As Seen on Dr. Oz: Saffron Extract Curbs Your Appetite

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by Dr. Susan Lark


In January 2011, I wrote an article in my newsletter about how to curb emotional eating, a very common weight loss obstacle for so many women. In that article, I wrote about an exciting nutrient that has been shown to significantly curb snacking: saffron extract. 
Scientists have identified at least two of saffron's active ingredients: safranal, which has been found to promote levels of the well-being neurotransmitter serotonin, and crocin-1, which inhibits the neurotransmitters dopamine (believed to condition you to expect “rewards” from comfort food) and the acute stress hormone norepinephrine. Saffron’s effects on these brain chemicals is believed to be one mechanism by which it combats mild to moderate depression; increases a sense of fullness and satisfaction; helps blunt the triggers of emotional eating; and promotes not just weight loss, but reduction of fat mass.
You may have seen a segment on this exact saffron extract yesterday on the Dr. Oz show. While I was pleased to see this nutrient highlighted on national TV, I must warn you--saffron is not a miracle weight loss "pill," as it was portrayed on yesterday's show. Research shows a significant reduction in snacking after four weeks, after continued daily use. For most women, the results are not nearly as immediate as the show would have you believe. So while I do highly recommend saffron extract if you are trying to curb your appetite, reduce your emotional eating, and ultimately lose weight, you must use it as part of a healthy weight loss program that includes exercise and healthy diet. 
You can find the specific saffron extract used in studies in Slim Select.

Diet and Skin Care

Monday, August 29, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark
What natural skin care ingredients you use ON your skin are important for the health and well-being of your skin. 

But what you eat can have a significant impact on your skin, as well. For instance, refined sugar in particular can exacerbate a host of skin problems, like acne. (And it doesn't matter if you are in your reproductive years, premenopause, or menopause...all women get acne!) First, sugar prompts the secretion of androgens, hormones that cause oil glands to go into overdrive. Second, sugar causes an insulin response in the body, which leads to inflammation. When pores become blocked, then inflamed, bacteria get trapped under the skin, which leads to pimples and blackheads. This inflammatory response can also aggravate other conditions like rosacea and eczema.

So, along with taking skin-supportive nutrients, using the best natural skin care products on the market, and balancing your female hormones, give your kitchen pantry a major overhaul. Get rid of all refined carbohydrates and foods high in sugar, fat, and ingredients you can’t pronounce. Your diet should be overwhelmingly rich in vegetables and fruits (preferably organic), whole grains, raw nuts, legumes, occasional free-range poultry, and wild-caught fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. 

Where to find the best natural beauty care products

Monday, July 11, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark
I talk all the time about the importance of natural skin care ingredients, and what toxic ingredients to avoid.

You may be wondering if your favorite products contain harmful ingredients that may affect your skin and health. I recommend visiting the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Here, they rate thousands of health and beauty products—including makeup, cleansers, moisturizers, nail care, baby care, oral care, and sun protection products—on a scale of 0 (being the lowest hazard based on their ingredients) to 10 (being the highest hazard). 

You can always check my website, too, for some of the best natural skin care options on the market.

Best Natural Skin Care for Age Spots

Thursday, May 12, 2011 by Dr. Susan Lark

Age spots are places where excess melanin (or pigment) has been delivered to the skin. But while their common name suggests that they’re an unavoidable part of getting older, studies show that they’re more about inflammation than age. In fact, a woman can be well into her 80s and not have a single age spot, because the number one cause of age spots happens to be the most pervasive cause of skin inflammation, and also the easiest to avoid: ultraviolet radiation.

Conventional treatment usually involves applying a drug called hydroquinone (a somewhat irritating prescription skin lightener) and a prescription corticosteroid, which is used to counteract the inflammatory effects of the hydroquinone. For greater efficacy and speed, this approach is often paired with the use of harsh chemical skin peels or dermabrasion to stimulate new skin to grow and replace the old hyperpigmented skin faster. All of these treatment have undesirable side effects.

Natural Beauty Care Products for Age Spots

Reversing age spots can be done naturally, in 3 easy steps: 
  • Protect against ultraviolet radiation and avoid the sun-induced skin inflammation that triggers hyperpigmentation in the first place. No skin lightener will work if sun-induced inflammation isn’t avoided. Use a top-quality sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Also make sure it does not contain any inflammatory ingredients such as PABA.
  • Cleanse gently and always moisturize. For the treatment of age spots, try using a mild facial cleanser once a week unless your face needs a thorough washing—for instance, if you have a lot of makeup on. On the other days, cleanse twice a day with oil instead of soap. Using about 1/4 teaspoon of a high quality, perfume-free oil such as organic jojoba, olive, grapeseed, or macadamia oil, gently massage your face. Then, wet a clean washcloth with warm (not hot) water, and remove the oil by scrubbing gently in a downward direction to clean and close your skin’s pores. Follow by massaging in about 1/4 as much of the same oil, preferably while your face is still damp. If your skin feels too oily afterward, gently dab away the excess with a clean cloth.
  • Twice a week, exfoliate with 10 percent glycolic acid. For most women, 10 percent is gentle enough even for everyday use without causing inflammation. I recommend Mango Madness SkinCare’s Exfoliate Me Glycolic Acid Cleanser.

Spice Up Your Natural Weight Loss Plan

Thursday, January 13, 2011 by Susan Lark
A cornerstone of Ayurvedic medicine is that losing weight requires stoking the metabolic fire externally through physical exercise, and internally by using spices that have a “heating virya” (a flaring initial effect, like tossing fuel onto a flame) and a “pungent vipaka” (a longer, slower, post-digestive heat, like smoldering embers). This process is better known as thermogenesis. Here are two spices that can boost your natural weightloss efforts: 
  • Hot peppers. Capsaicin is the “hot” ingredient in hot peppers. Studies show that, in spite of being fed a high-fat diet, laboratory rats given supplemental capsaicin actually lost body fat and 8 percent of their starting body weight, while the rats not given capsaicin gained both weight and fat. I recommend Nature’s Way Cayenne 40,000 H.U. Take 450 mg three times daily with food.
  • Turmeric. A well-known antioxidant and anti-cancer agent, turmeric is also a traditional Ayurvedic weight-loss agent. Its active ingredient is curcumin, which studies show suppresses fat deposition in mice fed a high-fat diet. I recommend a turmeric extract standardized to 95 percent curcuminoids, which you can find at any health food store or vitamin retailer. Take 500 mg three times daily. Or, simply add this wonderful spice to your recipes! You can find many recipes that include turmeric online.
For more information and tips on improving your natural weightloss efforts, visit my Web site.

Oatmeal for Detox

Friday, January 7, 2011 by Kimberly Day
One of the keys to effective detoxification is to facilitate elimination. And, in addition to water, oatmeal for detoxfiber in another critical component of elimination facilitation.

I’ve found that making oatmeal a part of the daily diet is a delicious answer to this dilemma. Not only does the fiber help with the detox process, it also helps with appetite control, lowers cholesterol levels, reduces your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, balances estrogen levels, and enhances immune responses.

Baked Oatmeal
(Serves 6)

3 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup Truvia, stevia, or xylitol
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1/2–1 cup berries
olive oil spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  3. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together and add the berries.
  4. Spread in a 9×9 pan that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil.
  5. Bake 20–30 minutes and enjoy warm.
For more delicious recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Delicious Detox Quinoa Salad

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 by Kimberly Day
One of the hardest parts of detoxing is knowing what to eat. There are foods to avoid, foods to eat, it can get nuts!!!delicious detox quinoa salad

That’s why I always make sure I have this salad on hand whenever I am detoxing. It uses quinoa, a gluten-free seed from a leafy plant related to spinach.

Not only does it provide great appetite control, but the quinoa is an excellent source of protein. Plus, it also contains high levels of potassium and vitamin B2; as well as vitamins B1, B3, B6; copper; magnesium; and zinc. Use it as a side dish at dinner or as a stand-alone lunch.

Quinoa Salad
(Serves 4)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup garbanzo beans
2/3 cup chopped broccoli
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon tarragon
3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, then chill for at least one hour before serving.

For more delicious recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Kick-Start Your Natural Weightloss-Step 5

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 by Susan Lark

The final step in controlling emotional eating and kick-starting your natural weightloss is to take the following supplements, which have been proven to help curb the cravings associated with emotional eating:

  • Saffron has long been used as a seasoning and coloring agent by gourmet cooks. But saffron also has amazing medicinal value that is beginning to turn heads, including benefits that can help free you from the clutches of emotional eating. Scientists have identified at least two of its active ingredients: safranal, which has been found to promote levels of the well-being neurotransmitter serotonin, and crocin-1, which inhibits the neurotransmitters dopamine (believed to condition you to expect “rewards” from comfort food), and the acute stress hormone norepinephrine. Saffron’s effects on these brain chemicals is believed to be one mechanism by which it combats mild to moderate depression; increases a sense of fullness and satisfaction; helps blunt the triggers of emotional eating; and promotes not just weight loss, but reduction of fat mass. A new, patent-pending, clinically proven optimized saffron extract, developed in France from Mediterranean saffron and used in the study above, is available as a supplement called Satiereal. I recommend one capsule, twice daily.
  • Sublingual 5-HTP. Your brain is a major source for the production of the appetite control neurotransmitter called serotonin, and 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan) is serotonin’s main ingredient. In a placebo-controlled study of overweight women, eight weeks of treatment with an under-the-tongue form of 5-HTP resulted in a significantly greater sense of fullness and satisfaction, and reduced body mass index, skinfold thickness, and hip measurement. I recommend Life Link’s 5 HTP lozenges .

To  learn more about appetite control techniques and ways to aid in your natural weight loss plan, visit my Web site.

Healthy Tailgating

Saturday, December 18, 2010 by Kimberly Day
I am heading to Pittsburgh today to see my family for the holidays. What makes this great visit Healthy Chicken Skewerseven better is that many of my family members and heading to the Steelers/Jets football game on Sunday. And, in my family, football equals food.

To make sure I not only stay on my natural weight loss plan but also bring delicious stuff to tailgate, I pulled together some of my best, and easiest, recipes. Whether you are tailgating as well or simply want some healthy recipes, both of these are sure to please.

The Orient Express

(Serves 4)

This nutty delight combines wheat-free tamari sauce (alternative to soy sauce) with inflammation-fighters ginger and cayenne pepper. I used it as a dipping sauce for chicken skewers.

1/2 cup organic almond butter
1/3 cup tamari sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon stevia or Truvia
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Warm almond butter in small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. When slightly softened, add tamari and remaining ingredients and blend well. Remove from heat and pour into large, shallow bowl. Add meat and marinate in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Cherry-Chipotle Burger Bombshells

(Serves 4)

Definitely not for the faint of heart! This tasty recipe provides the antioxidant protection of cherries with the heat of chipotle chilies. Just one bite and you’ll be hooked! If heat isn’t your think, simply delete the chipotle chilies.

1 pound lean ground turkey
1/2 cup black cherry concentrate
1 teaspoon agave
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and blend well. Shape into patties and grill until cooked through. Serve as patties or with wheat-free buns.

For more delicious recipes to compliment your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Fight Holiday Weight Gain

Thursday, December 16, 2010 by Kimberly Day
While the holidays are often a time of celebration, they can also be plagued with stress and fight holiday weight gaincertain annoying in-laws. And this stress can lead many a woman to the cookie or candy jar.

Fight holiday stress and potential weight gain by keeping your neurotransmitters sharp and in balance.

Neurotransmitters relay electrical impulses between nerve cells throughout your body, and affect everything from muscle contraction and blood flow to mental sharpness, mood, and your ability to handle stress. The neurotransmitter serotonin is a major player in the factors that can trigger, or block, cravings and binge eating. Researchers believe it’s a sort of chemical restraint system, inhibiting the more “primitive” centers of the brain.

When your serotonin levels are low, irritability, anxiety, and binge eating become more likely. The excitatory neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine elevate your mood from the other direction—by energizing you and supporting alertness, optimism, motivation, zest for life, and sex drive.

So, what can you do to keep neurotransmitters in proper balance during the holidays and all year long? Serotonin is produced from the amino acids tryptophan and the intermediary substance 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can’t make it—you must get it through foods such as:
  • turkey;
  • seafood;
  • whole grains such as quinoa;
  • brown rice;
  • legumes;
  • eggs;
  • almonds; and
  • sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.

The excitatory neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine) are derived from tyrosine, an amino acid your body can produce from other ingredients and found in most good, quality, protein-rich foods.

If you’ve changed your diet and your cravings are still a problem, consider supplemental 5-HTP and tyrosine to re-stock your body’s neurotransmitters. Dr. Lark recommends gradually working up to 50–100 mg of 5-HTP once or twice a day and 1,000–2,000 mg of tyrosine once or twice a day.

Be sure to take a high-potency multinutrient, as well, to ensure that you’re getting all of the co-factors you need to produce these neurotransmitters—including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, and copper.

Please note: If you are taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication, consult with your physician before taking amino acids.

For more tips on avoiding holiday weight gain and sticking to your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Toxins in Beauty Care Products Exposed

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 by Susan Lark
I was watching the Today Show this morning and saw a segment about the dangers associated with the ingredients used in the majority of cosmetics and beauty products on the market. The women being interviewed were promoting a new book they wrote about this topic called No More Dirty Looks, but I was just glad to see more publicity being paid to the topic of toxins in beauty care products.

I've spoken many times about the potential dangers of ingredients used in many cosmetics and beauty care products. In reality, the best natural skin care you could possibly use comes from nature, not from a chemical lab. I urge you to look through the beauty care products and cosmetics you use most frequently and replace them with products that contain pure, natural skin care ingredients. One of the all-time best natural skin care products I can recommend is Trilane, which is made from olives.

For even more information on natural skin care ingredients and the best natural skin care you can find, visit my Web site.

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Friday, November 19, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Continuing on my quest for healthy, low sugar, and wheat-free holiday foods that won’t wreak my natural weight loss plan, let’s turn to those pesky side dishes.

In my family, be it Thanksgiving or Christmas, turkey seems to be the protein of choice. And it’s a diet-friendly option, so I don’t worry about that. For me, it’s the amazing side dishes that always seem to send my natural appetite control for a loop.

This year, offer to bring one or two side dishes as your contribution to the meal. Not only will you be able to pitch in and help out with the cooking, but your can help your waistline as sweet potatoeswell.

Not-So-Sweet Sweet Potatoes
Makes 6 cups
  • Six large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about six pounds)
  • Spray olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Place potatoes in a large, shallow baking dish and lightly spray with olive oil. Bake for one hour or until soft and tender, tossing occasionally. Place potatoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat with mixer until smooth. Serve warm.

Green Bean with Roasted Onions

  • 2 red onions, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Heat oil in small pan. Add onions and cook until tender. Place in large mixing bowl and set aside. Steam green beans until softened but with a touch of crunch and remove from heat. Add thyme, dill, vinegar, and mustard to onions and mix. Add green beans and toss well.

For more great recipes that won’t ruin your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving

Friday, November 19, 2010 by Kimberly Day
I don’t know about you, but with Thanksgiving next week and the Christmas holidays shortly Cranberriesthereafter, I start to get a little panicky. I think about all the sweet and starchy foods that will be available, and I can picture my willpower (and natural weight loss plan) flying right out the window.

So, rather than relying on natural appetite control, I am opting to go with a defensive strategy: offer to bring several dishes to any large family gatherings so I can be sure there are low calorie, healthy, wheat- and sugar-free items for me to enjoy without feeling deprived or left out.

And, in case I’m not the only one out there concerned about the holidays and unwanted weight gain, I’ll share these recipes with you.

Let’s start at the beginning…of the meal that is. Both of these dishes use a perennial holiday favorite—cranberries.

Autumn Sunrise Salad
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon erythritol (I like the Z Sweet brand)
  • 3–4 dashes hot sauce
  • ground pepper to taste
  • 1 bag organic mixed lettuce
  • 4 ounces dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 4 ounces sliced almonds

Mix cinnamon through pepper thoroughly in bottom of a large salad bowl. Add lettuce and toss well. Top with cranberries and almonds and serve.

Not Your Mother’s Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped or pureed ginger
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup truvia or erythritol
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice

Heat oil in saucepan. Add shallots and ginger and cook until shallots are soft. Add orange juice and cook for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes. Should be thickened by this point. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

For more great recipes that won’t ruin your natural weight loss plan, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Best Natural Skin Care for Dry Hands--Steps 2 & 3

Friday, November 12, 2010 by Susan Lark

Best Natural Skin Care for Dry Hands--Step 2
To keep your hands smooth and soft during harsh winter conditions, you should exfoliate weekly.

Exfoliating the skin on your hands helps to remove dead skin cells and can encourage the formation of undamaged new ones. There are plenty of exfoliating products on the market, but if you want to make a natural skin care recipe at home, try this:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1–2 teaspoons coconut, jojoba, avocado, or olive oil
1–2 teaspoons honey

Mix all these ingredients together and massage into your dry hands for about one minute (or less). Then add a little water and continue massaging for a minute (or less). Wash your hands, then moisturize (see below).

Best Natural Skin Care for Dry Hands--Step 3
During the wintertime, you simply need to moisturize frequently. However, I am not a fan of the chemical-laden drugstore brand moisturizers. Most of them contain petrolatum. Also known as petroleum and paraffin jelly, petrolatum is a type of mineral oil used to seal in moisture. This is the ironic part, because petrolatum actually interferes with your skin’s own moisturizing ability, leading to even more dry skin and chapping.

When you use a skin care product that contains petrolatum, you will usually find it to be very waxy. This is a sign that your skin is not absorbing the product. Instead, it just sits on top of your skin, suffocating and clogging your pores.

Fortunately, there are plenty of moisturizers that do not contain petrolatum and other questionable chemicals. Some of the best natural skin care contains shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and other soothing and easily absorbed ingredients from nature. Just look in your local health food store or at any of the countless online retailers that sell products with natural skin care ingredients. Some of my favorite natural beauty care products Aubrey Organics Collagen & Almond Enriching Moisturizing Lotion, Devita Tahitian Shea Butter Brulée, and 100% Pure Lemon Shea Body Butter.

Be sure to use your moisturizer after washing your hands, before and after going outside, and any other time you feel you need it.


Wrinkle Free Skin You Would Krill For

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Did you know that November is National Healthy Skin Month. Yep, you can’t make this stuff up.

So, in honor of great skin everywhere (and those of us who strive for great skin), I thought I’d focus on all things skin this month. I’ll share some little known natural skin care ingredients, a few natural skin care recipes, and even a few of my favorite best natural skin care products.

Let’s start with krill oil. This essential fatty acid complex is derived from tiny shrimp called Antarctic krill.

This unique marine oil is not only a rich source of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, but is also a rich source of phospholipids and naturally occurring antioxidants, including vitamins A and E and astaxanthin.

These last three nutrients give krill oil an antioxidant advantage over other “fish” oils because of its free radical-scavenging ability. In fact, the ORAC score (or antioxidant capacity) of krill oil has been shown to be 300 times greater than vitamins E or A alone and 48 times greater than other fish oil products available!

Plus, krill oil’s fatty acid and phospholipid content makes it an ideal choice for delivering moisture and hydration to the skin. A clinical study conducted with krill oil showed that supplementation with krill oil had a positive effect on skin health and appearance, helping to reduce wrinkles by improving skin hydration.

And, as an additional benefit, animal studies suggest that krill oil has photo-protective benefits when taken orally. A controlled animal study has shown that krill oil even helps to protect your skin from UV-induced skin redness!

Source Naturals makes a good krill oil product, as does Dr. Mercola. Take as directed.

For more wrinkle free skin care secrets, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Wheat-Free Recipes: Dessert

Friday, October 29, 2010 by Kimberly Day
I admit it…I like my sweets. Fortunately, you can indulge your sweet tooth with these recipes without bulging your waistline!

Serves 9    

I love the smell of gingerbread almost as the taste! It makes me want to sit by the fireplace and curl up with a good book. If you really want to kick it up a notch, serve with sauted apples or pears. Enjoy!

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup erythritol
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup light molasses
  • 1 ½ cups Pamela's baking mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and erythritol for 30-45 seconds. Add egg and molasses and beat thoroughly. In a separate bowl, sift together baking mix, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, alternating with boiling water, until well blended. Pour mixture into a lightly greased 8x8 pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chocolate Delight Biscotti

This is one of my favorite concoctions. The cocoa powder and dark chocolate chips give you a bit of an antioxidant boost, and then comes one-two antioxidant punch of goji berry. This Himalayan berry (also known as wolfberry) contains 19 amino acids, 21 trace minerals, and more protein than whole wheat!

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup erythritol
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dagoba cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups Pamela’s wheat-free baking mix
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup goji berries

Preheat oven to 375˚F. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat butter for 15 to 30 seconds. Add erythritol, cocoa powder, and baking powder and mix until well blended. Add eggs and mix well. Add baking mix one-half cup at a time. If it becomes too difficult to blend with the mixer, begin to stir by hand. Add in chocolate chips and goji berries and mix in by hand until they are evenly distributed. Divide dough in half and place on greased cookie sheet. With each half, create a “log,” then flatten the log until it is the length of the cookie sheet and about 2 inches or so high. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Watch to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool completely on a baking rack for about an hour or so.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into ½-inch slices. Lay the slices on a separate, ungreased cookie sheet (cut side down). Turn oven down to 325˚F and bake for 7-8 minutes. Turn over and bake on the other side for an additional 7-8 minutes. Cool completely on a baking rack (about 20-30 minutes). They can be stored in an airtight container for a week or so.

For more great wheat-free recipes, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.

Cherry Banana Smoothie

Friday, October 15, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Looking for a delicious, breast cancer-fighting snack? Look no further. This is loaded with limonene-rich cherries, plus flaxseed to help reduce estrogen levels and further reduce your risk for breast cancer.

Cherry Banana Smoothie
Serves 2    
  • 1½ cups almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons ground flax seeds
  • ¾ cup frozen cherries
  • 1 banana

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve chilled.

For more delicious, healthy recipes, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Full, Luscious, Beautiful Hair--Naturally

Thursday, October 7, 2010 by Susan Lark
One of the effects of menopause that causes distress in so many women is dull, thinning hair. As estrogen levels plummet, hair often loses its fullness and vitality.  

Luckily, you don’t have to resort to drugstore brand hair care products that are loaded with chemicals and other unsavory ingredients to achieve gorgeous hair. (As you know, I prefer natural beauty care products anyway!) Instead, you need to feed your hair follicles from within. Here are the nutrients your hair needs to look and feel full and beautiful:

• Essential fatty acids. EFAs help keep your hair and scalp in healthy condition. To ensure that you are getting enough EFAs, eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as ground flaxseed (4–6 tablespoons per day), and cold-water, wild-caught fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, or halibut (3 times per week). If you choose to supplement EFAs, I recommend at least 1,200 mg a day.
• Copper and silica. Both of these minerals help form collagen in your hair. The best food sources of copper are seafood (especially raw oysters), nuts, legumes, chocolate, bran cereals, fruits, vegetables, and blackstrap molasses. Good sources of silica include sprouts, bell peppers, cucumbers, and potato skins. If you prefer to take a supplement, I recommend 2–3 mg of copper and 25–50 mg of silica per day.
• Zinc. Studies have shown that not getting enough zinc in your diet may cause hair to thin or fall out. Include a variety of zinc-rich foods in your diet, such as wheat germ, oysters, pumpkin seeds, chicken, eggs, and fish. I also recommend supplementing with 15 mg per day.
• B-complex vitamins. The B vitamins work together to enhance the overall health and texture of your hair. Rich sources include chickpeas, bananas, romaine lettuce, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and peas. Be sure you’re getting at least 50 mcg of vitamin B12, and 40–50 mg of each of the other B vitamins every day.

To learn more about natural beauty care products and how to achieve gorgeous hair and nails naturally, visit my Web site.

Higher Estrogen Levels Causing Early Puberty in Girls

Monday, August 9, 2010 by Susan Lark

The media today are reporting on new research that says that girls are starting puberty earlier than ever--some as early as age 7. Researchers speculate that rising obesity plays a role, since fat increases estrogen levels in the body. Environmental toxins, such as BPA and pthalates, and even common ingredients found in beauty and personal care products, like parabens, also cause changes in estrogen levels in the body.

According to researchers, not only does early puberty have negative emotional and mental affects on girls, but it can also increase their risk of breast and endometrial cancers when they get older, due to the fact that they have a longer lifetime exposure to estrogen.

This study is quite disturbing, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your daughters and granddaughters. First, choose the most natural beauty care products you can because these are the ones that tend to be free of estrogen-like chemicals. Second, choose organic (and, if possible, locally-grown) produce. It may be a bit more expensive than conventionally-grown food, but the peace of mind you get knowing you and your loved ones are eating more nutritious, cleaner, purer food is worth those extra few cents.  And finally, make exercise fun! Go to the park and kick a ball around, play on the monkey bars, or go for a walk to your local store or library. Anything that gets you and your kids or grandkids moving will help prevent obesity.

For more information on estrogen levels and natural weightloss, visit my Web site

Understanding Bioidentical Hormone Replacement

Saturday, August 7, 2010 by Kimberly Day
Trying to reverse female hormone issues can be quite complicated, especially when you are trying to increase estrogen levels to offset menopause symptoms. And with all the negative side effects surrounding conventional hormone replacement therapy, many women don't know where to turn.

Fortunately, you don't have to look any further than bioidentical hormone replacement. Biochemically identical hormones are molecularly identical to the hormones found in the human body. Moreover, they are produced in the laboratory from natural ingredients such as soy and wild yam, derived from plants, not horse urine. Since bioidentical hormones are biologically similar to the hormones your body produces, they do not appear to have the grave risks associated with conventional HRT.

The bioidentical estrogen that Dr. Lark typically recommends is estriol. Of the three types of estrogen produced within your body, estriol is the weakest and least potent. More importantly, several research studies have found that it is as effective as the stronger, more potent estrogens for treating menopause symptoms.

One study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that estriol was particularly effective in treating vaginal atrophy, mood swings, and hot flashes. Researchers selected 52 symptomatic, postmenopausal women and separated them into four groups, giving each group either 2 mg, 4 mg, 6 mg, or 8 mg of estriol per day for six months. On average, women in every group experienced a decrease in their menopausal symptoms after one month of treatment. Furthermore, in the groups with the three highest dosages, women who had ranked their symptoms as severe now felt that their symptoms were very mild.

Estriol and all biochemically identical estrogen have to be prescribed by your physician. Estriol is available at most compounding pharmacies, as well as a few mainstream pharmacies, including the Women’s International Pharmacy in Madison, Wisconsin, which sends estriol formulations to physicians throughout the U.S.

For more information on bioidentical hormone replacement or other natural hormone replacement therapy options, visit Dr. Lark's Web site.