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JUICE OR SMOOTHIE…or both!

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The whole juice bar thing has been trending for a while now, and with no shortage of juice joints cropping up in every city, I just wonder if this is a passing fad, or they are here to stay. But the big question that I want to address is: Which is healthier – a juice or a smoothie? Most of these juice bars offer both, but for those of you who are wanting to make your own at home – do you invest in a really good juicer, or a really good blender? Loads of questions, so let’s tease this out a bit.

smoothies

JUICE

The big con of juicing as far as a detox is concerned is that a juice is pretty much devoid of fiber. I would argue that fiber is one of the most important elements in a detox cleanse because it’s the fiber that helps move and eliminate many of the toxins from your body.

The other con is that juices, especially from fruits, can be very high in sugar.

The big pro of a juice is that you can easily get certain very important phytonutrients into your body in one quick shot. Moreover nutrient dense plants such as wheat grass and dandelion greens aren’t the most appetizing foods in the world due to their weird or bitter taste, which can easily be disguised in a juice along with lemon, ginger or the odd apple tossed in.

Another huge pro is that tough veggies such as beets, carrots and broccoli stalks, which are choc full of important nutrients can be juices and not smoothie’ed! I once tried to toss a chunk of raw beet into my high speed blender and it was disgusting.

The final pro of a juice is that they are refreshing and delicious.

So, now that you’ve decided that juicing is for you, you have quite a few choices of juicers. I want to try to make this really simple for you (because it is very confusing, right?) – there are basically 2 different kinds of juicers you can buy:

1. Centrifugal Juicer - This is the simplest and least effective. They are typically upright juicers with a mesh bowl and a plate with metal teeth that whir around at a terrific speed and tear up the produce, dumping the pulp in a separate container.

I have tested the Breville Juice Fountain, and think it does a great job. A huge advantage is that you can put a whole apple into the feed container! The clean-up is relatively easy.

2.Masticating Juicer (aka “Cold-Pressing” juicer) -Pieces of fruits and vegetables are pushed into the top of the tube (you have to cut them up small), and they are crushed and squeezed by the auger. Juice drains out of the underside of the tube, while the pulp is squeezed out at the end of the tube. Because of the slower crushing and squeezing action, masticating juicers can process leafy greens and wheat grass, and the juice that they produce will last much longer than juice made in a centrifugal juicer, which should be consumed right away as it starts losing nutrients nearly immediately.

ChampionJuicer2000BIG

I have just tested the Champion Juicer and really love it! It is expertly constructed and so heavy that you know the motor is serious business. I decided to test my favorite juice recipe, which I pay and arm and leg for from a local juice bar: beets, apple, ginger, and lemon (I have hundreds of Meyer lemons in my backyard).

The pieces were really easy to feed into the tube (I had to cut them up quite small to get them in there), and the motor, despite being so sturdy, was relatively quiet. The super cool thing is that the pulp comes out of the end in a sausage form! This makes clean very easy. The juice was the richest, darkest and most flavorsome juice I have had from any juicer to date. SOoooooo different from the one at the juice bar, which seems watery in comparison. This was so dense that I could literally water it down and it would still be delicious. I made it 2 days days ago, and the color and taste is still really great.

If you are serious about the health benefits of juicing, and want to commit to NOT buying from the juice bar anymore, this is would be a great choice.

The key to remember if you are a serious juicer is that the latter model (Masticating Juicer) is called cold-pressed because the motor doesn’t heat up unlike the Centrifugal model. The advantage of cold-pressing is that all of the important live enzymes stay alive – which is exactly what we want, right?

SMOOTHIE

I am smoothie OBSESSED because I never cease to marvel at how I can get so many incredible nutrients into one glass (pro-biotics, protein, fiber, super foods etc). I can just keep adding, and my morning smoothie has become something of an art.

Blendtec-Designer-675

I also love to add rich juices (as in a beet juice or a greens juice) to dial my smoothie up to the next level.

If you are really serious about smoothies, I highly recommend you invest in a high-quality, high speed blender.

I recently tested out theBlentec Designer 675 “Wildside” and I am in love! Yes, a high-speed blender like this (and this is the Range Rover or the “Chanel” of Blenders), is a BIG investment, but it’s an investment in your health, which cannot be undervalued. Moreover you will save a bunch of money in the long run by not buying expensive smoothies at the store.

The Blendtec Designer 675  is also not just for smoothies, it makes hot soups, healthy ice creams, nut butters, and more.

What makes this blender different from its rivals is that when you press the digital “smoothie” button, it goes through a whole cycle, starting off slow, and then speeding up towards the end – which is what I call a “smart” blender because it knows exactly how long and at what speed your smoothie needs to go.

The other thing that I love about this blender is that the BPA-free jar is lightweight and designed in such a way that unlike other blenders, you can easily get your smoothie, soup etc out, despite its thickness/goopiness.

Juice and smoothie bars might be a fad, but theses serious kitchen gadgets are here to stay. Once you’ve been bitten by them morning smoothie routine, there’s no going back.

In the eating plan in my soon-to-be-released fourth book, Gorgeous For Good – 30 days to lasting beauty inside and out,  I give you a bunch of my very favorite smoothie recipes – creations to suit every taste, occasion and health issue.

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy now!

Original Article

Champion Juicer

Doctors find it’s not easy to stay independent

PeterBruno

To stave off the pressures prompting many physicians to sell their practices to hospital systems, Manhattan internist Peter Bruno has tried a number of creative solutions. They have ranged from forming a now-disbanded group practice with 60 colleagues to his ongoing strategy of working at a nursing home one day a week to supplement his income in his current solo practice.

“It’s more and more difficult for doctors to make ends meet,” explained Dr. Bruno, who began practicing in 1979 and, thanks to his expertise in sports medicine, has treated professional athletes on teams including the Yankees, the Knicks and the Rangers.

With reimbursements dropping, Dr. Bruno made the bold move in July of converting his six-employee private practice on East 59th Street in Manhattan to a hybrid concierge model. In concierge care, patients pay an annual fee or retainer to get more immediate, customized care. Hybrid practices treat both concierge and traditional patients. He worked with SignatureMD, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based network that assists physicians in doing so.

In Dr. Bruno’s roughly 2,000-patient practice, 200 patients now pay $4,500 a year for perks like being able to reach him directly by mobile phone; he bills their insurance company for the actual care. He is looking for a physician to become a junior partner in his managed care practice and ultimately treat the other patients, whom he sees now.

Dr. Bruno is one of a dwindling number of primary care physicians who remain in private practice. Only 7% of primary care physicians in the U.S. owned a stake in a single-specialty practice in 2014, down from 12% in 2012, according to a national survey in 2014 by Jackson Healthcare, a staffing company in Alpharetta, Ga. Meanwhile, the percentage of primary care physicians employed by hospitals increased to 20% in 2014 from 10% in 2012. Typically, when doctors sell their practice to a hospital group, they take on the role of employee.

“The number of traditional independent-style physicians is definitely on the decline and will continue to decline,” said Wayne Lipton, founder and chief executive of Concierge Choice Physicians, a company in Rockville Centre, L.I., that helps physicians build concierge programs.

High overhead, administrative hassles and reimbursement cuts topped the list of reasons physicians gave for leaving private practice in the Jackson Healthcare survey. In New York City, physicians face local pressures, too. High rents, especially in Manhattan, contribute to steep overhead. And competition from urgent care centers is mounting, with many young, newly insured patients choosing them because they don’t have a relationship with a primary care doctor. “They are like the McDonald’s of medicine,” said Mr. Lipton.

Lower reimbursement rates

Meanwhile, it is hard for small independent practices to negotiate the better reimbursement rates from insurers that larger players can. “The insurers have the upper hand. They pay larger groups and hospitals at a higher rate,” said Mr. Lipton.

To be sure, practicing in parts of New York City, such as Manhattan, does have some built-in advantages. There is a dense population, and many city dwellers insist on seeing a local doctor. “They will not go to Jersey City or Long Island,” said Divan Dave, chief executive of OmniMD, a software and practice management firm based in Tarrytown, N.Y., that has clients in New York City.

Nonetheless, to survive economically, primary care physicians in independent practice have had to think more like business owners than many of them would prefer. In New York City, not taking insurance is now more common, said Mr. Lipton. Concierge medicine is also growing at a fast clip. His firm, founded almost a decade ago, now has about 100 New York City area firms in its network.

Painful choices

The choices physicians make to keep their practices healthy are painful at times. Not all of Dr. Bruno’s patients have been happy to hear he was moving into concierge care.

“I had a certain number of patients who thought I should have done this a long time ago,” he said. “I had a small number of patients who thought this was terrible and I was doing it for greed. They were angry and left. The bulk of patients who couldn’t justify joining the concierge practice all said they totally understood.”

Fortunately, most traditional patients have stayed with him as he looks for a partner. He refers those who want to leave to internists who work in the same building.

Some primary care physicians are trying a different approach. Take Louis J. Morledge, who runs an 11-employee practice with another physician on East 58th Street in Manhattan and accepts traditional insurance and Medicare. He employs a physician’s assistant to see certain patients under a physician’s supervision, and outsources billing, which devours the time of staffers at many practices. “Like any other small-business owner, you have to make sure you have a good handle on costs,” Dr. Morledge said.

But he’s willing to pay close attention to finances to stay in private practice. “None of this negates the joy of taking care of patients,” he said.

Correction: Some 12% of primary care physicians in the U.S. owned a stake in a single-specialty practice in 2012. This fact was misstated in a previous version of this story, originally published online Jan. 20, 2015.

Clarification: Dr. Peter Bruno worked with a Santa Monica, Calif.-based network to convert his private practice to a hybrid concierge model. This fact was unclear in a previous version of this story, originally published online Jan. 20, 2015.

Original Article

SignatureMD

Can’t Sleep? This Coffee Should Do the Trick. (Yes, We Said Coffee.)

Can't Sleep? This Coffee Should Do the Trick. (Yes, We Said Coffee.)

For most of us, coffee is the best way to start the day — not to end it. But a quirky java maker by the name of Counting Sheep Coffee aims to change that in 40 Winks. That’s the name of the small Vancouver company’s curious new decaf coffee brew, which it claims is chill enough to put you to sleep.

Counting Sheep’s sleepy ingredient isn’t a touch of Ambien. No magical sandman pharmaceutical infusion here. It’s powdered valerian root, mama nature’s own dreamy insomnia remedy, a natural sedative that people have used to nod off since the time of ancient Rome and Greece.

Related: How Your Daily Caffeine Fix Is a Silent Killer of Success

The startup’s dreamy beans come in two varieties — 40 Winks (formerly called Bedtime Blend) and a stronger variety called Lights Out! We don’t suggest drinking them at work, even if it’s tempting to at times.

Counting Sheep co-founder Deland Jessop told the Boston Globe that the idea for the sleepy brew stemmed from his wife’s sensitivity to caffeine. Unlike hardcore coffee addicts (ahem, guilty as charged), Jessup said his wife can’t fall asleep for the night if she “even touches” a cup of coffee after 3 p.m., even decaf.

Can't Sleep? This Coffee Should Do the Trick. (Yes, We Said Coffee.)

Related: GE Reveals a Fridge That Serves Up Piping Hot Coffee

Total bummer. The former police officer-turned-entrepreneur’s wife loves coffee enough to drink it all day, but can’t. What’s a doting Husband of the Year to do? Embark upon a quest to find a coffee to help his beloved, “a terrible sleeper,” fall asleep.

When Jessop came up cold, he invented his own, at home in his kitchen “laboratory.” Only it was awful. His first attempts, infused with lavender and chamomile, also reports the Globe, were so wretched tasting that his wife spit them out. Buzz kill.

Next Jessop, who apparently really, really wanted to help his wife fall asleep, tinkered with adding valerian to his experimental, 99.9-percent decaf concoction. But, still, it wasn’t good enough to drink. Committed to getting his strange brew just right, he turned to Newark, N.J. coffee roaster Joseph Fernandes. The two partnered and Counting Sheep Coffee was born.

Related: Bitter or Sweet? This One Thing Can Determine the Taste of Your Coffee.

That was back in 2013. Now, thanks to a recent successful bid onDragon’s Den, the Canadian version of Shark Tank, Counting Sheep Coffee is on a fast growth track. Its gourmet grounds are now available online from Amazon ($10.99 a bag, $12.99 per pack of single-serving pods) and from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Look out for them on store shelves throughout the U.S. soon.

To see Jessop and Fernandez pitch their buzz-less beans on Dragon’s Den, check out the video below. We promise, it won’t put you to sleep.

Original Article

Counting Sheep Coffee

Sleep-Inducing Coffee Could Become the Next Nightcap

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When you think of sleep aids, coffee usually isn’t at the top of the list. Warm milk, brandy, and sleeping pills are all usual suspects, but coffee? Not so much.

However, you might change your tune when you hear about a new coffee on the scene. Counting Sheep Coffee could change everything for coffee lovers who also enjoy their fair share of shuteye. Continue reading