Carrie Rubin, M.D.
Like with so many wonderful people out there, I met Carrie Rubin, M.D. on Twitter. I was fascinated by her witty repartee, thoughtful responses, and overall sweet demeanor. I’m happy to bring with you an exclusive interview with her today on the Wonderland Organics blog!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Carrie! Tell the readers about your background.
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’m one of those people who believes every experience is worthwhile even if our paths deviate from where we started.
After high school graduation, I spent a year as an au pair girl in Paris, France. I was young, broke, and homesick, but ahhh, I was in Paris, so none of that mattered. Upon returning home, I got a degree in French and Natural Science and then went on to med school, followed by a pediatrics residency.
Clinical pediatrics kept me busy for fifteen years, during which time I pursued a master’s degree in public health. Off and on during those years I wrote fiction, and during a transition from clinical to nonclinical medicine a few years ago, I switched to writing full-time. I keep up to date with all my medical and public health requirements—we never know what tomorrow holds—but for now I’m enjoying the life of a medical thriller author.
Wonderland Organics: I love your books! What made you want to become a pediatrician?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I loved the generally healthy nature of kids. Nothing compares to seeing a toddler ride a Big Wheel down the hospital corridor four days after having open-heart surgery. What adult can do that? Plus, I was drawn to the pediatric diseases—children are not just little adults; they have their own unique set of illnesses and challenges.
But mostly? I love kids. I love their smiles, their honesty, their wonder. We can learn a lot from them.
Wonderland Organics: Best of all, they’re our future. What are some baby steps that people can do to improve their health?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: “Baby steps” is the perfect way to describe how we can improve our health. Humans are creatures of habit, and those habits are tough to break. A drastic change is doable (for example, cutting out all sugar at once or telling ourselves we’ll exercise at six am every morning), but we’re setting ourselves up for failure. On the other hand, we’re pretty good at handling small changes, things like:
- Taking stairs instead of the elevator
- Consuming one less soda a week, then two, then three, then switching completely to tea or carbonated water if we still crave those bubbles
- Adding a fruit to our evening meal one week, an extra vegetable the next
- Taking a ten minute walk every day until ten becomes fifteen becomes twenty becomes more vigorous exercise
- Gradually reducing our take-out meals and switching to homemade ones instead
- Cutting down red meat to twice a week, then once a week, and then not eating it at all
- Phasing out the purchasing of processed food found in the center aisles of the grocery store
- Going to bed fifteen minutes earlier, then thirty, and so on until eight hours becomes the norm
The list goes on and on, but the beauty of baby steps is, once we make a small change and feel the positivity that comes with our achievement, we start taking bigger and bigger steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Does that mean we have to cut out everything sinful? Of course not. But it does mean learning to enjoy these delights in moderation.
Wonderland Organics: I agree, it’s almost impossible to cut out junk food 100%– but it’s great to take small steps every day! Since it’s wintertime, do you have any tips on keeping away the cold and germs?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It’s easier to catch viruses in the winter because some viruses thrive in the cold and we tend to be closed in with the windows sealed, making it easier to breathe in pathogens. Also, there’s evidence cold weather suppresses our immune systems.
One of the best ways to stave off illness is through frequent handwashing. Our hands travel everywhere, including our faces. It’s easy to spread those germs. Taking that a step further, we (and those around us) should sneeze into the crook of our elbows, not our hands. Less risk of contamination that way.
We also want to make our immune systems as healthy as possible by eating nutritious food (particularly those high in antioxidants), exercising, getting adequate sleep, and limiting stress. All easier said than done, for sure.
Wonderland Organics: Yes, washing hands frequently with non-antibacterial soap is a good one. What are your recommendations for healthy lifestyles?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: It all comes down to respecting our bodies and treating them well, from diet and exercise, to sleep and stress reduction. If it takes us baby steps to get there, so be it. We’re never too old to start.
Carrie Rubin: medical thriller author
Wonderland Organics: Although the younger that we start, the better shape our bodies will be in! What do you think about supplements? Do they truly help our diets?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: Theoretically, a healthy diet should provide us with all the vitamins and minerals we need. But sometimes we fall short, particularly when it comes to calcium and vitamin D. Also, since animal foods are the main source of vitamin B12, vegans might have inadequate intake. As such, those are some vitamins and minerals we might need more of. But we have to be careful: we can overdo supplements and end up with side effects. Therefore, it’s best to get our vitamins and minerals from our diet and not a pill.
Wonderland Organics: Well put, Carrie! What are your top healthy foods picks?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: We should all strive for well-balanced meals with whole grains, healthy fats, lots of fruits and veggies, and minimal red meat and added sugar.
A wide variety of fruits and vegetables tempt me: roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash) with a bit of olive oil and garlic is an especially flavorful way to cash in on vitamins and minerals, and I love a bowl of yogurt and anti-oxidant-rich berries in the morning (but beware, some yogurts are high in sugar).
Hot tea is another good source of antioxidants, and if you’re a non-coffee drinker like me, it’s a nice way to get your caffeine fix without resorting to soda. And while we’re on the subject of antioxidants, count me in for dark chocolate!
I’m not a red-meat eater and could probably be a vegetarian were it not for raising two sons and wanting to make sure they got adequate protein. So I make a lot of meals with chicken breasts or ground turkey breast. My teenage sons joke that when they have meatloaf or spaghetti and meatballs at school, it’s with “real meat” (meaning red meat). To which I respond: “Your colons will thank me later.”
Wonderland Organics: Greek yogurt with no added sugar with fruit is usually my go-to breakfast! What’s your favorite Wonderland Organics product?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.: I’ve always been a frequent handwasher, especially working in health care, so a beautifully scented, pampering lotion is one of my favorite staples!
Thank you so much for having me on your site today, Alice. It was an honor to be here!
Wonderland Organics: Thanks so much Carrie! Where can we stay in touch with you on social media?
Carrie Rubin, M.D.:
Organic pomegranate seeds
The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a shrub that has edible fruits: specifically, its seeds. It is native to Iran, and is now cultivated in Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia. The oil extracted from it, and the fruit itself, is rich in antioxidants.
The most powerful extrinsic aging factor is UV exposure, which breaks down collagen (and therefore ages the skin faster). The reason that antioxidants work wonderfully in skincare is because they help prevent damage due to free radicals on your skin.
So what are free radicals? Caused by UV exposure and environmental pollutants, these chemically unstable molecules work to break down healthy skin cells and destroy them. Antioxidants including vitamins A, C and E are powerful protectors against free radicals. They also seem to provide more protection when added to another antioxidant within the same formula, so look for products that contain multiple antioxidants in the formula.
The polyphenol content includes ellagic acid, both of which helps immensely to make the skin nice and supple. Punicic acid, which is a triglyceride that comes from plant sources, makes the product easy to apply to the skin. Because of these components, pomegranate seed oil is incredibly nourishing to the skin’s epidermis layer.
Looking for products with this fantastic ingredient? Check out the Soothe Serum and Sublime Serum! There is also chirally-correct d-alpha tocopherol (vitamin E) for increased freshness of the products.
Swift Crafty Monkey
Pomegranate: The Most Medicinal Fruit
University of Maryland Medical Center
Dietary compound ellagic acid alleviates skin wrinkle and inflammation induced by UV-B irradiation
It’s that time of the year again: a plethora of costumes, haunted houses, and an excuse to binge on (organic and fair trade, of course) candy. Wishing everyone a happy and safe Halloween! In honor of this fun holiday, I rounded up some of my favorite healthy ideas for Halloween. These are perfect to make with your children, or for you and your friends and family.
Veggie Skeleton | via Feeding Four Little Monkeys
image courtesy of Feeding Four Little Monkeys
Great opportunity to learn about science + eat healthy with this innovative skeleton made out of vegetables!
Frankenstein Kiwis | via Two Healthy Kitchens
image courtesy of Two Healthy Kitchens
What’s more spooktacular than the original monster created by Dr. Frankenstein? These kiwis are sure to please.
Orange Pumpkins | via Spaceships & Laser Beams
image courtesy of Space Ships & Laser Beams
These healthy “pumpkins” from Spaceships & Laser Beams are adorable! All you need are organic celery stalks and oranges or clementines. These would make a great snack in the middle of the day.
Stuffed Jack o’ Lanterns | via Healthful Pursuit
image courtesy of Healthful Pursuit
The creativity behind this is such fun! Instead of carving a pumpkin, why not carve out a tiny face on bell peppers? Organic bell peppers and whatever pasta that you may desire: gluten-free, spaghetti, or zucchini noodles, this will be sure to please.
Candy Corn Inspiration | via Navy Wife Cook
image courtesy of Navy Wife Cook
From Navy Wife Cook, I love this candy corn inspired fruit dessert. Always use organic when you can- oranges and pineapples make up the bottom two portions. Though she uses whipped cream as the top layer, I would suggest organic Greek yogurt instead with live and active cultures!
Halloween Lunch | via A Pumpkin and a Princess
image courtesy of A Pumpkin and a Princess
It’s adorable when your food is in the shape of characters: pictured here, we have broccoli monster eyes, a mummy hot dog, and a banana ghost.
Jack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups | via In The Playroom
image courtesy of In The Playroom
Organic oranges + fruit in the middle? I’m sold!
Spiderweb Berry Platter | via Will Cook for Smiles
image courtesy of Will Cook for Smiles
A berry platter with vanilla yogurt + honey cream cheese! Doesn’t it look downright terrifying with the plastic spiders? (If your children are scared of these eight-legged creatures, I’d suggest to omit the spiders from this otherwise delectable plate!)
Frankenstein Avocado Toast | via Vegan Chow Down
image courtesy of Vegan Chow Down
This uber-cute toast is made of avocado, seaweed, sliced olives, tomatoes, pretzels, and whole wheat toast (for a healthier option).
Tropical Candy Corn Smoothie | via Boulder Locavore
image courtesy of Boulder Locavore
Look at how beautiful this candy corn smoothie is! White layer: coconut milk and shredded coconut; Orange layer: papaya and freshly squeezed orange juice; Yellow layer: pineapple, lime, and water.
What are your favorite healthy snacks to make for Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!
Plantstrong_mom key lime pie
Have you ever wondered how to make tasty snacks by using just healthy and whole ingredients? (And not just plain old yogurt with fruit). Today on the blog, I talk to Christy of Sweetened With Dates (as she’s known on Instagram) about her plant-based life. Check out her wonderful food photos: they taste as scrumptious as they look!
Wonderland Organics: Hi Christy! How did Sweetened with Dates come about?
Christy: Sweetened with Dates was created in order to have a creative outlet and showcase healthy meal ideas. I have always loved making healthy, plant-based recipes and sharing them on Instagram is a great way to connect with like-minded people. The warm reception I’ve received thus far, has motivated me to start a blog and small business.
Wonderland Organics: I know I’m always thrilled to see your food photos in my Instagram feed! Tell us a little about your background.
Christy: I have a Ph.D in clinical psychology and I thought being a psychologist was going to be my career. However, there were some unexpected bumps in the road and plans changed. When I found out my oldest son had severe and life-threatening food allergies, I decided to stay home with him. It was a blessing in disguise. I never had the passion needed to be a psychologist. I dreaded the work each day. I now home-school my children and work on my love recipe development and food photography. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled.
Wonderland Organics: There’s always a silver lining! What inspires you?
Plantstrong_mom healthy fruit
Christy: So many people inspire me. My family for one, inspires me to continue reaching for my dreams. Also, incredible physicians like Dr. McDougall and Dr. Fuhrman live by example and inspire me to raise my family in the healthiest way possible.
Wonderland Organics: That’s great to hear! What’s your favorite recipe for dinner?
Christy: My favorite dinner recipe would have to be seasoned baked fries with a large salad and flavorful dressing.
Wonderland Organics: That sounds amazing. And of course on that note, do you have a favorite healthy dessert?
Christy: My favorite healthy dessert is Banana Ice Cream. I always have frozen bananas to whip up this one ingredient treat.
Wonderland Organics: The perfect summertime treat! What’s a common misconception about plant-based lifestyles?
Christy: I think a common misconception about eating a plant-based diet is that it won’t provide all the necessary nutrients needed to optimal health. I have read a lot of research proving that those ideas are false. I have lived this way for several years now and my health has never been better.
Wonderland Organics: I’m sure that the readers will be glad to hear this. Do you have any advice for people who want to start a plant-based food lifestyle?
Plantstrong_mom breakfast deliciousness
Christy: Some advice I can offer to those interested in living this way is to try making small changes each day. Add some fruit or vegetables to each of your meals. Focus on eating unprocessed and whole foods. And remember it’s about progress, not perfection.
Wonderland Organics: Excellent advice! And last but not least, what is your favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site/blog?
Christy: My favorite part of the Wonderland Organics site is the availability of the amazing, clean, and natural skin care line. It’s a joy to find a company that embraces the production of natural products that are good for the body and the planet.
Thank you so much for talking to me, Christy! Be sure to check out her inspiring feed here on Instagram.
For those of you who are on a plant-based diet, what are your favorite recipes? Let us know in the comments below!
We hope that everyone has been having a great 2015 so far! What better way to keep those New Year’s resolutions than starting off the year with eating healthy? Today, we’re going to discuss a few options that are delicious and wholesome. We know it’s easier to reach for that tempting chocolate chip cookie as we’re watching Netflix, or to pick up takeout if we’re tired after work. But creating healthy meals can be fun and not take up all of your time (especially for moms with young children, and for you working professionals out there!)
Organic green juice: the before photo
To the right, we have a peek into what we have for our organic green juice each morning. Here, we’ve got organic kale, oranges, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, bananas, pineapples, apples, and turmeric powder. All of the ingredients listed can be found at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market. As for the organic turmeric powder, we purchased from Safeway. Of course, feel free to shop at your local farmer’s market too! Tip: washing and cutting everything the evening before will help save you time in the morning. We love using our Blendtec blender, though we know there’s quite a few blenders out there. Which one’s your favorite?
Oatmeal with Red Beans
This warm snack will be sure to keep you full during your workday! We love cooking with oats, but if you’re pressed on time, the quick-minute Quaker’s Oats are easy to use too. Here, we’ve added red beans into the oatmeal to make it tastier. It’s the perfect combination that will keep you satisfied and healthy! Other combinations include salted nuts (we get them from Costco for $14.99), organic cinnamon and honey (available at most grocery stores), and organic apples, bananas, and blueberries (the tart fruit juxtaposed with the warm oatmeal is sure to delight).
Pork, organic broccoli, and rice
Here’s something simple that we love to make: pork, organic broccoli, and steamed white rice. We marinated the pork in organic soy sauce and garlic, and baked it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes in our toaster oven. As for the broccoli, we boiled it for three minutes on high heat in a pot on the stove! (We washed it three times in a bowl, does that make us totally clean obsessed?)
Ribs, organic spinach, fish, clams, and rice
To the right, we’ve got organic spinach, miso fish, clams, and pork ribs paired with steamed white rice. The clams were actually part of the soup that we made, and they’re easy to clean to cook! The pork ribs were marinated in garlic, organic soy sauce, and just a pinch of sugar added. As for the miso fish, we baked it for 15 minutes at 400 degrees in our toaster oven. Since spinach cooks relatively fast, it was the last part of the meal that we made.
- Purchase vegetables and fruit that are in season to help save money on grocery bills
- Eat a wide variety of different colors and types of food
- Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh, so pick some organic ones up next time at the grocery store!
These are just four examples of easy and delicious meals! As you can see, we used a wide variety of vegetables for optimal health. But why stop there? Organic green beans, cabbage, and winter melon are alternatives that you can find easily in grocery stores.What are your favorites to make? Let us know in the comments below!
Image courtesy of satit_srihin/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
What’s the most important meal of the day? It’s been drilled into us for many years now, but sometimes we can’t resist skipping breakfast as we rush out the door. If you feel that you don’t have enough time, we’ve compiled a list of simple yet delicious ideas for you to try!
1. Green smoothie (mixed baby greens, kale, green bell peppers, blueberries, strawberries) For those of you that follow us on either Facebook or Instagram have seen our smoothies for years! We hope that this will give you incentive to make your own delicious versions. The best part about this is that it’s easily customized, so you can pick and choose depending on what fruits and veggies are available at the local farmers markets! Expert tip: prepare and wash the night before, so you can just toss them into the blender in the morning.
2. Yogurt (look for the type with live active cultures, like Trader Joe’s). Personally, we love yogurt– they’re great to snack on, though we make sure to buy the ones with less sugar. We’ve mentioned this in a previous post here, but Greek yogurt is absolutely fantastic. To customize, add granola or freshly cut fruit!
3. 1 minute Quaker oatmeal. You may think this is rather bland, but it’s incredibly simple to make. We love adding almonds and other types of nuts to make us full. Other ideas include adding frozen organic corn and a dash of salt to turn this into salty porridge (think Taiwanese style porridge that you often find at dim sum. But without too many calories and MSG).
“Antsonalogb” by Lkmassey28 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antsonalogb.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Antsonalogb.jpg
4. Ants on a log: this one isn’t quite as scary as it sounds! This delicious idea consists of raisins on peanut butter, slathered over organic celery (idea from childhood books). Opt for organic if you can, especially since celery is one of the mostly heavily pesticide-laden crops.
5. Free range scrambled eggs over whole wheat toast– this has to be a staple, seen especially at comfort food diners. However, why bother with all of the added cholesterol? Try scrambling organic and free-range brown eggs with your choice of healthy oil (organic coconut oil perhaps?). We love this over lightly toasted whole wheat bread, offset by a side of fresh melon.
6. Fruit: This is easily prepared the night before, and can be partly used for the green smoothie listed at #1. Fruit is so much more delicious than GMO-processed candy, and sweet as a pie. We suggest slicing up organic apples, bananas, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, and danjou pears. If you have any left over, why not save extra to bring to work as a snack?
7. Fitness Buff Breakfast: We’ve had suggestions from athletes who love grapefruit, hard-boiled eggs, and a protein smoothie with bananas, whey, and almonds. This is simple to make too, and we’re definitely going to have to try this on our workout days.
The best part is, most of these can double as healthy snacks! What’s your favorite breakfast? Let us know in the comments below!