Gaining Weight? Haven’t Changed Your Diet But Getting Fatter?

Are You Gaining Weight Even If You Haven’t Changed Anything in Your Diet But Getting Fatter?

gaining weightYou are positive that you’re not eating more food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight.

Is this possible?

Yes!  You are NOT crazy!

And here’s why.

We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight and how we’re getting fatter.

There’s definitely more to the story than just what you’re eating, right?

A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat.

But, let’s go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you’re eating the same.

Things like:

  • Aging;
  • Hormones;
  • Sleep;

Aging 

Funny things happen the older we get.  People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, experience gaining weight, as well as aches and pains.

Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women.  And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies.

The good thing is that this is very common and not your fault one bit.

Hormones 

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to gain weight.  There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.

When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  And when your metabolism slows down you can experience weight gain.  Even though you’re eating the same way you always have.

Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested.  Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post.

Sleep 

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep.

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid gaining weight.

It’s true!  Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain.

Who ever thought you can sleep off your weight?

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  The first place to start is by implementing a calming before bedtime routine.

Stress 

It seems to be everywhere!  So many things that can cause stress responses in your body.

And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?

While you can’t necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them to help you avoid gaining weight.

Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga.  Or even mindful eating.  What about those new adult coloring books that are all the rage now?

Conclusion: 

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you’re eating the same way you always have.  Aging, hormones, stress and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to your gaining weight, even if you’re eating the same way you always have.

Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl 

Serves 2

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
  • ½ cucumber (diced)
  • ½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green onion (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ garlic clove
  • dash salt and pepper

Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.

Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls. Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go.  Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.

Gaining Weight References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss

So, Are You Gaining Weight Even If You Haven’t Changed Anything in Your Diet But Getting Fatter?

Wellness Plan | Use The Pillars of Wellness For Your Best Life

Your Wellness Plan For Each Pillar Wellness

wellness planToday we would like to lay out a simple wellness plan for each of the pillars of wellness.  It seems today that most of us take more time, energy and focus on planning a holiday or an evening out than we do in creating a health and wellness plan for ourselves or our family.

Many people today spend time planning a budget, and a home renovation yet our very own well-being is left to chance!

And this lack of a wellness plan causes stress for so many. We feel it’s time to make a plan for your well-being, set out some rules and guidelines for your best life. You ready? You willing? Great! Let’s begin.

Your Plan Must Begin With Your Why!

Setting out a vision or what we call YOUR WHY will help you create a long-term wellness plan that you will be able to stick with through the good and the bad. Yes, some days will be a challenge and that is OK if you keep YOUR WHY in front of you. So, what is YOUR WHY for wanting to create wellness in your life?

Take some time to consider this for yourself and your family. You see for me the WHY was watching my mother lie on a hospital bed waiting for a hip replacement. This was way back in 1997 and I remember that evening thinking to myself that if I didn’t begin to take better care of me I would be her in 20 years. It was strong WHY I created that evening and it changed my focus and my future. Your wellness plan and YOUR WHY will do the same for you.

Holistic Wellness encompasses a balance of Thoughts, Breath, Hydration, Diet, Exercise, and Sleep. Taking some time to set a wellness plan in motion for your best life can move you from feeling OK to living the life of your dreams.

So, go ahead and grab a journal. Let’s begin to show you how to make a lifestyle change!!

Your Physical Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve your body and physical wellness. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Physical Wellness Concerns: Fitness, nutrition, body weight, stress, quality sleep, excessive drinking, and drugs, quitting smoking cigarettes, energy levels, aches, and pains and making self-care a priority. ­­­­­

Create An Action Plan for  Your Physical Concerns:

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Physical Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: To improve your fitness level, make an exercise plan. To improve your stress levels, make a stress reduction plan that includes action steps like meditation and relaxation. To improve nutrition identify what is lacking and plan healthy menus.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goals.


long term goals 

Your Emotional Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve your emotional wellness. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Emotional Wellness Concerns: Understanding thoughts, feelings, and behaviors expressing emotions appropriately, self-awareness, self-acceptance, confidence, self-control, finding time for leisure, eliminating toxic emotions, self-esteem and self-respect, depression, anxiety and personal growth. ­­­­­­­­­­­­

Create An Action Wellness Plan For Your Emotional Well-Being

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Emotional Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: If you are generally negative, learn to practice positive thinking and optimism. If you are don’t know who you really are, take the time to found out.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goal.

make changes

Your Mental Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve about your Mental Wellness. Focus on areas where you want to change. Be specific.

Examples Of Mental Wellness Concerns: Creativity, memory, focus, concentration, clear thinking, critical thinking, the ability to think independently, addressing depression or other mental disorders, and promoting brain health.

Create An Action Plan For Your Mental Well-Being

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Mental Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: To improve your focus and concentration, engage in meditation practices. If depression is a concern, see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional.

Goals: For each action set short and long  goals.

plan

 

Your Social Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve in the area of Social Wellness. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Social Wellness Concerns: Developing a sense of connection, belonging and support with humans, basing relationships on commitment, trust, honesty, and respect, maintaining healthy relationships, being there for the people you care about and contributing to the well-being of the community. 

Create An Action Wellness Plan For Your Social Well-Being

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Social Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: To improve relationships with your partner or to begin to have healthy relationships, discover, and work on your own personal issues. To become more engaged in the community, go our more, participate in a volunteer program.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goals.


action 

Your Spirit Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve in the Wellness Of Your Spirit. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Spirit Wellness Concerns: Achieving balance in life and a healthy center, satisfaction with your capacity for living, seeking meaning, value and purpose in your life, personal faith practices, inner peace and calm, living by your personal set of morals and values, having a zest for life and living, gratitude, living in the moment, personal fulfillment, and feeling connected to the universe.

 Create An Action Wellness Plan For Your Spirit

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Spirit Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: To gain a sense of inner calm and peace practice yoga, mindfulness and meditation. If you are lacking personal fulfillment identify what is lacking in your life and plan to do what would make you feel fulfilled.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goals.

improve


Financial Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve in the area of the Financial Wellness category. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Financial Wellness Concerns: Learning to successfully manage financial expenses, doing everything possible to avoid financial stress, planning, and budgeting, making any necessary changes whenever possible to improve financial situations, and accepting your financial limitations and living within your means.

 Create An Action Wellness Plan For Your Finances

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Financial Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: To better manage money create a strict budget, plan action steps to help you better live within your means, for example, if you have trouble with spending see a therapist and have someone else manage your money for you until you learn to. To improve your financial situation, consider a career or job move, or possibly going back to school.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goals.

make

 

Occupational/Career Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve in the area of Occupations/Career Wellness. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Occupations/Career Wellness Concerns: Being satisfied with the work you do and reaching a harmonious fit between who you are and what you’re called to do. Maintaining a balance between work, home, and play, managing work-related stress, maintaining healthy relationships with co-workers and making sure your work environment is in line with your values.

Create An Action Wellness Plan For Your Occupation/Career

Choose at least three specific areas you want to improve under the Occupational Wellness category and make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example: If you are a workaholic, seek professional help. If the work you do makes you miserable, plan how to make a change. Planning to make a career change, make a list of how you can do that. If your work is interfering with your home life, make a plan to limit hours at work. Begin to set aside specific times to spend with your family.

Goals: For each action set short-term and long-term goals.

areas

 

Quality Of Life Wellness Plan

Make a list of things you want to improve your Quality Of Life Wellness. Focus on areas where you need to make changes. Be specific.

Examples Of Quality Of Life Wellness Concerns: General satisfaction and joy in living, waking up each day and looking forward to what it may bring, energy and vitality in regards to living, living in a comfortable environment, feeling well and able to conquer to each day, and achieving balance between all the areas wellness previously mentioned.

Create An Action Plan For Your Quality Of Life

Consider how you will improve your Quality Of Life Wellness. Make an action plan detailing how you will get there.

For example, You can simply plan to address all the other areas of wellness in this worksheet, to improve your overall quality of life. If you need to work on feeling more joyful and happy in general, identify what prevents these emotions and how you can make changes, perhaps you simply need to find leisure time to do what you love.

Goals: For each action set short and long goals.

specific

Find Your Motivation To Stick With Your Wellness Plan

You’ve heard the saying, “What Motivates, Motivates”? Make a list of what motivates you to make changes in any of the areas of wellness. Print it and post in places you will see it often, such as on the refrigerator or on your car dashboard. Read it often.

Track Your Progress Of Your Wellness Plan

It is very important to track your progress, never assume that you will naturally see the manifestations of your efforts. Either cross off each goal as you achieve it or keep a running list and write down each and every achievement.

Example, if one of your goals under Physical Wellness was to lose 10 pounds, write it down and congratulate yourself.

Focus on your goals and make healthy choices every day.

You don’t have to be perfect, just progressive.

Reward Yourself As You See Your “Wins” With Your Wellness Plan

Make a list of rewards that you will give yourself when you complete a short-term and long-term goal.

Our wellness plan is really set out to help you create a list of goals to set for yourself that include The Holistic Pillars/Foundations of Well-Being! 

 

Menopausal Women: Do This Before You Take the Meds Your Doctor Prescribed

Menopausal Women: Do This Before You Take the Meds Your Doctor Prescribed

menopausal womenOk, this post if for all the menopausal women and of course, listen to what your doctor says. And also listen to what your body says.

We both know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some for the symptoms in menopausal women.  Not to mention how common it is for ladies to gain weight at this time of life. (Ugh!)

And as we both know eating better and moving more can help you stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

What do I specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more” for all the menopausal women?

Seven Things For Menopausal Women To Do Daily.

Here goes:

Hydrate: Drink more water. This will be especially true for menopausal women as they go through the change. The general consensus is to drink 8-10 glasses per day.  And, if you don’t feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty.

I know that’s easy to say but really it’s also easy to do. Have a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.

Don’t like plain water?  Well, who can actually not like water because, in theory, it is colorless, tasteless and odorless. Drinking good filtered water is delightfully refreshing and yet we live in a world where so many of us drink only sugar filled beverages. In my opinion, this is why we find it difficult to develop the habit of drinking water. You can add in some berries or chopped frozen fruit.

Prefer tea?  Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favorite caffeine-free herbal teabag.  This counts toward hydration as well.

You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty.

Rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces per day.

Ok Menopausal Women – Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:

Things like (yes, you guessed it) vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds.  We’re going for quantity here.  Try to include them in every meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks because of the plant-based diet benefits.

Want another reason to eat more plants? Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes in menopausal women.  Bonus!

Plus, my recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.

Don’t forget high-quality protein:

While you’re chomping your plant foods don’t forget to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).

With animal foods we’re aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.

Some things menopausal women will want to cut back on:

Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.

With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won’t have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods with added salt and sugar.

You already know that’s good news, right?

Move:

If menopausal women don’t do this already they must commit to moving/exercise up to 5 hours per week.  They can gradually increase that over time and believe me, they will be thankful for taking action with movement!

To do this, include things like walking (especially outdoors in the sun, if possible), or even some resistance training and weight training.

You’ve heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do?

Well, go ahead and do it. 🙂

Get enough sleep: So important for menopausal women

Sleep is the forgotten health benefit today.

I’m talking 7-9 hours per night.  Seriously!

Sometimes menopause can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems.

The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you’re relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) a couple hours before your bedtime.  Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.  Try reading a book or having a bath.  It’s also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.  Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light.  Ideally, you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin’ with blue-blocker sunglasses.

Find great stress relieving activities:

Do whatever works for you.  Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.

Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm bath?  What about the newest craze of coloring?

Bonus points for using exercise as a form of stress relief.

Our Conclusions To Assist Menopausal Women Live Their Best Life:

You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.

Now go ahead and make two of these mason jar salads to eliminate any excuse for not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.

Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad 

Serves 2

  • 3 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ granny smith apple (diced)
  • 4 radishes (sliced)
  • 2 celery stalks (diced)
  • 4 tablespoons of your favourite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • 4-6 cups of your favourite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)

Add first four ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.

Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.

Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, and greens on top and seal.

When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:  Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!

References For Menopausal Women:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms

Menopausal women, it is now your turn to share what has worked best for you?

Supplements | Consider This For Your Best Life!

Supplements You Might Consider Taking For Your Best Life!

supplementsYes, while I always say that it’s better to get your nutrients from food first sometimes supplements are necessary. Supplements can only be of support to a solid real organic food eating strategy. Real organic foods are the Macronutrients and your supplements are the Micronutrients. Your micronutrients will not replace your macronutrients.

You simply can not live off a junk food diet and take supplements and expect to live well!

Unfortunately, there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of.  And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness.  Especially as we age.

Supplements #1: Vitamin (Hormone) D

So, before we discuss this supplement let’s be clear, Vitamin D is not a vitamin, it is, in fact, a hormone. And MUST be respected. Taking vitamin (hormone) D supplements stops the liver’s production of ceruloplasmin. “Ceruloplasmin (or caeruloplasmin) is a ferroxidase enzyme that in humans are encoded by the CP gene. Ceruloplasmin is the major copper-carrying protein in the blood, and in addition, plays a role in iron metabolism.” (Source)

If you live in North America chances are you are low on vitamin D.  It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out in shorts every day of the year.  Even if we did we’d wisely use a bit of sun protection too.

Vitamin (Hormone) D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45.  Want to know why?

It helps to protect our bones!

Vitamin (Hormone) D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks.  And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of.

Want to know something funny about vitamin (hormone) D (but it’s true, I swear)?

People who get enough vitamin (hormone) D tend to fall less frequently.  Especially as we get older.

Seriously!

Vitamin (Hormone) D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less.  Win-win!

Now the best way to take your vitamin (hormone) D is by taking Cod Liver Oil and NEVER by taking this hormone in it supplements form.

Magnesium Supplements

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body.

Yes, 300!

As with vitamin (hormone) D, it’s very common for us to simply not get enough.  Not even the 320 mg per day that’s recommended.

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.

Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables.  In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant’s chlorophyll – it’s actually what causes green plants to be green!  And most of us just don’t get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis.  (You know I have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).

Magnesium is a very common supplement.

Omega-3 Supplements

We’ve all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right?  They’re good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation.

These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness.

But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.

While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats.  The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.

Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil.

Pro Tip:  Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin (hormone) D. I indicated earlier this is how you would want to get these nutrients if you are taking supplements.

Conclusion:

Three supplements to consider now that you’re 45 are vitamin (hormone) D from Cod Liver Oil, magnesium, and omega-3s.

Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you.

You will want to eliminate High Fructose Corn Syrup and other synthetic sweeteners, industrial oils, fluoride, a low-fat diet.

And, of course, if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new.

Supplements Recipe: Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Serves 2

  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup quinoa (cooked)
  • 1 can wild salmon
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ½ red onion (diced) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • dash salt and pepper

Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.

Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  When looking for canned salmon try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and make sure cans are BPA-free.  Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.

Supplements References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

Vitamin (Hormone) D

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

It would be great to hear if you are taking these supplements as a part of your health strategy?

Breakfast Food | Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods For Your Best Life!

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

breakfast foodDo you love your breakfast food?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Are you in need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism, and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts.

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And…nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It’s the oxidized cholesterol that’s heart unhealthy.

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butter, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I’m talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you’re running out the door; you can nosh on them while you’re commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

Breakfast Food #3: Veggieshealthy fats

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can’t go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

I’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

Healthy Breakfast Food Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet 

Serves 1

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)
  • ¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)
  • dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric

Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).

In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices.

Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into the pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.

When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

Breakfast Food References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

So, now it’s your turn. What is your favorite breakfast food?




Cholesterol Myths | We Share 5 Myths and What To Eat Instead

Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

cholesterol mythsToday we share five cholesterol myths because you knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (borderline obsession) about cholesterol, right?

Before we jump into some cholesterol myths let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

Cholesterol Myths #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall.  In fact, depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart.  Yes, opposite!

So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood.  These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.

They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High-Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low-Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

Cholesterol Myths #2: Cholesterol is bad

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile, to help you absorb dietary fats.  Not to mention that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL: HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

Cholesterol Myths #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat.  Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  ‘Cause that’s where it’s made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal, our liver doesn’t need to make as much.

Cholesterol Myths #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness, there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

Cholesterol Myths #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

Don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

Guess what does?

Nutrition and exercise, baby!

One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies.  I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day.  Every day.

Don’t worry the recipe below will help you add at least another salad to your day.

You must (should?)  exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats.  That means fatty fish, avocados, and olive oil.  Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.

Recipe (Dressing to go with your salad): Orange Hemp Seed Dressing

Makes about ¾ cup

  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • dash salt and/or pepper

Blend all ingredients together until creamy.

Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!

Tip: Store extra in an airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep for about a week.

Cholesterol Myths References:

1st Reference

2nd Reference

3rd Reference

Our Summary on the Cholesterol Myths:

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we’re learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are.  And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.

Are you surprised about any of the cholesterol myths? liver

Waist Circumference | It Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh

Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh

waist circumferenceYour waist circumference really does matter 100x more than what you weight and here’s why. Now, you totally want to ditch your scale, don’t you? You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.

I mean, it doesn’t define you (obviously).

What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.

Let’s look at your waist circumference (well…you look at yours and I’ll look at mine).

Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):

Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”?  The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.

THAT is what we’re talking about here.

Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).

Yup – that apple!

And it’s not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.

This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem actually is.  It’s this “un-pinchable” fat.

The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.

Am I an apple or a pear?

It’s pretty simple to find out if you’re in the higher risk category or not.

The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape.

You can do it right now.

Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category.  Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.

For men, the number is 40”.

Of course, this isn’t a diagnostic tool.  There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases.  Waist circumference is just one of them.

If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.

Ways To Lose Belly Fat:

●       Eat more fiber.  Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all, it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are Brussels sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

●       Add more protein to your day.  Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

●       Nix added sugars.  This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juibelly fatce).

●       Move more.  Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.

●       Stress less.  Seriously!  Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.

●       Get more sleep.  Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts 

Serves 4

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • dash salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss. Bake for another 10 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.

References: Learn more about the importance of waist circumference

Share your thoughts on how you will reduce your waist circumference for your better health and wellbeing in the comments below.

Why Do I Have Slow Metabolism?

Why is My Metabolism Slow?

Is your metabometabolismlism slow? You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

Right now you may be convinced even more than ever that your metabolism is slow. Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact, it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • activity level
  • lack of sleep

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones may slow your metabolism

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally, it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk to your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

Your history of dieting and your slow metabolism

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in the amount of fat it, unfortunately, can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your slow metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to…

Consider your activity level to speed up your slow metabolism

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly as this will help speed up your metabolism.

Lack of sleepmetabolic rate

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Sleep is the forgotten foundation principle for health and it is important to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

  • ½ cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups water
  • nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth and creamy milk.  If desired, strain it through a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simply delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat

How will you implement one of the above tips to help improve your slow metabolism?

Sleep Tips: Have You Said Bye Bye Sleeping Through The Night?

 Get  A Good Nights Sleep – Here’s How

sleepGetting a good night sleep is essential for your health and wellbeing. In fact, today it is definitely a forgotten essential foundation to health. Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great sleep tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips on ways to get to sleep  below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body its daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12 pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be, come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).

Make Sleep Your Number One Prioritysleeping through the night

  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.
  • Be sure your bedroom is completely dark, use blackout curtains, or a sleeping mask. Any light coming in your bedroom windows onto your skin has the potential to wake you up.
  • Get all the EMF sources of pollution out of your bedroom. Consider an EMF pollution conversion device.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”):Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butter to see which flavor combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

Have you said bye, bye to sleeping through the night?

How will you implement these tips to improve your sleep?

 

 

Breathing Exercises To Calm Your Nervous System

Calm Your Nervous System with Deep Breathing Exercises

breathing exercisesToday I want to share with you breathing exercises that will help calm your nervous system. Yes, Nerves, what can you say about them? They perform so many important functions in your body and are related to every movement you make and even your thought patterns.

However, nerves can really mess you up at times when they get out of control. Things such as anxiety, stress, and depression can impact your nerves severely which in turn will negatively affect your entire body. When this happens you need to find a way to calm your nerves down and one of the best ways to do that is with deep breathing exercises.

Breathing Exercises Will Help Eliminate Negative Breathing Patterns

Breathing patterns definitely play a role in how your nervous system reacts to the current state your body is in.

According to Calm Clinic, people that are suffering from stress and anxiety exhibit the following poor breathing issues:

  • Shallow breathing – this results when you take short breaths that are often taken using your chest muscles instead of your diaphragm.
  • Monitored breathing – this is when you are very aware and focused on your breathing and often times it leads to further anxiety.
  • Over Breathing – this is taking in too much air. It actually causes people to believe they are not getting enough oxygen when quite the opposite is actually happening.

All of these types of breathing can lead to increased stress, anxiety, panic and further disruption of your proper nervous system functioning.

One Of The Most Effective Breathing Exercises? Deep Breaths

Now that you know some breathing patterns that can make you more anxious and affect your nervous system in an adverse way, you need to know how to counteract that. The answer lies with deep breathing.

Deep breathing, or what is sometimes also known as ‘abdominal breathing’, is when you use your large diaphragm muscle near your stomach to take a breath. It tends to pull much more air into your lungs in a longer and smoother way that has a calming effect on your body and your nerves.

According to the American Institute of Stress, deep breathing impacts the body in the following positive ways:

  • Metabolism slows down
  • Heart rate decreases
  • Blood pressure is lowered
  • Breathing slows
  • Muscles relax
  • Nitric oxide levels increase – this increases blood and oxygen flow in your body

You can see from the list above that deep breathing has many benefits for your body including the calming of your nerves.

Popular Deep Breathing Exercises That Will Calm Your Nerves

Here are some deep breathing exercises from some well-known websites that are authorities on stress and calming your nerves.

Roll Breathing

This is one of the deep breathing exercises recommended by WebMD. Hand placement shows you that you are doing it correctly. If done correctly you will use up your entire lung capacity.

  1. Begin with your right hand placed on your chest and the left one on your abdomen.
  2. Relax your shoulders and inhale through your nose deeply.
  3. Your left hand on your abdomen should rise first as you inhale. As you inhale deeper your left hand will fall slightly and your right hand will rise. This is what will give you the rolling effect this breathing exercise is named for.
  4. Make a whoosh noise while exhaling. Your left hand will drop slightly and your right hand will not drop much at all.
  5. Practice doing this for 3 to 5 minutes at a time. You will come to find it is very close to an instant nerve calming tool.

Quieting Response 

This is a deep breathing technique recommended by The American Institute for Stress that combines deep breathing with visualization.

  1. Start by closing your eyes, smiling and releasing the tension in your shoulders.
  2. Next imagine there are some holes in the bottom of each foot.
  3. Inhale deeply through your nose and imagine you are sucking steam in through the holes in your feet. Visualize it as comes up your legs into your lungs.
  4. Exhale out of your mouth while imagining you are pushing the steam back out of your lungs. Down through your legs and back out of the holes in your feet again.
  5. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes at a time and you will notice most of the tension go out of the muscles in your body and you will rapidly calm your nerves too.

You don’t think properly or move properly when your nerves are in a bad state. So the next time you feel yourself anxious and stressed take a few minutes to yourself and try some deep breathing exercises to calm yourself and your nerves back down.