Author Archives: Sarah - 5e*wellness

About Sarah - 5e*wellness

Sarah & Kristin are on a mission to get fit and help you achieve optimal wellness.

Winter Weather Wellness Tips


It’s snowing…..again… our neck of the woods. Preventable injuries and accidents are common during inclement weather. Take a look at these recommendations and be safe!

1. Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack – a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
Keep dry.

2. Keep Dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

3. Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

4. Conserve energy. Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.

5. Stay Hydrated. Did you know dehydration happens just as easily in winter as in the heat of summer? As you move about in the cold, you may not be sweating, but water vapor is still being lost through your breath (that’s the steam you see streaming from your mouth in frigid temperatures.)
Winter can also accelerate dehydration because mammals have a survival mechanism that constricts blood vessels in cold weather, to conserve heat and maintain body temperature. Blood vessels shrinking increases blood pressure. To lower the pressure, your kidneys make more urine, meaning less blood to fill veins and arteries, more frequent trips to the bathroom and greater risk of dehydration. Stick to non caffeinated warm beverages and soups.

In good health,


Goji Power!

We all know how important antioxidants are for our well-being and for our general good health. In fact, antioxidants are most important for preventing diseases and even reducing our cancer risk. A superfood that does this job remarkably is the goji berry.

Goji berries are typically found in China and Europe. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries have been used in many medicinal preparations for thousands of years, proving its efficacy as a medicinal herb/plant.

Here’s a list of the benefits offered by this amazing berry which puts it right at the top of the list of superfoods.

The benefits offered by Goji berries are numerous and a few studies have been conducted on human patients as part of research to determine the efficacy of these berries. However, here are some of the amazing benefits offered by the goji berries and going by the look of them, it’s no wonder they’ve become so popular on the health front.

As we all know, goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta carotene and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are greatly helpful in protecting the retina of the eye and improving eye sight. In fact, foods rich in zeaxanthin have been known to prevent loss of eyesight in people over the age of 65.

Goji berries are also a good choice when it comes to protecting the liver and kidneys.

One of the primary benefits of goji berries is that they help in boosting the immune system and help us stay healthy for longer.

The polysaccharides in goji berries works wonders with the pituitary gland and stimulates it to release HGH, the Human Growth Hormone. This is in fact the main hormone which controls others and can even reverse the effects of aging, making us look and feel younger.

Goji berries also have a high ORAC value which is extremely important in preventing oxidation and in preserving the cells thereby preventing aging.

Goji berries prevent fatigue and tiredness which are the most common by product of a busy and full life that most of us lead today. It also helps in relieving headaches and insomnia.

Health and fitness freaks consume goji berries regularly because they help greatly in weight loss and keep the body fit and young.

Research has shown that goji berries are exceedingly good to enhance fertility and improve sexual function, particularly in men.

Goji berries are known to improve circulation and help people live longer lives.

With their high vitamin and mineral content, goji berries reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Some people claim that goji berries can even prevent cancer although this aspect still needs more verification.

The ways in which goji berries can be consumed are several. Since it is pretty much like raisins, it can be munched as a snack directly or from a trail mix that is available at most health stores. Many people are making goji berries a part of their lifestyle by incorporating it into their breakfast by using it as a topping for cereal instead of raisins. Some people also swear by goji juice and how beneficial it is. Health stores are full of variants of goji juice available in bottles and people can consume them as juice.

Goji berries are delicious and make a great snack. Some people also brew goji berry tea and drink it as it provides the same amount of benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries can be added to soups or its liquid extracts are often prescribed to the patient. There are numerous other goji berry products available in health stores, such as goji berry powder etc.

There are numerous ways in which goji berries can be used but it’s always ideal to consult your healthcare provider if you fear that there could be some interaction with medicine that you’re taking.

In good health,
~ Sarah


Tabata Training


Have you Tabata’d?

Today, my trainer, Super Karen, had me do Tabata Training for the first time. I actually liked it! It was fun, challenging and the hour went super fast. Besides light weight dumbbells, no other equipment is required which makes it perfect for working out at home and while traveling. It was so basic my 3 year old even did all the intervals with us!

What is Tabata training?

Developed in Japan by Izumi Tabata, “Tabata” is a type of workout program that utilizes high intensity interval training. Izumi and his fellow scientists decided to conduct a study to compare moderate intensity training with high intensity training.

He conducted the tests on 2 groups of athletes; 1 of the groups used the moderate intensity interval training and the other using high intensity interval training.

In group one; the athletes were training in moderate intensity workouts (70% intensity) for five days a week for a total of six weeks with each training session lasting an hour.

Group two trained with high intensity workouts for 4 days a week for a total of 6 weeks with each session lasting 4 minutes, at 20 seconds of intense training (170% intensity) and 10 seconds of rest.

The results of the tests?

Group 1 had a significant increase in the aerobic system (cardiovascular system). However, the anaerobic system (muscles) gained little or no results at all.

Group 2 showed much improvement in all their athletes. Their aerobic systems increased much more than group ones, and their anaerobic systems increased by 28%.

So what does this mean…?

Basically, high intensity interval training have more of an impact on the aerobic systems; it had an impact on the anaerobic systems as well. Therefore, Anaerobic exercise combined with aerobic workouts create a longer post-workout calorie burn than other types of workouts, making them an even better way to burn calories.

Sounds great right? Well…there is a lot of info out there claiming that the “4 minute” Tabata sessions is all that’s required. Come on people, there is no 4 minute workout miracle for optimum health and fitness. The truth is, that may provide some benefit but extending the workout into 30 to 45 minute sessions will give you a more complete workout with quicker results. Honestly, the 45 minutes went by really quickly.

Here are examples of a session:


For more info and videos check out

In good health,
~ Sarah

As always, consult your physician or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise or weight-loss program. Tabata is not for people with high blood pressure or for those at risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Living Gluten Free

During nutrition consultation I conduct, I often hear that people follow a reasonable diet and exercise plan but they still can not manage to loose weight. The usual suspect… gluten.

The damage gluten can do to those with an intolerance (celiacs) or even those with a sensitivity is vast. It’s known to cause hormonal imbalances, damage the gut and lead to wright gain through inflammation. Here are seven ways eating gluten can make you fat:

1. Leaky gut is basically when little openings (Intestinal permeability) occur along the intestinal wall and bacteria is allowed to pass through creating an immune response. Symptoms include fatigue, bloating, and these contribute to weight gain. Intestinal permeability is also increased in skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic eczema.

2. Inflammation. Consuming gluten can trigger the inflammatory response in any tissue. As you may already know, chronic inflammation is not your friend. Besides contributing to nearly every chronic inflammation is known to contribute to every disease you can imagine. A few examples are, diabetes cancer, IBS and heart disease.This inflammation response can create a number of other problems that stall fat loss. Fatigue, high cortisol levels and poor metabolism just to list a few.

3. Insulin resistance. Yes, we have discussed this before. Many processed gluten-containing foods have a high glycemic load which will elevate blood sugar levels which inhibits your bodies capability of maintain insulin homeostasis, i.e. regulate blood sugar.

4. Leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that alerts the brain when you’re full. This means you’re less likely to reach for That second serving. But when you become leptin resistant, your brain doesn’t “hear” leptin’s message to put the brakes on the buffet, putting you at risk for overeating and weight gain. Those sassy sugar-binding proteins that cause insulin resistance, may also create leptin resistance.

5. Cravings. Ever find yourself uncontrollably eating a box of crackers or reaching for a third slice of buttered toast? Yes you say… well ironically, the foods you’re most reactive to are the ones you crave the most. How can this be? The body reacts to these intolerant foods by creating an addictive narcotic called opioid endorphins. Like a drug, it gives a feeling of euphoria when you eat these foods, and in turn you crave them. Then, you guessed it, you gain more weight!

6. Blocks nutrient absorption. Gluten in known to inhibit nutrient absorption. Gluten-triggered permeability inhibits your gut from absorbing nutrients and making vitamin B-12. In addition, the indigestible components in gluten and other whole grains are considered an anti-nutrient because they bind to nutrients and reduce their bioavailability.

7. Effects thyroid function. You can increase your chances for autoimmune disease when you constantly eat gluten. Why? Many people who have been unsuccessful at losing weight due often has issues due to thyroid disease. People with the most common type of thyroid disease have 12 times the rate of gluten intolerance as the general population does. Consequently, those struggling with their weight should consider a gluten free diet along with assessment of thyroid status.”

So now what? Are you ready to take the next step and see if a gluten free diet is the right choice for you? The only true way to test sensitivity is an elimination diet. Basically, you remove gluten in all forms, from your diet for at least 6 weeks. After this time, you may reintroduce gluten products and see how your body “reacts”. Personally, I’ve noticed a huge change in energy levels and digestive issues. When I eat gluten laced products I feel instantly ill. Headache, sinus congestion and digestion pain.

Here are a few links to get you started on your gluten free challenge.

Meal planning:
Eating Well Gluten Free Meal Plan


Vegan GF meal plan at Feed Me, I’m cranky

Gluten Free Goddess has amazing recipes

Great info on all things gluten free at

As with any diet, stick with whole foods, veggies, fruits and lean proteins. Use caution with grains as they may contain gluten. Aside from the obvious forbidden gluten foods, breads, cakes, cookies etc, I recommend avoiding all processed GF foods, GF mixes and fast food. Many processed GF products contain high glycemic starches which equal empty calories. Think “whole food”

Set your goals and record your progress!

In good health,
~ Sarah


Food Fraud

Eating a healthy, whole food diet is challenging in this country. Ironically, as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have some of the WORST food available. We know our food over processed, GMO laden, contaminated with a plethora of chemicals and additives. Enter a new breed of evil, unscrupulous companies illegally cutting a primary ingredient with something less expensive in order to reduce costs. Some companies are even trying to scam you by selling you something that is not even the food listed!

New scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

So what is food fraud? Well, it’s exactly what the name implies. It’s companies labeling food one way, but the contents are completely different.

7 Most Fraudulent Foods

Olive Oil
Researchers found that olive oil, even the extra-virgin kind, is the most adulterated food. It is usually cut by hazelnut oil. (Sound good to any nut-allergy sufferers out there?) Other imposter oils include corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, palm oil, and walnut oil.

Buy organic

If you think that milk in your coffee comes from a cow, you might be mistaken. Sheep’s milk has been found to be cut with bovine milk, and buffalo milk with goat-antelope milk. Milk was even cut with something called “fake milk”: oil, urea, detergent, caustic soda, sugar, salt, and skim milk powder.

Buy local. Buy organic.

Honey has been a sweetener of choice for millennia. It’s packed with healing antioxidants that has many benefits. But it’s also one of the most common fraudsters. It’s not uncommon to find sugar syrup, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, and “honey from a non-authentic geographic origin” in that bottle—rendering it what we’ll call not-honey. Some honey is also likely laced with illegal Chinese antibiotics and heavy metals, according to Food Safety News. Not only do you have to worry about what someone added to your honey but how the honey was made. Most honey companies routinely feed their hives HFCS!!! Crazy…I highly recommend this documentary, Vanishing of the Bees.
Find a local beekeeper and choose raw honey.

Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, so it’s not surprising that it’s on this list. What is a surprise is the stuff its mixed with it. Scientists have found glycerin, sandalwood dust, tartrazine (a yellow dye linked to hyperactivity in children and lupus); barium sulfate (a fluid mainly used in oil well drilling); and borax.

Buy organic from a well known, responsible company.

Orange Juice
Orange juice tested has shown to contain illegal fungicide along with unlisted lemon juice, mandarin juice, grapefruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, paprika extract, and beet sugar. Yum.

Juice your own! More vitamins and enzymes in fresh juice.

Researchers have found roasted corn, ground roasted barley, and even roasted ground parchment. Adulterants in instant coffee include; chicory, cereals, caramel, more parchment, starch, malt, and figs.

Buy from a local cafe that roasts their own beans.

Apple Juice
Apple juice is often blended with grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, pear juice, pineapple juice, raisin sweetener, fig juice, fructose, and malic acid have all been detected in apple juice.

If you MUST have apple juice, get a juicer.

Case in point. A few weeks ago I was listening to This American Life on NPR. The theme, doppelgängers. A reporter from the radio show heard a story he couldn’t believe was true — that hog rectum was sometimes used as imitation calamari and served to unsuspecting diners. So he looked into it himself.

Despite a source in the story reporting first-hand knowledge of the alleged switch , there’s some debate over whether hog parts could pass as squid. So staff from the show went to the market, fried some up and served it. Most of the people who tried it couldn’t tell the difference between the hog parts and squid.

I’ve since read that this was a hoax and that the imitation calamari was just an urban legend. Personally, I’m not buying it not do I trust industrial meat processing plants.

Tuesday, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention released report that listed a number of fraudulent foods. Seafood was one of the biggest offenders.

Something Fishy is Going On…
The fish escolar, often fraudulently mislabeled as white tuna or butterfish (*Escolar is banned in Italy and Japan. Other countries have issued advisories on the trade and consumption of this fish. Escolar has high content of waxy esters that is likely to cause a special form of food poisoning called gempylotoxism or gempylid fish poisoning.) it appears that fish mislabeling has taken over NYC restaurants.


Oceana, an ocean conservation group, found mislabeled fish in all 16 sushi restaurants its researchers visited. Yet fish fraud was rampant at all sorts of New York venues. Thirty-nine percent of the samples taken from non-sushi restaurants were mislabeled, in addition to 40 percent of those bought at small fish markets and 12 percent of those purchased at major grocery chains.

What are we to do???
Five hundred prominent chefs and restaurateurs recently sent Congress a petition on the issue. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote a letter asking for action on the issue from the FDA, and this past summer Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) introduced the proposed Safety And Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act, which Oceana argues would cut down significantly on mislabeled fish. Sadly, when I checked it appeared the bill was dead and referred to committee.

Knowledge is power and your dollar is your vote. Choosing to use local and organic products will only increase demand and grow the industry. Always ask questions when ordering at restaurants and buying groceries.

Just when you thought it was safe to go grocery shopping…DAH DA DAAAAAH!

In good health
~ Sarah