How Not to Go On A Diet

Hi, Fran Sussman here, from your Holistic Outlook column in the Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

I see clients every day in my office who feel so virtuous when they just have a little salad, or salad with a bit of chicken breast, for their meals, in hopes of losing weight.  Maybe a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor. It’s the perfect diet meal, right?

Except it usually doesn’t work, and they don’t understand why.

Let me explain.

First of all, diet is a four letter word in my book. I define a diet as “something you suffer through for as short a time as possible, until you give up and go back to what you were doing before you started.” (to read the full article, a previous Holistic Outlook column, click here).

But even if you could stick to it, chances are that your salad diet won’t work, or certainly not for long, and it isn’t even good for your health.

You need carbs!

When carbs are too low you feel cranky, hungry and deprived, which sets you up to boomerang right out of your good intentions. And low/no carbs gets you off-track hormonally and metabolically.
What you don’t need is carbs in the form of processed and refined foods, junk foods, sugars and alcohol. Complex carbs from “real foods,” such as vegetables – and once a day a little bit of fruit -  should be included in every meal and snack — that is, every time you eat.

Combining protein, healthy fats and some complex carbs from real food? That gives you perfect metabolic balance and a recipe for healthy weight loss.

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Is Avoiding Gluten Just Another Fad?

Hi, Fran Sussman here, of the Holistic Outlook column in your Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services with more tips for Your Best Health.

Today, I’m sharing a short video on a trendy topic! I’d love to read your comments and questions below!

Here’s the video:

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The Most Alarming Health Trend

Hi, Fran Sussman here, of the Holistic Outlook column in your Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services.
In my last 2 posts, I’ve been sharing some of the alarming trends I’ve been seeing in my holistic practice. If you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

And here is the conclusion to this series:

Early Onset Alzheimers
A client shocked me recently by sharing that several of his friends had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. These are not old men! They are in their late 50s and early 60s. This tragedy has to do with toxic exposure.
Two of the men were electricians, with high levels of copper in their systems, from handling copper wire. One was a farmer who had sprayed pesticides on his crops, by hand, for decades. (The connections to toxicity were made by the doctors, by the way, not by me.)This is tragic. Alzheimer’s used to be something that happened at the end of life, maybe in one’s 80s. Not in one’s 50s or 60s.
This is a perfect example of why I recommend that a detoxification protocol be a regular part of everyone’s lifestyle. Our world has gotten increasingly more toxic over the past few decades, much more so than our systems can keep up with.

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Alarming Health Trends, Part 2

Hi, Fran Sussman here, of the Holistic Outlook column in your Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services. In my last post, I promised I would share a few of the the more alarming trends I’ve been seeing in my health practice, and discussed the health consequences of shift work, as the first one.
Here’s another trend that worries me: 
Babies on drugs

In the past few years, I’ve seen more and more infants and toddlers diagnosed with GERD/Reflux, and put on prescription or OTC acid suppressants. This is a prime example of treating the symptoms rather than the root cause, with the potential to cause additional and more serious health problems over time.

This is true for adults, let alone babies.

I find that working to identify the underlying issues, modifying nutrition, and using the right probiotics helps to successfully address the root cause of reflux, rather than the symptoms. (works for adults, too).

Of course, the increase in medicating our little ones is not limited to digestive issues. More and more children are being managed medically for depression, diabetes, and ADD/ADHD, despite lack of evidence showing long term safety and efficacy.

Please know that it very possible to work with nutrition and lifestyle to address all of these issues, a much better solution for the next generation!

Come back on Thursday for Part 3, and perhaps the most alarming trend of all

After that I’ll share some positive trends I’m seeing!  And please share your thoughts in the comments sections below.



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Some Alarming Trends I’m Seeing in my Health Practice

Hi, Fran Sussman here, of the Holistic Outlook column in your Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services.

I am privileged to see a very optimistic view of the world from my office: people who choose to change their health status, their diagnoses, their energy, their weight and body composition, their mental focus; to reclaim their most vibrant, vital self.

Because I see so many clients, I also get an interesting overview of trends in health.

In the next few columns, I’d like to share several I find particularly alarming.  Let’s start with this one:

 Shift Work

If you or a loved one are working overnight shifts or, even worse, different shifts around the clock, do whatever you can to get back on a daytime cycle. Being out of sync with normal circadian rhythms for years at a time makes it pretty much impossible to stay healthy, or have a normal metabolism and weight, as we age.

And there’s plenty of research to back me up on this.

I realize it may not be something everyone can change, but if you can, do. We are biologically designed to be awake with the sun and asleep in the dark. It is a very short relative period in human history that we have the option of doing otherwise. And it wreaks havoc: weight gain, insulin resistance, and increased likelihood of many diseases, including both diabetes and cancer.

For more trends that impact your health, make sure you bookmark the page, or just stop back again next week, here at Your Best Health.

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Boost Your Metabolism with these Sleep Tips

Hi, Fran Sussman here, of the Holistic Outlook column in your Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services.

I’ve written a lot about sleep, and among other things, how getting 8 hours of sleep a night can help you lose belly fat by lowering cortisol. Now there is new research showing that sleep has other benefits to your metabolism.

But only if you keep your bedroom cool.

New research suggests that sleeping in a cool bedroom gives you a “metabolic advantage”. The study used temperatures of 66 degrees and found that insulin sensitivity improved, and participants burned a few more calories during the day, just from the night time temperature change.

Don’t forget my other top sleep tips:

  1. Sleep in a completely dark room: LEDs, electronics, night lights, hall lights, or outside lights interrupt the natural production of melatonin.
  2. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime.
  3. Turn off electronics at least 60 minutes before bed. Switch to a book or music; take a bath; meditate; wind down.
  4. Unless you are sleeping soundly and deeply through the night, keep your caffeine to just one cup in the morning. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 12 hours.

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If You’re Considering Going Gluten-Free, Don’t Make These 3 Common Mistakes

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

Gluten is the protein in wheat, oats, rye, barley and spelt and it has been associated with all sorts of illness and symptoms, even if you do not have a diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. (For more on this, read my article here.)

To avoid common beginners’ mistakes, here are my three top tips on how NOT to go gluten-free.

1. Do not eat lots of food labeled “gluten free.” The first thing people usually do is load up on all sorts of gluten-free cookies, crackers, cakes, cereals, pretzels, pasta, etc. Beware: These are still highly processed junk foods made from high-glycemic, low-fiber flours, and most contain high amounts of sugar. “Gluten-free” doesn’t mean healthy.

2. Do not make “reasonable” assumptions at restaurants. You ordered a simple meal of fish, chicken or meat and vegetables. Why would there be gluten in that? Foods are dredged in flour, cooked with a “roux” or prepared with marinades that contain gluten. Many restaurants, even nice ones, serve french fries that are a reconstituted mix of dried potatoes and flour. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be your own advocate, and always ask your server.

3. Do not do gluten-lite versus gluten-free. It takes up to two weeks for gluten to leave your system, so if you’re indulging once a week, you’ll never get the benefits of removing it from your diet. And research shows that even a single gram of gluten impacts inflammatory markers for six months.

Most people, regardless of whether they’ve been diagnosed or not, find they feel better by eliminating gluten from their diet. Will you try it and see?

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My Top 6 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

If you’ve been following me here, you’ve been learning about how to feel better by decreasing inflammation though nutrition.  Today I want to share some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods.

  1. Turmeric With all its potential benefits to joints, skin, heart, digestion and more, you might try adding it to eggs, sauces, and soups. You can find powder or root, but beware – the root is very messy to use, and will stain.
  2. Ginger is wonderful for the joints, and can be beneficial to digestion, especially nausea. Use it chopped, grated, or juiced.
  3. Cherries Black cherry juice is a traditional remedy for gout, but I recommend whole black cherries. Just don’t overdo it, because of the sugars.
  4. Basil has actions similar to tylenol and ibuprofin, without the potential to damage your liver or gut. Make a simple pesto with your best olive oil and good quality salt, and slather it on fish, veggies, or eggs, not just pasta! Freeze leftovers for winter.
  5. Green Tea is good for the cardiovascular system, the brain and the metabolism! Unlike black tea or coffee, green tea is relatively unprocessed, so retains its many nutrients.
  6. Green Juice I love my fresh green juice, and a base of cucumbers (in season locally now) and celery make it highly anti-inflammatory. Add some ginger and you’re good to go! For more on healthy juicing, read this.

Please note that I am talking about foods here, not supplements. While many of these are available in supplement form, those often contain additives and higher doses of particular nutrients that may or may not be right for you. If you stick to food, particularly if you buy organic, you pretty much can’t go wrong!


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These 5 Foods Increase Inflammation

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and Sussman Holistic Services, with more tips for Your Best Health.

Last week, I told you why inflammation is such an important issue for your health, and about foods that decrease inflammation.

Today let’s look at foods that increase inflammation. These are the ones you want to limit, or avoid.

Here’s my top 5 list:

  • Gluten. No, it’s not just a fad, and if it’s a trend, it’s because so many people experience dramatic improvement when they eliminate it. Substantial medical research shows that gluten causes inflammation in everyone not just those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
  • Sugar Sure it tastes good, but there are healthy substitutes that also taste good and actually are good for you!
  • Corn It’s not a vegetable. It’s a high-glycemic grain. But at this time of year, it would be cruel to tell you never to have an ear of our wonderful local corn, which is coming into season. But stay away from its more processed forms, including corn syrup and corn flour.
  • Soy No, it’s not a health food. It’s suppressive to the thyroid, and has estrogenic effects you may not want. And it can make your joints hurt!
  • Peanuts Not a true nut, peanuts are a legume, and often carry mold and mycotoxins. Stick to nuts from trees, and you will get better quality fats without the inflammatory components of peanuts.

So that’s my top 5 list. Of course, anyone can have individual food sensitivities that cause inflammation for them uniquely. But if you start with these 5, you will be on your way to reducing inflammation, improving your health, and feeling much better!

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How to Reduce Inflammation with Food

Hi, Fran Sussman here from the Holistic Outlook column in The Times Herald Record, and, with more tips for Your Best Health.  In my last post, I told you why inflammation is such an important issue for your health, and promised I would teach you how to decrease your inflammation with food.

Here you go:

  1. Start with real food. Keep processed and packaged foods to a minimum.
  2. Organic Produce When it comes to produce, you want it organic. It doesn’t matter as much if the farm actually got government certification, as long as they are farming as cleanly as possible.  A new study published last week reported that organic produce has more anti-oxidants, which have been shown to lower risk of cancer and other diseases. Pesticide residues were much higher in non-organic produce.
  3. Grass fed Animals When it comes to animal products, you want pasture raised, grass fed, free range, not organic! Organic here would only mean that the animals were fed organic grain, which is not their natural food. Look for meat, poultry and eggs from animals that have been raised appropriately for their species. The fats from grass fed animals is healthy fat. Eating factory farmed animals, on the other hand, will increase inflammation with unhealthy saturated fats.
  4. Lots of healthy fats. Coconut oil and MCT. Avocados. Butter and/or ghee from pastured cows (KerryGold pastured butter is available at ShopRite and other supermarkets.) Top quality olive oil for your salads (use it cold, not for cooking, as it has a low smoke point). Nuts and seeds and their butters, (not peanuts, which are a legume).

Next post I’ll be sharing some of the inflammatory foods you should avoid, and lastly, I’ll share some anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, so stay tuned!


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    Fran Sussman

    Helping clients with nutrition, healthy weight loss and addressing chronic illness naturally, in the Hudson Valley, for over 20 years. Read Full
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