Juice Fasting: Benefits, Myths & Dangers

If you are considering doing a juice fast because you have heard rave reviews from friends or been recommended this as a solution to get more energy, there are 5 key questions to ask yourself to make sure that doing a juice fast won’t make you feel worse!  It’s all about understanding what actually happens in your brain when you stop eating solid foods for a number of days and only drink green juices, and/or ‘fasters smoothies’ which consists often of a bentonite clay, fibre like psilium and water.  
Most people get told that they feel better after a cleanse because a number of hidden toxins that you can’t see or test for, have been excreted from the body.  While there is no evidence that this is true, what we do know is that fasting can lead to you increased mental alertness and actually enhance your mood but it’s because of what fasting does to your brain! http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11916-010-0104-z
At a recent review of all the fasting studies done so far in humans has found is that fasting does actually change your levels of many neurotransmitters in the brain, including your brain’s happy hormone, serotonin.  It has actually been used successfully to help treat patients with chronic pain syndromes, mood issues and fibromyalagia.  There is also some evidence that doing a juice fast followed by eating a vegetarian diet long term may help rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory joint condition.  The mechanism is again thought to be related to anti-inflammatory effects that start in the brain! http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/030097401750065256
We also have compounds that our brain produces naturally called endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids, meaning that they work the same way as drugs like morphine and cannibis.  And cannibis is a really common substance to self medicate with for issues like chronic pain, mood issues and fibromyalagia, and it’s because it affects the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.  So it’s pretty cool to know that your brain is actually capable of making these substances all on it’s own too given the right conditions!
Recent findings suggest that some of the beneficial effects of IF on the brain and the heart.  IF is a typo of fasting where you eat less frequently, and there are 5 different types of IF, one typo is eating one meal only per day, and one type is where you pick one or two days each week where you do not eat, only drinking water or other zero calorie drinks.  
A lot of this research has been done in rats though, and we need more human studies but the information so far is showing that in aminal models, both the cardiovascular system and the brain seem to get more resistant to stress and have less cellular damage after a period of IF and both these effects are mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling in the brain, meaning changes is the brain which send different messages to yur cells and your heart.  These  in the brain and heart and blood vessel cells from IF are similar to the benefits from regular physical exercise.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095528630400261X
So, that all sounds pretty awesome right!?   The only issue is that going on a  7 day or even 3 day juice fast when you are alreadychronically stressed and putting your body and adrenals under constant demands can backfire, because your body is not in a state to be able to take advantage of these fasting benefits.  So if you are not able to take time away from work and fast while you are doing notghing but R and R, you may end up feeling more fatigued and brain foggy from fasting, and often adding in a 10 minute meditation to decrease limbic system hyper arousal and cutting our refined carbs and caffeine is a better bet for those situations when you can’t take a break from work.  
If you are underweight……
The other key juice fasting mistake that I see people make and then feel awful is doing hard physical exercise or difficult hard yoga asana during a juice fast to ‘cleanse the toxins’  Not only is this not necessary but it puts your body under unnecessary stress as it is trying to conserve energy due to the reduced calories you are taking in.  This can lead to getting sick during a fast, feeling lighthreaded and even passing out and negate any benefits.
So, if you loved this video, please share the love and like and share it using the sharing links here (top left) or down here (point down). 
AND If you want to know how to use mind body medicine to deepen your yoga practice, beat stress and live a happier life, click here to get my free course.

Stomach Problems and Stomach Disorders

In this video, I’ll tell you what can cause stomach problems and disorders when all the tests come back normal. Stomach acid problems and heartburn have become an epidemic in the west. Sometimes heartburn is related to a bug in the stomach called h pylori, that can be tested for and treated, but often times this is not the culprit, it’s an acid dysregulation issue instead.

Stomach Acid and Heartburn

If we have too much stomach acid or too little stomach acid, problems like heartburn or feeling a ‘lump’ in the upper stomach after eating can result. Did you know that acid balance in the stomach is actually related to the brain and control of the branch of your nervous system called the ANS, or autonomic nervous system?

Chew More!

Because we often eat quickly in our fast paced modern lives, when we eat quickly not enough salivary amylase is produced by not chewing enough, eating too much and too often. Eating before fully waking up in the morning can also result in not enough acid to break down our food, and result in insufficient digestive enzyme action.

Stress and Stomach Acid

On the other end of the scale, chronic stress can activate parts of the brain in the limbic system that send messages to the stomach to make more acid, and too much acid results in burning pain and heartburn and can even lead to ulcers in the stomach.

Practical Solutions

The solution to both too much and too little acid and enzymes is in rebalancing the ANS that controls this element of digestion. There a number of ways of doing this through gut-focused relaxation training, cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and digestive yoga and breathing techniques such as Nadi Shodhana

So as you can see, if you suffer from too much or too little stomach acid, the key is working with your nervous system to restore balance to the gut and to your overall body and brain so you can reclaim health and happiness naturally!

If you want a step by step system to help you heal your digestion for good, then click here to try my Digestion Relief program for free!


Yoga For Anxiety Research Proves Yoga Really Works to Heal from Anxiety & Sleep Issues!

Yoga has origins in Ancient India and is more than just gymnastics or poses-it’s also about controlled breathing called pranayama, deep relaxation and meditation and something known as yoga nidra, which is basically the original hypnotherapy.

Modern Research Supporting Yoga For Mood Issues

Modern medical research studies are now suggesting that yoga has similar effects to the best conventional combined treatment for mood issues, sleep problems, anxiety and for improving attention and concentration–so it’s potentially as good as the best pills out there for these problems without all the side effects.

yoga and anxiety 2

This really cool study has a diagram .  I have to share because it’s so revolutionary that now we can find stuff like this in bona fide medical journals, this one is called Frontiers in Psychiatry–it looks at all the newest stuff coming out about mental health.

Ok, so Some of the effects of Yoga in this picture are things like reversing HPA axis hyperactivity, which I talk about ALOT in all of our programs as a main cause of sleep problems, anxiety, IBS, and even weight issues.  It decreases cortisol and other stress hormones, actually CHANGES what peptides get made in your brain–like increasing your happy hormone serotonin amoung others.  Yoga also can even increase this really cool thing called brain neurotrophic factors, which helps you make new brain cells–so it makes you smarter–it enhances something called neurogenesis–pretty cool!!

It also boosts how well your immune cells function and increases how well your brain is able to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Yoga IS Medicine…..

OK wow!!  So yoga is actually MEDICINE!!!!!  is what we are saying.  And as an integrative medicine doc that is music to my ears!!  I have a pretty serious practice, get up every morning to do at least a half hour, usually an hour of yoga and then usually another short session in the evenings after work because I’m total proof that it works, makes you look and feel younger without spending any money on creams, scary needles or fancy supplements!

Yoga For Insomnia

In the sleep studies, people with severe sleep problems who did yoga for 6 months were sleeping well at the end of the study, had more energy during the day, no longer felt depressed and felt over just better.  Often these are people who have tried the all the pills that doctors usually give for sleep problems with little improvement or intolerable side effects!

So My message to you is this: As a doctor and a yogi, one of the best things you can do to help with sleep problems, stress, feeling tired or feeling anxious is to start making an appointment with yourself for 20 minutes each morning to do yoga.

Yoga is powerful medicine, but it’s not ‘fast food medicine’–meaning it’s gonna take some time, but you will get better from these problems I’ve been talking about if you just do yoga.  Everyone gets better with you who suffers with these problems.  T

How To Yoga At Home…

To get started at home, please check out our full length Yoga for Beginners video today and leave me your questions and comments so you can get the most out of the video and start feeling amazing!!

Yours In health,

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Can You Do Yoga Inversions During Your Period & Yoga For PMS Cramps

This week’s episode is one for the ladies, because I often get asked these questions- “Dr Dani, can you do yoga inversions during your period?” and “does it help to do yoga for PMS cramps?”. Today in AskDrDani TV we’re talking all about yoga, periods and PMS and whether you should do headstands and inversions on your period (and for you guys out there who has a woman in their life that suffers with PMS–you might want to watch this too!).

Yoga Helps Ease PMS Bloating And Cramping….

If you suffer with PMS emotional ups and downs, energy slumps and then get to look forward to days of cramping and bloating when your friend finally does arrive, this episode is for you because I’m talking about the best yoga for PMS and period pain and whether or not you should do any inversion, or upside down yoga poses just before and while you are on your period.  I’m also giving you your PMS yoga ‘cheat sheet’ below the video to help you out!

I’d love to hear your experiences with doing yoga on your period, or what else you’ve tried to help with PMS and any questions you have yoga-related or otherwise about PMS-just leave a comment below the blog post and I’ll get right back to you!

And if you have yet to test drive the 15 minute yoga for beginners video from last week, wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow morning and start your day with this series so you float into the office with a ‘yoga glow’ on Friday!


Yoga For PMS cramps
Yoga For PMS cramps


I really hope this helps you, yoga has made a huge difference to my periods.

Yours In health,

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Nature’s Best Kept Secret: The Positive Health Benefits of Negative Ions

If you want to get more energy, give your immune system a little boost and just FEEL BETTER, than this is the episode for you, because I’m going to take you to my favorite waterfall that was my ‘go to’ spot while in the Himalayas to recharge (and cool down from the 45 Degree C heat!) to tell you how to get all of the above by tapping into the positive health benefits of Negative Ions!

What Do Negative Ions Do And What Are They???

Negative Ions are molecules with extra electrons, which have a negative charge, and they are found in nature, highest in concentration in places like waterfalls, rivers, forests and near the ocean

Dr. Jacob, a Harvard Scientist who studied them, called Negative Ions the ‘Vitamins of the Air’
Dr. Svante August Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1903, discovered that waterfalls and forests are full of negative ions and that is why the air just feels so fresh and wonderful!

The normal ion count in fresh country air is 2,000 – 4,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. At Yosemite Falls, you’ll experience over 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter. On the other hand, on a Los Angeles freeway the negative ion count is below 100 per cubic centimeter.

Dr. Phillip Eduard Anton Lennard,  Nobel Prize Winner in Physics, confirmed that negative ions are found in very high density in the basin of waterfalls where we feel especially refreshed and re-energized.

Meditation and Negative Ions

Even besides lots of modern research, going back to ancient times, yogis and traditional healers have recognized the healing power of being near a waterfall or in the midst of a jungle or forest–in fact, meditation is best done in nature to maximize the positive effects on improving mood and calming the mind

And although waterfalls are a hotbed of negative ions, just getting out in nature Anywhere will do the trick!  If it’s midweek and you can’t escape the city, then invest in an aromatherapy diffuser, the kind that you fill up with water and add a few drops of your fave essential oil (I use pachouli and lemongrass in my living space, and lavender for the bedroom) and plug it in to get the negative ions flowing in your home.  (They’re about a 60-100$  investment but fully worth it to generate more air-cleaning negative ions indoors to turn your space into a city retreat).  Then take 10 or 15 minutes at home in a room with candles instead of fluorescent lights, some chilled music (or just silence!) and do a simple meditation, like the one I showed you last week at the Beatles Ashram:)

So, After you’ve watched, I’d love to know what questions YOU have about negative ions, how to improve your air quality in your home AND your favourite way to get Out in nature without leaving the city limits (my favourite place in central London is Kensington Park Gardens and in Vancouver it still has to be Stanley Park at 3rd Beach)!

The Food of the Gods: Noni Juice Benefits & How To Make Noni Juice

I’m bringing back this Video that was shot at our home in Bali last year talking about noni juice benefits and how to make noni juice because I’ve recently had lots of questions about Noni and yesterday one of my good friends, who is currently in Bali on a photo assignment became ill with ‘Bali Belly’ and called for advice.  She didn’t want to take antibiotics unless really necessary, so I told her how to use Noni fruit for her tummy bug and apparently it worked like a charm by her report back today!

Noni Juice- Food Of The Gods

Noni juice is now widely avaialable in the west too in health food stores and it’s called the Food of the Gods for good reason-it’s an antibacterial AND antiaging powerhouse that if you can get your hands on it to drink every day, will make your skin glow and make you feel amazing.

I miss having my fresh noni tree in my Balinese garden (sigh!).  It is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine, the Indian Science of Life & traditional medicine system still used today in India, that treats illness and prevents disease and supports Vitality by balancing your Dosha, or mindbody Type.

To find out your Dosha, take the Dosha Diagnosis to find yours today so you can see what are the best foods, environments, exercise and herbs for your type to keep you healthy and balanced!


Yours In health,

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My Tummy Travel Disaster & the Local Natural Medicine Cure that Saved Me: Bael Fruit Benefits

I recently had the unfortunate but almost inevitable (if eating and drinking the local food) experience of getting gastroenteritis here in India, after giving in to multiple glasses of chai on the roadside in a rural village with some new friends (which is made with local water that evidently wasn’t boiled quite enough for my westerner stomach).

The Magic Of Bael Fruit

And although I do carry emergency antibiotics with me, I tend to only use them when in dire straits and natural remedies fail (which is very rare:) I decided I’d give an Ayurvedic fruit extract from the Bael fruit a try, after dong some research and reading some studies about how it works and what it’s used for here in India. As soon as one of my local friends, himself an Ayurvedic healer, suggested bael fruit powder. There are no major western research studies on this fruit, (not very surprising considering it’s not a drug and no one is making much money from making bael fruit capsules lol;) But there was enough evidence as well as local traditional use here by the Ayurvedic docs to convince me to give it a go.

And….. it worked, less than a day after starting to take it, my tummy felt almost back to normal, no more fever, antibiotics remaining stowed away in my emergency pack.

So I want to share with you a bit about what Bael fruit is, and how it’s used in India as a natural remedy for many digestive complaints, from diarrhea and parasitic gut infections to constipation (the ripe fruit) and stomach ulcers and how you can use it back in the west, where it’s now available at many health stores. The message here too is not that you have to use bael fruit specifically if you are back in North America or Europe if it’s hard to find because it doesn’t grow there. There will likely be a local herb or plant that has similar uses where you live. That’s the beauty of natural medicine–it’s everywhere if we just know where to look!

Bael Fruit Benefits

The Bael fruit has been used for thousands of years dating back to BC times for it’s many medicinal properties, and in recent scientific studies, it’s been proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties-able to kill both viruses and bacteria gut infections. All parts of the entire tree have different medicine uses: the stem, bark, root leaves, unripe fruit, and ripe fruit. Masters of Ayurvedic medicine know what part of the plant to use for each symptom or illness, such is the art of herbal medicine!

How To Use Bael Fruit

For my particular complaints, I used an extract of the unripened fruit in powder form, from a local herbal supplier here in the Himalayas, which seemed to help me recover more quickly than otherwise expected. Eating the ripe fruit acts as a laxative–not what you want after food poisoning, so this is why I chose the unripe version for my symptoms.

There have also been proven in multiple animal studies and many case reports in humans to be able to heal stomach ulcers, one of the main traditional uses of bael fruit for millenia in India that continues today, despite the growing availability of western medicine drugs.

Bael fruit extracts, like most herbal medicines, doesn’t have the same fancy large-scale research trials behind it yet that the top western medicine drugs have, largely because no one is mass-marketing it yet and able to fund these very expensive studies that drug companies easily afford. However, it may be a useful, natural and handy option to help recover faster from bacterial or even viral gastroenteritis or the ‘stomach flu,’ and it definitely saved me here in India!
Yours In health,

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Stop Getting Sick All The Time By Finding your MindBody Type or Dosha

I keep getting the question “how do I stop getting sick all the time?” or “why do I always get a cold or get sick or ‘rundown’ when the season or the weather changes?”  Western medicine doesn’t have a good explanation for this ‘seasonal affect’ on the immune system, but for millennia, the Indian science of life and medicine called Ayurveda, the oldest and most detailed system of health humans invented has some answers. It all has to do with how aspects of weather, like cold, damp vs. hot and dry interact with our natures, or our ‘mind body type’ or our Dosha.

 The 3 Doshas To Stop You Getting Sick All The Time

There are 3 Doshas, or Mindbody Types in Ayurveda: Vata, PItta and Kapha.  Knowing what combination of these 3 you are can give you keys to avoiding colds, staying happy and free of worrying and anxiety, avoiding weight gain, and ultimately thriving in life.  Each ‘dosha’ or mindbody type, has certain characteristics about a person’s body, mind, personality and spirit and gives you clues on how to balance yourself naturally through foods and daily habits that are best for your combination of ‘types’.

We are each a combination of all three of these, but usually 1 or 2 of the 3 doshas will be more dominant in a given person.  For example, my dosha is Vata-Kapha or ‘VK’ for short; my fiancé on the other hand, is predominantly Pitta (which is considered a good ‘match’ luckily in Ayurveda;)

Different Doshas and Getting Along with a Partner

Because I have a different dosha than my fiancé, we need to eat slightly different diets, do different kinds of exercise, thrive in different work environments, and process our ‘world’ a bit differently.  These differences are good to know if you have a partner, so you can appreciate where the other person is coming from and definitely leads to less conflict because you understand each other way better!

 In each season, different doshas can do 1 of 3 things:


2)Get Aggravated

3)Be ‘calmed’

Changing of the Seasons and Why We Get Colds

 At each change of season, it is said that Vata is ‘aggravated’ and this is why we are more susceptible to colds, etc. when the seasons change.  Especially if you have a high amount of Vata within yourself, you are even more susceptible to illness at the season’s change.

 So, Now as you move into mid April.  Kapha is ‘aggravated in late winter/early spring, so we are just passing this marker now, and near the end of spring/early summer, pitta becomes ‘aggravated’ so this is the next thing to watch out for and protect against, especially if you are a Pitta-dominant person.

 What to Do Now to Stay Cold Free!

 So, what does all this mean?  Well, as we move into late spring, we want to try to avoid things that make Pitta even more aggravated, like really spicy foods, ‘warming spices’ like lots of ginger and basil, and intense exercise in the sun.  It’s also a great time to do a detox if you are a Pitta predominant person.

How do we decrease Pitta? Things that decrease Pitta in the body are cooling spices, cooling foods like green veggies, cucumbers, mint, and cardamom, melons, cooling types of yoga postures, holding postures for a long time, cooling pranayama (breath work) like Sheetali breath, where you suck in the breath through your teeth with an open mouth, just to name a few! If you know Your Dosha it can help you Avoid Colds for Your Type!

So, if you always get sick around the change of seasons, and you want to find out your dosha so you can avoid getting another cold, use the ‘Dosha Diagnostic Tool’ Click HERE to download (it’s FREE:) to find out your type, and then I will be blogging more about each dosha soon and how to avoid getting sick, staying balanced, and how to rebalance if things get crazy!

Download the Dosha Diagnosis Tool Now

 I developed the Dosha Diagnosis Tool after years of studying MindBody Medicine and learning from Indian Ayurveda Masters about how the system works, and I’ve made the questions more applicable to a modern, western life so it’s easy for you to figure out what your type is so you can start using it to avoid colds and getting sick.
Yours In health,

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India’s Secret Superfoods: The Medicinal Plant Amla

India’s Best Kept Superfood Secret

Since being in India, I’ve been on the search for the best kept secret local ‘superfood’ that is little known inn the West.  Here in Rajasthan, I’ve found it: the medicinal plant Amla!   I’ve been drinking the juice and eating the fruit right off the tree in front of my Yoga teacher’s house each morning and I’m feeling pretty amazing!

Why Amla is So Amazing..

Amla, or Indian Gooseberry is one of the most if not THE most powerful medicinal plant in Ayurvedic Medicine, the oldest system of medicine and the most common form of medicine in India even today.  It has been proven in multiple reserach studies to lower cholesterol in people with high cholesterol who would otherwise have to take prescription lipid-lowering drugs, which have many side effects.  Even more remarkably, it can lower something called ‘hemoglobin A1C, one of the toxic forms of sugar that accumulates in the blood in diabetes, and is also being investigated as an alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals for the treatment of non insulin dependant type 2 diabetes!  It also has remarkable unique and potent phytochemicals that protect your brain from deterioation with aging, and protect other vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.  It is also used as an anti-inflammatory for a variety of inflammatory conditions in India.
So, in this Video, I’m visiting Sonu, my local juice bar owner in the town where I’ve been staying and I’m going to show you what it looks like, how to spot it, all it’s benefits and how to enjoy it!

Studies on Amla

1. Phytotherapy Research”; Chemical and antioxidant evaluation of Indian gooseberry; E.A. Poltanov et al.; 2009
2. “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology”; Influence of amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) on hypercholesterolemia and lipid peroxidation in cholesterol-fed rats; H.J. Kim et al.; 2005
3. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Effect of the Indian gooseberry (amla) on serum cholesterol levels in men aged 35-55 years; A. Jacob et al.; 1988
4. “Journal of Medicinal Food”; Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn.) extracts reduce oxidative stress in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats; T.P. Rao; 2005
5. “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition”; Indian Herbs and Herbal Drugs Used for the Treatment of Diabetes; Manisha Modak et al.; 2007
6. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2011 May;20(3):225-39. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e32834473f4.


Yours In health,

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The Best Foods To Eat To Prevent wrinkles

If you think spending a fortune on fancy face creams is your best defense against, think again!  The health and youthfulness of your skin is more that just skin deep–it starts from the INSIDE out!  So, I’m going to share the best foods to eat to prevent wrinkles!!

Eating To Prevent Wrinkles

A very common question I get from new clients is regarding my age, which is usually guessed at almost a decade younger than my actual age and it’s NOT due to superhuman genes, luxe face creams or any ‘work’ done–It’s because I do practice what I preach about eating and do yoga almost every day, including specific postures that are traditionally known as being ‘anti-aging.’ (if you want to know more, leave a comment below and I’ll share my secrets on the asana front too in a new post;)  So in this video, I’m sharing my top ‘anti-wrinkle’ foods to keep you looking great from the inside out!

Yours In health,

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