (among other nutrients), but Jim tells us they are one of the best sources (raw) of enzymes that are “required for your body to function properly, because without them you wouldn’t be able to breathe, swallow, drink, eat or digest your food.” COOL, way to go, Abuelita!
Through studies shared in the book, we can reasonably assume that a good amount of our population consistently fails to meet even the minimum intake for many of the key nutrients recommended. There are so many eye-opening reasons why listed in the book, but the one that really caught my eye is the declining nutritional content in our food due to the changing agricultural practices that give more importance to traits (size, pesticides) other than nutrition. One study concluded that “…one would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of vitamin A as our grandparents would have gotten from one.
A key point driven home in this book via study after study and Jim’s own experiences and experiments, makes it clear that one small, yet significant step we can take toward getting all the nutrients we need is to take a high-quality whole-food multivitamin/mineral formula daily because “It is difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally from food alone, even if that food is organically grown.Getting all of the key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants we need also protect us from toxins, which simply just make us feel worst, and can negatively impact our health over time. (More on that next week!)
Jim provides a nice, brief overview of the common nutrient deficiencies and how to supplement them using real food! It’s really a great resource. But to keep it simple, I want to share with you the 8 small positive changes you can make to get all the nutrients you need, and really be in a place where you are preventing illness and thriving:
  • Center your healthy diet around high-quality (Look for: organic, naturally raised, grass fed, free range, wild caught): 
    • Proteins such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs cooked at low temperatures (225 degrees or below to prevent oxidative damage)
    • Organic fruits and veggies (more nutrient-dense and less toxic!)
    • Fats such as butter, olive oil, coconut oil and raw nuts and seeds
    • Raw, sprouted and cultured foods (like raw eggs, raw honey & sushi!)
  • Supplement your diet with a high-quality whole food-based multivitamin and mineral formula
  • Take a high-quality pro-biotic daily to support optimal digestion (for nutrient absorption!)
  • Dehydration is a very common deficiency! Drink half your body weight in oz of water daily. View our 2014 guest blog about this here.
  • Assess (through testing or symptoms) any nutrient deficiency which may be contributing to your health issues, and supplement those deficiencies through the above.
I’ll wrap this up by sharing that as a coach I see how many individuals (of all ages) suffer from symptoms like, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, and constant movement (hyperactivity). Although I believe that much of this can be attributed to our life styles and careers (What we think we should be and do), Jim also shares that the most common deficiency he sees is that of magnesium, which can cause/aggravate many of these symptoms. If this sounds like you, please consider finding out what your deficiencies may be and begin supplementing what you need. Wonderful natural resources for magnesium deficiencies are green leafy veggies, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate and halibut! YUM!
I hope this was helpful! Are you already doing a lot of the above? If so, I’m cheering you on with my tall glass of water and ounce of dark chocolate!
Until next week…it’s your life, lead it well.


1. Get Clean or your WHY.

Decide what it is you want and WHY. Do you want to lose weight and get in shape? Take 10 minutes to sit down and find out your WHY. Finding out your WHY is going to be the motivator that keeps you moving forward even when you may not feel like it. People who complete this important step are much more likely to succeed than those who don’t take the time to find out their WHY.

At first you’re why my may be that you want to lose weight but if you dig a little deeper, you may find other reasons such as: fitting into your favorite pair of jeans, or being able able to run around with your children and not get out of breath. Maybe it’s to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and without inflammation or joint pains. Becoming clear on your personal WHY will set you up for success.


2. Decide, commit and don’t give in to excuses.

Make the commitment to yourself that you are going to do what it takes to get hot and healthy. Life is always going to throw things in your way and try to knock you off track. It is the people who keep going and don’t stop that are successful.

Let me tell you a secret, there is no wagon to fall off of. Just keep going at your next meal or your next workout. Don’t be like the rest of the people who keep starting and stopping and never get anywhere. It may not be an easy journey, but what you will learn about yourself and what you are capable of are priceless.

Don't Give up copy 2


3. Start your day with lemon water and drink up to half your weight in water every day.

Lemon water is a fabulous way to start the day. It helps to flush the body of toxins that have been accumulating while you are sleeping. It is refreshing and tastes great.

Hydration is extremely important for a healthy body. Most people do not drink enough of it. When you realize you are thirsty you are probably already dehydrated.

Water is a great metabolism booster and a natural weight loss aid. It can increase energy, relieve fatigue and can boost your immune system. Eating foods that are high in water content like fruits and vegetables will help you to have beautiful skin. So go drink some water!water copy 2 (1)


4. Get rid of processed foods.

Your body does not know how to handle processed foods. It’s like a foreign invader in your body. Processed foods or as I call them “Franken Foods,” can cause hormone disruptions in the body, add to cellulite and slow down weight loss. Kick them to the curb and incorporate healthy proteins, fruits, veggies and of course lots of water!

Diet foods, low calorie, sugar-free, fat free, be careful of these types of foods. Read the labels and see what is in them. Can you pronounce the words? If not then I suggest you put it back on the shelf, your body does not need them.


5. Get more restful sleep.

I think the world seems to be lacking in sleep lately. Are you getting enough? Did you know that when you sleep your body has a chance to cleanse, repair and rebuild.

HGH or human growth hormone is secreted when you are in deep sleep. HGH is like the fountain of youth, so if you are not getting enough then you are shutting down your bodies’ own natural fountain of your pharmacy. Strive for 8 hours of interrupted sleep a night.


6. Schedule your workouts in your calendar and keep them no matter what.

I would hope that if you made an appointment with your doctor, hairdresser or accountant that you would keep it. The appointments you keep with yourself are even more important because you are worth it.

Make a plan of action pick 2-4 days a week that you are going to schedule in your fitness and keep it. Even if it is only 10 minutes, instead of 1 hour, that is fine. Keep the appointment and commitment you made to yourself. It takes 21 days to create a new habit. You can do it!


7. Plan out your meals for the week.

This is such a life -saver when you are getting in shape. If you take 30 minutes to 1 hour and plan out your meals for the week you are going to be so successful!

Most people fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to their nutrition. Successful people plan, implement and take action. Try new recipes, experiment with new flavors, spices and herbs. Eating hot and healthy can be a lot of fun if you PLAN.


8. Posture is the KEY to a strong core.

Who doesn’t want a strong core? Notice how you are sitting while you are reading this. Are you slouched over? Could you be sitting up straighter?

Most chairs and cars put your body in a position that pushes out your stomach muscles instead of holding them in. During the do posture checks and notice your bodies alignment. This one tip can help give you a stronger core without doing any push-ups. How great is that?!I wish

 Written by Laura London, contributing blogger for FIU Life Well LED’s

Summer of Wellbeing!

Laura London — Summer of Wellbeing

Laura is a lifestyle coach, holistic nutritionista and a fitness specialist. She is also the author of the Hot and Healthy Body. Since overcoming Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Epstein Barr Disease, and a chronic back issue, Laura has reinvented, not only her healthy, but also her life – in her 40’s. She is here to show you that you can do it too!

Laura has become an inspiration to women across the globe with her down-to-earth personality and her simple, easy-to-follow healthy advice and workout routines.


As you’ve heard me share over the last few weeks, during our Summer of Wellbeing— the next 11 weeks, I’ll be going back to my “Relaxed Book Club” blogging roots and reading and sharing the content from two wonderful books. Today I begin with Your Health is in Your Hands, by James D. Jordan, CNC, JD. 

Your Health is in Your Hands: Three Reasons You’re Not Well and What to Do About It


Jim was introduced to me by mother, Ellie, who was experiencing some very scary symptoms that most doctors just pushed away with a prescription pad. When she was close to her wits end, she found Jim and her path to healing began.

I, too, was experiencing symptoms of my own. I was exhausted all the time, and even fell asleep at the wheel one day and crashed into another vehicle. As a life-long dancer who always watched what she ate, I truly thought I was eating healthy. I also experienced severe allergies most of my teens and college years, but just stuck to the drugs that claimed to fix me. I even developed asthma at the age of 35, which took me by surprise.

Just as Jim did for my mother, he opened my eyes to a new way of living and eating, one that would help me put the power back in my hands and not in a prescription pad.

A sentence in Jim’s book caught my attention, as it also caught his attention when he was at his wits end, not understanding why he was feeling so sick. A Chinese doctor in Chicago told him the following:

 “These are not your problems. You are just not healthy. When you are healthy you cannot be sick.

Just like most of in the western world, Jim learned from this doctor that focusing on his health condition, or problem, wasn’t going to help him. What was going to begin his path to wellness—to true health—was to focus on the underlying causes of why he wasn’t feeling well. His focus now was away from the label of his illness and to the 100% attention on the nourishing and strengthening of his body, mind, and soul. Jim shares,

“I learned that whenever I felt less than optimal, I

 should always look to the underlying cause of why I did not feel well.”


His road back to health followed three clear steps:

  1. Reject all things that were clearly not working for him.
  2. Become open to new therapies, diets and healing modalities that could increase his vitality and strength (with no toxic side effects).
  3. Find his purpose in life—to get well and help others get well too.

I love this book, because Jim keeps it really simple. The simplicity of getting healthy also helps those of us who are parents— to  become detectives for our kids and figure out what small tweaks can help them be healthier.


In a nutshell, we need to ask three questions:

  1. Where are we deficient in nutrients?
  2. Are we toxic?
  3. What is causing us stress?

Personally, I can tell you that after experiencing what I did and learning my “Underlying Causation Paradigm,” as Jim refers to it, I now ask myself these questions every time I have a new symptom—no matter what it may be. I could begin sneezing a lot again or my asthma kicks into high gear, or perhaps I get more frequent head aches, or have unusual periods of fatigue. Instead of just heading to the pharmacy or doctor for a “fix me” prescription, I now try to take more personal responsibility and figure out what may be causing my symptoms. I also take a “spin” on the wellness wheel, which I shared in one of my videos and get curious about what’s going on. Guess what? I usually know what’s happening and I make minor tweaks that help me get better.  Now, I’m not sharing this to encourage you to not visit a doctor. I have doctors and I do visit them, but mostly for prevention (vitals, and check-ups), and for emergencies that may need immediate attention. But, I have to say that it is quite empowering to be more knowledgeable about how I can help myself as a first step instead of running to find help and put the power in someone else’s hands.  Next week I’ll begin to share some of Jim’s great knowledge that can help you be your own detective. Until then, think about these scary stats that Jim shares in the book:

  • Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercises.
  • More than 133 million Americans (45% of the population) have at least one chronic condition and 26% have multiple chronic conditions. Chronic disease is currently the leading cause of all death and disability in the U.S., responsible for 70% of all deaths.
  • A large portion of the population consistently fails to meet even the minimal intakes recommended in the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for many key nutrients.
  • ADHD diagnosis for children ages 4-17 years has risen 42% between 2003 and 2011.
  • Childhood obesity has tripled in the U.S. Over the past two decades resulting in the quadrupling of childhood chronic deceases in the past four decades.

It’s time to get smart about our health and the health and vitality of our children. It’s time to reclaim some of our power and make smart choices that can change our lives. Are you with me? Join me next week as we dig a little deeper into the nutrients we need to sustain us. It’s your life, lead it well!  Namaste,Monique



Life Well LED Community,

This week I’m so thrilled to feature a guest blog by Speaker, Author and Conversation Catalyst Anne E. Denny.

I had the privilege of meeting Anne at Michael Hyatt’s Platform Conference a few months ago, and I was moved by Anne’s passion and her very important work. It’s personal for me, and perhaps it is for you as well.

You see, when my grandmother, Amelia, fell ill many years ago, I saw my mother’s life change before my eyes. It was a blessing that she didn’t work and was able to manage my grandmother’s care, but I saw it take a toll on her. For 7 months until my grandmother’s unfortunate passing, she had to put her life on hold, figure everything out, and make difficult decisions that she often did not know were right or wrong; good or bad. It was extremely stressful and emotional.

At some point in our lives (and many of you have been there, or are there now), we may have to care for a loved one. Anne helps us to be proactive, make those difficult conversations easier, and mostly, prepare us for all the potential experiences that can drain us of our time, energy, and resources if we are not prepared.

I know you’ll appreciate Anne’s work as much as I do.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

January is a “can-do” month. Fueled by our New Year’s resolutions , we feel empowered to achieve numerous goals. While some may be noble and virtuous, such as volunteering for a good cause, many are self-improvement focused: weight loss, increased exercise, financial success, and more.

Are any of your goals this year focused on your family’s peace and emotional future? Specifically, have you ever considered the potential impact on your family if you have any major unexpected changes to your health?

Recently, a dear friend and business colleague called to ask for my assistance. Dave’s wife had just been diagnosed with melanoma. An appointment at the Mayo Clinic was days away. Both his wife and he wanted to make sure her preferences for care were clearly defined. In the event a treatment decision was required—and she was unable to communicate her wishes—Dave wanted to be sure he was honoring her choices.

Dave’s family Summer 2014

Today I received an email from another friend telling me she was being discharged from the hospital after a radical hysterectomy. The words “stage IV” cancer took my breath away. This is her second journey with cancer.

None of us knows what might befall us. Life happens—but denial is not an effective strategy. Proactive preparation for future healthcare decisions can protect your family’s peace, sparing those you love from arguing over your care.

Answering three key questions will open the door to important end-of-life conversations with your loved ones.

Who will speak for you if you can’t speak for yourself?

If you are unable to make or communicate your treatment and care preferences, who will make the decisions on your behalf? Choose your healthcare agents wisely. Your agents are the people you select to make medical decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate your wishes.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 11.29.08 AM

All too often, healthcare agents are chosen by tradition. A husband assumes his wife will be prepared to make the healthcare decisions that honor his wishes. A widower assumes his eldest son will lead his siblings to consensus regarding the best treatment option for his care.

But what if a spouse is unwilling to let go of her beloved husband of 60 years, disregarding clear evidence that death is imminent? Or, what if the passive character of the chosen healthcare agent is overrun by the emotional dynamics between siblings, spiraling the family into bitter disputes?


Tip #1: Choose your healthcare agents wisely.

By understanding the responsibilities of your healthcare agent and the critical traits of an effective healthcare agent, you can choose your decision-maker(s) wisely.

How will your loved ones know what choices to make?

Assuming your loved ones will know what to do is a common, and often disastrous, mistake many people make. Even if your spouse or adult child knows you well, imagine the emotional stress they might experience if a doctor asked them to quickly make a life-or-death decision regarding your healthcare treatment. In a crisis, we are not clear thinkers. Emotions are amplified. Family dynamics are on steroids.

Tip #2: Write a healthcare directive to put your treatment preferences in writing.

A variety of tools and resources are available to help you write an effective healthcare directive that includes:

  • Clear treatment guidelines for your care,
  • Statements of values and beliefs that will support decision-makers, and
  • Expressed needs for emotional and spiritual care.

Will your loved ones be prepared to honor your wishes?

The emergency room is the worst possible place for your family to consider for the first time what your wishes are for end-of-life healthcare. In the absence of your written, clearly stated treatment preferences, disagreement over your care is not only possible—it is highly probably. Sibling battles can rage as each individual argues for what he or she believes is the best choice for Mom or Dad.

Family conflict is one of the primary reasons patients languish in Intensive Care for weeks. Loved ones who are unwilling to let go advocate for more and more treatment—hoping for a miracle—in spite of clinical evidence that the patient is actively dying.

Tip #3: Have a family meeting to share your wishes.

Openly discussing your end-of-life preferences with all of the impacted loved ones is incredibly helpful. Everyone can hear the same message. Questions can be answered. The chosen healthcare agent(s) can be identified so everyone knows who will be the ultimate decision-maker(s). Having the support and guidance of a trained facilitator, such as a social worker, therapist, or nurse, is worthy of consideration.

Together, you and your family can prepare for a future medical emergency. Choose your healthcare agents wisely. Clearly document your wishes. Have a family meeting to communicate your wishes. You—and those you love—can have peace of mind.

About the author:

UntitledSpeaker, author and blogger Anne Elizabeth Denny educates, inspires and equips families to share meaningful conversations about end-of-life healthcare choices. Anne graduated from the University of Notre Dame. She has served as a business consultant in the healthcare industry since 1995. Anne’s professional and personal experiences inspired her to write her book My Voice, My Choice: A Practical Guide to Writing a Meaningful Healthcare Directive, create her blog, and develop healthcare directive software for healthcare delivery systems. Most of all, Anne loves to share motivational presentations to make end-of-life healthcare planning approachable for everyone.



Welcome to Week 8 of Summer of Well-Being! This week our emphasis is on the well-being dimension of eating, and making sure we eat healthier. As we get older we tend to start eating better. Slowly, the days of quick Pop Tart breakfasts and Ramen dinners disappear and are replaced by early morning green smoothies and late-night buckwheat Soba noodles.

Today, in honor of the Summer of Well-Being, we have Leoncio Alvarez from Munch This!  who has revamped three of his recipes to make them more health-conscious. Try them out and let us know how they work for you!

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Fried empanadas are swapped out for baked vegetable spring rolls that you can make with whatever veggies on hand. I had some sweet potatoes and corn and added some black beans. If you have zucchini, or carrots that would work. Just because a recipe says you have to use something doesn’t mean you have to. You’re in charge of your kitchen!


  • 15 spring roll wrappers (can be found at your nearest Oriental market)
  • ½ yellow onion (peeled, diced, finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled, diced, chopped)
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil

Step 1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sweet potato and cook for 12-15 minutes or until sweet potato is soft but not mashed. Reduce heat if needed.

Step 2. After cooking veggies for 5 minutes add curry powder, turmeric and coriander powder.

Step 3. After 10 minutes add corn and black beans and combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4. Crack egg into a small bowl and add a 1 Tablespoon of water. Whisk and set aside.

Step 5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 spring roll wrapper on a cutting board. Add 1 Tablespoon of veggie mixture to top edge. Create spring rolls using this video as guidance. Repeat with remaining spring roll wrappers. Any leftover vegetables could be stored and used as a side for another meal.

Step 6. Place prepared spring rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.

Chicken Meatballs

Cuban-style ground beef can get tiring in Miami. Chicken meatballs are 98 percent fat free and taste just as great. The addition of steel-cut oats adds fiber and makes these meatballs plump up in the oven. When buying oats make sure you get steel-cut compared to rolled oats. Steel-cut should have no added sugar and are less in calories. Serve meatballs with a drizzle of soy and honey.


  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 small onion (peeled, finely chopped)
  • ½ red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of nonfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped sage
  • 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in order in a large bowl and combine.

Step 2. Use an ice cream scooper to make meatballs and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center. You can test by taking a meatball and cutting through it with a knife to see how it is in the center.

Try these out with ground turkey too! You can serve with your favorite sauce.

Brown Rice Coconut Pudding

Grandma’s rice pudding is decadently creamy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add some healthy ingredients to make it even better. Coconut palm sugar is being recognized more and more as a substitute for white sugar.  The effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar are measured by the glycemic index. Regular table sugar  ranks between 60 and 75, while coconut palm sugar is just 35 on the glycemic index. Your blood sugar level could spike depending on how high the glycemic index is for the food you’re intaking.

This pudding is not as sweet as grandma’s, but cranberries and toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds add a delightful sweet-and-salty crunch.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.43.54 AM

  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ cup of coconut palm sugar
  • 1 13 ½ oz can of lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups of almond milk or skim milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of toasted coconut
  • ¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • ¼ cup of cranberries

Step 1. In a large pot over medium heat add lite coconut milk, 1 cup of almond or skim milk and brown rice. Heat until boiling. Bring down heat and stir every two minutes to make sure rice never sticks to the bottom.

Step 2. Add cinnamon, ginger, coconut palm sugar and vanilla. Keep stirring every two minutes for about an hour.

Step 3. Add remaining milk, lemon zest and cranberries and continue stirring rice. Cook for another hour never forgetting to stir, until rice is soft and pudding is creamy. If rice pudding gets too thick, add a few spoonfuls of milk. Top with toasted coconuts and pumpkin seeds Enjoy!


Try out these and more recipes from Munch This!

Mary P
 Leoncio Alvarez
Founder/Chief Editor of Munch This!
Leoncio Alvarez is a Miami native who loves to share his passion for food and cooking with others. He has been munching out on Munch This! since 2010, developing and starring in his own Youtube cooking show in 2013. He is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Website: MunchThis.net