Health Tips: Your Mood on Food


When you eat may have a great effect on your weight and mood. Here are the rules for timing your meals.

1)     Always eat breakfast. Your blood sugar should go down at night from fasting during the sleeping hours and you should want to eat in the morning. If you cannot face bacon and eggs, try plain organic yogurt with fruit and nuts. If you like your yogurt sweet, add plain or flavored Stevia. Stevia is a South American herb that tastes sweet but is not sugar and has no calories. Look for flavors like chocolate, orange, hazelnut and vanilla cream. A shake made with Whey or rice protein or a nutritious shake powder is another alternative. Eggs are better than oatmeal for stabilizing blood sugar and carrying you through to lunch. Any healthy food you enjoy can be eaten at breakfast. Try smoked salmon or lox straight or chopped in scrambled eggs, for a change. Smoked salmon can be enjoyed carb-free, with fresh lemon juice sprinkled on, and capers on the side. Nut butters spread on celery or apples are another carb-free choice.

2)     Skip bread for lunch. The all-American sandwich is making almost all Americans obese, it seems. Bread at lunch can also give you a blood sugar crash at 3-4 p.m. that will leave you sleepy and lethargic and have reaching for coffee and carbohydrate-loaded snacks. Try lettuce wraps for sandwiches, switch to gluten-free bread if you are not over weight and get at least moderate exercise. Eat salad and a protein source to lose weight, and feel bright all afternoon. Dress the salad with an olive oil dressing, mixed with lemon juice or vinegar and flavored with herbs of choice. Most bottled dressings are made with unhealthy oils, such as Canola, Soybean, or other type of processed oils. Processed oils should be avoided completely and only virgin, raw oils are healthy.

3)     Dinner should be eaten before 8 p.m. If you work late, eat protein and/or fat for a snack.  Carbs like bread or crackers will convert quickly to sugar and then get stored as fat. Try plain organic yogurt sweetened with Stevia (no calorie natural herbal sweetener) and sprinkled with raw nuts for crunch. Have celery or an apple with a small amount of nut butter.

4)     Try skipping all bread and grain products (and skip sugar) for a week and see how you different you feel. You may experience a lighter mood, increased energy, and less aches or pains. Add a good quality fish oil product and increase slowly until you are taking 6 capsules a day for a few weeks.  You also may find out that you are much easier to get along with when your blood sugar is stable.  Don’t be surprised if your co-workers start checking your lunch bag or having salads delivered to you. Life may look brighter if you are not serving it up between two slices of bread.

Anne Dunev, PhD
Naturopath (Doctor of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist & Certified Health Educator.


Fishing for Compliments



Dr. Anne Dunev is a Naturopath and Certified Nutritionist who works in our offices. This article regarding the importance of fish oil in our diets is one that I found very interesting. I hope you will as well. 

Fishing for Compliments
by Dr. Anne Dunev, PhD

In our office we recommend fish oil supplements for many of our patients. When I had a practice in Ketchum, Idaho, I could barely keep fish oil caps on the shelf. Because of the dryness at that altitude, dry skin is a big factor. Dry skin equals discomfort and early wrinkles. Once a woman started on fish oil supplements, she would come back and buy more for her mother, daughter and friends.

With our current fat-phobia, fish oil supplements are a great way to add a controlled amount of fat into the diet comfortably. I am a big proponent of good fats, and I think that many of our current chronic disease conditions would improve drastically if we flipped our eating around to include plenty of healthy fat and jettisoned the breads and sugar.

But if you aren’t ready for such a drastic change, fish oil supplements have wonderful benefits, besides balancing your skin and improving wrinkles.

The brain is the only organ in the body that uses fat (fatty acids), so fish has been called “brain food”. Do eat wild caught fish, rather than farm raised, as often as you can, such as salmon, cod and halibut. If mercury is a concern, limit tuna, and particularly swordfish. Concerns about health risks from mercury in fish are not shared by all. Fish contain a less toxic form of mercury called methyl mercury cysteine. The ocean is rich in selenium and that binds some of the mercury, making it less toxic.

In Japan, the amount of mercury ingested from the high fish consumption greatly exceeds what is recommended as safe. However, Japanese children excel in school and out-perform American children. And there are no health issues apparent in Japanese kids that would indicate the mercury is poisoning them. So, mercury in fish does not seem to a reason to avoid eating fish a few times per week.

Pregnant women and very small children are more vulnerable. Mercury poisoning from methyl mercury chloride is a concern at any age, so avoid silver dental fillings.

The best fish oil supplements undergo molecular distillation to remove mercury, and the benefits of fish oil outweigh the risk of contamination.

Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, so helpful for joints, ageing, arthritis and autoimmune disease. Fish oil may lower cholesterol levels. It is helpful for dry eye symptoms and helps you maintain a healthy weight by keeping blood sugar more balanced, and cutting cravings. Fish oil helps depression and mood, and may help normalize blood pressure.

Dr. Anne Dunev, PhD
Naturopath (Practitioner of Natural Medicine),
Certified Nutritionist, and Certified Health Educator

You can make an appointment to see Dr. Dunev by calling our offices: (818)729-9149 Or visit our website:

Facials: Luxury or Necessity?


Interview with Ewa Szumilas
Aesthetician at Lisa Benest, MD | Skin Care & Laser Center

The importance of great looking skin should never be underestimated. First impressions are important, and how you (and your face) look are a big part of that. Truth be told, we all like to look at something “easy on the eyes.”  So where do you start if you have concerns about your skin and your facial appearance? A facial is perfect.

Ewa Szumilas is our Aesthetician here at Dr. Benest’s office. She has worked extensively in Paris, Manhattan and Palm Beach, with an impressive list of celebrity clients. We’re proud to have her as part of our Cosmetic Services team. We wanted to get her view on facials, products and a basic skin care regime anyone can use.

Most people, especially women, are well aware that facials are necessary for healthy skin.

Yes, and they should never be considered a luxury. One of the main differences I see in American women versus European women is that American women wait until much later in life to begin taking really good care of their skin. Then they try to make up for it with buying over-the-counter products to solve topical skin issues, as well as foundations and camouflage products to hide flaws. Fortunately, there’s a lot more that can be done with modern techniques to reverse the signs of aging, and the medical-grade facials like we’re able to do here at Dr. Benest’s can make a very big change.

How would you compare going to a spa for a facial and coming to Dr. Benest’s office?

When you go to a day spa, you’re going for the relaxing experience; the quiet music, the Jacuzzi, etc. Coming to a dermatologist’s office is a different type of experience. First off, we are able use much higher-grade masks, peels, serums, etc. for our patients. This means more effective medical-grade products that will get better results, faster. When you come here it’s about really taking a look at your skin and providing a treatment that’s going to help you from a medical and cosmetic perspective, rather than simply providing you a relaxing escape from your stressful week. Remember that we’re a dermatology office specializing in the care and health of your skin.

We also have the added advantage of having a doctor right down the hall. If I see an issue with someone’s skin that needs a doctor’s attention, we can take care of it.

What types of facials do you do?

We provide many types of facials, but truthfully every facial I do is a customized facial. Every patient is different and has different issues. With each facial I provide a mask, a peel, a massage and extractions for one price. Spas tend to price differently and you may see one price on their price list, but if you want a peel – that can be extra.

A spa’s Aesthetician will usually make a recommendation of products for you when you leave, do you do provide this service as well?

We sell various skin care products here – and again, many of them are of a different caliber than those you’d find at a spa because we are a doctor’s office. Additionally, if I feel that there are products we don’t sell that are available elsewhere, I’ll recommend what I feel you really need. The priority is you and your skin.

I also encourage all my patients to let me know what they are using on their skin and I’ll provide my professional opinion as to whether or not those products are best for them. In a spa they typically only recommend the products they sell.

What does it take to get truly flawless skin?

Some if it of course has to do with good genes but also good habits. However, with all that’s available today in terms of products, treatments and services – it’s attainable for most. Minimally we can take years off your face and create glowing-looking skin, but it has to be part of a consistent program: Daily care, monthly facials and good quality skin-products that are best for your skin. If someone has more advanced issues with uneven skin-tone, sun damage, deep wrinkles, scarring, etc., we have a number of treatments we can recommend to help you achieve your goals, which again are solutions you won’t find at a day spa.

What would you recommend as a basic skin-care program?

  1. Cleanse daily, especially at night.
  2. Moisturize daily.
  3. Use a product with sunscreen daily.
  4. Get a facial once a month. Twice a month if you have acne-prone skin.
  5. Drink plenty of water and eat well.

Book a facial with Ewa, and a consultation with one of our Cosmetic Nurse Specialists. Let’s see how gorgeous we can make you!

Drink Water for Healthier Looking Skin!

We’ve all heard about the 8/8 rule (eight 8oz. glasses of water per day) and its importance in creating healthy looking skin.  But doesn’t all that water just make us go to the bathroom more? Usually, yes. The answer is to also include high-water fruits and vegetables in your diet, such as watermelon, celery, cucumbers and zucchini. Not only will you increase your water intake, but you’ll also reap all the nutritional benefits these foods provide.

Saturday February 4th is World Cancer Day

Please make sure you and your loved ones get regular screenings for skin cancer if you’re at risk.  
Risk factors include:
  1. Fair skin, especially skin that burns, freckles or reddens easily
  2. A personal history of skin cancer
  3. A family history of skin cancer
  4. A history of sunburns, especially early in life
  5. A history of indoor tanning
  6. An abundance of moles and/or irregular moles
  7. A weakened immune system.

For more information, click here!

Sculptra is Coming to Lisa Benest MD!

Sculptra® Aesthetic is a facial injectable filler treatment for deep facial wrinkles and folds. It replaces the facial volume lost with age. It provides a foundation that replaces collagen gradually to restore a natural looking appearance that can last up to 2 years.

Sculptra® Aesthetic usually requires 2-3 treatments which are done about 1-2 months apart. Sculptra® Aesthetic is different from other facial fillers because it achieves noticeable results that emerge subtly with time, so you do not look instantly like you have had work done. The first facial injectable that lasts up to 2 years.


Sculptura Before and After

Healthy Fats for Healthier Skin

Fatty, ocean-sourced fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, anchovies and sardines, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation in your body that could be exacerbating skin conditions. These essential fatty acids also help to keep your skin healthy, maintain its natural oil barrier and make it look younger (less wrinkly) and clearer. Other sources of “good fats” are olive oil and avocados.

Click here for more information.