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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)

 

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/

Emotional Eating – What is it and how can I get a handle on it?

Date:  6th March 2019         Category:  Mindset, Nutrition,

Picture this: You hit the snooze button one too many times, had a last minute project thrown at you at work, and then sat in an hour of evening traffic.

 

Finally home, you breathe a sigh of relief, head into the kitchen, and decide you deserve a snack after the day you’ve had. Maybe you reach for a bag of crisps, then a bit of chocolate.

 

Before you know it, you’ve munched your way through the entire kitchen without eating a proper meal. You’re stuffed, ashamed, and wondering what just happened – WTF?!

 

Sound familiar?

 

It’s called emotional eating, and in a nutshell, it is eating for any other reason besides actual physical hunger, fuel or nourishment.

 

3 Trademarks of Emotional Eating

  • Binging – usually on high-sugar and carbohydrate-rich comfort foods (i.e. junk food). How many people do you know who reach for avocado and apples when they’re upset?
  • Mindlessly eating – you’re not aware of what or how much you’re eating or how those foods are making your body feel.
  • Eating to numb, soothe, please, relax, or reward yourself, i.e. “I had a bad day and deserve it” kind of thinking. Eating during these times provides temporary relief, but often leaves you feeling worse than where you started!

 

The trouble with emotional eating is it overrides your body’s natural hunger cycle and can promote things like:

  • weight gain
  • an increase in your risk for inflammation and chronic disease
  • create an unhealthy relationship between you and food
  • lead to more danger types of disordered eating

What Triggers Emotional Eating?

 

Even though it’s called “emotional eating” because people often reach for food to cope with their feelings, there are a lot of other non-hunger reasons that can prompt you to eat.

 

Some common non-hunger reasons include:

  • Uncomfortable emotions, like anger, guilt, fear, and sadness
  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Need to feel pleasure and/or comfort

Six (6) Tips to Help You Get a Handle on Emotional Eating…for good!

 

If any of those scenarios sound familiar, know that you’re not alone! Emotional eating affects a lot of people at one point or another.

 

Want to know what you can do to stop emotional eating in its tracks? Here are 6 great tips!

  1. Have a non-food outlet to process uncomfortable feelings

  • Try journaling, exercising, or talking to a trusted friend or counsellor
  1. Manage stress

  • Exercise, meditation, deep breathing, getting enough sleep, and not taking on more than you can realistically handle can help decrease stress levels.
  1. Recognise boredom

  • Call a friend, take a walk, pick up a book, or tackle a DIY project or hobby you’ll enjoy when you know boredom is likely to strike.
  1. Practice self-care

  • Pamper yourself with a bubble bath, manicure, or curl up with a good book – whatever makes you feel good!
  1. Practice mindful eating

  • Avoid distractions at meals. Your focus should be on the food in front of you.
  • Eat slowly, chew, and savour each bite. This helps give your body time to receive the signal from your brain when it’s full.
  • Stop eating when you feel full.
  1. Eat a balanced diet

  • The majority of your diet should be nutrient-dense whole foods.
  • Allow for occasional treats and indulgences so you don’t feel deprived.
  • Include protein, fibre, and healthy fat at each meal to promote satiety.

 

RECIPE:

 

These energy balls feel like an indulgent snack, but are made from whole food ingredients and contain a bit of protein, healthy fat, and fibre to keep you fuller longer.

 

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Energy Balls

 

Ingredients

 

125g cup natural almond butter (or other natural nut butter)

70g cup coconut flour

70g cup dark chocolate chips

75ml cup maple syrup

Pinch of sea salt

 

How to prepare

 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. If mixture is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time to help the mixture come together.
  2. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  3. Store energy balls in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Study: Current Diabetes Reports, 2018 — Causes of Emotional Eating and Matched Treatment of Obesity

 

Study: Journal of Health Psychology, 2015 — Boredom proneness and emotion regulation predict emotional eating

 

Healthline: Mindful Eating 101 – A Beginner’s Guide

Could Your Health Issues Actually Be Due To Nutrient Deficiencies?

Date:  21st January 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

Many health professionals generally advise that a healthful, balanced diet can provide most people with the nutrients essential for good health.

 

Fruit and vegetables naturally contain a number of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and other biologically active components – or phytochemicals.

 

In fact, it has been documented that consumption of at least 5 servings per day is linked with a reduced risk of various diseases, including several cancers and heart disease.

 

 

However, with the overall lack of nutrient bioavailability due to things like:

  • adequate fruit and vegetable servings
  • soil depletion
  • over-processing of food
  • treated water

It’s no wonder that many of us are indeed lacking in a number of key nutrients that we once came by very easily. We simply aren’t eating our Grandmother’s fruits & veggies anymore!

 

Do you have any of THESE health issues right now?

 

(You may be surprised to learn that there may be a connection to certain symptoms with actually having a nutritional deficiency!)

 

Got muscle twitches or leg cramps?

 

A nutrient that is commonly found in plant foods, but also commonly lacking in our diets due to all of the reasons for poor bioavailability, is magnesium.

 

This talented mineral is involved as a cofactor for a range of biochemical reactions in the body, is involved in the structural development of bone, and plays a role in nerve impulse conduction, maintaining a normal heart rhythm and muscle contraction.

 

(helloooo dark chocolate!!)

 

Hormonal issues causing chaos? Maybe your fats aren’t so good.

 

FYI, while hormonal imbalances are another topic entirely, here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia and poor sleep
  • Low libido
  • Infertility and irregular periods
  • Weight loss, weight gain or weight loss resistance
  • Digestive issues
  • Hair loss and hair thinning

 

Hormonal imbalances are complex, multi-faceted issues, meaning they are caused by a combination of factors such as your diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from your environment.

 

Again, another topic altogether, but one of the major contributors to hormonal imbalances includes your diet – and specifically a lack of fats. Good fats, that is!

 

Hormones are built on fat, and your body can only use the building blocks you give it.

 

Think wild-caught salmon, hemp seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and a special mention of GLA (gamma linoleic acid) found in evening primrose and borage oils — studies have shown that supplementing with GLA can support healthy progesterone levels.

 

How’s your nail health? Maybe not as good as you think! Here are some signs to watch for:

 

What’s considered ‘normal’ differs in everyone, but generally, fingernails should be clear, smooth, pliable and peachy-pink in colour.

 

White spots

 

Ever noticed white spots on your nails?

 

While this is most often due to mild trauma (like banging your nail against something hard), it can also indicate a zinc deficiency.

 

Horizontal lines, ridges and spoons

 

What about horizontal lines or ridges across your nails?

 

These are sometimes called Beau’s lines, and may be due to a zinc deficiency but could be indicative of low iron or anemia. Nails can be spoon-shaped at the tips with iron deficiency as well.

 

Dry, brittle and peeling

 

Dry, brittle, thin or peeling nails?

 

Could just be dry nails, but possibly also…

  • a lack of protein
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Deficiency in one or more B vitamins

No half moons?

 

Ever noticed the lighter-toned half-moons at the base of your fingernail? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed them because they’re absent all together!

 

This is usually due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and is also associated with anemia.

 

So, how do we get all the nutrients we need, and improve our health?

 

Even with striving to maintain a healthful, balanced diet, it’s apparent that many of us may not be getting all the nutrients we need for optimal health.

 

Things that contribute to acquiring nutrient deficiencies:

  • Lack of nutrient bioavailability
  • Poor dietary choices
  • Restricted diets
  • Food sensitivities & intolerances
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Poor nutrient absorption (through the small intestine)
  • Some medications
  • Age

 

As always, getting your full complement of nutrients is encouraged through whole food sources, but sometimes our diet just isn’t meeting all of our needs and this is where supplementation may be necessary.

 

 

RECIPE

 

For better nutrient bioavailability, there are certain food pairings that increase the uptake and absorption of one or more nutrients = synergistic effect.

 

For example, pairing sources of Vitamin C with sources of Iron to increase the uptake and absorption of the Iron.

 

My favourite way to do this is in a fresh, vibrant spinach salad with juicy strawberries!

 

Spinach-Strawberry Salad with Berry Vinaigrette

 

Ingredients

 

500g baby spinach leaves (organic preferable)

200g strawberries, fresh sliced (organic preferable)

½ red onion, thinly sliced

50g walnuts, chopped & toasted (or other fave nut or seed, lightly toasted)

 

Dairy option: crumbled goat cheese

 

Dressing – in a small bowl, whisk together the following:

 

½ avocado or virgin olive oil

75ml balsamic (or raspberry-infused wine vinegar for a lighter, less sweet option)

2 Tbsp honey

Pinch smoked paprika

Salt & pepper to taste

 

Salad preparation

 

In a large bowl, gently toss all salad ingredients.

 

Pour dressing over top and toss gently to just combine.

 

If using, sprinkle goat cheese over the top of salad or just on individual plates as it can get “mashed into” the salad very easily.

 

Spinach does not generally keep very long, and becomes wilted quickly. This salad is best served immediately.

 

REFERENCES

 

The Wellness Business Hub: Yes, We Do Have Nutrient Deficiencies!
CanPrev: Nutrient Deficiencies – Why Nearly Everyone Has Them
Scientific American: Have Fruits & Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?
Dr Axe: Balance Hormones Naturally

HFLC (High-Fat Low-Carb) vs. Ketogenic Diets – What’s The Difference?

Date:  7th January 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition, Uncategorised,

It may seem like everywhere you turn the ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is being hailed as a miracle diet for weight loss and increased energy levels.

 

Keto is the “it” diet of the moment, but before you decide to jump on the bandwagon yourself, let’s take a look at what this diet is all about.

 

Keto is an extremely low-carbohydrate diet that replaces carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein and large quantities of healthy fats. The keto diet was originally developed to help manage seizures in children – really!

 

Anyone can eat fewer carbs and more fat, but doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you’re following a true ketogenic diet. Keto is one example of a low-carb diet, but not all low-carb diets are ketogenic.

 

The truth is, there’s a lot of confusion around what constitutes an actual ketogenic diet vs. a high-fat low-carb (HFLC) diet.

 

Both diets begin with reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake. So, what’s the difference?

 

It all boils down to ketosis – a metabolic state where your body uses fat instead of glucose as its main source of energy.

 

Ketosis is the main goal of a ketogenic diet. Your body prefers glucose as fuel, so the slightest change in daily carbohydrates or protein (yep, the body can make glucose out of protein when there’s enough of it) can shift the body out of ketosis and back to running on glucose.

 

The exact breakdown of macronutrients needed to keep your body in ketosis varies from person to person because we each have unique metabolisms.

 

The only way to know whether you’re in ketosis is to monitor your body’s ketone levels (via urine or blood testing strips). If you’re trying keto but not tracking your macronutrient intake and ketone levels, you’re probably following more of a HFLC diet.

 

A HFLC diet is less strict and focuses more on eliminating unhealthy carbohydrate sources, like refined grains and sugary foods, and including more whole foods, including healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, some whole grains and fruit, and vegetables.

 

Here’s a run-down of the main differences between ketogenic and HFLC diets:

  • Ketogenic

    • Main goal – induce ketosis
    • Primary fuel source is fatty acids and ketone bodies from fat
    • Requires strict breakdown of macronutrients to maintain ketosis
    • Very little carbohydrate – usually 5-10% of total calorie needs
    • Moderate amounts of protein – about 20% of total calorie needs and NOT a free for all!
    • Lots of healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, olives, coconut, oils, and grass-fed butter and meats) – about 70% of total calorie needs
  • HFLC – high-fat low-carb

    • Main goal – reduce carbohydrate intake, but not necessarily induce ketosis
    • Primary fuel source is usually glucose from carbs and/or protein
    • No precise breakdown of macronutrients – less strict and many variations
    • Typically includes moderate amounts of carbohydrates and protein
    • Carbohydrate sources shift from refined and starchy, like pasta and sweets, to complex, like sweet potatoes

 

Whether you choose to follow a HFLC diet or the more rigid ketogenic diet, decreasing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake are linked to the following health benefits:

 

  • Weight loss
  • Improved blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Improved HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio

 

So, what do you think – are YOU ready for the HFLC and/or keto life? Perhaps just a taste with a great HFLC- and keto-friendly recipe? Try a spin on an old classic!

 

RECIPE

 

Avocado Egg Salad

 

Ingredients

 

4 large eggs, free range

1 medium avocado

2 tbsp real mayonnaise

1 tbsp each fresh dill and chives, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash smoked paprika

Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving

 

Preparation

 

  1. Hard boil eggs with your preferred cooking method, then cool, peel and chop cooked eggs.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mash pitted avocado with mayonnaise, herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.
  3. Add chopped eggs to avocado mixture and toss to combine. Serve egg salad immediately wrapped in lettuce leaves or chill and then serve. Best eaten same day.

 

REFERENCES

 

Healthline: The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide to Keto

Healthline: The LCHF Diet Plan: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

Magnesium 101: What You Really Need to Know

Date:  3rd January 2019         Category:  Health, Nutrition,

Magnesium is one of those nutrients we don’t hear about too much, despite the fact that it’s one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies.

 

It’s the fourth most abundant mineral that we have!

 

So what role does magnesium play?

 

Do we really need to be consuming magnesium or taking supplements?

Let’s find out…

  • Magnesium helps lower our stress levels. In fact, magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Serotonin, which is a natural mood stabiliser found mostly in our digestive system, requires magnesium for its production. Therefore, it is recommended that we take magnesium to help manage our stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. In turn, a magnesium deficiency can affect our stress level and emotional state.
  • Magnesium is used in hospitals and given to patients intravenously who are having heart palpitations – the magnesium helps slow down their heart rate.
  • Magnesium is necessary for numerous chemical reactions in our body, including making DNA.
  • Magnesium helps maintain our brain function by relaying signals between our body and our brain. It prevents overstimulation of nerve cells, which could result in brain damage.
  • Magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions – it opposite to calcium to help our muscles relax. Magnesium is commonly recommended for treating muscle cramps.
  • Magnesium has also been linked to helping reduce the risk of many diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Several studies have shown that migraine headaches are associated with low levels of magnesium.

Despite magnesium being so abundant in our body, many people don’t get enough of it.

Some studies say that up to 68% of adults don’t get enough magnesium in accordance with the recommended daily intake (RDI).

 

So how much magnesium should we be consuming on a daily basis to keep our body functioning as it should?

 

Adult men should consume 420 mg/day, while adult women should consume 320 mg/day.

There could be consequences from consuming too much magnesium or not enough magnesium:

  • Too much magnesium can cause various symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and irregular heartbeat.Therefore, you might not want to take a supplement that contains magnesium if you are already getting enough magnesium through your food and other sources.
  • A magnesium deficiency (called hypomagnesemia) could lead to various health conditions, including muscle twitches and cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.

Now that we know the importance of magnesium, where do we find magnesium?

 

Good news! There are plenty of magnesium-rich natural food sources.

  • Pumpkin seeds (check out the recipe below for making Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter)
  • Raw almonds and cashews (raw nuts are better than roasted nuts – roasted nuts lose magnesium during the roasting process)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Black beans, peas, and soybeans
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach)
  • Whole grains
  • Herbs (coriander, chives, dill, sage)

Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin, so consider using a magnesium oil or lotion that contains magnesium.

 

But, clearly the easiest (and yummiest) way of getting in your daily magnesium – is to include plenty of food sources high in this multi-tasking mineral, such as creamy pumpkin seed butters!

 

RECIPE:

 

Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter

 

Ingredients:

 

230g raw pumpkin seeds

1-2 tsp. oil (grapeseed or olive)

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
  4. Cool for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Put the pumpkin seeds in a food processor.
  6. Run the food processor for approximately 4-5 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds begin to have the texture of butter. If necessary, stop the food processor and scrape the sides.
  7. Continue running the food processor for another 2-5 minutes until the pumpkin seeds have the texture of butter. Add some of the oil, as needed, until the desired consistency is obtained.

REFERENCES:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do

http://www.magnesium.ca/

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