How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

How to Reduce Stress Naturally?

I hope you’re having a great week! I’ve got some fitness advice for you this morning when it comes to relieving stress.

If you’re like many people I talk to, you might take this advice as extra stress and added pressure … but NO WORRIES! I have your back, 100%!

One of the very best things you can do to cut stress is to add some aerobic/cardio exercise to your daily routine. It’s been proven in numerous clinical trials to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.

That’s because it works on a hormonal level in two different ways…

First, it lowers the level of stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline, which I’ve talked about a lot lately).

But it also helps your body produce more endorphins, which are your “feel good” hormones that help boost your mood, and also are natural painkillers.

That’s not even talking about all the other health benefits you can get from doing cardio, including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of many chronic diseases.

The reason I said this news stresses some people out is that the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that most of us get 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise a week.

But don’t let that number scare you.

That’s only 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. And that 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done all at once – you can rack it up in shorter bursts of activity over the course of the day.

I know for some people (especially those who have been inactive or are coming back from illness/injury), even 30 minutes over the course of a day can seem like a lot.

I’ve got a good rule of thumb you can follow so you don’t end up doing too much, too soon and end up feeling overwhelmed and overtired (and overstressed!).

What you want to do is just start doing some form of cardio exercise. Walking is a good bet, but so is biking, dancing, swimming or any other exercise you enjoy.

Depending on your experience and fitness level, you can start out with 5-10 minutes, and not worry too much about how hard you are working – although if you’re new to working out you definitely do NOT want to be pushing so hard you get winded to the point you can’t hold a conversation.

You can start out with just a few sessions of cardio a week, and then build up over time.

The 10% Rule

The 10% rule that has been used for decades to help people improve their cardio fitness.

Here’s how it works: if you’re working out for a total of 60 minutes a week (15 minutes, 4 times a week), you would add 10 percent to that (6 minutes), so you are spending a total of 66 minutes working out the next week. You can break that up however you want: you could do 3 x 15-minute sessions and 1 x 21-minute session, or whatever works for your schedule and how you feel.

Once you get to the point where you are able to go for 20-30 minutes at least 3 days a week without getting too tired, you can start adding little intensity boosts to your routine.

Basically, you just start walking/cycling a little faster for a set period of time and then slow back down so you can recover.

One of my favorite ways to add intensity bursts to my cardio is to load up a music playlist with some of my favorite “pump me up” songs, and every time the songs get to the chorus, that’s when I pick up my pace!

It makes it fun – and that’s always a hallmark of a good workout!

Depending on your history with exercise and current level of fitness, you might notice in a few weeks, you will notice you’re able to ramp up your time a little faster than you could the first week or so.

To your radiant health, with love


Why to balance Omega-6 and Omega-3

Why to balance Omega-6 and Omega-3

Lately, I’ve been talking a lot about different kinds of oils related to inflammation. We learned what is healthy and what are the inflammation fueling oils. In case you didn’t have a chance to read my previous email I highly recommend going back to do so.

The western diet is full of inflammation-causing oils (vegetable oils) including places where we don’t expect them. Thinking about oils we think of fried food, baked and cooked meals, processed and prepackaged meals. Right? I am here to tell you inflammation-causing oils are lurking in cookies, cakes, pastries, candy bars, energy bars, etc. where I wouldn’t expect them. Do you agree?

How can we diminish the harmful effects of those oils?

By increasing Omega-3 fatty acids.

Let me explain. Omega -6 essential fatty acids (EFA) have pro-inflammatory effects versus Omega-3 EFA have an anti-inflammatory effect. It’s important to keep the two in balance. Our body needs a small amount of Omega -6 EFA for brain and muscle functions, hormone productions, etc. In high amounts, they will inflame our bodies. Omega-3 EFA will neutralize the inflammatory effect. The ideal ratio should be Omega-6: Omega-3 should be 1:1 or at least 4:1 for optimal health. Our problem is that this ratio is skewed, big time to 12:1 and even 25:1. That is one of our huge health problems folks!! We are an inflamed nation!! Many of us are walking with a bomb ticking inside of us, ready to explode at any time (hint stroke, heart attack, memory loss, etc.).

We can lower the harmful oils by not eating them, not using as cooking oils and avoid buying foods that contain them.

This could be the hard part. We like cookies, chips, fried food. Don’t we? They are comfort food.

Adding more Omega-3 is the easier part. Adding cold water wild fish to our diet at least once a week is not that difficult. The most popular is salmon. Please let it be wild-caught salmon (farm-raised is one of the most toxic food).  In case you are vegan, or vegetarian is mindful of the fact that our bodies convert poorly plant-based Omega-3 into more potent forms such as EPA and DEA.

Supplementing with fish oil or krill oil is a great idea for everyone.

So, let me answer the question of how much Omega-3 we need, it depends on how much Omega-6 we are ingesting. Remember, we want to achieve a balance of 1:1.

Food high in Omega-3
  1. Wild Salmon
  2. Sardines
  3. Mackerel
  4. Bluefish
  5. Grass-fed butter
  6. Grass-fed beef
  7. Chia seeds
  8. Flax seeds

Be aware of nuts. They have a lower amount of Omega-3 and much higher amounts of Omega-6. Eat them in moderation!!


Make your own favorite salad and add chunks of sardines. It’s that simple. I like to use mixed greens ( baby spinach, arugula, baby kale). Sometimes I add a tablespoon of mayo (Primal kitchen; the healthy ones) and top with sardines. This recipe works well when time-restricted. You can take cans of sardines while traveling. Beside Omega-3 sardines have bones also and this form of calcium our body can readily use for bone-building purposes.

To your radiant health, with love

Dr. Ilona

PS!!! I am still offering a free consultation for sisters who are cancer survivors or going through the treatment while I am writing this email. This is my act of generosity, paying it forward. Take the offer!!

Here is the link to my calendar to schedule our Virtual Coffee



Do you remember the time when we used to avoid fats at all cost? I surely do. I would bake my meats dry, usually adding only some water to the pan. Sometimes I would add some I can’t believe it’s not butter. But even that sounded too fatty and too bad.

In the late seventies, the medical establishment taught us how bad fats are. They will cause heart attacks, stroke and eventually kill us.

Since then we are facing an alarmingly increased rate of obesity and diabetes and studies have proved the direct correlation between fat-free/low fat craze and metabolic diseases epidemic.

Hmm…something to think about.

We need fats. Healthy fats. Wondering which one? We will get there in a minute.

Especially our brain is very sensitive to low amounts of fat in our diet.  Could be the epidemics of cognitive declines (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia) be influenced by the fat-free/low fat craze? It is something to think about.

One of the big problems with our modern SAD (Standard American Diet) is we are ingesting a large amount of highly processed carbohydrates, sugar and vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are in everything including cookies, cakes, muffins, salad dressings, prepackaged meals, etc. Restaurants use them largely because they are cheap. What is exactly the problem with vegetable oils? They are rich in trans fats and unstable when heated and create harmful oxidation byproducts. More than 100 dangerous oxidation products have been found in a single piece of chicken fried in vegetable oils. This is scary. Besides the harmful oxidation byproducts, there is glyphosate contamination and GMO.

While trans fats were recognized as dangerous for health and being eliminated from the food industry and replaced with not much better vegetable oils. There are more harmful compounds in vegetable oils and all together they have inflammatory effects on the body.

I am assuming by now you are getting frustrated and asking what oils of fats you can use for cooking without harming your health.

Here is the list


It is gaining popularity lately and for a good reason.  It doesn’t change at high temperatures and has so many health benefits.

  1. Cardiovascular health (it helps to improve HDL (good)cholesterol levels and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  2. Increased energy (MCFA; medium chain fatty acids are rapidly digested and converted by the liver into energy for immediate use)
  3. Weight management (stimulates metabolism)
  4. Antimicrobial properties


  1. Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats.
  2. Contains large amounts of antioxidants,
  3. has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. It is protective against heart disease. Just think of the Mediterranean diet, where people use a large amount of olive oil.


It has so many health benefits.

  1. It is rich in Oleic Acid a very healthy fat.
  2. Improves skin
  3. Enhances absorption of important nutrients,
  4. May reduce symptoms of arthritis,
  5. It’s high in lutein, an antioxidant important for eyes, etc.


Once a “bad guy”, butter is back. It has so many health benefits.

  1. Contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which helps reduce belly fat and supports muscle growth.
  2. Great source of butyrate (short-chain fatty acid) that reduces inflammation
  3. Contains Vitamin A, D, and K2
  4. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids
  5. Other nutrients: lecithin, selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper,


Once used mostly in Indian cuisine ghee is gaining popularity in the States.  Ghee is clarified butter, one of the most powerful healing foods out there.


  1. Packed with fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, K)
  2. Contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid); a fatty acid with a ton of health benefits (reducing belly fat, reducing inflammation, preventing cancer
  3. Loaded with butyrate (short-chain fatty acid that has an important role in gut health)
  4. It may support insulin levels
  5. Fight off inflammation

Let me answer the question in the beginning. Fat or oils for cooking? BOTH. But the healthy ones.



 2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

Add all the ingredients except the avocado oil to the food processor. Pulse it a couple of times and add the avocado oil. Turn the food processor on low speed and add slowly the avocado oil.


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To your radiant health, with love



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