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There is a chill in the air and holiday festivities and energy are on the rise. I love this time of year! I love the way lights seem to twinkle a bit differently in the winter night. I love traditions, creating new and honoring old. I love coming in from the cold and snuggling up to get warm, the gatherings of friends and family, the gift swaps and yummy compilations of warm and comforting food...

Even with all this sparkle and joy in the air, I know that the holidays can bring a lot of stresses all at once:
  • tempting treats everywhere you turn
  • more to do than time to do it: shopping, work, household chores, parties, etc.
  • additional financial strain with events, donations, gift-giving, etc.
  • emotional gatherings of family and friends
This year, you can weather them all with ease!

In the holiday spirit, I'm offering these two winter specials:

House Party: Weathering the Holiday Season Seminar & JOOS tasting - FREE!

I'll come to you!* Gather a group of friends, family, colleagues and I'll join you for a one-hour group seminar sharing tips on getting holiday ready so that you will not only weather the holiday stresses, but will flourish this season! To fuel the conversation, we'll have a sampling of energy-packed, fresh, organic juice from JOOS.
Contact me to coordinate a date and time. (*within 45-mile travel from Boston)

3-month Health Coaching Package
Winter Special Pricing: $275 individual; $190pp for groups of 2-5
Kick-start your year and get focused and dedicated support and guidance to achieve your health and wellness goals. Let me help you feel better, reach your ideal weight, find the lost energy, reduce your stress, and find joy in every day. You can do this and I will show you how.

Package includes:
  • Two, one-hour sessions per month
  • E-mail support between sessions
  • Handouts and other materials in support of your goals
  • Food samples and self-care products
  • Access to a lending library of health and wellness books
Sessions can be via phone, or in person at a convenient location.
Contact me to discuss your goals and schedule your 3-month package.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Live abundantly!
marissa signature
Marissa Dana

In This Issue
Simply Inspired
Tempting Tidbits - Apple Crisp
What The...? - Sugar
Simply Inspired

"How soon
not now becomes never."

-Martin Luther

Whoa! This gem appeared in my inbox this morning - and I could not resist passing it along.

Just sit and think on this for a minute.

How often does this happen to you?

I'll tell you, it was a regular habit for me and is still something I work on. But I've also come to realize that my life is now - every day, every moment, my life is happening - so I best get with it and start embracing and enjoying every beautiful moment of it. To go for what I want and to believe that everything that I dream of is possible,
because it is.

This is not lip service my friends.
It is a fact.
You can have it all.

Let's make it happen. Let's shoot for the stars.
Let's take this day, this week, this season, this month, this lifetime...and make it something spectacular.

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Tempting Tidbits

Apple Crisp

apple crisp
5 cups apples,
   peeled and sliced

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup oats
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup maple syrup

6 tbl butter

Toss apples with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and layer in the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish. Combine oats, flour and remainder of cinnamon. Break in butter, then add maple syrup. Spread over the top of the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes - until apples are soft and bubbly and top is brown and crisp. Serves 6-8

Variation options:
  • Add dried berries or chopped nuts to the apple mixture.
  • Add chopped nuts or flax meal to the topping.
  • Combine apples and pears.
  • Top with a dollop of frozen yogurt, gelato, coconut milk ice cream, or, dare I cream...(go for it - just be mindful of your portion size and take a look at the ingredients - are they natural??)
  • Note: If you use gluten free oats this is a gluten free recipe

What The...?

Sugar is addictive - kind of like caffeine, alcohol, drugs...that's right...every time we consume it, it feeds the desire and need for more.

Think about how long ago you started your sugar this point it's been years. But fear not, it is never too late to crack the sugar code.

If you're ready to break through your sugar cravings and regain your energy, but don't want to lose the joy of eating, contact me for your complimentary nutritional power session and I'll help you break through the clutter and get on the road to a healthier, happier, more energized you!

In the's a little more info on sugar - and some of the many sweetener options available to you today.

Sucrose, Glucose, Fructose
SUCROSE is ordinary table sugar, and is probably the single most abundant pure organic chemical in the world. Sucrose is a disaccharide and is approximately 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

GLUCOSE is our body's primary source of energy. It comes from digesting carbohydrates into a chemical that our bodies can easily convert to energy. Our digestive system, using bile and enzymes, breaks down the starch and sugar in carbohydrates like rice, pasta, grain, fruits, some vegetables, and processed sweets, into glucose. This functional form of energy then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream where insulin, which is excreted by the pancreas, meets the glucose. Together, they can enter cells in muscles and the brain, allowing glucose to power our daily activities. (Maltose is a disaccharide of two units of glucose.)

FRUCTOSE, or fruit sugar, is a white solid that dissolves in water - it is the most water-soluble of all the sugars.
Unlike glucose, which is metabolized throughout the body, fructose is processed entirely in the liver. As a result of this, it has a low glycemic index.

Fructose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables, which have relatively small amounts that most bodies can handle quite well. Sucrose is also half fructose, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is about 55% fructose (there is some recent debate on this in regards to HFCS content in here to read more).

So why the uproar around fructose and HFCS?
1. What we are eating it in: While the fructose found in natural fruit is no different than that found in processed products on your supermarket shelves, there can be a great difference in the quantity per serving For example, a cup of chopped tomatoes has 2.5 grams of fructose, a can of regular (non-diet) soda supplies more than 9 times that. While fructose is fructose to the body, think about the package you are delivering it in as well. Not only does the tomato contain less fructose, it also delivers Vitamin C and lycopene, whereas the soda delivers no nutritional value to the body at all.

2. Quantity: Here's the of the main reasons we have become on high alert for fructose and HFCS, is not necessarily because it is inherently horrible for you in and of itself, but because of the effect it can have in the sheer quantities of it we can consume on a daily basis - not to mention a lifetime! As an incredibly inexpensive and abundant sweetener made from a subsidized crop (corn) it is in nearly everything on the supermarket shelves and a great number of foods we consume every day! Sugar in some form is in almost every packaged food.

3. How the body processes it: Fructose is all processed through the liver. When too much fructose enters the liver, the liver can't process it all fast enough for the body to use as sugar. Instead, it starts making fats from the fructose and sends them off into the bloodstream as triglycerides. High levels of blood triglycerides can result in a risk factor for heart disease. As I mentioned above, when glucose enters the bloodstream, the body releases insulin to help regulate it, but when we substitute fructose for glucose in large quantities, it can reduce the sensitivity of insulin receptors, creating diabetic conditions. Fructose also ends up circumventing the normal appetite signaling system, so appetite-regulating hormones aren't triggered and you're left feeling unsatisfied. This one reason why excess fructose consumption is associated with weight gain.

Natural Sweeteners
The average American consumes well over 20 teaspoons of added (that is not naturally occurring in fresh whole foods)  sugar on a daily basis! To help you work on being mindful of what is in the foods you are consuming, here is some info on other natural sweeteners that you may recognize on some food labels and may choose to try out as alternatives in your own cooking. They are easier on the body's blood sugar, and available in most health food stores.

Agave Nectar, or agave syrup, is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. It is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar and has much less effect on the body's blood sugar levels than white sugar because of it's high fructose content (higher than that of HFCS). Agave syrup naturally contains quantities of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. When baking with agave, reduce heat on oven by 25 degrees.
Barley Malt Syrup is a thick, sticky, brown sweetener and is about half as sweet as refined white sugar. It is made from the soaking, sprouting, mashing, cooking and roasting of barley. The final product is more of a whole food than many other sweeteners and capitalizes on the naturally present enzymes. Barley malt can also come in the form of powder.

Birch Sugar (Xylitol) is a sugar alcohol. It is a natural sugar substitute that can be made from tree fiber or corncobs, and occurs naturally in many fruits and mushrooms. Birch sugar can be used by those with diabetes and hypoglycemia. It has 40% fewer calories than sugar, prevents tooth decay, and repairs tooth enamel. Some common side effects of sugar alcohols may include bloating, diarrhea, and gas.

Birch Syrup is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, manganese, thiamine and calcium. This syrup is made from the concentrated sap of birch trees, and it takes 100 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. Unlike maple syrup, which is composed of sucrose, this syrup is composed of fructose.

Brown Rice Syrup consists of brown rice that has been ground and cooked, converting the starches to maltose. It tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch. It contains a small amount of glucose which is absorbed into the bloodstream immediately, and its complex carbohydrates  are much more slowly absorbed, providing a steady supply of energy.

Date Sugar consists of finely ground, dehydrated dates, utilizing this fruit's vitamin, mineral and fiber content. If you like the taste of dates, this will definitely appeal to you. It can be used as a direct replacement for sugar and comes in a granulated form; however, it can clump, and doesn't melt, making it an impractical substitution for certain baked goods and beverages

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol available in a powdered form. It is formed from the breaking down, fermenting, and filtering of sugar cane or corn starch. It has a cool taste that works well in coffee and tea. It doesn't affect your blood sugar or cause tooth decay. See Birch Sugar for potential side effects.

Honey is one of the oldest natural sweeteners. It is sweeter than sugar, and depending on the plant source, honey can have a range of flavors, from dark and strongly flavored, to light and mildly flavored. Raw honey contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Maple Syrup is made from boiled-down maple tree sap and contains many minerals. 40 gallons of sap are needed to make one gallon of maple syrup. It adds a pleasant flavor to foods and is great for baking. Be sure to buy 100% pure maple syrup and not maple-flavored corn syrup. Grade B is stronger in flavor and said to have more minerals than Grade A.

Maple Sugar is created when the sap of the sugar maple is boiled for longer than is needed to create maple syrup. Once most of the water has evaporated, all that is left is the solid sugar. Maple sugar is about twice as sweet as standard granulated sugar, but much less refined.

Molasses is probably the most nutritious sweetener derived from sugar cane or sugar beet, and is made by a process of clarifying and blending the extracted juices. The longer the juice is boiled, the less sweet, more nutritious, and darker the product is. Molasses imparts a very distinct flavor to food. Blackstrap molasses, the most nutritious variety, is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Rapadura is a brand-name product made from a process of extracting juice from the sugarcane plant, evaporating the water from the juice, and then grinding the results into a fine powdery texture. Rapadura is organic, rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron, and unrefined.

Stevia is a leafy herb that has been used for centuries by native South Americans. The extract from stevia is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. It can be used in cooking, baking and beverages, does not affect blood sugar levels, and has zero calories. Stevia is available in a powder or liquid form, but be sure to get the green or brown liquids or powders, because the white and clear versions are highly refined.

Sucanat is short for Sugar Cane Natural. This brand-name product consists of evaporated organic cane juice made through a mechanical rather than a chemical process, and thus less refined, retaining many of the sugarcane's original vitamins and minerals. It has a grainy texture and can be used in place of white sugar.

Turbinado sugar, also known as demerera, is crystallized sugar made from sugar cane extract. It is similar to brown sugar, although paler with larger crystals, and may be used interchangeably. It comes from the initial pressing of sugar cane, where white sugar is further refined. It is often sold in the United States as Sugar in the Raw. Though it is slightly less processed than white sugar, it still has the same negative health effects as white sugar.

Vegetable Glycerin is a colorless, odorless liquid with a very sweet taste and the consistency of thick syrup. It is derived from coconut and palm oils. As a sweetener, it is ideal for candida patients because it does not contain sucrose.

Disclaimer: Though these are more natural or less refined than sugar, I still recommend that you incorporate them sparingly to curb cravings and enjoy the sweetness of life, without fueling the addiction. And please try to avoid the artificial substitutes - they are chemicals - they can confuse your body and cause health problems.

Want to learn more about these sweeteners, which work best in your body, how to best bring them into your diet? You know the drill - give me a shout and I'll help you discover the sweetness in your life!