Thais’ articles published at Ceres Community Project

You might have noticed a gap in this blog’s articles… the reason behind it is that I have been busy with my work with Ceres Community Project, a wonderful non-profit organization in Sebastopol, California. I am serving as their Nutrition Education Manager, and have written a number of articles for the Ceres website.

Ceres Community Project builds healthy communities by restoring fresh, whole and organic food to its place as the foundation of health, and by connecting people in heart-centered ways to themselves, others and the earth.

Please learn more about Ceres here:

And please read my articles on Fats, and Sugar, here:








Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Upcoming Event: Tue, Jan 28, 2014

Sustainable NutritionThais will be speaking at the YMCA Santa Rosa about “Sustainable Nutrition: Eating for the Health of Your Wallet” this coming Tuesday, 1/28, from 5:45 to 7:45pm.

Join us for an informative talk on how to adopt a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable for you, your budget and the planet.

There is no fee to register and there will be a food demo.

More info: click here

14 Foods to Help you Detox in 2014

Detoxification is about resting, cleansing and nourishing the body from the inside out, especially after the busy and sometimes indulgent holiday season. By removing and eliminating toxins, then feeding your body with healthy nutrients, detoxifying can help protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain optimum health. These foods will assist in boosting your metabolism, optimizing digestion, and supporting your immune system.


artichoke 1. ARTICHOKES

Artichokes help the liver function at its best, which in turn will help your body purge itself of toxins and other things it doesn’t need to survive. It ups the liver’s production of bile, and since bile helps break down foods which helps your body use the nutrients inside them, an increase in bile production is typically a good thing.


apple2. APPLES

Apples are full of wonderful nutrients. You get fiber, vitamins, minerals and many beneficial phytochemicals such as D-Glucarate, flavonoids and terpenoids. All of these substances are used in the detox process. One flavonoid, Phlorizidin (phlorizin), is thought to help stimulate bile production which helps with detox as the liver gets rid of some toxins through the bile. Apples are also a good source of the soluble fibre pectin, which can help detox metals and food additives from your body. It’s best to eat only organic apples as the non-organic varieties are among the top 12 foods that have been found to contain the most pesticide residues. Organically produced apples also have a 15 percent higher antioxidant capacity than conventionally produced apples.




Almonds are the best nut source of Vitamin E. In fact, just one ounce contains 7.3 mg of “alpha-tocopherol” vitamin E, the form of the vitamin the body prefers. They’re also high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and useable protein that helps stabilize blood sugar and remove impurities from the bowels.



asparagus4. ASPARAGUS

Not only does asparagus help to detoxify the body, it can help you wage the anti-aging battle, protect you from getting cancer, help your heart to stay healthy, and is a general anti-inflammatory food. It’s also known to help with liver drainage, which might sound like a bad thing, but since the liver is responsible for filtering out the toxic materials in the food and drinks we consume, anything that backs up its drainage is not doing you any favors. Asparagus also helps reduce risk of death from breast cancer and increase the odds of survival.


Isolated avocado5. AVOCADOS

This wonder fruit is packed with antioxidants, lowers cholesterol and dilates the blood vessels while blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and less likely to suffer from arthritis. Consuming avocados is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher “good cholesterol” levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk.


basil6. BASIL

Basil has anti-bacterial properties, and it’s full of antioxidants to protect the liver. The active ingredients are terpenoids. It is also wonderful for digestion and detoxification, too. It supports the functioning of the kidneys and also acts as a diuretic to help the body expel unwanted toxins. Basil has been known to have anti-ulcer qualities as well as antimicrobial effects that guard against bacteria, yeast, fungi and mold. Basil seed can also help with constipation. The anticancer properties of basil may also relate to its ability to influence viral infections.


beets7. BEETS

A single serving of beets can do more for your health than most foods in the produce isle. Not only can they boost your energy and lower your blood pressure, but eating beets in the long-term can help you fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, boost your brain as well as help you lose weight. Beets contain a unique mixture of natural plant chemicals (phytochemicals) and minerals that make them superb fighters of infection, blood purifiers, and liver cleansers. They also help boost the body’s cellular intake of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers. When you’re detoxing, beets will help by making sure that the toxins you’re getting out actually make it out of your body. Many detox cleanses go wrong when toxins are reintroduced to the body because they don’t make it all the way out.


blueberries8. BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Just 300 grams of blueberries protects against DNA damage. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They have antiviral properties and are loaded with super-detoxifying phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins.


brazil_nuts9. BRAZIL NUTS

These tasty treats are packed with selenium, which is key to flushing mercury out of your body. The body uses selenium to make ‘selenoproteins’, which work like antioxidants preventing damage to cells and there is growing body of evidence to show it has a key role in our health. The consumption of brazil nuts has been found to be inversely associated with risk of pancreatic cancer, independent of other potential risk factors for pancreatic cancer.


Brocoli Crowns 000110. BROCCOLI & BROCCOLI SPROUTS

Broccoli specifically works with the enzymes in your liver to turn toxins into something your body can eliminate easily. If you’re stuck for ways on how to make broccoli taste better try dehydrating or consider eating it raw. But don’t microwave it as this destroys both the nutritional and detox potential. Broccoli contains a very powerful anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-microbial called sulforaphane which helps prevent cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and allergies.

broccoli-sproutsBroccoli sprouts can actually provide more benefit than regular broccoli as they contain 20 times more sulfurophane. They contain important phytochemicals that are released when they’re chopped, chewed, fermented, or digested. The substances are released then break down into sulfurophanes, indole-3-carbinol and D-glucarate, which all have a specific effect on detoxification. Add these to your salads and get creative with them in your meals. Researchers have found that an oral preparation made from broccoli sprouts trigger an increase in inflammation-fighting enzymes in the upper airways.


cabbage11. CABBAGE

In addition to cleansing your liver, cabbage will also aid in helping you go to the bathroom, which in turn helps you expel the toxins, getting them out of your system so you can start fresh. It contains sulfur, which is essential when it comes to breaking down chemicals and removing them from your body. Along with other cole crops, cabbage is a source ofindole-3-carbinol, a chemical that boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.


cilantro12. CILANTRO

Cilantro, also known as coriander, Chinese parsley or dhania, contains an abundance of antioxidants. Cilantro helps mobilize mercury and other metals out of the tissue so it can attach to it other compounds and allow it to be excreted from the body. It also contains an antibacterial compound called dodecenal, which laboratory tests showed is twice as effective as the commonly used antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing Salmonella.


cinnamon13. CINNAMON

The oils from cinnamon contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood cells. Cinnamon’s essential oils also qualify it as an “anti-microbial” food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. Cinnamon’s antimicrobial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives. It has one of the highest antioxidant values of all foods and its use in medicine treats everything from nausea to menstruation and energy to diabetes.


ginger14. GINGER

Along side turmeric, ginger is one of the world’s most potent disease-fighting spices. Ginger spikes your metabolism, flushes out waste, is thought to help liver function, and has some astringent properties. Some detox diets ask you to chew on ginger root. You may also find that adding it to hot water makes the water taste better. Basically any way you can think of it get it into your system is going to be beneficial, especially if you’re suffering from a fatty liver caused by too much alcohol, or too many toxic foods and drinks.



Upcoming Events

Sustainable Nutrition talk at the 3rd Women in Discovery Salon

Thais Harris, NC will be presenting at the 3rd Women in Discovery Autumn Salon at 2pm, on Saturday, October 26th, 2013. The salon runs from 11am to 8pm and offers a wonderful array of presenters.

Location: 412 Redhill Avenue, Suite 2, San Anselmo, CA 94960

Tickets: $20

More information:


Reset & Renew Fall Cleanse for Individuals:Pumpkin, apples and Cranberries on fall leaves


This guided 21-Day Reset & Renew Cleanse includes ongoing coaching with a certified holistic nutrition consultant, ALL supplements, and 28 meal replacements


• Have been feeling a little bound up
• Have “foggy” brain
• Can’t get rid of the afternoon slump
• Have a few persistent pounds to shed
• Want clarity and focus
• Want to make “eating healthy” easy and delicious
• Want to reset and focus before the holiday craze starts

First meeting: Wednesday, October 30th, at 6 pm (1.5 hours)
Second meeting: Wednesday, November 6th, at 6 pm (1 hour)
Final meeting: Monday, November 18th, at 6 pm (1 hour)

Location: 779 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, CA

This is not a starvation cleanse: you will continue to eat throughout the detox process and will have all nutrients needed to thrive in any situation.

ONLY $395
(includes coaching, supplements and 28 meal replacements)
Featuring supplements from Designs For Health

Sign up here


Reset & Renew Fall Cleanse for Couples:Couple_Cooking1

Improve Your Health and the Health of Your Relationship

Cleansing isn’t easy, but going through it with a partner makes it so much better. Why not take this time to also cleanse your relationship of patterns and behaviors that no longer serve you, or to set intentions together for the future?

This Couple’s Cleanse allows you to improve your own health and the health of your relationship. It includes 3 meetings and ongoing coaching with a certified holistic nutrition consultant, 3 counseling meetings with a licensed psychotherapist, ALL supplements, and 28 meal replacements for each individual.

First meeting: Thursday, October 31st, at 6pm (2 hours)
Second meeting: Thursday, November 7th, at 6pm (1.5 hours)
Final meeting: Wednesday, November 20th, at 6pm (1.5 hours)

Location: 779 Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, CA

This is not a starvation cleanse: you will continue to eat throughout the detox process and will have all nutrients needed to thrive in any situation.

The counseling portion of this cleanse is not intended as therapy for couples in crisis, it is instead a time for committed couples to set intentions, expand communication, and together let go of patterns that might not be serving the relationship.

ONLY $825 per couple
(includes nutrition coaching, relationship counseling, supplements, and 28 meal replacements for each individual)
Featuring supplements from Designs For Health

Spaces are Limited.

Sign up here

JJ Virgin’s 7 Reasons to Work with a Nutrition Consultant/Health Coach

JJ virgin is known as one of the nation’s foremost fitness and nutrition experts and accomplished public speaker. In this article, she shares a little insight on reasons why working with a consultant/coach can benefit everyone.

She explains: “At some point, everyone at the top of his or her game hired a coach. I’ve had coaches inspire, challenge, and ultimately help me take my business to a level I could never achieve on my own. Almost every person I’ve known who successfully lost fat and kept it off had a health coach.”

I have also hired guidance for many aspects of my life and business: accounting, communication, health, and tutoring (as they helped me achieve academic success when I was little). We are always looking for that advantage edge, and we can get further ahead with the help of people who can add value to what we do. It is no different with our health.

question-markThere are so many ever-changing diets out there, a plethora of new information and research every day, countless myths that need to be clarified, and targeted marketing trying to tell us what to buy. It is hard to stay well informed all the time on top of everything else we do, juggling work, kids, home life, and other interests. This is where a nutrition consultant can add value: someone who is keeping up-to-date with the latest research, who is carefully studying the industry and its myths and truths, and can advise you based on your specific needs, so that you don’t have to trudge through the internet, newspapers, and television ads to try to figure out what will work for you and what won’t. It is also important to find a consultant who has a holistic – and science-based – approach to well-being and has a track record of helping people feel better and live healthier lives.

Here are JJ’s reasons:

1. Accountability. An A-game coach kindly but firmly holds you accountable for your goals. Because they care about your success, they will take every measure to ensure compliance. At the same time, they’re not babysitters. Occasionally they will give you a little tough love, but only because they want you to excel in your goals.

2. Customization. No diet is one-size-fits-all. You are a unique individual with specific biochemical and physiological needs. A great coach can combine a diet blueprint with your goals, preferences, needs, and time limitations to design a program that works just for you.

3. Inspiration. We all have those days where the bottom figuratively falls out of our boat and we want to dive into a hot fudge sundae. That’s when a top-notch coach can “rescue” you, provide encouragement, offer effective strategies to overcome your obstacles, and help you persevere to stay the course.

4. Empowerment. Imagine walking into a restaurant, party, or grocery store and not become bewildered at the confusing array of foods. A good coach will teach you practical, easy-to-implement principles that empower you to embrace any situation with confidence and clarity.

5. Practicality. Helpful coaches live in the real world. They know you’re juggling a zillion tasks and don’t have the time or loaded bank account to shop for arcane foods or at designer health food stores. They can work within your budget to create an affordable, easily accessible food and nutrient plan to reach your goals.

6. Troubleshooting. Everyone hits plateaus. They’re maddening because even though you’re doing everything correctly, the scales aren’t budging. That’s where a savvy coach comes in. They’re problem solvers who can connect the metabolic dots and evaluate dietary, lifestyle, nutrient, and other issues that might be stalling your progress.

7. A good listener. A good coach not only lets you speak: they really hear what you have to say. Maybe you don’t have the most supportive spouse for your fat loss goals. Maybe your bestie or mom, much as she loves you, is inadvertently sabotaging your success. A coach can be that much-needed confidante to really hear what you’re saying and provide encouraging advice (or in some cases, just listen).

I am often asked how I do what I do, and I think JJ Virgin provided a pretty good chunk of that answer. As I mentioned before, it is important to find someone who has solid experience and education, has a track record, sees you as a whole and takes time to understand your history, needs, preferences, and lifestyle, and can really customize a plan that will give you the results you want.

To see JJ Virgin’s article in its entirety, click here:

Nutrition to Manage Pain and Lower Inflammation

This is the long-awaited follow-up to Peter’s post on pain. If you haven’t read his post yet, check it out here.

After a few months of dealing with loss and pain, and re-establishing and grounding ourselves, we are back on track with writing, researching, and developing our practices. We have both just completed a 21-day cleanse, which was a wonderful way to let go of toxins and unwanted thoughts. If you are interested in cleansing yourself, check out our schedules for guided group cleanses here.

Now let’s talk about pain and inflammation and the many factors that influence them.

Let’s start with pain: there are the obvious triggers for pain such as getting burned on a hot pan, injured in a fall, cut with a knife. But there are other more subtle triggers within which can cause back pain, joint pain, headaches, and many other “internal” pains. These triggers within are the ones I will address within post.

To understand pain, it’s important to know that: headache

A)   most tissues have specific pain receptors and pain perception depends on the site of stimulation, the type of fiber transmitting the message, adequate levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins, as well as GABA and other sub-receptors;

B)   the spinal cord sends a message to the brain via ascending pathways and then receives messages via the descending pathways and also from periphery. There are different fibers that carry the message: tiny C fibers carry the long lasting burning pain; A delta fibers carry the sharp (or first pain) and localization data; and A beta fibers carry information on vibration and position.

In order to suppress pain from C fibers (the long-lasting pain) we can stimulate A delta fibers with acupuncture, and stimulate A beta fibers by rubbing the skin or using TENS (Bauman College, 2012). These fibers are only the messengers, however. Imbalances in the internal environment can affect pain signals, and make them stronger or lighter depending on what is lacking (nutrients) or what is in excess (toxins) in the environment. These imbalances can be corrected with proper nutrition and lifestyle and at times, the use of supplementation is suggested for those who are very depleted of certain nutrients.

One major reason for pain is inflammation (inflammation also precedes development of diabetes, among other growing diseases). So taking a look at inflammation and doing everything we can to reduce it is of extreme importance today, especially since inflammation can be largely attributed to our modern lifestyle. “Specifically, dietary triggers (fructose, wheat and industrial seed oils), stress, poor sleep, gut dysbiosis and environmental toxins all cause inflammation on their own. When combined together, they are an explosive mix” (Chris Kresser, 2010).

InflammationAccording to Nutrition Data, “inflammation can silently involve every cell in your body and, over time, negatively affect your health and abilities. For example, allergies, joint pain, and premature aging are just a few of the common ailments linked to “systemic inflammation…”  The levels of certain chemicals in your blood are known to increase with increased levels of inflammation. One of these chemical markers for inflammation is a protein called C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is often measured in conjunction with other blood tests, and normal values are well established. From a clinical standpoint, a CRP level of less than 5 milligrams per liter of blood is considered normal. “Normal” may not be optimal, though. Many medical researchers believe that even slight elevations of CRP are tied to increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and many other diseases.”

Without the CRP test, we can tell if a system is inflamed if there is constant allergic reaction activity (seasonal, foods, dust), inability to lose weight no matter how little one eats, headaches, body aches, joint pain, and mucus formation, for example.

Looking at Nutrition to Lower Inflammation

I recently attended the National Association of Nutrition Professionals’ conference in San Diego, CA and got to listen to Tom O’Bryan’s talk on Musculoskeletal Conditions in the 21st Century, which was very rich in content, inspiring with a number of case studies and plenty of research to back up his arguments. One of the thoughts that stuck with me the most was that “each bite we eat is either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, so we need to choose more anti-inflammatory foods to feed ourselves with.” So what are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods we might add to our plates daily? Here is a good list to get you started:

Omega-3 Foods: wild salmon, sardines, nuts and seeds (notably flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts), organic soybeans, winter squash, purslane. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are considered anti-inflammatory because this class of nutrients serves as precursors for compounds in the body (such as certain prostaglandins and leukotrienes) that have anti-inflammatory activity.

Extra virgin olive oil: it contains healthy fats (monounsaturated fats), and has been found to have anti-inflammatory benefits. Some of these benefits seem to come through its unique antioxidant phytonutrients, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. It’s important to note that these phytonutrients are more concentrated in extra virgin olive than other types of olive oil. Olive oil should not be cooked in high temperatures. Use coconut oil or ghee for anything over 250 degrees.

salmon-baked-1Deep colored fruits and vegetables: berries, cherries, beets, leafy greens (like kale and chard), and pomegranatesPineapple also contains a proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzyme called bromelain that has anti-inflammatory activity. Flavonoid and carotenoid phytonutrients also have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and are a great inclusion in any diet geared towards controlling inflammation.

Spices: ginger, turmeric, and garlic are among the highest anti-inflammatory spices – and they add wonderful flavors and aroma to just about any dish.

Foods to avoid: those that may promote inflammation, such as vegetable oils (sunflower oil, corn oil, and any highly processed oils including canola and soybean oils) as they are rich in omega-6 fatty acids; “white foods” such as white flour, white rice and white sugar; processed foods that contain synthetic flavorings, colorings and preservatives. (It is not that your diet should not have any omega-6 fatty acids as they are essential fatty acids that play a role in health. It is just that most people already get an ample supply of these fatty acids in their diets and therefore should try to minimize concentrated food sources of them in order to maintain a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio).



Chris Kresser, 2010. How Inflammation Makes You Fat. <>

World’s Healthiest Foods <>

Nutrition Data <>

Bauman College Therapeutic Nutrition Notebook, 2012




10 New Rules for a Body in Pain

For the last six months or so, I have been in the tilting, lumbering waltz of back pain. There was a specific point in time not so long ago as the days were getting short and my own outlook was bleakening, I realized it wasn’t about the outside world fixing the inside of me. No number of specialists on either side of the east-west divide would be able to help me end the dance of discomfort until I changed the way I was with my pain. Otherwise, I would continue aggravating the tender part of me that was trying to heal. I would have to gain the patience and presence of mind to sit with what was happening inside, and be more responsible and more responsive to my own healing message.

A Healing Hand

For any who have experienced it, sciatic pain curtails many aspects of life, almost like living locked in a room that keeps getting smaller with a wild animal that keeps getting bigger and hungrier. It gets harder and harder to imagine life without the searing limitations of pain. In my case, the intense pain would wake me from a dead sleep and then every adjustment made it worse. Then returning to sleep became harder and harder as each waking startle brought more adrenaline and cortisol to my grapple-dance. It turns out that the food the waltzing monster most wanted was sleep.

Upon waking Sunday after a night of deliciously waltz-free snoozing, I thought I would write out other rules for healing the body that I have found in the course of my six-month pain process. And finding something to be grateful for in all of this has been at the center of my healing. What is my pain telling me? Slow down. There is no rush. Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.

And one of the things I happen to be able to do now is share the following rules:

1. Get up mindfully. When first waking, before immediately succumbing to habit and habitual motion, really tune in and see what this your body wants to do. How does your body want to move? Break big motions into smaller parts, so you can pay attention to where your pain begins. Listen to the message and adjust accordingly

2. Eat toward health. Starting with your first meal, eat foods that will assist you in healing. Specifically in my case, collagen-rich broth for bone/tendon/muscle health, lots of greens and protein for repair. (Look for a future post here soon focusing on eating for healing…)

3. Remember you are healing. Remind yourself that you are healing. As often during the day as you’d like but especially when pain is overwhelming or you feel yourself slipping into despair, give yourself permission to heal. This most recent frustration or burst of pain is not you, it is a temporary condition. “I am healing,” also reinforces consciously what this your body is trying to do on a second-by-second basis, or rather is already doing.

4. Love your pain. This is not the same as being a masochist. This is about respecting and getting to know your pain. As long as we resist pain, it will stick around like a house guest with nowhere else to go. So, don’t pretend the guest isn’t there sitting on your couch, and don’t offend your guest with an obscene gesture or a slap to the face. Get to know the guest and find out what the pain wants. (Pain wants to move on, too, usually.) Keep a pain journal. Keep track of what aggravates it and when you feel best. You could even develop your own rules for healing, so you and your guest can both get on with the lives you want.

5. Visualize what you want to be doing. When you hit a wall and can’t do something that gives you joy or that you are used to doing every day, close your eyes and take a second to see yourself doing that thing. Biking, hiking, playing tennis, skiing, walking the dog, or just sitting in your favorite chair for half an hour pain-free by a warm crackling fire. The more vivid and specific the image, the more effective it is in supporting your healing toward its realization. As an added bonus, the more you flex your visualization muscles, the clearer and more potent they become, moving you toward your intention.

6. Don’t make yourself wrong. It is very easy to slip into this trap, I know. A vicious cycle of self-blame, heaping on the epithets, born of frustration or remorse (Why didn’t I listen to my body then? Instead I just kept on moving those boxes…) If you saw a friend beating themselves up for not being able to do something, you might say, “It’s not always going to be this way,” or “It’s going to be okay.” So, hey, be a friend to yourself.

7. Stretch throughout the day. Remind this your body of its full range of motion. Breathe into the parts that get neglected first. Breathe deeply as you gently stretch, and fully oxygenate the body. Building this in as a habit can also guard against future injury.

8. Educate yourself on the healing process. Every day, spend a few minutes taking in information. Talk to someone who has had this experience and is on the other side of pain. Look up a book on healing at the library. Sweep for blogs. Search the medical databases. Educating yourself can also help you visualize more specifically, and you will be able to hone your visualization mojo to support what needs to happen inside.

9. Visualize your healing. This is about getting clear on tissues and systems, finding a way to understand the shape and process of your healing. And you know the gist of what comes next; the more you can see clearly and the clearer you see it, the more this your body will move in that direction.

10. Call a buddy. The healing power of being in loving company goes beyond words. Don’t hurt alone. Some downtime of course is necessary, and pain’s natural effect is to get us to slow down, hunker, isolate. At some point, though, we need to reach out and start saying yes to the get-together. You can be selective, too. Honor your heart’s choice. What makes the hea feel better steps you toward healing to your fullest and happiest future. Heal on!

Copyright © Nourish Together 2012