Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

Taking out a nutrition “insurance policy”

In heatlhy eating, lifestyle, Uncategorized, wellness on January 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Nutrition experts say we should get between seven to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. While I’m not one to always recommend supplements, I do suggest taking  a whole food concentrate if we need to “bridge that gap”–between what we should eat and what we actually do eat.

Let me explain.  Experts say we should eat between seven to 13 servings of vegetables and fruits per day.  That’s always important, but especially even more so now with this severe flu season.

It’s not always possible to eat that much because:
•Many of us don’t even know what seven-13 servings looks like
•We often have super-hectic schedules that don’t always allow for healthy eating, especially if we eat at our desks or have client lunches and dinners
•We can’t monitor our kids’ eating 24/7 because they are often away from us, whether in school, at camp or in places where we aren’t–so we worry that they’re not getting enough nutrition
•Some people just don’t care for vegetables and fruit

So what we we do? Here are a few strategies:
• Pulverize and hide: That’s exactly what it sounds like. Blend and crush veggies and then sneak them in soups, sauces and other foods–wherever they can hide.

•Use that one-hour “danger zone” before dinner to your advantage: People are starving while they wait for dinner, right? Serve a big plate of rawcanstockphoto3168295spinach veggies with a healthy dip, such as home-made hummus to keep them from reaching for the cookies, pretzels and other not-so-healthy items

•Serve salad BEFORE the dinner entree, not AFTER (when people will already be satiated and probably won’t feel like eating the salad) Don’t serve the salad with the entree, either, because if you had a choice between eating the salad and eating, say, pizza, which would you go for??

Finally, consider taking out an “insurance policy.” I’m not always a fan of supplements, but Juice Plus+ isn’t a supplement; it’s a whole food concentrate make up of 13 fruits and vegetables. No preservatives, no additives, just pure nutrition. Best of all, it comes in a chewable form, much like those “gummy bears” that appeal to very young kids. Actually, I had one of the super-busy days last spring when I went for over 13 hours without eating. I was starving and, while on the train, I realized I had a packet of the gummy bear-like Juice Plus+ chewables. So I wolfed it down; I got nutrition, but I’m sure anyone who saw thought I was eating candy.

About Irene

Irene Ross is a certified health and nutrition counselor who helps people get off the diet roller coaster and lives healthy, happy, vibrant lives–without deprivation or any rigid meal plans.  One of her core programs is called “The Wellness-Centered Family”–which includes everyone, including the 2-legged human children and the 4-legged furry ones because “we all absorb the energy from each other.”

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:  For information on Juice Plus+ please visit:





Exercise May Protect Against Emotional Stress, According to Study

In exercise, heart health, lifestyle, stress, Uncategorized, wellness on September 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Here’s just more proof of the importance of exercise:  On the heels of a news report stating that people who experience intense workplace stress are at greater risk for heart attack, came another report of a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Health suggesting that even moderate exercise can help people cope with the day-to-day anxieties of today’s world.

First, every participant’s stress levels were measured. Then all participants were split up into two groups:  Those who experienced quiet rest for 30 minutes and those who exercised at a moderately intensive pace, like cycling.

They were all shown a series of photographs, ranging from pictures of families, babies and puppies to pictures of appetizing foods and then escalating to violent and gruesome images.

All participants were reassessed, and the researchers compared the effects of 30-minute periods of quiet rest and with those who exercised at moderate-intensity.

Those who exercised showed a lower level of anxiety.

The following statement appeared on the school’s website:

“While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about whether these positive effects endure when we’re faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym,” explains Dr. J. Carson Smith, the study author and an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. “We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.”

Want to know more benefits of exercise?  Please read my previous post here.


Weight isn’t the only indicator of overall health and fitness. Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified health and nutrition coach who helps people get off the diet roller coaster and live a lifetime of health, vitality, passion and overall physical and emotional wellbeing.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:  While there, be sure to sign up for her free, twice monthly newsletter, Power Wellness,” full of information on healthy eating and lifestyle.

Also the wellness expert for the 4-legged, she writes a popular pet health blog:

We Know Pets Can Help Keep Us Youthful, But Can They Also Keep Us Healthier?

In environment, holistic health, lifestyle, Uncategorized, wellness on July 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm

There has been a lot of research as to how animals can help keep people youthful, but a study from Finland recently found that children who are around pets the first years of their life are less prone to illnesses, especially ones like the ear infections for which kids are so known.

Although those around cats were still protected, they were a little less so than infants who were around dogs.

No one really knows for sure why and, although officials readily acknowledge that more research is needed, one thought is perhaps that the more time a dog spends outside, the more dirt he or she drags in–and that somehow stimulates the child’s immune response.

This story was reported on CNN; to read the entire story, click here.

What do you think about this?

How One School Changed My Life

In education, holistic health, lifestyle, New York City, nutrition, Uncategorized, wellness on July 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I was in the business world for several years (public relations executive) but, for many of them, I was the “go to” person in the office for advice on wellness and nutrition.  I always, mistakenly, thought that if something was a passion it was, well, a passion and a hobby.

Was I ever wrong!

In 2009, I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  It’s headquartered in New York City, but students come from all over the world; I remember in one of my classes I sat next to a woman who traveled from Korea.  Once I heard two students from Brazil and one from India, speak.  Another time I met a student from Mexico.  Well, you get the picture!

While there, I received a world-class education.  My instructors included people like Dr. Andrew Weil; Dr. Mark Hyman; Geneen Roth; Deepak Chopra; Dr. David Katz and a lot of others.

It was a world different from anything I had experienced; I was now part of a movement, living my passion and mission–and having fun while I was at it.

Probably the biggest change came from my own transformation.  You see, months before I enrolled, I was stressed to the max and experienced many, many problems–personal and professional.  As a result, I gained 65 pounds, my blood pressure shot up and my knees hurt so badly that I actually remembering standing on the first floor of an apartment building–because I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the climb to the 4th floor apartment to visit someone.

So, as I learned, I also experimented on myself.  I actually consider myself my first client.  I tried all different dietary theories to learn what worked for me and what didn’t.  I experimented with different lifestyle techniques.  In short, I coached myself.

Today, I’m happy, successful, strong and passionate–and minus the 65 pounds that I had gained.

I’m also proud to be a school ambassador, so if you’d like to know more, please contact me through my website:  It’ll be one of the best decisions you ever made!


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and wellness coach who helps people instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she also writes a twice-monthly newsletter called “Power Wellness.”  To subscribe (and automatically receive a free download of her mini e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story), click here: Power Wellness

Six Simple Ways to Manage Stress

In job, kids, lifestyle, stress, Uncategorized, wellness on July 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Let’s face it.  Stress is a part of our lives, especially if we live in hectic urban areas or have taxing careers, either with or without the addition of family responsibilities, kids and pets.  

Sometimes it’s a good thing, helping us rise to a challenge, such as taking an exam or getting ready for a big dance—but we’re talking about the harmful stress, the drawn-out kind caused by events like career problems, moving, job change, death of a loved one, etc.  This kind makes us more susceptible to colds and cause us to have migraines, sleepless nights, neck and shoulder pain and more.

Over 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress, but here are some simple strategies to help you manage it

1. Take several very short breaks during the day for some “Me Time.” It might feel a little strange to you at first, but in the long-term you’ll be able to focus much better, and that means getting more done in less time.  The final result?  You’ll get to spend more time with your family and kids!

Last week I read something wonderful from Deepak Chopra.  He suggested setting your alarm a few times a day.  When it goes off, concentrate on how you’re feeling at the moment and ask “what do I need?”  Then take some action, however small, to meet that need.  It may be something as simple as getting up from your desk, stretching or taking a few deep breaths.

2.  Speaking of breathing, we tend to take quick, shallow breaths when stressed.  Sometimes a few deep ones will calm you right down.  There are several techniques, but mine is the 4-7-8 technique from Andrew Weil, MD.  Here’s how he says to do it:  Inhale for the count of 4; hold breath for the count of 7; exhale for the count of 8.

3. Take a little time each day for recreation!  Last summer, I experienced what was probably the most intense stress I’d ever feel.  We’re talking heart-racing, soul-crushing, makes-you-feel-like-someone-pulled-your-beating-heart-out-of-your-chest worry. It was constantly on my mind and that was causing even more stress, since it was interfering with my work and I was, frankly, becoming more and more annoyed with this.

I love the water—and New York City’s Hudson River Park is one of my favorite places on the planet.  So, I realized I wasn’t all that productive anyway, turned off my computer and then went over there for a half hour walk along the water. I got an added benefit—I also love animals and stopped by the park’s “puppy pool” and had a good laugh watching a Great Dane try to get into the little pool.

So here’s the point—whatever you love to do, make sure you take a little bit of time out of your day or evening to do it.

4.  De-clutter your home.  First, it will make you feel a lot better just by “feathering your nest” and creating a nicer environment.  But think about it:  How much time do you waste every day looking through that stack of papers?  That could be time you spend on something else—like de-stressing.

5. Practice gratitude.  Last New Year’s Eve, I took a challenge; the assignment was to find 100 things for which I was grateful in 2011.  Now, like many, I didn’t find it to be the greatest year, so I was absolutely shocked when I breezed through the first 75 items. The next 15 were a little more difficult, but I was still able to do it pretty quickly.  Ditto for the last 10.  The lesson?  If you re-frame your thinking, you’ll always find something for which to be grateful.

6. Reduce–or eliminate–sugar.  Study after study has linked sugar and stress and, according to the USDA, we now consume over 156 pounds of sugar per year on a per capita basis. Wow!  That’s 31 5-pound bags of sugar for each of us!  The solution is easy:  Cut down on sugar, eat a colorful array of fruits and vegetables (each color has a different set of phyonutrients), go for complex vs. simple carbohydrates, we’ll be a lot better off.

Want to know more about sugar?  Get a free download of my mini e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story.  All your need to do is opt-in on my “join my list” box on the home page of my website:


Ten Reasons to Drink More Water

In anti-aging, food, heart health, holistic health, lifestyle, Uncategorized, water, women on June 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Twenty-two years ago, while treating inmates at a prison, a physician named Dr. Batmanghelidj saw a patient doubled over in pain with a gastrointestinal disease. Since there was no access to any medicine, Dr. Batmanghelidj could only give this person water. He had him drink two glasses. Within three minutes, the person’s pain diminished; within eight minutes, he was completely pain free. After that, Dr. Batmanghelidj researched the medicinal properties of water and wrote several books, including Your Body’s Many Cries for Water and Water Cures: Drugs Kill: How Water Cured Incurable Diseases.

Dr. Batmanghelidj, who passed away in 2004 and studied medicine under penicillin-inventor, Sir Alexander Fleming, asserted that dehydration is the root cause of all physical illness. A report on his findings was published as an editorial in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, June 1983.

Admittedly, Dr. Batmanghelidj’s assertions are somewhat controversial, but there are at least 10 hard and fast rules why you need proper hydration.

60 to 75 percent of our overall body is made up of water; the brain, alone, is comprised of 85 percent water—even our bones contain up to 22 percent!

While we can go for almost a month without food, we can only go for a week without water. Water transports vitamins and nutrients to the cells; it removes toxins and regulates your body temperature. Nearly all of the body’s major systems rely on water.

The average person loses three to four cups per day just through perspiration and urine. When you lose two percent of your body’s water, you become dehydrated.

There are at least ten good reasons to drink up.

If you do, you’ll experience:

  •  Increased energy. One of the most common reasons for low energy is not drinking enough water!
  • Better ability to concentrate, with more clear-headedness.
  • More successful exercise; remember, dehydration is one of the most common reasons for low energy so, if you slow down, you won’t be as productive at the gym.
  • Healthier Skin: Since water removes toxins, it can help clear up skin. Some even report a kind of glow after drinking!
  • Heart Health: You’ll have a steadier, stronger heart-rate, and a study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drank more than five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.
  • Ability to handle stress better: Since you’ll be more clear-headed, you’ll be that much more equipped to handle challenges and problems.
  • Fewer headaches: Do you know that 75 to 80 percent are caused by dehydration??
  • Youthfulness! Water contracts muscles and plumps up tissues. Without water, you’ll see sagging skin and muscle loss
  • Increased metabolism
  • Flushed toxins


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a certified nutrition and wellness coach who works with people to help them instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she also writes a free twice-monthly newsletter, “Power Wellness,” full of tips for healthy eating and lifestyle.  Subscribe and automatically receive a free download of her mini e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story.  To subscribe, click here.

Irene’s website is:  Are you tired of being tired?  Contact me ( and let’s see if it makes sense to work together.

Five Ways to Get Back in Shape for Summer

In anti-aging, exercise, heatlhy eating, lifestyle, Uncategorized, weight gain, wellness on May 13, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, is just around the corner, and soon we’ll be wearing bathing suits, shorts, sleeveless shirts and other hot-weather clothing.

You may have found that you gained a few pounds or got out of shape during the winter. No need for despair, though–here’s a quick- start guide to help you get back on track quickly!

  • Diet: One of the great things about summer is the abundance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables. Fill up on them! Remember, the more colorful your plate the better, because every color includes a different set of phytonutrients–those things that keep us healthy. T


  • A word about superfoods: Some foods have very high nutrient levels, and they are called superfoods. They include berries, citrus fruits, and greens, such as broccoli, kale, collards, bok choy, yogurt, pumpkin, chocolate (Yes! but it must have over 65% cacao) and more.
  • Water: This substance transports nutrients and oxygen to every cell and you’ll end up feeling more energetic—which means you’ll be more active, burn more calories and spend more time at the gym. How much? Divide your weight in half–that’s how many ounces you probably should drink per day.
  • Exercise: I was once told by New York City physician, Dr. Steve Tsoutsouras that exercise was one of the pillars of anti-aging—so you definitely want to add that to your get-back-in-shape program.
  • “Taking care of yourself in all aspects is important, and exercise is right at the top,” said Tsoutsouras. “It releases endorphins, which make you feel better and can reduce stress.
  • In addition, exercise controls weight; fights fatigue and promotes better sleep.
  • “Some of my patients tell me they can’t sleep without exercising,” says Dr. Kathia Roberts, Ph.D., ND, D.PHYT.
  • Nutritional Cleansing: While a cleanse isn’t a weight loss program, per se, the happy result can be the loss of a few pounds and you rid your body of toxins, rejuvenate it (who wouldn’t like to look younger and have a lot more energy??), and provide the body with the necessary enzymes to transport nutrients. There are a lot of ways to cleanse, whether it’s with juices or products, but my personal favorite is Isagenix. If you’d like to know more about that, or any other method of cleansing, don’t hesitate to contact me.
  • Self- Care: Never minimize the importance of a good massage or any other self-care item! Self-care helps to get your body back in balance and one of the happy results is a lack of depression, fatigue and other energy-zappers. You’ll eat more healthfully, too!


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP is a NYC-based, certified nutrition and wellness coach who helps people instantly double their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.

Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Life:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she also writes a popular pet wellness blog:

Three Ways To Cultivate Your Garden in a Tiny Space

In diet, Earth Day, environment, farming, heatlhy eating, herbs, home, lifestyle, Uncategorized, Urban on April 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Happy Earth Day!  It’s a time to reflect on “greening” our lives and growing more of our own food–and, yes, even urban dwellers and apartment residents can do it, without having to rely on the greenmarket.

Growing your own food is a lot healthier for both you and your pocketbook.  Let your kids garden; it’s a great way to motivate them to eat more veggies and fruits.

Gardening in small spaces can be a challenge but, with a little creativity, flexibility–and a lot of determination–you’ll be able to have the garden of your dreams–right outside your 5th floor studio walk up apartment!

Here are a few simple suggestions for maximizing that often tiny gardening space.

  • Go vertical.  A couple of years ago I visited a friend who lived in a tiny apartment on one of the busiest and grungiest streets in New York City.  Yet, when I walked into his garden, I was positively awed; it was a vertical garden,  with gorgeous, trailing vines of tomatoes and zucchini. 

One thing you might want to use is the Tower Garden, a portable, lightweight tower that’s simple to use and attractive for both patios and concrete backyards.  The system was developed by garden designer Tim Blank and it relies on an aeroponics system (the plant roots are suspended in air); it holds up to 44 plants and even comes with its own trellis.

  • Go “double duty.”  Grow herbs and small plants in ornamental planters.  It’s decorative and soothing!
  • Container Gardening:  Almost anything can be used, so use your creative juices!  Baskets, pots (clay, ceramic, terra cotta), wheelbarrows–even shoes.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is a NYC-based nutrition and wellness coach.  She helps people instantly increase their energy so they avoid that mid-morning or afternoon slump, get more done in less time and balance their lives.  Author of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways To Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life,  her website is:

To learn more about Tower Garden, please visit: .

What Is Flow–and How Does It keep You Healthy

In computer, fitness, health, lifestyle, software, Uncategorized, wellness on April 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I recently conducted a survey to find out more about your biggest wellness concerns and furstrations.  Many of you told me one of your biggest challenges was finding time to exercise.  We all know it’s pretty unhealthy to sit at a desk or in front a computer all day–but we all also know just how challenging it can be to find the time.  (And I remember many times when I was just too tired or burned out after a tough day.)

So here’s the story of Flow, with a short video clip, that will give you some suggestions on solving this problem. Flow is a software program built with the primary goal of improving the health of people, especially those who sit in front of computers all day.

By the way, I’d love to hear from you–won’t you please complete this brief (5-10 minutes max) survey. To access:


Florida psychologist Dr. Renee Nasajon, Psy.D,  practices holistic psychology;  that is, she explores the interconnectedness of the mind and body.

Many years ago while working in a hospital, she was able to walk–a LOT. That all ended when she went into private practice. She spends much of her day now in a chair, listening to patients–or in front of a computer doing research. As she says, her metabolism fell into disarray and she started to gain weight little by little.

One day she was on the treadmill at the gym and thought, “I  am so violent with my body! I spend hours almost not moving, and then all of a sudden I bring it here and force it to run and lift weights and do all kinds of extreme things. I’m going to end up hurting myself!”

If she wanted to exercise in an effective and safe manner at the gym, she’d have to find a way to condition her body in preparation.

That’s when she created Flow.

Flow is a video that pops up on your computer screen to guide you through about five minutes of physical activity while still sitting at your desk.

“There is an abundance of emerging research that demonstrates the health-risks associated with sedentariness –spending too many hours without engaging in any kind of physical activity.

Dr. Nasajon continued: “The research shows that if we interrupt that sedentary behavior with just five minutes or so of some kind of physical activity, we can dramatically improve our ability to burn calories, improve our mood, decrease our cravings for sugar, caffeine and nicotine. We become more focused, more energetic, and we can reduce our blood pressure and our risk to develop osteoporosis, diabetes, cholesterol, and even some forms of cancer. ”

Want to check out Flow for yourself?  Watch the video below, for a sampling of working the abdominal at your desk–very simple and effective techniques.

How to Watch for Hidden Sugar in Your Food

In cravings, fitness, holistic health, lifestyle, nutrition on April 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm

According to MedicineNet.Com, Americans now consume about 156 pounds of sugar per year–about 31 five-pound bags per person.  (That, by the way, compares to us eating about 8 pounds of broccoli a year.)

Overconsumption of refined sweets and added sugars found in everyday foods has led to an explosion of hypoglycemia and Type 2 Diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, Date January 26, 2011: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes. Between 55-60% of adults in America are overweight or obese and, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, obesity is one of the top 3 preventable risk factors for premature mortality.

Before the first sugar refinery was built in 1689. our ancestors had to rely on the berries 

and other fruit they picked to satisfy their sweet tooths.  But now sugar’s all over the place–hidden in things like peanut butter, tomato sauce, ketchup and even baby food.

Our cafe/coffee house lifestyle doesn’t help.  Many of us don’t realize just how much sugar is in a flavored coffee–but a 16-ounce Starbuck’s Frappacino has 44 grams of sugar!  That’s comparable to 10 teaspoonfuls.  A chocolate glazed cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts has 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoonfuls.

Need more proof?  Okay, imagine that you’re in a supermarket.  Ravenous!  Just by the cash register are shelves and shelves of candy.  You think, “It’s only tiny–what’s the harm?”  Some statistics:

  • A 140 calorie York peppermint patty contains 25 grams of sugar.  Each sugar gram contains 4 calories–so 100 calories of that candy is sugar.
  • A milk chocolate Hershey bar is 110 Calories.  Since it contains 24 grams of sugar, that means the bar is 96 Calories of sugar.
  • A bag of M&Ms is 230 calories.  The bag contains 31 grams for a total of 124 sugar calories.

If we read labels, do some simple calculations and stay aware of what we’re eating we’ll all be fine.

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