Archive for sugar

My 3 Day Detox

detox smoothieIt’s day 3 of my Dr. Oz 3-Day Detox and I feel fantastic, completely cleared out and full of energy.

Usually I like to do my 5-7 day Whole Foods Spring Cleanse but this year I thought I’d try something different, a juice fast.  It’s only 3 days-how hard could that be?

 The first day I did not feel so good.  I was having withdrawal symptoms coming off of caffeine and sugar which, for me, manifested in the form of a headache.  I was tired, irritable, depressed and had an overall flu-like feeling. Yuck! My body was detoxing.  I KNOW better and would suggest to anyone who wants to do a cleanse, it is best to wean yourself off of caffeine a few days before going cold turkey.  That way you will avoid major withdrawal symptoms.  I didn’t realize how much caffeine and sugar I actually was ingesting on a daily basis from my multiple cups of green tea and from, I admit, my weakness, which is baked goods and chocolate.  Oh, denial is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?!

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Joanne’s Blog

Sweet Stuffed Squash

Joanne’s Blog posted by Joanne DiMauro Sept 25, 2013

Squashes are all the rage right now because they’re in season and you can find them fresh at your local farmer’s market.  I love fall for all it’s glorious colors, delicious sweet and colorful vegetables…

Natural Relief for Allergies

Joanne’s Blog posted by Joanne DiMauro

Are you struggling w/seasonal allergies? Headaches, sinus stuffiness, fatigue, runny nose, itchy eyes, feel like you’re under water? Instead of constantly taking medications there are many natural remedies to treat allergy symptoms…

 My 3 Day Detox Experience

Joanne’s Blog  posted by Joanne DiMauro May 8, 2013

Usually I like to do my 5-7 day Whole Foods Spring Cleanse but this year I thought I’d try something different, a juice fast.  It’s only 3 days-how hard could that be?…

Get Out of Your Food/Mood Rut!

Joanne’s Blog   posted by Joanne DiMauro May 5, 2013

Do you ever get stuck in a food rut? Do you find yourself eating and craving the same certain foods and can’t seem break out of negative thinking and unhealthy eating habits?…..

Go Green and Get Off the Joe

Joanne’s Blog  posted by Joanne DiMauro

Green and white tea are available in a range of varieties and have many health benefits…

I Love You with all my Liver

Joanne’s Blog  posted by Joanne DiMauro

Do you have spring fever yet? I do and at this time of year I always feel the need to clean out my home and clear my internal house too….

How Stress Causes Belly Fat and that Middle Age Spread

Joanne’s Blog   posted by Joanne DiMauro

A chronic complaint I hear from my female clients is “why is my middle getting thicker all of a sudden? Did you notice once you hit your mid 40’s it seemed like overnite, you gained weight around the belly area!…

Spring Cleaning

Joanne’s Blog   posted by Joanne DiMauro

It’s the time for spring cleaning, out with the old, in with the new! For good mental and physical health, we actually have two “houses” that need to be spring-cleaned…



Get Out of Your Food/Mood Rut

woman eating cakeDo you ever get stuck in a food rut? Do you find yourself eating and craving the same certain foods and can’t seem break out of negative thinking and unhealthy eating habits?

I admit, I’ve been stuck in a food/mood rut (too much baked goods and carbs), and I need a good kick start to re-boot my body and break these habits.  I’m excited to begin a 3-day juice fast tomorrow!

Spring is a great time to shake things up with cleansing or fasting for a short period of time.  It will clean your body by giving it a break from rich and complicated foods.  Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water, whole grains and minimal protein.  Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups.  I usually do my 5-7 day Whole Foods Spring Detox and Cleanse (the 4th product in my Healthy Life Series), but this year I’m trying something different and doing a 3-day fast! I’m following Dr. Oz 3-day Detox/Cleanse with a few minor alterations.  It’s only 3 days!  How hard could this be? Read More→


Health Tip of the Day

Dr. Oz says “desserts are metabolic suicide! ” To reduce that middle age spread cut out the sweets.  Okay, too extreme for you?  Then shoot for one of Michael Pollen’s food rules, “snacks and sweets on days that begin with S.” (Pollen, Food Rules).

Dr. Andrew Weill says, “contrary to what many women believe, menopause doesn’t lead to weight gain. Instead, the drop in estrogen redirects the process of fat storage in women from the hips to the abdomen.  But the weight gain so many women experience after menopause can’t be blamed entirely on hormonal changes. The fact is, as we get older, we need fewer calories because there’s a shift in body composition from lean muscle mass to fat and a consequent slowdown in metabolism. If you want to maintain your weight as you get older and avoid weight gain, you have to cut back your food intake by about 200 calories per day; this applies to men as well as women. The other part of the equation is exercise. ” (Menopause Re-arranges Women’s Fat)

Not that easy you say. So what else can you do? If you want the full explanation of what causes belly fat and what other tips you can take to lose it, go to my blog article: What Causes Middle Age Spread?



Health Tip of the Day

Health tip of the day:  Use natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar and honey in place of synthetic sweeteners such as Splenda, Nutrasweet or Sweet N Low.  They contain carcinogens. Possible side effects of Splenda include: “gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash, hives, redness, itching, swelling), wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations, anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes.”  Even white sugar would be a healthier choice.
Learn more: Stop Using Splenda


Cocoa-Banana Frozen Dessert

This healthy dessert is from Dr. Andrew Weil’s Kitchen. It is very quick & easy to make and for all you chocoholics, gelato, ice-cream lovers (me included!), this is the perfect healthy alternative-no dairy, no refined sugars but you’d never know it from the taste. Very rich, smooth and creamy it is best when just frozen but can be kept in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Also bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium.

4 ripe bananas
2 tablespoons pur unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons real maple syrup

Peel bananas and place in a blender along with the cocoa powder. Add the vanilla and maple syrup. Blend til very smooth. Pour into individual custard cups or small bowls and freeze til just frozen.


My Spring Detox Experience

Hi all you spring detoxers! Well I’m finally getting down to writing about my spring detox experience. It was pretty powerful, I have to say. I did find it much easier than my winter detox and although I eat pretty healthy in general, eliminating certain foods required of this cleanse and adding the seasonal ones in made a huge difference in how I feel; cleared out, more energized and my minor chronic health issues resolved!

The toughest part for me was getting off of the refined sweets, the bready things that I love. Man, we live in NYC-the finest bakeries and boulangeries on every street corner! Tough to resist! And although the detox was for a suggested 5-7 days, I figured if I could do it for that amount of time, why not try it for 10-14 days? I ended up doing it for 12 days w/one day “cheating” in the middle because I attended a wedding and I HAD to eat dessert and have a glass of champagne there!

I did experience some “sugar withdrawal symptoms” the first few days on the detox. I felt cranky and edgy –in need of my sweet fix (the stuff is like heroin!) but once I got thru the first 3 days I felt pretty good and my sweet cravings diminished. I satisfied them, by going for sweet vegetables (sweet potatoes, beets seem to do the trick for me), and I discovered organic dates as my go-to sweetie when I just couldn’t make it thru the nite w/o a little somethin! They completely satisfied my sweet tooth, just eating 2-3 of them and I felt satiated. It’s the creamy, gooey texture that does it for me. Kind of like a Godiva chocolate truffle but much healthier! I now have a supply on hand in the house for when the cravings hit. And the good thing is they don’t call to me all day long like chocolate in the house does. They’re just there when I need them. I’m so glad I got my dates!

Greens, greens and more greens! I was eating and drinking greens and sprouts til the cows came home and pooping green too (sorry for the graphic description), but really felt cleared and cleaned out and I KNOW my liver is thanking me. I lost a few lbs especially around the belly-that bloated fluff weight feeling-GONE! And allergies-no post nasal drip, no sinus congestion-getting off of sugar, dairy, processed wheat and alcohol and drinking green tea really eliminates my seasonal allergy symptoms.

I had a few epiphanies too. I noticed when I was feeling “flat,” bored or let down, I immediately wanted something sweet (or an alcoholic drink!) I see how I use sugar, desserts or alcohol to “feed my hungry heart.” Going for those “yin” like food substances is more of a habit and a desire to make me feel light and happy.

I can’t say enough about being off of refined sugars and how it affected my moods in a good way! One day, it was pouring rain out and I was heading into a crowded express subway stop, w/everyone trying to cram into the stairwell at the same time-like we pushy New Yorkers can do, umbrellas going every which way, and I actually caught myself smiling! I thought “easy does it-no worries, no hurry.” I was practicing daily meditations during the detox as well, and like they always tell me, it’s the subtle differences that meditation can make in our life. Definitely had a few moments of being “in the gap.”

And if you consider how we are all a microcosm of the world, it was ironic that as I was detoxing the toxins out of my body/mind and spirit last week, at the same time, the world was cleansed of a toxic energy in the form of Osama Bin Laden. Coincidental, maybe…

I discovered that if I have the healthy foods and snacks accessible, like carrots, celery, daikon radish, jicama already cut up and in the front of the fridge where I can see them, I will grab those, w/a little hummus, instead of something that’s not so healthy when I’m hungry and in a hurry. And I feel completely satisfied and nourished by eating them. Eating is all about creating new healthy habits in place of old not so healthy ones. As Melody Beattie says, “it takes 21 times to repeat something before it becomes a new habit.”

I know I have created some new eating habits but I can’t say I will quit refined sugars completely. A girl’s gotta have her chocolate cake once in awhile! I did notice once I was “clean,” and I ate something refined again, I got an instant headache! Yuck! This stuff is toxic to my body! At the very least, I’m trying to practice one of Michael Pollen’s “Food Rules”-snacks and sweets only on days that begin w/S.”

If you’re kicking yourself for missing our spring detox and you want to lose that bloat/fluff weight and be ready to fit into your summer bikini, it’s not too late. You can get access to the same exact information we covered in both the teleclass and the LIVE workshop! Our latest product offering is the actual teleclass recording where I guide you thru a simple whole food based, 5-7 day spring cleanse. You also receive the e-book, which is a complete transcript of the call, as well as all of the handouts from the class! CLICK HERE TO ORDER: Spring Detox and Cleanse

For more information, detox articles, recipes, comments from the detoxers, go to:



Lack of Sleep as Causal Factor in Belly Fat

bellyfatIf you’re struggling to lose weight and are exercising til the cows come home but still the scale won’t budge, you might want to look at how much sleep you’re getting.  I always say that sleep trumps exercise for weight loss and good health because studies show that if you don’t get the required 7-8 hours of sleep per nite, your body will produce higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and less of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite and sends the signal to your brain that you’re full. Stress Sleep and Your Weight  And when you’re hungry and sleep deprived, you tend to feel irritable, depressed or anxious which raises cortisol levels which then leads to an increase in belly fat. How Stress Causes Belly Fat and that Middle Age Spread.

You will also tend to crave carbohydrates (and not the healthy complex carbs either but the simple processed junk, like cake, muffins, cookies, chocolate, crackers, pizza, bagels) because the body is not stupid.  It knows those quick sugars will give you the glucose rush that the brain and the body needs.  Your body knows that these simple sugars get broken down within minutes and enter the blood stream very quickly which provides you with that quick pick me up.  It’s like the gas tank is empty and running on fumes and the body sends the signal to your brain, “hello-give me some quick fuel because we’re running out of gas here!”  Unfortunately those simple sugars will create an insulin rush and then take you on a roller coaster ride which will send your energy crashing down about an hour later. What do you think your body’s signaling to you then? You guessed it-give me more sugar, caffeine (which raises your cortisol levels) or a nap. Oiy yoi yoi!  Vicious cycle!

And unfortunately all those added simple sugars get stored as fat and particularly visceral fat in the abdominal region when you’re sleep deprived because of the elevated cortisol levels.  And to make matters worse, when you have an increase of simple sugars coursing through your blood stream looking for a job (fuel source) or place to land (fat cells), the body cannot access and burn off fat that’s already in storage! Ouch-double whammy!

So bottom line: if you’re sleep deprived, skip the exercise, work on reducing your stress and get at least 7-8 hrs of sleep a nite if you want to lose weight. A great way to jump start your weight loss in time for summer bikini weather is to do a detox. Check out this website for info on my upcoming whole foods spring detox Spring Detox and Cleanse Event.

And are you doing a million crunches and still don’t have a flat stomach? Here’s a link for a video from Dr. Mercola’s trainer which is a very thorough explanation and demonstration on the proper way to perform abdominal exercise for flatter stomach and a strong core. Killer Abs and Push-ups.


How Stress Causes Belly Fat and That Middle Age Spread

young-woman-trying_~IS098T7U9A chronic complaint I hear from my female clients is “why is my middle getting thicker all of a sudden? Did you notice once you hit your mid 40’s it seemed like overnite, you gained weight around the belly area!

I’ve read an enormous amount of material on mid-life belly fat weight gain and now know there are a number of causal factors involved, including hormone imbalance from perimenopause and sleep deprivation, diet and exercise, and gravity but the one major causal factor that I just couldn’t wrap my head around was the stress factor. I know stress increases cortisol and increased levels of cortisol in the blood cause weight gain in the abdominal fat cells. But why? Call me crazy but this kind of stuff keeps me awake at nite! I had to understand how this could physiologically happen and I wanted to be able to explain it to anyone in a way that they (and I, myself) could understand. It seems like everything I read left off certain connect the dots points for me.

On my flight back home from a lovely and much needed vacation in the Dominican Republic I pulled out my work/reading materials and low and behold in the February IDEA Fitness Journal was a complete comprehensive article that broke this down for me with an explanation I could finally grasp! Without getting too scientific, I will try and share a simple version of it here with you.

First you need to know there are two types of body fat. Subcutaneous body fat is fat which is just under the skin; i.e. fat on your face, arms, chest. Visceral or central body fat occurs in the intra-abdominal area of the body and has much greater blood flow and more glucocorticoid receptors. (sorry, a little scientific, I know). But you need to know that these receptors regulate the fat accumulation effects of cortisol and are four times more concentrated in visceral fat than in subcutaneous fat. To simplify, just think of these receptors as key holes and cortisol is the key that fits. There are a lot of keyholes in the belly area.

When we are under chronic stress (i.e. pressures, strains, boredom at work, our own mid-life mental and physical crises, ageing/ailing parents, children’s college expense, family/life/relationship problems, empty nest syndrome, computer problems, traffic jams,financial worries and retirement planning-aye yie yie!), the brain triggers a chain of command that ultimately causes the adrenal glands to release cortisol. If the chronic stress (real or perceived) does not wind down, elevated levels of cortisol remain in the blood stream and also lead to daily increases of cortisol secretion. Cortisol is known to stimulate appetite and with the help of elevated insulin levels (which happens when you eat those simple carbs-like bread, crackers, sweets, pizza), the enzyme lipoprotein lipase is activated. This enzyme facilitates the deposition of fat and inhibits the breakdown of fat (triglycerides) so voila! Instead of burning off fat you store more fat. And guess where? In the belly as visceral intra-abdominal fat because the fat in those cells have more receptors. Chronic stress consistently contributes to greater central fat accumulation in females. Life isn’t fair is it!

Here are some tips to reduce stress in the first place.

1) Exercise is a way to release excess stress hormones and provides a distraction from stressful situations.

2) Meditation allows the mind and emotions to quiet down and relax. Studies show that a daily meditation practice increases gray matter density in the brain which regulates emotions.

3) Practice Yoga to reduce stress and improve overall well being. A yoga practice will cultivate and maintain a balanced attitude in day to day life.

4) Eat and drink healthy food. Dehydration and hunger provoke stressful feelings and anxiety. Eating a nutritious diet and drinking water throughout the day can reduce stress. Limit intake of simple carbs.

5) Eat mindfully in a relaxed state so your para-sympathic nervous system will be at work, properly digesting and absorbing nutrients from your food. When you eat at your desk your boss may think you’re a martyr but you’ll be making more belly fat. Cortisol will be doing it’s thing and you might as well apply your lunch directly to your belly.

6) Stand and sit up straight. Poor posture leads to muscle tension, pain and increased stress. Do a posture self check regularly while sitting at your desk or when walking.

7) Breathe deeply and speak slowly. Slow down your speech and take deep belly breaths through the nose when in stressful situations. When we stop and breathe we think more clearly and slow down the sympathetic nervous system’s fight or flight response.

8) Practice visualization. (I visualize that beautiful Carribean Sea!) Relaxing images calm the mind and body.

9) Try Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic product from Bach Flower remedies. You can put a dropperful in your water, use the spray or take the small pellets all day long during stressful times. It is perfectly safe and non habit forming.

(IDEA, Fitness Journal, Feb 2011 pg.44-49).


Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?

get more sleep lose weightDo you have a hard time falling asleep or do you wake up and then can’t get back to sleep? When we’re sleep deprived it wreaks havoc on our energy levels, our moods and lowers our immune systems.  It can also cause weight gain because sleep deprivation creates an imbalance in the hormones that regulate appetite. The body will then crave carbohydrates and not the good healthy ones either, but the sweets and quick simple refined carbs that will send you chasing insulin all day long.  You’ll also crave caffeine because you’re body needs energy and too much caffeine can ultimately weaken the adrenal glands and cause adrenal fatigue. You won’t be sleeping well the following nite either because of all the caffeine coursing thru your veins.  So you can see how sleep deprivation can become a vicious cycle.

Nothing trumps sleep. Our bodies are amazing machines.  Most of us require 7-8 hrs of sleep/nite and if we don’t get it, the body will send signals to the brain to please provide fuel (and quickly! which is usually translated as simple refined sugars and caffeine).  When we crave sweets our bodies are talking to us. Sugar is not the problem but the solution-our systems have been trained for thousands of years to go for sugar for energy because it works, in the short run.  But in the long run, we all know what happens when we rely on sweets for energy; our bodies go on an insulin roller coaster ride, we experience emotional mood swings, we crave more sweets when our blood sugar levels drop, headaches, high cholesterol, weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay, and the list goes on.

So how do you get a good nite’s sleep w/o resorting to drugs? Dr. Frank Lipman has some great tips for falling asleep naturally that I want to share with you.

1) It’s called a bedroom for a reason.

There are only two things you should do in bed, and they both begin with the letter “S,” as in sleep and sex. Conduct all other activities, i.e. watching TV, working on your laptop and reading, elsewhere. Your bedroom should be a peaceful, distraction-free oasis that’s completely conducive to unwinding, resting and ultimately, sleeping (not to mention sex).

2) Take a cue from the vampires.

In other words, embrace the darkness. Though we may not realize it, even with the lights out, most of our bedrooms glow with the flicker of seemingly innocuous little lights blinking, flashing and distracting our sleep – charging phones, flashing caller ID boxes, sleeping laptops, light-up alarm clocks and night lights to name a few. My advice? Banish them from the bedroom or cover the lighting mechanisms with a bit of electrical tape.

3) Chill out, literally.

Another simple way to improve sleep? To mimic our body’s own natural rhythm of cooling for sleep, lower your bedroom thermostat. A sleeping temperature of 60 to 65 degrees is best for most people, even in the dead of winter. Lower temperatures encourage the production and release of sleep hormones.

4) Break up with Starbucks.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant with a typical half-life typically of 7 hours, which means that half of it is still coursing through your veins 7 hours after you drink it! So yes, that 3 pm latte can disrupt your ability to fall asleep – because caffeine blocks sleep neurotransmitters, over-stimulates the adrenal glands and throws off your circadian rhythms. The solution? Start slowly weaning yourself off all coffee, caffeinated beverages. And don’t forget those hidden sources of caffeine such as soft drinks, tea, even decaf coffee, some herbal teas, chocolate and OTC medications like Anacin and Excedrin.

5) Hold the hi-balls.

Though there’s nothing wrong with occasional glass of wine with dinner, in general those with problems sleeping should avoid alcohol, as it can be as disruptive to the body’s sleep rhythms as caffeine. While alcohol has an initial sleep inducing effect, as the body breaks it down, it can lighten and disrupt sleep by causing frequent and early awakening.

6) Set the stage.

Ease into a night time routine. Turn down the bedroom lights an hour or so before lights out. Meditate or listen to calming classical music at low volume or try my favorite restorative yoga pose to chill out, Reclining Belt Pose. Take the time to slowly “power-down” your mind and body so you can drift happily into the good sleep you deserve.