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Why You Need to Ditch Plastic ASAP!

Date:  10th September 2019         Category:  Health,

There’s no denying it… plastic has overrun our lives, and not in any way that is good — neither for the environment, nor for our health.

 

Plastics are literally everywhere, especially in all aspects of food storage: containers, plastic wrap, plastic bags, straws — and everything else imaginable!

 

Here’s WHY and HOW to ditch plastic… ASAP.

 

Removing plastic from your life – for health reasons

 

Most of the more common plastics contain an industrial chemical called bisphenol-A (better known as BPA), in addition to phthalates – an entire family of chemical compounds.

 

Many studies have revealed the widespread negative effects of both of these chemicals on human health. For example, it is suggested that individuals with the highest concentration of either of these chemicals (detected in their urine) often have hormone imbalance issues.

 

Studies have also made correlations to type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension (high blood pressure) with these chemicals. [1] [2]

 

 

The clear choice is to reduce your plastic usage overall as this would lead to less exposure to these harmful chemicals for you and your family.

 

Removing plastic from your life – for the environment

 

The equivalent of about five shopping bags filled with plastic – for every foot of coastline in the world – fills our oceans each year.

 

By the year 2025, it is estimated that this amount will double, and by 2050, fish will officially be out-populated by plastic rubbish. [3] Now that’s a visual!

 

 

It’s time we all did our part in an effort to ditch plastic, especially single-use plastics, like water bottles, to-go containers, coffee cups, and straws – and invest in more sustainable, multi-use options in all areas of our lives.

 

But, make no mistake that you do have the power to make a difference just by changing even small aspects of your lifestyle and daily routine.

 

Eight (8) actionable ways that you can ditch plastic AND make a difference – to your health & to the environment:

 

 

  1. Stop buying single-use plastic water bottles. Invest in a stainless steel, Refillable plastic bottle (Here is my favourite:  https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/296534468  or glass water bottle and bring it everywhere!
  2. Bring a reusable, heat-tolerant travel mug to your local coffee shop. Many shops and cafes even offer an incentive discount for bringing your own cup!
  3. The action of using a drinking straw can cause bloating, gas, and indigestion issues due to the excess air that is swallowed. Additionally, sipping through plastic straws also directly exposes you to chemicals like BPA & phthalates.
  4. Store reusable shopping bags in your car so you don’t forget to bring them into every shop you regularly shop at.
  5. Buying in bulk allows you to reduce (or even eliminate) waste and it’s usually cheaper too. You can also buy things like shampoo, soap and other beauty care products in bulk to save you from buying as many smaller plastic containers. Reduce & reuse!
  6. Most pre-prepared or commercially-prepared foods come in an unnecessary amount of packaging, so try to make your meals mostly from scratch.Below is a great recipe to help you get into the scratch-made habit — and it’s easier than you think – break out that slow cooker!
  7. Use old jars to store your leftovers, rather than using plastic containers. And be sure NEVER to heat food in a plastic container in the microwave!
  8. Also, swap plastic zipper bags for reusable glass containers. That doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy all new containers as you can save and reuse old ones from things like pasta sauce, salsa, pickles, olives, and other condiments.

 

The more awareness you bring into your life about what you buy and what you use in your everyday routines, the more ways you’ll discover how to easily ditch the plastic – in all its forms.

 

 

RECIPE

 

Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

 

Ingredients

 

450g pork tenderloin, trimmed & lean

300ml chicken broth

2 Tbsp honey

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried parsley – can sub dried coriander, dried tarragon

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp smoked Hungarian paprika

 

Preparation

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the broth, honey, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste, then pour into bottom of slow cooker.

 

In a small bowl, combine dried spices, then rub over all sides of the pork tenderloin and place in the slow cooker. If the piece of pork is longer than your slow cooker, cut it in half crosswise so each piece can be placed side by side in the slow cooker.

 

Cover and cook on high for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or low for about 4 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 70 degrees C.

 

Once cooked through, place tenderloin on a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

[1] Health risk of exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA)

 

[2] Bisphenol A and Children’s Health

 

[3] https://mic.com/articles/132908/by-the-year-2050-there-will-be-more-plastic-garbage-in-the-ocean-than-fish

 

Hormone Rebalancing Diet Tips

Date:  19th August 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

People lead stressful and busy lives – that’s an unfortunate but undeniable fact these days. Then, when you factor in a poor diet and/or lack of adequate nutrition, it’s no wonder that disorders of the metabolic and endocrine systems are becoming the new norm!

 

Your hormones – the body’s chemical messengers – are involved in every minute aspect of your physical and even mental & emotional health, and you need them in very specific amounts for your body to function efficiently.

 

When your hormones aren’t working optimally, then your body starts to show the signs. Hormonal imbalances may increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammation, and a multitude of other health problems.

 

“The healthy, hormonally balanced body continually manufactures all the hormones it needs to keep everything functioning.

 

It becomes unbalanced when subjected to inadequate supplies of nutrients, inordinate stress and toxic influences. Balance is the most central aspect in a woman’s health.”
~ Women in Balance Institute
{reference:

https://womeninbalance.org/seventh-woman/do-you-have-a-hormone-imbalance/ }

 

Everything is connected in the endocrine system so hormones always impact one another as well. This means if your body is producing high levels of certain hormones like cortisol (the hormone of stress), then levels of other hormones will likely fluctuate in response – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormones (T4 and T3), for example.

 

Signs of common hormonal imbalances

 

When your body produces too much or too little of one or more hormones, the following signs and symptoms may start to appear:

  • Periods are irregular or absent
  • Infertility & miscarriage
  • Sleep issues and insomnia
  • Memory or brain fog
  • Fatigued or have consistently low energy
  • Digestive issues
  • Mood swings, irritable, anxious or depressed
  • Gaining weight or weight loss resistant
  • Lack of sex drive/no libido
  • Night sweats and hot flashes
  • Food cravings and constant hunger
  • Skin & hair changes including: Acne, dry skin, thinning hair and/or hair growing in unexpected places – like your face!

 

Why your nutrition matters when it comes to hormones, especially when they’re unbalanced!

 

The building blocks that your body needs to produce hormones, not to mention properly fuel your body, must be obtained from your diet.

 

For example, many hormones used for reproduction (sex hormones) are derived from cholesterol – yes, cholesterol! Which comes from foods like whole-fat dairy, eggs, butter, and meat. While these may all be animal products – quality does matter.

 

If you’re experiencing chronic stress or your diet doesn’t supply enough “raw materials” to make all of the necessary hormones, your body will prioritise stress hormone production (particularly Cortisol) because these hormones are essential for survival, whereas sex hormones aren’t considered necessary to sustain life.

 

Eating nutritious foods, exercising daily, and engaging in an otherwise healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward supporting and improving your hormonal health.

 

Seven (7) diet & lifestyle tips you should adopt for better hormone balance:

  1. Eat adequate high quality protein – with every meal; eat 3 meals per day (plus up to 2 snacks)
  2. Reduce inflammatory foods, including sugar & refined carbs, sugary drinks, gluten, hydrogenated oils & trans fats
  3. Consume healthy fats, including fatty fish, whole eggs, olive oil, coconut oil & avocados
  4. Eat a high fibre with natural plant fibres but consume whole grains in moderation
  5. Consume probiotic foods such as fermented yogurt, kefir & sauerkraut as well as prebiotic foods like bananas, artichokes & chicory root
  6. Drink adequate water and limit alcohol & caffeine
  7. Supplement with Vitamin D, especially in the darker winter months

 

Everyone is different, and what works for some people does not work for everyone. Just start with the basics of eating for hormonal support and balance to see if you feel any positive changes.

 

It’s also important to have your hormone levels checked with a doctor before you make any radical changes to your diet or lifestyle.

 

REFERENCES

 

 

https://womeninbalance.org/seventh-woman/do-you-have-a-hormone-imbalance/

 

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/balance-hormones

 

https://www.healthline.com/health/definitive-guide-to-food-for-hormones

 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-best-foods-for-hormone-balance

 

https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/signs-hormonal-imbalance

Can I Still Lose Weight If I Don’t Want To Give Up Alcohol?

Date:  29th July 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

It’s no lie that alcohol and weight loss goals generally don’t mix, and if we’re being honest, there really are many reasons to reduce or even give up alcohol from our diets and social habits.

 

On the other hand, having a glass of wine, or whatever your drink of choice may be, is also a cherished pastime, a conduit for connecting with friends and is infused into most of our social gatherings.

 

How alcohol influences metabolism

 

But, word on the street is that alcohol messes with your metabolism – big time! There’s a reason why they call is a “beer belly”. While that’s true to some extent we shouldn’t freak out about it just yet.

 

 

Here’s how the metabolic process basically goes when you’ve had a drink:

 

When alcohol is consumed it is absorbed into the blood from the stomach and intestines, then two main enzymes in the liver begin to metabolise it.

 

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) go to work in breaking apart the alcohol molecule so that it can eventually be eliminated from the body, as it cannot be stored.

 

Because of this, it becomes a priority for your metabolism.

 

In other words, it moves to the front of the metabolic line when it’s consumed, even if you’ve consumed food (that contain nutrients like fats, proteins and other carbs) along with it. In turn, that slows the breakdown of fats (lipolysis), and the digestion of any other nutrients.

 

The good news is that postponing those digestive processes doesn’t necessarily equal imminent weight gain. It’s just that the biochemical pathways don’t work as efficiently with alcohol on board.

 

Factors affecting the rate of alcohol metabolism – and how tipsy you get!

 

But, the fact is that no matter how much alcohol a person consumes, the body can only metabolise a certain amount of alcohol every hour.

 

There are certain factors that can determine what an individual’s absorption rate is – and how quickly they’re going to feel the effects.

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender – women tend to have a lowered tolerance for alcohol/absorb alcohol faster due to the fact that they have less of the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH)
  • Exercise
  • Drugs – recreational and some prescription
  • Alcoholism – family or personal history/genetics
  • Consumption of food & drink
  • Food consumed at time of or around time of alcohol consumption
  • Type of drink consumed and congeners or “irritant properties” in it, e.g. low quality alcohol has a high percentage of congeners that increase absorption of alcohol and chances of getting a hangover
  • Concentration of alcohol consumed
  • Rate of consumption

Is it actually possible to lose weight while including wine/alcohol in my diet?

 

So while it’s somewhat of a relief that alcohol itself isn’t the entire problem, it’s the high calorie count, especially when combined with sugary mixers and a tendency to overeat when imbibing that usually keeps us in the resistant weight loss zone.

 

But, there is hope as it IS possible to get ahead in your weight loss goals, even if you choose not to give up your wine!

 

Here are a few tips for making it happen… and you’ve heard it a million times, but MODERATION really is key when it comes to alcohol consumption.

 

Six (6) diet tips when you plan to consume wine/alcohol

  1. Be sure to get in a good workout the day you plan to indulge.
  2. Don’t skip meals in an attempt to “save up” those calories for drinking – and the extra eating that usually goes along with the drinking.
  3. Determine how much you already consume – is it 2 glasses of wine per night? Start by cutting it down to one, then only have one every other day. And whatever you do, don’t stockpile your drinks all week and have a big binge day on the weekend!
  4. Drink no more than ONE glass per hour.
  5. Have a full glass of water (or two) in between each drink.
  6. Swap out sugary mixers, syrups, sweet wines, heavy beer, and pre-bottled hard alcohol drinks for lower calorie options.

The best alcohols to drink when you’re trying to lose weight

 

If your goal is weight loss, the best drink to enjoy will be a lower calorie, lower sugar, and lower carb one that will have a more minimal impact on your overall daily nutrition – and your bottom line!

  • A shot of 80% proof spirit: 97 calories
  • 125ml glass of white wine: 100-121 calories
  • 330ml bottle of light beer: 55-103 calories (big range)
  • 125ml glass of red wine: 105-125 calories
  • 330ml bottle of regular beer: 153-320 calories (very big range!)

 

For wine lovers: the best wine for weight loss is dry wine like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Merlot or a very dry sparkling white wine. Sweet wines have significantly higher calorie and sugar or carb counts.

 

You can see just by shaving off a couple of drinks per week how the reduction in calories (and alcohol + sugar) could really add up… in the right direction!

 

Indulging in a few alcoholic drinks when you’re out with friends can help you appreciate the occasion more than when you’re just mindlessly drinking wine on the sofa on a Tuesday night! (Not pointing any fingers!)

 

REFERENCES

 

 

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Alcohol Metabolism – An Update

 

Clinical Liver Disease Journal (Nov 2013): Alcohol Metabolism

 

Health Psychology Journal (May 2016): Alcohol’s acute effect on food intake is mediated by inhibitory control impairments

 

NYTimes.com (March 2017): Do We Need To Give Up Alcohol To Lose Weight? Not Necessarily.

 

Nutrition Action (December 2017): Which Alcohol Packs the Most and Least Calories

 

Healthline: How Does Alcohol Affect Weight Loss?

 

Scientific American: Enzyme Lack Lowers Women’s Tolerance for Alcohol

What Are The Healthiest Oils & Fats To Cook With?

Date:  13th June 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

If you haven’t heard by now, fat is your friend!

 

Dietary fat provides energy, supports cell maintenance, enhances nutrient absorption, and is essential for producing some hormones.

 

Dietary fat used to have a bad reputation and was blamed for increasing rates of obesity and heart disease. Now, thanks to science and the increasing popularity of fat-containing diets, like Paleo and Keto, we know fat is an essential nutrient and a critical component of a healthy diet.

 

However, not all fats are created equal. Some fats come with extra health benefits and some can be harmful to your health and should be avoided all together.

 

One of the best ways to include healthy fats in your diet is using high quality cooking oils. When it comes to cooking, the type of cooking and amount of heat matter when selecting which oil to cook with.

 

In general, oils that are highly processed should be avoided. These include vegetable oil blends, like canola, soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils.

 

These oils undergo chemical and high heat processes during production, which often turns the oils rancid – aka full of oxidation, trans fat, and other inflammatory byproducts that aren’t best for your body.

 

Oils that have a low smoke point or contain a high percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, like walnut and flaxseed oil, shouldn’t be used for cooking. That’s because heat damages the flavour and nutrition profile of these oils and causes the formation of unhealthy free radicals.

 

There are a few tried and true oils that lend flavour and nutrition no matter what cooking method you’re using.

 

Here are the 4 healthiest oils/fats to cook with:

 

OLIVE OIL

 

The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil are linked to reduced inflammation, decreased risk of heart disease, improved triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and many of the other health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet.

 

Olive oil is best for low-heat cooking, such as a quick sauté or baking at 170 degrees C and below. It has a low smoke point, which means high temperatures will cause olive oil to degrade, so it shouldn’t be used in high heat roasting or frying.

 

Extra virgin olive oil can also be used to “finish” a dish – drizzle on top of salads, soups, pastas, and vegetables.

 

 

AVOCADO OIL

 

Rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, avocado oil may also help improve cholesterol levels.

 

Unlike olive oil, avocado oil has a high smoke point and can be used for frying and roasting. It has a mild flavour that makes it a good choice for us in baked goods as well.

 

COCONUT OIL

 

Coconut oil is a solid at room temperature and liquid oil when heated. It has a medium smoke point, making it another good choice for everything from sautés to baking. Coconut oil is a great vegan alternative to butter in baked goods.

 

There’s some disagreement over the health benefits of coconut oil since it’s high in saturated fat, with 12 grams per tablespoon.

 

High intakes of saturated fat are linked to increased risk of heart disease, but some studies show the medium-chain fatty acid found in coconut oil are not metabolised or stored the same way as saturated fat from animal products.

 

We do need some saturated fat in our diets, but too much can be harmful.

 

The bottom line? Like most things, coconut oil is fine for most people in moderation.

 

One word of caution – virgin coconut oil will lend a coconut aroma and flavour to whatever you cook in it. Choose refined coconut oil if you’re not a fan of coconut flavour.

 

GRASS-FED BUTTER OR GHEE

 

Yes, it has saturated fat. And, just like with coconut oil, moderation is key. So is quality.

 

Choose grass-fed butter and ghee (clarified butter) products for an extra dose of omega-3 fats.

 

Butter is best used for lower heat cooking and baking. Ghee can be used for higher heat cooking, since the milk solids that are prone to browning and burning have been removed.

 

Using a variety of oils and fats in your cooking will help you receive the nutritional, flavour, and cooking benefits each has to offer.

 

REFERENCES

 

Healthline: Healthy Cooking Oils — The Ultimate Guide

 

Time Magazine (online): The 10 Best and Worst Oils for Your Health

Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-Based Diets – What’s the Difference?

Date:  6th June 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

The popularity of cooking reality shows in recent years has brought about more discussions than ever before about the topic of food. Food as nourishment, fuel and sustenance. Food simply for eating and taste enjoyment. Even food as art!

 

But, included in these discussions are various thoughts and ideas about what food people should and should not be consuming – and numerous reasons as to why.

 

And it’s not just about what food people enjoy eating, but which foods are healthy and unhealthy, and which foods are considered by some to be acceptable and unacceptable to eat.

 

These days, there seems to be so many factors involved in deciding what people should eat. Some people base their decisions on health reasons, while some factor in religion, ethics (such as animal rights), and even politics into their decisions.

 

This has resulted in numerous types of diets and lifestyles being developed, and the varied terminology being used can certainly be confusing. Some of the information clouding our minds are the differences between Vegetarian, Vegan, and Plant-based diets.

 

So what are the differences between these diets?

 

Well, let’s jump right in and get the FAQs on these 3 similar, yet different eating lifestyles!

 

VEGETARIAN

 

Vegetarians consume plant-based foods but generally eliminate meat, poultry, fish, and shellfish from their meals. However, many vegetarians also consume eggs, dairy products (e.g. milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), and honey.

 

There are several different types of Vegetarian diets including:

  • Fruitarian – yep, just fruit!
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian
  • Lacto-vegetarian
  • Ovo-vegetarian
  • Pesco-vegetarian
  • Vegan

VEGAN

 

Veganism is the strictest of the vegetarian diets. Vegans only consume food from plant sources, such as vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, seeds, and nuts. They do not eat food that is animal-derived, which means no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey.

 

In addition, vegans generally don’t use or own products that contain anything made from an animal (e.g. leather, silk, wool, gelatin, beeswax) – this includes clothing, shoes, personal care products (e.g. shampoo, make-up), furniture, and even cars that have leather interiors.

 

PLANT-BASED

 

People living a plant-based diet or lifestyle focus on fresh produce – as in, they only consume whole plant foods. This includes unprocessed or minimally processed vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds.

 

There are generally no restrictions in regards to buying leather and other goods made from animal products.

 

Still a little confused?

 

Here is an example: French fries are vegetarian/vegan but are not considered to be plant-based because french fries don’t resemble the original plant form of the potato.

 

All of these forms of eating tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. However, many believe that these diets lack protein, calcium, and other nutrients necessary for a truly healthy and balanced lifestyle.

 

Therefore, if you are following any of these diets, you might want to consider taking high quality food-based supplements to compensate for the nutrients you may be missing in your diet.

 

If you’re thinking about adopting any of these lifestyles, or any type of diet that involves eliminating entire food groups, perhaps consider your reasons for switching – and ask yourself a these questions:

 

Is this change realistic and doable for me on a long-term basis? Is it a good fit for me health-wise? Do I have the support of key people in my life?

 

Because this would be such a major lifestyle change, consider starting off slowly and develop a plan that works for you long term.

 

 

Here is a quick, simple, and tasty vegan recipe for you to enjoy while you’re pondering switching up your diet!

 

RECIPE

 

Vegan ‘Shroomzas

 

Ingredients:

 

4 portobello mushroom caps

1 small can crushed tomatoes (no salt added)

Vegan mozzarella (or use goat mozzarella if you are lacto-vegetarian)

Your choice of toppings: olives, red onion, pineapple, peppers, chili flakes, spinach – note the high water content in some vegetable toppings that may make your pizza more “juicy”)

1 tsp Italian seasoning (mixed herbs)

½ tsp garlic powder

Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Optional: 1-2 Tbs nutritional yeast

 

Preparation:

 

Turn on the grill.

 

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, then clean and lightly pat dry. It’s important to remove the excess moisture!

 

Brush a small amount of oil on the mushroom cap, and place cap-down on a non-stick baking sheet. You can place a piece of parchment paper down on the baking sheet first as well.

 

Spoon some of the crushed tomatoes on each mushroom, then sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic powder evenly on each.

 

Place your desired toppings over the layer of crushed tomato sauce.

 

Sprinkle cheese evenly on each, followed by nutritional yeast, if using – this gives an extra cheese-like flavour as well as a healthy dose of vitamin B12!

 

Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown. Be sure to keep an eye on your Shroomzas to prevent burning.

 

Take out of oven and let sit 5 minutes before cutting and enjoying! (you may also need to soak up some residual liquid from baking with a paper towel before putting on a serving plate)

 

Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) 101

Date:  22nd May 2019         Category:  Health,

Most people diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, or psoriasis, are familiar with flare-ups – episodes where symptoms of their condition suddenly become more severe and/or resurface after a period of remission.

 

These flare-ups are often frustrating and uncomfortable for those living with these conditions.

 

Many autoimmune diseases have been linked to leaky gut syndrome – a compromised environment in the small intestine due to increased intestinal permeability and/or an imbalance in gut bacteria.

 

“Holes” in the gut are thought to let food particles pass through into the rest of your body, where they trigger inflammation and activate an immune response.

 

Autoimmune Diseases: rooted in inflammation

 

The basis of autoimmune diseases is inflammation – in the gut and throughout the body. One of the most common ways to manage symptoms, flare-ups, and inflammation related to autoimmune disease is through DIET.

 

Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help decrease fatigue, pain, and brain fog associated with inflammation, promote longer periods of remission, and help decrease inflammation and “leaks” in the gut.

 

Decreasing inflammation and repairing a leaky gut are thought to help calm the immune system and decrease flare-ups in the long run.

 

An anti-inflammatory type diet (like the Autoimmune Protocol) is key to managing Autoimmune Diseases

 

The Autoimmune Protocol – or AIP is similar to the meat & veggie-focused Paleo Diet, but it’s more strict in the foods that are allowed vs. avoided.

 

The following foods are thought to be anti-inflammatory and make up the bulk of the AIP diet:

 

  • Meat
  • Vegetables – minus nightshade varieties
  • Healthy fats – avocado, coconut, olive oil
  • Gelatin/collagen (bone broth or supplements)
  • Non-dairy fermented foods – sauerkraut and kombucha
  • Some herbs, spices, and vinegar
  • Herbal teas

 

FYI – The difference between AIP and Paleo is the latter allows eggs, nuts, seeds, and nightshade veggies. Both focus on increasing intake of Omega-3 fats and nutrient-dense vegetables.

 

[Suggestion: expand on the differences between the wildly popular Paleo Diet and the AIP]

 

Sugar tolerance is individual on the AIP diet. Some people find they even have to completely even fruit and natural sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, while small quantities may be tolerated by some.

 

The following foods tend to increase inflammation in the body and should be avoided on the AIP diet:

 

  • Grains
  • Legumes & beans
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods
  • Eggs
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Nightshade vegetables – peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes
  • Vegetable oils
  • Coffee & alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Artificial sweeteners

How long do you need to be on the Autoimmune Protocol?

 

The AIP diet can be used short-term to promote gut healing as well as to learn which foods you may be reactive to. The diet can also be followed long-term as part of an overall anti- inflammatory lifestyle.

 

Some people are able to have a little wiggle room with the AIP diet as their body heals. Some eliminated foods may be reintroduced and better tolerated once the gut heals.

 

Let’s preface all of that with this…the AIP diet is not for everyone.

 

It’s best for people who suspect certain foods trigger their particular autoimmune condition. Some people find reducing inflammation through other lifestyle factors, like getting adequate quality sleep, stress relief, and avoiding alcohol & NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen), are enough to manage their autoimmune condition without eliminating foods – but I think it’s certainly worth a try!

 

Speaking of…how about trying a new recipe that’s also AIP-approved? These Turkey-Kale Meatballs are so tasty, you won’t be missing out on any of those inflammation-causing ingredients!

 

RECIPE

 

Turkey & Kale Meatballs

 

Ingredients

 

450g ground turkey

100g of kale, stems removed, chopped small

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp avocado oil

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, raw & unfiltered

pinch of sea salt

 

Preparation

 

Preheat oven to 180C.

 

With clean hands, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Shape mixture into 2-inch meatballs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

 

Bake meatballs 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

 

 

REFERENCES

 

Healthline: What Is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet?

 

Dr. Axe: AIP Diet: Benefits of the Autoimmune Protocol

 

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 2014: Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis

10 Anti-aging Hacks That Don’t Cost a Thing!

Date:  22nd April 2019         Category:  Health,

SENESCENCE or biological ageing is the gradual deterioration of functional characteristics. The word senescence can refer either to cellular ageing or to deterioration of the whole organism. (Eek, deterioration!)

 

FACT: we all get older every single day and each person’s ageing process will look different.

 

But, despite Wikipedia’s definition of “biological ageing”, don’t you think it’s about time that we should embrace it, rather than fearing it, and spending lots of money trying to turn back the hands of time?

 

[underlined text suggested link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senescence ]

 

That said, if you’re motivated to live a full and healthy life as you age, then you might have to make some adjustments to your personal ageing process, so you can spend more quality time doing the things you love.

 

Here are 10 simple anti-ageing “hacks” you can start trying to give yourself an edge over senescence!

 

Try as many of them as you can on a daily basis – and some of them, you might just NEED to do no matter what – like number 8!

 

Try these 10 Anti-ageing Health Hacks…for free

 

 

1. Drink more water and stay hydrated

 

Increasing water intake and being adequately hydrated is a no-brainer for both inner and outer beauty – from your cells to your skin! This includes consuming foods that have a naturally high water content.

Did you know? Each bite of watermelon contains 92% water!

 

2. Eat more whole, nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, minerals & Omega 3’s

 

Fruits and veggies like cucumber, watermelon, tomato, avocados, ginger, berries (especially blueberries), pomegranate, dark green leafy veggies, garlic and Omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods like cold water fatty fish, walnuts and hemp seeds.

 

3. Drink less alcohol – or none at all 🙂


‘Enough said.

 

4. Move your body, and break a sweat daily.

 

Did you know? Regular exercise has quite a potent anti-ageing effect – and best of all, to help slow down the ageing process, it doesn’t matter how much you exercise or what type you choose – just so long as you move your body regularly!

On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle speeds up the ageing process and makes you more susceptible to age-related health issues down the road.

 

5. Rest more, and get adequate restorative sleep.

 

 

Lack of sleep can really take a toll on your entire body. We’re not just talking dark circles either – although those are still a good reason to catch enough zzz’s!

Shut the laptop (and other devices) and get into bed, preferably by 10pm every night.

 

6. Manage your stress.

 

Too much stress can have significant negative effects on your body, and grossly accelerate the ageing process. Be sure to find more ways to manage your stress on a daily basis so it doesn’t take over!

 

7. Avoid excessive sun exposure

 

A little natural sun exposure each day is fine (hellooo Vitamin D!), but excessive exposure is detrimental and undoubtedly ages the skin.

 

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308083938.htm ]

 

Did you know? Vitamin D plays a critical role in several biological processes – skin health included, promoting a youthful skin appearance. Higher Vitamin D levels are associated with healthy ageing.

 

8. Do NOT smoke. Ever.

 

‘Enough said about that too.

 

And here’s two you probably weren’t expecting to be on the list…

 

 

9. Laugh more.

 

Laughter truly IS the best medicine.

 

10. Get outside and take in nature.

 

The outdoors and being in natural surroundings can be their own kind of therapy and should be part of any healthy anti-ageing routine.

 

 

Obviously there’s nothing that completely halts senescence or the biological ageing process, but these simple anti-ageing hacks may help you slow it down – even if it’s just a little bit.

 

More importantly, they may help you look and feel better RIGHT NOW, while promoting an overall healthier, and more energetic lifestyle!

 

RECIPE

 

 

Anti-ageing Superfood Slaw

 

Makes about 4 side portions.

 

Ingredients

 

1 watermelon, flesh cubed

1 cup jicama, cubed (no skin)

½ cucumber, washed and chopped (with skin)

2-3 Tbsp hemp seeds/hearts

2-3 Tbsp goat feta, crumbled (if you can tolerate dairy)

2 Tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (basil, mint, cilantro or oregano)

1 Tbsp walnut or hemp oil

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Preparation

 

Assemble all fruits, veggies, seeds and herbs in a medium bowl, and gently toss.

 

Add goat cheese, if using. Gently toss again.

 

Drizzle oil, add salt & pepper (if using), and gently toss one more time, being careful not to bruise fruit.

 

Salad does not keep well – best served and enjoyed immediately.

 

REFERENCES

 

Wikipedia definition: senescence

 

Science Daily: How Much Sun is Good For Our Health?

 

Dermato Endocrinology: Discovering the link between nutrition and skin health

Can Lack of Sleep Cause Weight Gain? (Is my sleep messing with my weight?!)

Date:  18th April 2019         Category:  Health,

Are you stuck trying to figure out why you’re gaining weight — or why it’s so difficult to lose those extra pounds that just seemed to sneak up on you despite not changing your diet or exercise habits?

 

This is often referred to as Weight Loss Resistance – and it’s exactly how it sounds: weight that just won’t budge no matter what you do!

 

Here’s one surprising reason why you might be gaining weight or experiencing weight loss resistance: lack of good quality, restorative sleep.

 

In fact, there are actually science-backed reasons why a lack of sleep can be a strong contributing factor to not being able to maintaining a healthy weight.

 

Why Lack of Sleep Causes Weight Gain

 

If you thought unsightly dark circles under the eyes were the worst outcome from cutting corners on sleep, you may want to think again.

 

Sleep is of the utmost importance to nearly every bodily system and losing out on it, even just a little, creates a vicious cycle in your body.

 

For example, where a healthy body weight may be of concern, the more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of stress hormone (cortisol) will be, which tends to increase your appetite.

 

Then, once the appetite is increased, a lack of sleep also thwarts your body’s natural ability to process sugar and carbohydrates – which of course is what you’re craving after a crappy night’s sleep!

 

Additionally, when you’re overtired, the mitochondria (little cellular factories that turn food and oxygen into energy = metabolism centers) actually start to shut down. This causes glucose to stay in your blood, and you end up with high blood sugar levels.

 

[underlined text suggested link: https://experiencelife.com/article/functional-wellness-part-6-energy-mitochondria-and-toxicity/ ]

 

Insulin is a hormone whose job it is to signal the body’s muscle, fat, and liver cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream to be used for energy. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that skimping on sleep can cause fat cells to become less insulin-sensitive by up to 30% – meaning they lose their ability to use insulin properly.

 

[underlined text suggested link: http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1379773/impaired-insulin-signaling-human-adipocytes-after-experimental-sleep-restriction-randomized ]

 

Yet another reason you might pack on pounds when you’re lacking in sleep is because your body goes into survival mode – much like when we deprive our bodies of too little energy & calories. Therefore, survival mode = extra fat storage. (The body thinks it’s better to be fat than dead!)

 

And all of that isn’t even the worst of it!

 

Research says that just 30 minutes of lost sleep per day could make you more likely to gain.

 

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/tes-l3m030515.php ]

 

Sleep could arguably be the most important thing a person can do if they’re ready to start a new health optimisation plan – and the first step is to make sleep a priority.

 

Sleeping isn’t just a time to rest — you’re actually nourishing your body just as you are when you’re eating healthy foods. It may require some behavioural and mindset shifts on your part, but your body (and booty) will thank you.

 

Why not try a cup of warm, comforting tea right before bed – every little bit helps, right?

 

Here’s an easy DIY Sleepy time Herbal Tea Blend recipe you can make in batches.

RECIPE

 

DIY Sleepy time Herbal Tea Blend

 

Ingredients

 

3 parts dried chamomile

2 parts each: dried peppermint and dried lemon balm

1 part each: dried lavender and dried passionflower

1/4 part valerian root (it is important to only add this much valerian root)

Fresh, filtered water

 

Preparation

 

While heating water in kettle, lightly mix herbs together in a bowl.

 

Place up to 1 Tb of herbal tea mixture into a tea infuser ball.

 

Place infuser into your fave mug, and fill it with hot, but not boiled water.

 

Let your tea steep for up to 5 minutes (but at least 2 mins) before removing the infuser ball.

 

Save any extra dry tea blend in an airtight container, and store it in a cool, dark, dry place. Will keep fresh for several weeks.

 

Enjoy your cup of warm DIY Sleepytime Tea, and get more quality zzz’s!

 

REFERENCES

 

Eureka Alert: Losing 30 Minutes of Sleep Per Day May Promote Weight Gain

Apple Cider Vinegar – Healthy or Hyped?

Date:  2nd April 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

Apple cider vinegar (ACV for short) is basically made from apples, sugar & yeast and is put through a double fermentation process, and it has also become very popular among natural health enthusiasts.

 

Many supporters claim that consuming just a small amount of ACV can result in all sorts of health optimising wonders:

  • Reducing the appearance of acne
  • Weight loss
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Decrease in symptoms of Diabetes

Some have even gone so far as to claim that Apple Cider Vinegar can kill cancer cells.

 

But have any of these miracle claims been proven by science?

 

Can these health issues really be alleviated just by consuming ACV?

 

Let’s find out more about whether Apple Cider Vinegar is really a miracle health tonic

 

Here is what has been purported about ACV:

  • WEIGHT LOSS: Some studies performed on humans have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar can increase satiety (the feeling of fullness), and when you feel full, you are less inclined to eat more food, thereby decreasing your calorie intake and losing pounds.

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar%23section1#section4 ]

Of course, living a lifestyle of healthy eating and exercising daily can also contribute to a healthy weight 😉

 

  • LOWER CHOLESTEROL: Cholesterol is one of many numerous risk factors related to heart disease.Some studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar can lower these risk factors, including cholesterol levels. Note that these studies were performed on animals and not humans.

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar%23section1#section5 ]

 

  • REDUCE BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS: Apple cider vinegar has been known to help those with (and without) diabetes who want to keep their blood sugars low.Improved insulin sensitivity, decreased blood sugar levels, and reduced fasting blood sugar levels are just some of the benefits associated with apple cider vinegar – which could effectively decrease symptoms for those living with Diabetes.

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar%23section1#section3 ]

  • PROTECT AGAINST CANCER: Even though various studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can kill cancer cells and reduce the size of tumors, these studies were mostly done in a laboratory setting.

[underlined text suggested link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-proven-health-benefits-of-apple-cider-vinegar%23section1#section6 ]

 

More research involving humans needs to be performed before recommending apple cider vinegar to help protect against cancer.

 

Is apple cider vinegar safe to consume, and how much should you use?

 

If you decide you want to experiment with apple cider vinegar, the commonly recommended dosage is 1-2 teaspoons per day, but up to 2 Tbs spread throughout the day.

 

It is also recommended to use raw, unfiltered ACV with the “mother” still intact.

 

However, be aware that too much apple cider vinegar can lead to unpleasant side effects, some even harmful, including the following:

  • Delayed stomach emptying (gastroparesis): This is a common condition for people with type 1 diabetes – food stays in the stomach too long, which can result in heartburn, bloating, and nausea.
  • Unpleasant digestive effects including indigestion and throat “burns”.
  • Drug interactions. Be sure to check with your pharmacist and/or doctor to make sure any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications you are taking, including medications for lowering blood sugar, do not interact with apple cider vinegar.

 

While ACV does not contain any chemicals or other ingredients that some feel are unsafe or unhealthy, it is not recommended that apple cider vinegar be consumed straight up, as the acid could cause damage to your teeth if there is direct contact with your teeth enamel.

 

Therefore, consider mixing apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drinking it through a straw (reusable, of course!), or use it diluted in a recipe.

 

Also, consider rinsing your mouth with water and waiting at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after drinking it to prevent damage to your tooth enamel.

 

RECIPE

 

Here is a quick, simple, and tasty recipe for an apple cider vinegar beverage.

 

ACV Sparkler

 

500ml sparkling mineral or spring water

4 Tbs apple cider vinegar, raw & unfiltered

¼ – 1 tsp pure honey

Optional: Ice cubes or a few pieces of frozen fruit, like berries

 

Place all of the ingredients in a glass. Mix until the honey is dissolved. Add ice cubes or frozen fruit for chill and flavour, if desired.

 

REFERENCES

 

HEALTHLINE: 6 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar, Backed By Science

HEALTHLINE: 7 Side Effects of Too Much Apple Cider Vinegar

Bone Broth – All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Date:  23rd March 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

Remember when Grandma would always have a big pot of broth or stock simmering, filling the kitchen with the enchanting aroma of chicken soup?

 

Well, move over dehydrating, overstimulating afternoon coffee – because there’s a new “addiction” in town!

 

Not only does a cup of hot broth provide good “warmth factor”, but when prepared through simple old school, traditional cooking, you’ll not only be amply hydrated, but well nourished with many valuable minerals and a hefty dose of high quality protein – thanks to its rich amino acid profile.

 

You can see why it’s now become a staple in both the Paleo- and Keto-type diet regimes.

 

Here are 8 more benefits of drinking this mineral-rich health elixir…

 

→ Good for gut health – the key components, like protein-rich gelatin (i.e. “cooked collagen”) and Glutamine (an important amino acid), help to heal and protect the lining of the digestive tract. A healthy, well protected mucosal lining aids in the body’s absorption of key nutrients.

 

→ Boosts immunity – It’s not widely known that much of our immune system is intimately linked to the health of our gut. If the gut is healthy, we would naturally have a stronger immune system.

 

But, did you know that chicken soup also has a boosting effect on white blood cells (our infection-fighters), and it stimulates antioxidant activity in the body, namely the action of glutathione, considered a “master antioxidant”. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11035691/]

 

→ Better joint health, increased bone density, and healthier hair, skin AND nails?!

 

The Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulphate in broth can stimulate new collagen growth to help repair damaged joints. Plus, an abundance of the pro-cartilage amino acids Glycine and Proline have an anti-inflammatory effect — good news for arthritis sufferers.

 

(Did you know that collagen makes up HALF of the protein in our bodies?!)

 

Also, minerals like Calcium, Magnesium & Phosphorus that are leached out of the animal bones are readily absorbed by the body (= increased bioavailability) and are critical to bone growth & repair.

 

Additionally, bone broth offers plenty of Hyaluronic Acid, and gelatin (aka “cooked collagen”) – both are key players in promoting less wrinkled skin, shiny hair and strong nails.

 

→ Promotes relaxation & sleep – try a cup of broth before bed as both Magnesium & Glycine can have a very calming effect, promoting muscle relaxation and deeper, more restorative sleep. (= calm + rejuvenation + zzzzzz)

 

→ More affordable whole food supplement – rather than taking handfuls of expensive supplements & protein powders, why not try a daily cuppa broth instead?

 

It’s certainly the most affordable way to “bulletproof” your day!

 

So, bone broth…is it all it’s cracked up to be?

 

I think this is one healthy food trend that it’s safe to take a crack at and reap the benefits! Here’s how to make your own broth at home – and it’s probably so much easier than you think too!

 

By the way, when it comes to natural gut healing ability, as well as all the other benefits we’ve mentioned, store-bought tetrapak broths are not made the same way, and do not contain the same nutrients.

 

They do, on the other hand, often contain loads of salt, fillers and MSG (usually labeled as yeast extract), but that’s a topic for another post 😉

 

RECIPE:

 

HOMEMADE BONE BROTH

 

In a big stock pot, add water to just cover bones — use pastured (grass-fed) animal bones, preferably organic if possible.

 

Then add in any of the following fresh veggies, organic when possible:

 

– whole onions


– entire heads of garlic

 

– huge handful of parsley

 

– big chunks of celery & carrots (washed, but unpeeled)

 

– dried seaweed

 

– seasonings such as sea salt, bay leaves & peppercorns

 

Add a big splash of unpasteurised apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) to help break down and leach out all the minerals from the bones.

 

Then simmer the broth on low for up to 24 hours – some people do it for up to 48 hours.

 

Throughout the cooking process, skim off any foam and add water as needed to top up.

 

When the stock is finished simmering, filter through a fine sieve and bottle in glass mason jars (or other non-plastic/heat-safe vessels). Cool before screwing top on and putting in fridge.

 

The broth will keep in the fridge for about a week and up to a month in the freezer – and should set just like gelatin, and the fat should rise to the top. Scrape off the fat and set aside for cooking, then scoop out the gelled broth and reheat to serve as soup.

 

REFERENCES:

http://bonedbroth.com/top-10-benefits-of-bone-broth-especially-for-women/

https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/drink-bone-broth/

https://draxe.com/the-healing-power-of-bone-broth-for-digestion-arthritis-and-cellulite/

https://www.truthnutra.com/blogs/news/amino-acid-profile-in-bone-broth

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11035691/

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