Pain Buster Smoothie

Pain Buster Smoothie

Are you suffering from aches and pain or have a slower recovery time after workouts? Try this powerful anti inflammatory smoothie that tastes incredible! This delicious smoothie is full of antioxidants which will curb your pain and expedite the recovery time after workouts. Enjoy this pain buster smoothie after a workout session, for breakfast, or any other time of the day. Bonus – it will keep you full for long!


  • 1 cup greens of your choice (spinach, kale, chard)

  • 1 cup mixed fruits (Mango, pineapple, strawberries, and peach)

  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut

  • ½ Avocado

  • ½ inch small piece of ginger

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp black seeds

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • ¼ tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Enjoy! Let us know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments and be sure to share this recipe with your friends and family!

Photos courtesy of Makeen Osman Photography

Treating Insomnia

Treating Insomnia

As a pharmacist, I have witnessed the desperation of sleep-deprived patients as they fumble through aisles for a bottle of Advil PM. They resemble a parched marathon runner, fishing for a cup of water just before the finish line—fishing for the nearest lifeline in sight. For insomniacs, sleeping pills are just that: a lifeline. They are the Quick Fix to the tossing, the turning, the clock-watching agonies that haunt their every night. These pills grant them the gift of a good night’s sleep, so they become their lifeline.

According to National Sleep Foundation (NSF), millions of people aren’t meeting the recommended hours of sleep that their bodies need to function optimally. Millions of people, in other words, are sleep-deprived. But despite the NSF’s report, the number is actually significantly higher, because many people suffer in silence. Their doctors remain unaware of the issue as these insomniacs resort to over-the-counter sleeping pills for a solution (i.e. Benadryl, Tylenol PM, Advil PM, Melatonin, etc.).

But untreated insomnia often leads to bigger problems; its victims are at an increased risk of other ill conditions, such as depression, PMS, fibromyalgia, anxiety, carbohydrate cravings, binge-eating, as well as alcoholism.

So what are mainstream treatments of insomnia?

Imagine this scenario: it’s confession time. Your primary doctor listens as you spill your million grievances about your sleepless nights and unproductive work days and crippling headaches and accruing Starbucks bills, pausing only to chug down what happens to be your fourth coffee of the day. Life’s been rough. And ironically, what should be the remedy to rough day—sleep—is actually your offender.

Most patients coming in for insomnia treatment are directed toward counseling services for stress reduction. Others are taught sleep hygiene and are told to avoid caffeine (this last one functions to save both your sanity and your shrinking wallet). And when these interventions don’t work, mainstream doctors—in their time constraints and insurance reimbursement pressures—resort to prescribing sleep medication1. What’s missing from that sequence of solutions?

As always, finding and treating the root cause.

Though prescription medications help patients fall asleep, they are only patchwork solutions to a complex problem. Patients who are dependent on these medications will regress to insomniac tendencies as soon as their pills are misplaced or finished. Consequently, their pill dependency can last a lifetime, inviting adverse side effects that were never there. Here’s another an inconvenient truth: insomnia is not the problem in and of itself; rather, it is a symptom to an invisible issue in need of diagnosis. Our approach as Functional Medicine practitioners is to uncover why our patients cannot sleep—what went wrong in the body that is disrupting this natural process?

First, what is your sleep routine?

It seems that YouTube’s trending night routine videos may have some legitimacy after all. While most of us find rich teens showcasing their skinny teas and cozy beds in Calvin Klein PJs distasteful, their message of self-care is invaluable. A consistent night routine that triggers melatonin production and primes you for sleep is critical, even into adulthood. So use this checklist of go-to activities to incorporate into your own evening hours (no YouTube documentation required):

  • Waking up after a few hours of shut-eye and not being able to fall back asleep is often caused by something you ate or drank just hours before. Eat a good diet and be sure to cut back on sugary treats, alcohol, heavily-spiced foods, and caffeinated drinks after dinner. Also, swap carb-laden dishes for leafy green vegetables and healthy fats at dinner time (healthy fats include avocados, coconut, olives, nuts, and seeds). Dietary changes are proven to increase the quality of your sleep.
  • Put away electronics a couple of hours before bed. It is well-documented in scientific research that visual stimulation, as well as blue light emitted from electronics, interfere with melatonin production.
  • Commit to one or two de-stressing activities before bed. Some of our favorites include yoga stretches, medication, spiritual prayers, deep breathing, warm baths while essential oils burn in the background.
  • Before heading to bed, dim the lights around your home and keep the temperature slightly cool. You’ll fall asleep better that way, I promise.

What if these lifestyle tips aren’t working?

Then it’s time to look a little deeper. Being deficient in essential nutrients2, as you may have guessed, is another root cause of insomnia. Insomniacs who wake up abruptly and find themselves tossing and turning until sunrise are experiencing low blood sugar in their sleep. A dietary change can easily remedy this problem. `

Another common culprit masquerades as the “good guy,” with insomnia being a side effect footnoted in small print. That’s right. Several medications3 can significantly lower the amount of melatonin (the sleep hormone) in your body and leave you sleep deprived.

Poor diets and medication regimens aren’t the only sleep thieves known to man. There’s one more, and it’s the happy hormone and neurotransmitter we all love: serotonin4. Serotonin converts into melatonin at night and is made in the body via many enzymatic reactions from the essential amino acid tryptophan. This conversion requires many key nutrients, most importantly vitamin B6 and Zinc. Being deficient in these raw materials and expecting a good night’s sleep is like trying to pass a Calculus exam without studying. Only a few can make it. Many environmental toxins also contribute to zinc deficiency—plastic, especially. Our bodies depend on zinc to convert B6 to its active form, whereby transforming tryptophan into a serotonin. It’s a complex science. Just remember: a nourishing diet can go a long way in reviving your near-dead sleep experience.

Everyone deserves beauty sleep

You don’t need to be a medieval Disney princess or a growing adolescent to earn uninterrupted beauty sleep. And you don’t need to trade your hard-earned money on triple shot espressos and sleeping pill refills to survive your insomniac days. There’s a root cause to everything—even to sleep deprivation—and every root cause can be remedied with a holistic solution. Let’s work together to finding that solution, pill dependencies not included. Let’s make our way toward restful nights…

[1] These medications include: eszopiclone (Lunesta); ramelteon (Rozerem); zaleplon (Sonata); zolpidem (Ambien, Ambien CR); or other drugs like the antidepressant trazodone (Remeron), or benzodiazepines such as Lorazepam.

[2] For insomniacs, common deficiencies in essential nutrients include chromium, vanadium, manganese, and magnesium. Magnesium is a vital nutrient that seldom exists in modern diets. Low magnesium levels can cause a variety of imbalances in your body, including anxiety and insomnia. Taking a magnesium supplement before bed can help with sleep issues.

[3] These medications include antidepressant drugs such as fluoxetine, blood pressure medications such as amlodipine and atenolol, as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen and ibuprofen, among many other.

[4] Ninety-five percent of serotonin is made in the gut. If the gut isn’t healthy, then sleep progress is virtually impossible. If you suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or other inflammatory conditions, then your chances of solving your insomnia problem may be futile until you fix your gut. The secret is to find a doctor who understands the probable underlying causes of insomnia and can properly test you to discover what needs to be fixed. It really can be as simple as that!

Detox Smoothie

Detox Smoothie

Are you preparing for a wedding, or have a vacation coming up? Try this smoothie to look lighter and brighter. Detox smoothies are an easy and delicious way to flush your body of toxins and help lose weight fast. Drink this delicious and nutritious smoothie when you are feeling bloated for just need a natural detox cleanse.


  • 1 cup Spring mix
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 semi raw banana
  • ½ cup unbunched cilantro
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 2 tbsp Aloe Vera gel or ½ cup aloe vera juice
  • 1 cup water


Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth. Enjoy! Let us know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments and be sure to share this recipe with your friends and family!

Photos courtesy of Makeen Osman Photography

Think Again Before You Reach For This Pain Killer!

Think Again Before You Reach For This Pain Killer!

Between splitting headaches, periods, and muscle soreness, millions of Americans turn to a trusted companion for momentary relief: pain killers. These seemingly harmless pills are everywhere, and their existence is as plentiful as the number of symptoms they promise to treat. They populate the purses of women, the desk drawers of office workers, and they can be exchanged between strangers with a passing question: “Hey, got any pain killers on you?”

…and pop! goes the bottle.

Among the top selling painkillers is a particular category called “NSAIDs,” which stands for “non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.” NSAIDs are readily available and can be purchased as casually as you would a box of bandaids: over the counter, with or without prescription. Most people don’t even think twice before reaching out for these pills. When battling sniffles or body aches, they quickly summon the magical powers of an Ibuprofen (Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve) pill for quick relief. But what eludes us in the fine print is the side effects brought upon us by these pills. They can trigger serious health problems, including health complications that lead to death. In fact, NSAIDs cause over 16,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.

Let’s Dissect the Issue

The ease at which we purchase these pills, their accessibility, their discounted prices—all of these convince us of their safety. We can pick them up with drive-thru-like convenience. But here’s the catch: everyone who takes NSAID painkillers is left with some degree of health damage. And the longer you take them, the worse it gets. Studies show that people who take NSAIDs for arthritis pain over the period of a year suffer more joint damage than those who take nothing at all. NSAIDs, ironically, inhibit your body’s ability to build cartilage (a necessary function for joint health). On the contrary, they promote cartilage destruction.

NSAIDs are also notorious for eating up healthy gut lining, thereby causing ulcers, internal bleeding, and gastrointestinal perforation. These gut complications, as common as they can be, are like silent saboteurs; they crawl up on painkiller-dependants with no warning, especially when their victims have no prior history of stomach issues. The outcome is even worse when NSAIDs are taken with alcohol. In fact, an Ibuprofen accompanied by your evening glass of wine can increase your risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by fourfold.

So it is no secret that NSAIDs damage the tissues in our digestive system. And since an unhealthy gut is the gateway to most human diseases, these pills often trigger several diseases and health conditions that are far worse than the mild symptoms NSAIDs attempt to treat.

Wait, There’s More…

Another less recognized adverse effect of NSAIDs is increased intestinal permeability, also known as “leaky gut.” Imagine this: for every pain, for every rash, for every soreness, you reach for a painkiller, and with time, these pills begin to thin your intestinal lining, thereby widening the spaces between cells, allowing larger, undigested food particles and toxins to leak from the gut and into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation, which ultimately leads to allergies, autoimmune diseases, depression, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer.

Still not convinced? Here’s another list of health risks from prolonged NSAID use:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney/liver failure
  • Hearing loss
  • Headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Skin rashes
  • Increased sun sensitivity
  • Anemia
  • Vision problems
  • Pancreatic problems

Aspirin is also classified as an NSAID. In our medical database is a collection of studies linking regular use of Aspirin to an increased risk of  macular degeneration, an eye condition where eye vessels leak blood into the retina causing damage, distorted vision, and even blindness. So if you take aspirin regularly for its cardiovascular health benefits, be sure to have your vision checked regularly.

Sleepless in the PM

Remember the last time you tossed and turned in bed, worried that insomnia was upon you? In those moments, most Americans fumble for an Advil PM or an Aleve PM to get their much needed z’s. But did you know that these pills actually play with your sleep hormone, Melatonin, which alone causes insomnia? They are a major culprit, studies show, in reducing Melatonin production and causing sleep disturbance. It is as though these pills are counteragents to the very problems they are supposed to solve.

For Your Information…

They say ignorance is bliss, but undue ignorance about the chemicals and pills you consume is a danger to your wellbeing. So do yourself a favor and be aware of these common over-the-counter NSAIDs; also keep in mind the damage they bring from long-term use.

  • Ibuprofen (Advil®)
  • Naproxen (Aleve®)
  • Aspirin (Bayer®)

Prescription brands of these painkiller medications include:

  • Celecoxib (Celebrex®)
  • Diclofenac (Voltaren®)
  • Etodolac (Lodine®)
  • Fenoprefen (Nalfon®)
  • Indomethacin (Indocin®)
  • Ketoprofen (Orudis®, Oruvail®)
  • Ketoralac (Toradol®)
  • Oxaprozin (Daypro®)
  • Nabumetone (Relafen®)
  • Sulindac (Clinoril®)
  • Tolmetin (Tolectin®)
How to avoid High Blood Pressure

How to avoid High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure.

We hear those three words all the time. And unless you have high blood pressure, you probably don’t think about it too often. Maybe during occasional check-ups, while sitting in the doctor’s office, breathing nervously as your arm weakens beneath the Merciless Inflating Cuff. Maybe… But what we don’t all know is that high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is pervasive, affecting one in three adults in the U.S. alone. It’s also an invisible, silent killer: if left untreated, it can lead to more serious health conditions, such as coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss, and chronic kidney disease.

How is hypertension commonly treated?

The conventional medical approach for treating hypertension mainly looks like this: the Merciless Inflating Cuff detects a patient’s high blood pressure, and if the high blood pressure continues, the doctor prescribes medication to the patient. Sure, these medications are effective at lowering your blood pressure, and there is room for them in medical practice, but they’re merely patchwork. A bandaid over a symptom. A short-term solution to a deeper problem that will continue to fester, pressuring doctors to increase your medication dosage or to prescribe more medications altogether.

Here’s what you need to remember about hypertension: it is actually not a disease in and of itself. Rather, it is a symptom that your body develops as a way of screaming “something is wrong with me!” There is an internal imbalance. And a medication regimen that only increases its dosage with time cannot restore your body’s imbalance. If anything, it can sever your quality of life, causing major nutritional deficiencies as well as other adverse side effects.

So how do functional medicine practitioners treat hypertension?

Practitioners of functional medicine are the Sherlocks of disease. We slip into our white coats, tip down our specks, and ask the hard question: why? Why is my patient’s blood pressure suddenly rising? What is happening inside the body to cause this symptom? How can we restore the body’s balance and eradicate this dysfunction forever? Because we’re not interested in managing your symptoms; we want to cure them altogether. And with our patient-centered approach, we study each individual to determine the reason for his or her hypertension.

And the reasons are many. You may develop high blood pressure because of long-term nutritional deficiencies. Or maybe your body is silently battling a bacterial or viral infection. Maybe you have heavy metal toxicity, hormone imbalance, or you’ve compromised your detoxification pathways. Two people with the same symptom, like hypertension, may have developed it for different reasons. Be sure to consult a practitioner whose can determine the underlying cause of your disease before quickly prescribing medications — someone who can uncover your unique why and develop a unique treatment plan whose end goal is to grant you a life free of disease and medication.

So what can I do now to avoid hypertension?

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. So what are the best tips to help you avoid high blood pressure? They can be divided into two camps: dietary choices and nutritional supplements. Let’s delve into the details.


Nourish yourself at every meal with straight-from-nature food choices. That means choosing foods that your great-grandparents recognize. Foods with short ingredient lists and ingredients that your second grader can read and understand. That means skipping out on the drive-thru egg sandwich and gas station chocolate muffin… because, though convenient, these highly processed foods are devoid of the nutrients your body needs to regulate your blood pressure (they do quite the opposite, actually).

Instead, opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. And forget what you’ve been told about low fat diets. Break away from the 90’s fat-free food boom and bump up the fat grams with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. That includes olives, olive oil, flax seeds, walnuts, wild caught fish, and avocados. And for magnesium-rich foods, incorporate more leafy greens in your diet, more dark chocolate (at least 85% dark), more figs, almonds, bananas, avocados, black beans, and pumpkin seeds. Lastly, get in more potassium-rich foods: coconut water, spinach, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, wild caught salmon, bananas, and avocados.



Magnesium helps relax blood vessels and helps lower blood pressure naturally. Take a good quality of magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate 500 mg per with or without food.


Potassium helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. If you are not getting enough potassium through the diet, take a potassium supplement.

Co Enzyme Q 10

This is an antioxidant that is very important in supporting heart health and helps lower blood pressure. Take 300 mg per day with or without food.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Studies show that fish oil containing EPA and DHA types of omega 3 fatty acids reduces inflammation in the arteries which helps lower the blood pressure. Take high quality Fish oil 1000 mg per day with food


An active ingredient in garlic, allicin has been shown to lowers blood pressure and helps with decreasing excess LDL particles as reduce plaque formation. Take between 300 mg to 600 mg with food to lower blood pressure.

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