Integrative health and nutrition coach
franh55555@gmail.com

The Truth behind Artificial Sweeteners

The Truth Behind Artificial Sweeteners

 

You probably know the negative health effects of eating too much sugar, especially "added sugars" like in fizzy, candy, baked goods, and many commercially-available cereals, just to name a few.  Added sugar is hiding just about everywhere in the grocery store.

 

Yes, ingesting refined sugar spikes your blood sugar and insulin, and increases your risk for a whole host of issues.

 

A while ago, one of the food industry’s responses to the demand for lower-calorie foods that still taste great, was artificial sweeteners. 

 

The idea behind them is that you can still get the sweetness, without the calories; like when you have a “diet fizzy” versus a regular one. Theoretically, this was going to help people maintain a healthy body weight, and hopefully not increase anyone’s risk of heart disease, diabetes, or obesity.

 

But, it doesn’t always work out the way we think it will...

 

Types of artificial sweeteners

 

Sugar substitutes fall into several categories, but what they all have in common is that they have a sweet taste and fewer calories than plain sugar.

 

Today we'll specifically discuss "artificial sweeteners," which are synthetic chemicals where a tiny bit tastes very sweet.

 

They're also known as "non-nutritive sweeteners," and include things like:

 

● Saccharin (Sweet & Low),
 

● Acesulfame potassium,
 

● Aspartame (Equal & NutraSweet), and
 

● Sucralose (Splenda).
 

Health effects of artificial sweeteners

 

Negative health effects from artificial sweeteners are cited all over the place, and while many studies show effects, others don't. Cancer? Maybe yes, maybe no. Heart disease? Maybe yes, maybe no. Not to mention that much of the research has been on animals, which may or may not translate to people.

 

I did want to point out one ironic thing, to do with artificial sweeteners and weight.

 

One study found that people who tend to drink diet sodas have double the risk of gaining weight than those who didn't.

 

Another study has shown an increased risk for metabolic syndrome and diabetes for those who consume diet drinks every day.

 

While these results don't apply equally to everyone, they do somehow seem ironic, don't they?

 

 

 

How do artificial sweeteners affect our bodies?

 

Now that’s a million-dollar question!

 

There are so many ideas out there to try to explain it, but the reality is we don’t know for sure; plus, it might play out differently in different people.

 

● Is it because people feel that they can eat cake because they’ve switched to diet soda?
 

● Perhaps it’s because the sweeteners change the taste preferences so that fruit starts to taste worse, and veggies taste terrible?
 

● Maybe artificial sweeteners increase our cravings for more (real) sweets?
 

● It can be that the sweet taste of these sweeteners signals to our body to release insulin to lower our blood sugar; but, because we didn’t actually ingest sugar, our blood sugar levels get too low, to the point where we get sugar cravings.
 

● Some even say (and at least one animal study suggests) that saccharin may inspire addictive tendencies toward it.
 

● Maybe there is even a more complex response that involves our gut microbes and how they help to regulate our blood sugar levels.
 

Conclusion:

 

Understand that added sugar is not good for you, but the solution may not be to replace them all with artificial sweeteners.

 

I highly recommend reducing your sugar intake, so you naturally re-train your palate and start enjoying the taste of real food that isn't overly sweet.  This way you're reducing your intake of added sugar, as well as not needing to replace it with artificial sweeteners.

 

Try having ½ teaspoon less of sugar in your hot morning drink. Try reducing a ¼ cup of the sugar called for in some recipes. Try diluting juice with water.

 

Your body will thank you! 

 

 

 

Recipe (naturally sweetened): Sweet Enough Matcha Latte

 

Serves 1

 

1 teaspoon matcha powder

1.5 cup almond milk, unsweetened

1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey (optional)

 

1. Heat almond milk and maple syrup/honey (if using) in a small pot.

2. Add matcha powder to cup.

3. When almond milk is hot, add about a ¼ cup to matcha and stir to combine.

4. Add rest of the milk to cup.

 

Serve & enjoy! 

 

Tip: You can steep a chai tea bag in the milk if you prefer chai tea over matcha.

 

References:

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar-insulin/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-review-splenda-is-it-safe

 

https://chriskresser.com/the-unbiased-truth-about-artificial-sweeteners/


franh55555@gmail.com

Is My Poop Normal?

 

Is My Poop Normal?

 

Yes, I'm serious! (And don't you sometimes wonder anyway?)

 

You already know that your poop can reflect your physical, and sometimes even emotional, health.

 

You may get constipation or have diarrhea when you eat something that "doesn't agree with you," or when you're super-nervous about something.

 

And what about fiber and water? If you’re not getting enough, it’ll probably show in your poop.

 

What about the all-important gut microbes? If they're not happy, it'll probably show in your poop.

 

Here’s a trivia question for you:

 

Did you know there is an “official” standard for poop? I mean a university-created chart! One that is used to help diagnose conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

 

Meet the Bristol Stool Scale

 

The Bristol Stool Scale was created at the prestigious University of Bristol in the UK back in 1997.

 

You can see the chart here.

LINK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale

 

The scale breaks down type of poop into seven different categories ranging from type 1 which is very constipated, to type 7 which is diarrhea:

 

1 - Separate hard lumps (very constipated).

 

2 - Lumpy and sausage-like (slightly constipated).

 

3 - Sausage shaped with cracks in the surface (normal)

4 - Smooth, soft sausage (normal).

 

5 - Soft blobs with clear-cut edges (lacking fiber).

 

6 - Mushy consistency with ragged edges (inflammation).

 

7 - Liquid consistency with no solid pieces (inflammation).

 

Other “poop” factors to consider

 

You probably guessed that the shapes described in the Bristol Stool Scale are not the only thing to consider for poop health.

 

Think about how often you go. At least once per day, up to 3 times per day is pretty good. Less than one, or more than three can mean there is something going on.

 

What about how hard you have to try to go? You want it to be as effortless as possible.

 

And the colour? It should be brown from the bile that you need to break down the fats you ingest.

 

And if it’s green after a day of massive veggies, or red after that large glass of beet juice, you’re just fine.

 

But if you see an abnormal colour, like red or even black, that you can't explain based on what you ate or drank in the last day or two, you probably want to get that checked out.

 

What do you do when you have "imperfect" poo?

 

Well, the first thing to consider is how imperfect it is, and how often it is like that? Once in a while, things aren't going to be perfect, and that's A-OK.

 

If you know you need to get more fiber or water, then try increasing that.

 

If you haven’t had enough probiotic foods, then try getting more of them.

 

If you’re super-stressed, then try deep breathing, meditating, or having a warm bath.

 

Oh, and don’t forget the two most basic pieces of nutrition advice:

 

● First, eat a variety of nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, including a lot of fruits & veggies (and their “fibrous” skins, wherever possible). The fiber in these is not only helpful for pushing food through your gut, but they also feed those millions of amazing helpful critters that live there (your friendly gut microbes.)
 

● The second piece of advice is to eat slowly, and mindfully, chewing thoroughly.
 

These are good habits for anyone and everyone, even when you have perfect poop!

 

Of course, long-term issues might require a more thorough review with a qualified health care practitioner. Don't suffer from poop issues for too long before seeking help.

 

Recipe (dairy-free probiotic): Super-Simple Coconut Milk Yogurt

 

Serves 6

 

2 cans full-fat coconut milk

2 probiotic capsules,

 

1. Open the probiotic capsules and empty contents into the blender. Blend with coconut milk.
2. Transfer to a sanitized glass jar (make sure it’s not still hot - you don’t want those probiotics to die).
3. Store it in a warm place for 24-48 hours. If it's not thick enough for you, you can let it ferment for another 24 hours.
4. Add your favourite yogurt toppings, and store the rest for up to a week in the fridge.
 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Fermenting food is not an exact science. If this doesn’t work out as you’d like it to, try different brands of coconut milk and/or probiotics.

 

References:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bristol_stool_scale

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/poop-health


franh55555@gmail.com

Five Weight -Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

Five Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

 

The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.  

 

But that might also bring thoughts of "tasteless," "cardboard," and "completely unsatisfying."

 

Right?

 

Let me give you my best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren't just nutritious but also delicious!

 

What’s my criteria you ask?

 

They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way;  foods that contain protein and/or fibre.

 

 

1 - Nuts

 

It’s true - nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening!

 

Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening.

 

Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.

 

 

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

 

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!

 

 

Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag.

 

2 - Fresh Fruit

 

As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)

 

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I'm not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.

 

 

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the "satiety factor") but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious "blood sugar spike."

 

 

Win-win!

 

Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.

 

Tip: Can't do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they're already chopped for you.

 

 

3 - Chia seeds

 

This is one of my personal favourites…

 

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

 

 

Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?

 

They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).

 

Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy!

 

4 - Boiled or poached eggs

 

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

 

 

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

 

 

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.

 

 

Yup, you read that right!

 

Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack!

 

5 - Vegetables

 

I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

 

Veggies contain fibre and water to help fill you up, and you don't need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?

 

 

You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).

 

Tip: Use a bit of dip. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my new hummus recipe below?

 

Conclusion:

 

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be "tasteless," like "cardboard," or "completely unsatisfying." Trust me.

 

 

Recipe (Vegetable Dip): Hummus

 

Makes about 2 cups

 

1  can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed

⅓ cup tahini

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 dash salt

1 dash pepper

 

 

1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of water, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil.

 

 

 

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/almonds/

 

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

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-fruits-diabetics/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/apples/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

 

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

 

 

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franh55555@gmail.com

Stress And How It Messes With Your Health

The Stress Mess: How It Messes With Your Health

 

We all have some level of stress, right?

 

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

 

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

 

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

 

It's the chronic stress that's a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

 

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

 

Let's dive into the "stress mess."

 

Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

 

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.

 

Stress increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

 

Mess #2 - Immunity

 

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you're stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

 

Well, that's because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

 

Mess #3 - "Leaky Gut."

 

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as "intestinal permeability." These "leaks" can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

 

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

 

Picture this: Have you ever played "red rover?" It's where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!

 

Mess #4 - Sleep Disruption

 

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

 

And when you don't get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

 

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren't doing you any favours.

 

Stress-busting tips

 

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

 

● Put less pressure on yourself?
● Ask for help?
● Say "no"?
● Delegate to someone else?
● Finally, make that decision?
 

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

● Deep breathing
● Meditation
● Walk in nature
● Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
● Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
● Connect with loved ones
 

Conclusion

 

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.

 

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.

 

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

 

You can ditch that stress mess!

 

Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

 

Serves 1

 

1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled

1 peach, diced

 

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

 

References:

 

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/stress-undermines-health/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/good-stress-bad-stress

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

 


franh55555@gmail.com

How to Naturally Lower Your Stress Hormones

 

 

STRESS!!!

 

Its causes are absolutely everywhere.

Would you agree?

 

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard.

It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flew.

But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society - it becomes a long-term reaction.

It becomes chronic.

 

You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.”  It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.

 

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?

 

Do you experience any of these?

Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!

 

Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol

 

Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar.

Reducing the sugar we eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for our minds (and bodies).

 

High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. 

If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.

 

Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol.

Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty.

 

Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn't just help reduce stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.

 

Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate (not the sugary milky kind!).

Have a bit to unwind.

 

Don’t forget your probiotics and prebiotics! There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection, and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key! Make sure you’re eating probiotic rich fermented foods and getting a healthy dose of prebiotic fiber.

 

Lifestyle techniques to lower cortisol

 

It’s not just food, but there are things you can do with your time that can lower cortisol.

 

Reduce your stress with mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.

 

Get enough exercise (but don’t overdo it). While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels.

 

Get enough sleep!

Getting adequate sleep is way too underrated. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.

 

Relax and have fun. Things like deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol.

 

Be social and bust loneliness. Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key.

 

Conclusion

 

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.

 

In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine. And have more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.

 

Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, and have more fun.

 

 

 

Recipe (High fiber prebiotic): De-Stressing Chocolate Pudding

 

Serves 6

 

3 ripe avocados

¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 dash salt

 

Instructions

 

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Try adding a pinch of cinnamon for a deeper flavour.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/ways-to-lower-cortisol/

 

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

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety/

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response


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Food preservatives

Food Preservatives

 

A food preservative is a substance added to foods to make them last longer; to "preserve" them. Preservatives are added to foods that go bad quickly and have found themselves in all kinds of products in our grocery stores.

 

Preservatives work to preserve food in a few different ways. Some prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Others prevent delicate fats from going rancid.

 

There are so many preservatives out there. While preservatives added to foods should be “approved,” this doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to be safe for everyone always. And it doesn’t mean that the food is healthy.

 

Foods with preservatives are more-processed, less-nutritious foods to begin with - not exactly health foods. So, even if you don’t mind preservatives, you probably should cut down on these kinds of foods, anyway.

 

So, let’s learn more about a few common food preservatives.

 

Salt

 

That’s right - salt.

 

FUN FACT: The term “salary” is from the Latin word for salt. It’s thought that it came from the ancient Romans who would pay employees, allowing them to buy salt. Either that, or it was for their work conquering and/or guarding salt mines/roads. Either way, salt was sought because of its ability to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.

 

In today’s day and age, with fridges and freezers in every home and grocery store, and refrigerated trucks, salt is not needed for food preservation as much. But our taste buds still seem to crave it on an epic scale. The average American eats over 3,400 mg of sodium per day, well over the recommended 2,300 mg/day. Much of that is because it’s found in processed foods.

 

According to Harvard Health:

"... reducing dietary salt (table salt that is only sodium, chloride and iodine) will lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and save lives."

 

So, salt is one of those all-too-common food preservatives that most of us will do better with less of.

 

Nitrites (nitrates and nitrosamines)

 

Nitrites are preservatives added to processed meats. They're not bad in and of themselves, but they do turn into harmful chemicals called nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Nitrites form nitrosamines when they're cooked at high heat, and sometimes even when exposed to the high acid environment of the stomach.

 

Nitrites are added to meats to keep the pink-red colour and prevent “browning.” Mostly in bacon, ham, sausages and lunch meats. Since nitrites can change into nitrosamines, nitrites are one-step away from being the “bad guys.”

 

Another interesting thing is that processed meats have been linked with colon cancer. Because of the nitrites? Perhaps, but either way, nitrosamines are a confirmed health-buster.

 

Since nitrosamines (from nitrites) are the bad guys and are formed by cooking nitrites at high heat, what are nitrates?

 

Nitrates are naturally found in many healthy foods like vegetables. They’re especially high in beets. Sometimes our enzymes or gut bacteria change these healthy nitrates into nitrites. However, they rarely form nitrosamines because they’re two-steps away from becoming these “bad guys.”

 

BHA & BHT

 

Have you seen on packages “BHA/BHT has been added to the package to help maintain freshness?” Perhaps on cereal packages or in gum? Guess how these compounds maintain freshness? Because they’re preservatives.

 

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are antioxidants added to many processed foods. The main way BHA and BHT work is by preventing fats from going rancid.Are they safe? Well, they're approved for use as a preservative at small doses. However, some studies show they can cause cancer in animals at high doses. Again, they're added to processed pre-packaged foods, so it's wise to avoid them nonetheless.

 

Conclusion

 

There are a lot of preservatives in our food supply. These compounds work by preventing the growth of bacteria and mold, or by preventing fats from going rancid. And they're mostly found in processed foods. If you want to avoid them. Eat fresh foods.

 

Does this information make you want to read all your food ingredient labels now? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Recipe (preservative-free): Kale Chips

 

Serves 4

 

1 bunch of kale, washed and dried
1 tbsp olive oil
2 dashes salt
2 dashes garlic powder

Instructions

 

Preheat oven to 300F and place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

 

 

Take the washed and dried kale and rip them into "chip" size pieces and place in a large bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Mix until the kale pieces are evenly covered.

 

 

Place kale onto prepared sheet in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Flip over the kale to cook the other sides of the pieces. Bake for another 10 minutes until the edges just start turning brown. Monitor them well, or you'll have burnt kale chips.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can use any spice, so try onion powder, paprika, or even turmeric.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/are-nitrates-and-nitrites-harmful/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-ways-that-processed-foods-are-killing-people/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-endocrine-disruptors

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/salt-and-your-health

 

https://examine.com/nutrition/scientists-just-found-that-red-meat-causes-cancer--or-did-they/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/chewing-gum-good-or-bad/

 

 

 


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Could you have a Dairy Intolerance?

Dairy Intolerance (Lactose, Casein, and Whey)

 

Having a food intolerance is not fun. It can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like flatulence and diarrhea. Other symptoms linkedto food intolerances include muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.

 

Dairy is just one of those foods that many people seem to be intolerant of. Let’s talk about the main components of milk that people react to: lactose, casein, and whey.

 

Milk sugar (lactose) intolerance

 

It’s estimated that up to 75% of adults are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the carbohydrate “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products. Lactose intolerance is so common you can buy lactose-free milk in your regular grocery store. Lactose-free products are treated with the enzyme “lactase” that breaks the lactose down before you ingest it. It’s this lactase enzyme that is lacking in most people who are lactose intolerant.

 

The lactase enzyme is naturally released from your intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose sugar in the gut. When someone doesn't have enough lactase, the lactose doesn't get broken down the way it should.  Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.

 

Lactose is in dairy but is in lower amounts in fermented dairy (e.g. cheese & yogurt) and butter. Steering clear of lactose isn't that easy as it is added to other foods like baked goods, soups, and sauces. And if you're taking any medications or supplements, check to see if it's in there too, as lactose is a common ingredient in them.

 

If you have symptoms of lactose intolerance, keep an eye on food, medication, and supplement labels.

 

Milk protein (casein & whey) allergy

 

Milk is a known, and common, food allergen. In Canada, it is considered a “priority allergen” and must be declared on food labels.

 

So, what are the allergens in milk? You've heard of "curds and whey?" Well, these are the two main proteins in milk. The solid bits are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is the dissolved whey.

 

Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response. It’s an allergy. And this immune response can cause inflammation. In fact, we don’t know how many people have these milk allergies, but most estimates put it far below that of lactose intolerance.

 

Like lactose, these allergenic milk proteins can be found in other products too. They're not just in dairy but are often in protein powders as well (Have you heard of "whey" protein powders?).

 

Some of the symptoms of milk protein allergy differ from that of lactose intolerance; things like nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) are more common here. And casein seems to be linkedwith belly fat.

 

Interestingly, people who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well. These can go hand-in-hand.

 

Like lactose intolerance, if you're allergic to casein and whey keep an eye on labels so you can avoid these.

 

Conclusion

 

If you get gassy, bloated, or diarrhea after eating dairy, you may have a lactose intolerance. If you often get a stuffy nose and mucus, then you may be allergic to casein and/or whey.

 

While dairy may be an entire food group, it is not an essential nutrient. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods. If you experience these symptoms, you can try removing dairy from your diet. You may find improved digestion and fewer gut issues. Or you may find improved nasal congestion, or even less belly fat.

 

If you decide to (or have already) removed dairy from your diet, let me know your experience in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Dairy-free): Chocolate Ice "Cream"

 

Serves 2

 

3 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 tsp cacao powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp almond butter

 

Instructions

 

Place frozen bananas in food processor and blend until smooth (a few minutes). You may have to stop a few times to scrape the sides.

 

Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until mixed well.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can make this in advance and freeze in an airtight container.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/dairy-foods-low-in-lactose/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/whey-protein-allergies-intolerances-bloating

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-food-sensitivities

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-great-dairy-debate/

 

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-and-mucus-a-myth/

 

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/milk-protein-vs-soy-protein/

 

https://examine.com/supplements/casein-protein/

 

https://examine.com/supplements/whey-protein/

 

http://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/food-allergens/milk/

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blood-pressure/milk-protein-may-lower-blood-pressure


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Could you have a Dairy Intolerance?

Dairy Intolerance (Lactose, Casein, and Whey)

 

Having a food intolerance is not fun. It can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like flatulence and diarrhea. Other symptoms linkedto food intolerances include muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.

 

Dairy is just one of those foods that many people seem to be intolerant of. Let’s talk about the main components of milk that people react to: lactose, casein, and whey.

 

Milk sugar (lactose) intolerance

 

It’s estimated that up to 75% of adults are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the carbohydrate “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products. Lactose intolerance is so common you can buy lactose-free milk in your regular grocery store. Lactose-free products are treated with the enzyme “lactase” that breaks the lactose down before you ingest it. It’s this lactase enzyme that is lacking in most people who are lactose intolerant.

 

The lactase enzyme is naturally released from your intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose sugar in the gut. When someone doesn't have enough lactase, the lactose doesn't get broken down the way it should.  Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.

 

Lactose is in dairy but is in lower amounts in fermented dairy (e.g. cheese & yogurt) and butter. Steering clear of lactose isn't that easy as it is added to other foods like baked goods, soups, and sauces. And if you're taking any medications or supplements, check to see if it's in there too, as lactose is a common ingredient in them.

 

If you have symptoms of lactose intolerance, keep an eye on food, medication, and supplement labels.

 

Milk protein (casein & whey) allergy

 

Milk is a known, and common, food allergen. In Canada, it is considered a “priority allergen” and must be declared on food labels.

 

So, what are the allergens in milk? You've heard of "curds and whey?" Well, these are the two main proteins in milk. The solid bits are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is the dissolved whey.

 

Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response. It’s an allergy. And this immune response can cause inflammation. In fact, we don’t know how many people have these milk allergies, but most estimates put it far below that of lactose intolerance.

 

Like lactose, these allergenic milk proteins can be found in other products too. They're not just in dairy but are often in protein powders as well (Have you heard of "whey" protein powders?).

 

Some of the symptoms of milk protein allergy differ from that of lactose intolerance; things like nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) are more common here. And casein seems to be linkedwith belly fat.

 

Interestingly, people who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well. These can go hand-in-hand.

 

Like lactose intolerance, if you're allergic to casein and whey keep an eye on labels so you can avoid these.

 

Conclusion

 

If you get gassy, bloated, or diarrhea after eating dairy, you may have a lactose intolerance. If you often get a stuffy nose and mucus, then you may be allergic to casein and/or whey.

 

While dairy may be an entire food group, it is not an essential nutrient. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods. If you experience these symptoms, you can try removing dairy from your diet. You may find improved digestion and fewer gut issues. Or you may find improved nasal congestion, or even less belly fat.

 

If you decide to (or have already) removed dairy from your diet, let me know your experience in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Dairy-free): Chocolate Ice "Cream"

 

Serves 2

 

3 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 tsp cacao powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp almond butter

 

Instructions

 

Place frozen bananas in food processor and blend until smooth (a few minutes). You may have to stop a few times to scrape the sides.

 

Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until mixed well.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can make this in advance and freeze in an airtight container.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/dairy-foods-low-in-lactose/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/whey-protein-allergies-intolerances-bloating

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-food-sensitivities

 

https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-great-dairy-debate/

 

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-and-mucus-a-myth/

 

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/milk-protein-vs-soy-protein/

 

https://examine.com/supplements/casein-protein/

 

https://examine.com/supplements/whey-protein/

 

http://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/food-allergens/milk/

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blood-pressure/milk-protein-may-lower-blood-pressure


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franh55555@gmail.com

How to Improve Gut Health

How to Improve Gut Health

 

Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

 

And while this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think. And we're not just talking about heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, etc. We're talking about all kinds of issues like allergies, pain, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies.

 

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It's here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We're just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of "the gut-brain axis"). Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health.

 

So, let's talk about the roles that our gut and our gut microbes play in our overall health. Then I'll give you tips to improve your gut health naturally.

 

Our gut’s role in our overall health

 

Our gut’s main role is as a barrier. To let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out.

 

This seemingly simple role is super-complex! And it can break down in so many places.

 

For one thing, our guts can "leak." Yes, like a long tube with holes in it, it can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc (bacteria, undigested food, and toxins). You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbedby your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it's not supposed to. And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can "leak." When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don't seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there.

 

FUN FACT: About 70% of our immune system lives in and around our gut.

 

A healthy gut is not a leaky gut. It maintains its barrier and shuttles things through to be eliminated. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health.

 

The second main part of your gut are the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make some vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar.

 

So, keeping your gut microbes happy is the second pillar of gut health!

 

How to improve gut health

 

There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health. Let’s start with what to stop. It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving our guts junk to deal with. How about eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Try that for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body (and gut) feels.

 

You may also want to eliminate other gut irritants. Dairy and grains contain common compounds known to irritate some people’s guts. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your health.

 

By eating nutrient-dense foods, we allow ample macro- and micro-nutrients into our gut to maximize the chance for absorption. These nutrients help our bodies build and repair our gut, and every other body part as well. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods include dark leafy greens, colourful fruits and veggies, liver, and fish.

 

The second pillar of gut health is our microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, we can help to replenish our gut microbes. These are found in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Make these a part of your daily diet.

 

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they can be eliminated. Fiber also helps to feed our friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even cacao.

 

And don’t forget the uber-important lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, stressing less, and getting the right amount (and intensity) of exercise for you. It’s easy to forget some of the simple, but key links there are between what we do with our bodies and how well they function.

 

Conclusion

 

The function of your gut is key to your overall health. There are two pillars of gut health: maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes.

 

The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber. And eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.

 

Recipe (Probiotic-rich): Fermented Carrots

 

Serves 12

 

1 L warm water
4 tsp salt
4 carrots, medium, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)

 

Instructions

 

 

Make a brine by dissolving the salt in water.

 

Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight.Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top.

Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don't float (you can use a "fermenting weight").

 

Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Feel free to openand taste.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Use this as a side dish, or even a snack.

 

References:

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/does-all-disease-begin-in-the-gut/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health

 

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them

 


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franh55555@gmail.com

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

 

 

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

 

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you 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 favourite 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 butters, 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: Veggies

 

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.

 

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 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 favourite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.

 

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/

 


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