Start Your Digestive Health Journey With Me

Would you like to know how to start your digestive health journey with me? Low energy, bloating, indigestion and stomach discomfort are getting you down.  The thought of aging and being unhealthy because of the way you feel now scares you.

You say you have tried everything  -- the tests, the elimination of foods and the loads of monthly supplements but you are not feeling any better.  

You still feel tired and you still have digestive issues.

I have been where you are.  

I am over 55 years of age and have spent the last 15 years learning how my body works so I can feel the way I want to feel.  That is why becoming a holistic nutrition professional was such a passion for me.

It was not easy to improve my digestive health and learn what was causing my low energy levels besides improper sleep and poor lifestyle habits.

Digestive discomfort comes in many forms:

  • indigestion, 
  • stomach pain,
  • acid reflux,
  • inconsistent bowel movements and
  • constant low energy levels are very discouraging for you.

In addition, your sleep is not good.   You are waking up before it is time and getting to sleep is a challenge sometimes if not most times.

Your body is changing as you age and you are feeling defeated and overwhelmed by so much information.

 You don’t know where to turn.  You feel you have tried it all.

3 Best Steps to Gut Health

Get access to my 3 Best Steps to Better Gut Health so you can have better energy, less bloating, gas and digestive discomfort, and feel better in your clothes!

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Three things you will need to address:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies, 
  2. Adapting stress-reducing lifestyle habits, 
  3. Implementing gut health protocols to optimize digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food,

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What to expect on a Breakthrough Call

This is a free call to chat with me about your main health concern.  We will go over what you have tried before and what has not worked.  I will offer you options for going forward and whether you and I will make a good fit to work together.   If not, I will suggest another practitioner who is better suited for your health condition and goals.

Let's chat to see if we are a good fit to work together.  

Book your Breakthrough Call Here


testimonial

I am here to help you to make the connections.

In order to improve my energy and feeling of well being years ago, I needed to improve my digestive health first. I did not really know how to go about this.

I did not understand how my body systems were interconnected or how the food I was eating made such a huge impact on my life.

When you come to see me to start your digestive health journey, we will meet for your one-hour initial consult.  You have the choice of a video or phone consult if in-person consults are not convenient.  We will go over your system imbalances through a Nutritional System Profile (NSP) and Lifestyle Intake questionnaire.  

You will be given a food journal to use during your health plan to help you make the connections between your mood and energy with the food you eat, the water you drink and the amount of exercise and sleep you are getting.

During our initial 60 minutes together, we will be able to find out what has worked for you and what has not.  You will be given a couple of recommendations to give you some quick wins.

On your follow-up session a week later, I will give you your initial client health plan based on the completed assessments in your initial consultation.

You will also be invited to enroll in the Freedom From Fatigue Solution Program that I designed as the foundational pillar framework for improving your digestion to free up your energy.

On-Going Care

Ongoing care follow-up sessions can be scheduled at your convenience.  We will go over what is working and how you need support with the program or past protocol recommendations.

You can find out more about the Freedom From Fatigue Solution program here.

Three things you will need to address:

  1. Nutritional deficiencies, 
  2. Adapting stress-reducing lifestyle habits, 
  3. Implementing gut health protocols to optimize digestion and absorption of nutrients from your food,

Click here to find out how to work with me.


Finding My Way

It was difficult to cook because I was so tired all the time.  Also, I did not realize that stress was connected to the chemical burdens on my body from the food I was eating.

Processed foods which I thought were ok for me to consume on a regular basis was stressing my body no matter how convenient they were. The key words here are "consume on a regular basis."  

I spent loads of money on supplements, detox formulas, and naturopathic doctors until I found the right person to work with me and get me back on track.

With the right practitioner, I was able to start moving forward. My digestion improved and my energy started to return.

Do you find you are on the same journey?

Have you have found yourself searching for the “magic pill” to turn your health around?  Well, to be completely honest, there is no "magic pill."  

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Let's chat to see if we are a good fit to work together.  

Book your Breakthrough Call Here

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The Keys to Absorbing Your Nutrients

Do you know the keys to absorbing your nutrients from the foods you eat?

There is no doubt about it.  You can’t stop the aging process.  

As you age, your digestive system becomes less efficient and you cannot get away with the bad habits you had in your 20’s and 30’s.

Bloating, flatulence, feeling full after a small meal, burping, constipation and acid reflux are only some of the symptoms that seem to increase as you get older.

These signs of a weak digestive system are due to an underactive stomach, overburdened liver, overburdened pancreas, and dysbiosis (imbalance in gut bacteria).

If you are a woman suffering from indigestion and low energy along with feeling constipated or bloated then you need this guide!

Get access to my 3 Best Steps to Better Gut Health & Well Being so you can FINALLY start to have better energy, less discomfort, and feel fantastic in your skin and clothes!


Questions That Needed Some Answers

“I feel like someone pulled the plug on me.” was a common saying for me at my lowest moments.  You can call it crushing fatigue.  And sometimes it still hits me out of nowhere.  But I can usually trace it back to lack of self care and stress.

I did not know the "keys to absorbing your nutrients". I struggled for a long time with low energy and digestive discomfort.

Here are some questions I wish someone would have asked me:

“Are you absorbing your nutrients.”  (Well of course! I thought so.)

“Are you taking time to be alone in the quiet.”  (Not so much!)

The other questions I wish someone had asked me are:

“Are you drinking enough good quality water.”  (What's quality water?)

“Are you chewing well?” (What does that mean?)

The first time this was mentioned to me was by a naturopathic doctor when I was struggling with stomach pain, being underweight and developing allergies.  

She called it malabsorption.  

I had to look it up.  After having stomach and intestinal pain for months and the colonoscopy turned up with nothing to show for it, I was pretty lost as to what to do to feel better again.


The Problem

plate of food

Digestive disturbances and food sensitivities may be part of your inability to break down and absorb your food properly.

What you need is sufficient stomach acid, and adequate digestive enzymes to break your food down into its smallest parts.  For example, protein is broken down into amino acids.  These are the keys to absorbing your nutrients.

If you don’t have enough amino acids then you can’t make the enzymes you need to break your foods down. 

If you are not breaking down the protein you eat due to insufficient digestive enzymes, stomach acid and chewing, then you cannot make enough enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and neurotransmitters.

You will also need amino acids for muscle and tissue repair which includes your gut lining repair.

The best course of action is to add foods in and restore the integrity of the gut lining first.  I do not take a lot of food out unless it is clear that the food is irritating.  

"If you are not breaking down the protein you eat due to insufficient digestive enzymes, stomach acid and chewing, then you cannot make enough enzymes, hormones, antibodies, and neurotransmitters."

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Next you need to practice steps to good digestion, such as chewing well and not drinking large amounts of water or liquid with your meal.  I teach all this in my Freedom From Fatigue Solution program.

This will help with repair and absorption.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes help you break down fats, protein and carbohydrates.  They come in the form of lipase for fats, protease for protein and amylase for carbohydrates.  The digestion process starts in the mouth.  This is why chewing is so important.

Examples of enzyme-rich foods you can eat before a protein meal are pineapple and papaya. You can also find them in supplement form. 

 Papain is the enzyme contained in papaya that helps to digest protein. 

Papaya

Photo by Amanda Lins on Unsplash

Bromelain is a protein-digesting chemical found in the core and stem of the pineapple.  You can juice the core to access the bromelain and drink the juice.

Introducing Bitters

The function of your bile is to break down and emulsify fats so your pancreatic enzymes can digest them. 

If you are eating a lot of fatty and processed foods, this can hinder the liver’s function in producing bile and the gallbladder’s role in regulating the storage and release of the bile as needed.

This hindrance to the gallbladder will prevent the efficient elimination of toxins from the body that hinders your digestion and your energy. 

Ultimately, you will start experiencing other symptoms such as brain fog, and skin issues.

Add Bitters Back in Your Diet

Including bitters before a meal such as using apple cider vinegar in a bit of water, ginger tea or lemon and water can help with secreting and thinning the bile from the gallbladder and be ready to emulsify the fats in your next meal.  

For example,  try to make a habit of ordering lemon and water before your meal at a restaurant.  

You can also include bitters in your meal such as grapefruit, dandelion, watercress, arugala, radicchio, rapini, and endive. 

lemon and water

If you are feeling sluggish and constipated, you can start with drinking lemon and water in the morning.  This will flush out the excess bile in the colon along with excess mucous that accumulates over night.  

Overburdening the liver is also a cause for digestive discomfort.  This causes malabsorption of your fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  

Summary

In summary it is not only what you eat that matters, it is what you absorb and utilize by your body that creates the energy and well being you desire.

Now that you know the keys to absorbing your nutrients, remember to relax when you eat, chew well and eat smaller portions.

Are you tired of trying to figure this out on your own?  I have the experience and results.  

Why not take a chance and see if I can help you?  Book a call and let's chat.  I can give you some insight on your next steps.  No obligation.

Continue Reading The Keys to Absorbing Your Nutrients

The symptoms of stress! What you need to know!

The symptoms of stress! What you need to know!
Photo by Leio McLaren (@leiomclaren) on Unsplash

What are the symptoms of stress? How does it connect to the energy you have on a daily basis? So many questions. Here is what you need to know about stress and the digestion connection.

I never made the connection between stress and my inability to digest food properly. I mean who really thinks about that!?

My Experience

I remember when my children were still in grade school and how much stress I was under with my large To-Do list as I was homeschooling at the time and being the taxi driver to extra curricular activities!

It was during that time that my health was taking a nose-dive and the food I use to be able to eat was not being friendly to my body anymore.

It took me a long time to make a connection about the symptoms of stress and what was going on in my digestion.

I did not understand that eating when I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed was not good for me.  I was only hurting myself by not resting first.

Do you feel the demand on your time trying to prepare the meals for everyone and by the time you sit down to eat, you feel you cannot enjoy what you just made?

This can happen to me a lot when my daily schedule just too full and I do not take time to rest in between activities. 

Having meals that stabilize your blood sugar so you feel good and less stressed is the solution to a busy day. 

Below I am offering you a free download of meals that you can make in just 30 minutes.

Support a stressful day with 30-Minute Stress Reducing Recipes.

You will get 7 days of recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus snacks.

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3 Things You Need to Know About Stress!

“Fight or Flight”

Have you heard about the "fight or flight" response in your body? It comes from a physiological response to stress by your adrenal glands.

These tiny glands sit on top of your kidneys and release adrenaline when danger is detected. It is the first hormone that is released to trigger your increase in heart rate and release of the liver's stored glycogen into the bloodstream.  

You can feel the rush as blood is redirected from your digestive system to your arms and legs so you can escape as if you are running from a bear!

The “fight or flight” response causes undesirable symptoms of stress including an increase in your heart rate and anxiety levels.

So watch how much time you spend consuming social media content and the news! 

All this unused energy gets converted to fat.  It is an unwanted side effect!

Some Causes of Stress

Stress comes in many forms such as:

  • environmental toxins,
  • processed foods,
  • emotional stress
  • and physical stress.

Some stress is normal for the body in short, occasional amounts but chronic stress is what leads to digestive and energy problems.

If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), then you are probably under some form of stress.  

I was in such discomfort many years ago that I thought I had an ulcer or colitis.  All I knew was I was in pain and had a difficult time with constipation.  I endured going through an endoscopy and and a colonoscopy only to find out there was "nothing wrong" that the doctor could see.  Can you relate to this experience?

The “fight or flight” response causes undesirable symptoms of stress includes imbalanced gut flora and anxiety levels.

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An unbalanced gut microbiome called dysbiosis is always present during IBS which is a result of being under some form of stress.  Constipation and diarrhea or alternating between the two are the most common symptoms.

This is a common problems I see in many women.  The other symptoms are low energy, gas and bloating.  Not a comfortable way to live.  I know you want better for yourself and you deserve it.

Symptoms of Stress

symptoms of stress

Photo by Mehrpouya H on Unsplash

The lack of your body’s ability to efficiently digest, assimilate, and absorb your food is what causes gas, bloating, acid reflux, and even stomach pain.

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When you are chronically stressed, excess  cortisol will produce excess bile which is sent to the gallbladder and it becomes overloaded.  

You will then have symptoms that feels like heartburn with a burning across the rib cage as the bile moves backwards from the small intestine into the stomach.

 When cortisol remains high throughout the day the manifested symptoms of stress include:

  • fatigue (especially around 3 pm)
  • sleep disturbance (from intestinal/stomach pain, gas and bloating)
  • anxiety (from an imbalance in gut flora)
  • unexplained weight gain around the middle
  • poor digestion (lack of sufficient stomach acid or poor combination of foods)
  • poor immune function from an unbalanced digestive system (resulting in frequent flues and colds)
  • brain fog (unbalanced digestive function from stress)

Just to name a few, these are all symptoms of stress. This is where I focus in my practice of holistic nutrition for women who are experiencing energy issues connected to digestive problems.

So do you relate to not feeling rested in the morning?

Fatigue throughout the day, especially around 3 pm?

Stress during midlife

Your ability to adapt to stress decreases with age. Your adrenals will now have to make more cortisol and will steal from your progesterone supply in order to do so. This creates an imbalance of hormones in your body.

What do you do about the stress you experience every day? You may even feel that you will always feel tired and stressed.

This is why I created a program for my clients called the Freedom From Fatigue Solution.

In 8 weeks you can start to mitigate the effects of stress on your body by learning the systematic steps I took to get my digestive health and energy back on track.  

If you would like to chat about either your digestive issues or your low energy levels, please give me a call by booking here.

Continue Reading The symptoms of stress! What you need to know!

Why Food Cravings Are Not Your Fault. Part 1

Food cravings are not your fault and not a character flaw.  So don't feel bad for craving a food.

Cravings for sweet, fatty or salty food is something we can all share. 

It was Christmas and I found the perfect excuse to finish off a whole large dark chocolate bar.  Then I found myself the other day finishing off a whole bag of chili lime chips while binge watching "The Crown."

“How did that happen?!”, I laughed!  Am I that stressed?  Or just bored!

Sometimes these cravings are emotional eating and not associated with stress or fatigue.  Sometimes they are a combination of stress and emotion leading to food cravings like I experienced this past week.  

We’ve all been there. Standing in front of the fridge, shoving the baby carrots aside, and reaching for the cheesecake instead. You’ve heard if you’re really hungry you’ll eat those carrots—or an apple—but the pull that cheesecake has on you . . .? It’s hard to resist that craving. So hard. If food cravings are affecting your life, you’re not alone.

(Get extra help with your food cravings, by clicking on the image below to download your free 7-day Ditch the Junk Challenge)

Presently as I write this, we are in the middle of a worldwide virus spread so we are staying home and maybe you find yourself craving food out of just plain boredom.

Before we dive into everything you need to know about food cravings, the big questions are: Can we overcome food cravings? And if so, how? 

Maybe what you’re really asking yourself is: Should I feel guilty about eating that cheesecake because I wanted it so badly? (Hint: No!) 

When you know where food cravings come from, you can answer these questions and be more gentle with yourself.

Let’s dive into how we can conquer your irresistible food cravings.

Food cravings vs. hunger

When we really (really!) want to eat one specific food, that’s a craving. Food cravings are “frequent, intense, and irresistible desires to consume a particular type of food.”[1]

Cravings start as soon as we think about that food. Sometimes we can’t stop thinking about it. The longing for that food can consume our thoughts and compel us to find and eat it, even if that means stopping what we’re doing and heading straight to the fridge, cupboard, or store right now.

I know for me, a strong food craving can be for chocolate, anything with chocolate.  This can result from a stressful situation or maybe my body needs something in the chocolate.  What is a food you crave?  You can share it in the comments below.

Hunger is different from cravings. With hunger, we want food, but it’s often a less intense feeling and just about any food will do.

Hunger satisfies our basic need for sustenance. When we’re truly hungry, just about any food will satisfy us . . . at least temporarily (until the next hunger pang comes along).

Cravings, on the other hand, are when you could really go for that cheesecake or potato chips (depending if you crave salty or sweet foods) and nothing else will do.[1,2]  You can relate right!?

What food cravings can do to you


It’s no surprise that food cravings can significantly impact you on a physical, mental, emotional and energetic level.

 For example, your food cravings can hijack your brain’s reward systems, giving us so much pleasure when we act on them. 

This feeling can lead to overeating and, over time, this may contribute to affect your digestive system if not immediately with such symptoms as bloating, stomach discomfort, weight gain, low energy from unbalanced blood sugar, brain fog and disrupted sleep. [1,2] 

What symptoms have you had after overindulging from a food craving?  Let me know in the comments.

Food cravings are powerful. Research suggests that some people experience them more strongly than others. For example, people who naturally tend to have a stronger cravings also tend to:

  • Overeat
  • Have a higher body-mass index
  • Try to lose weight unsuccessfully
  • Experience digestive discomfort
  • Suffer from low energy and stress

This reaction is strongly genetic.[3] Genes can affect food cravings, appetite, satiety (how full or satisfied you feel after eating), metabolism, body-fat distribution, and how we cope with stress.[4]

Studies show that people with a higher body-mass index tend to experience stronger cravings for foods that are more energy dense (food that are high in calories and low in nutrients).[1] 

So having low energy and excess and unwanted weight gain can go together because of the foods people crave.  

What triggers your food cravings in the first place is your natural physiology.  Do you feel better about it now?

The physiology of a food craving (it all starts with a cue)

According to one commonly used research tool, the Food Craving Inventory (FCI), there are five types of foods that we typically crave:

  • Sweet
  • High-fat
  • Starchy
  • Fast food
  • Fruits and vegetables.[2]

Cravings for these foods can feel intense and powerful. That’s because, on a biological level, they’re associated with physical, emotional [psychological/mental], and even neurocognitive (brain) responses. 

Here’s what I mean.

Have you ever noticed that seeing a food advertisement or smelling something cooking can make you want that particular food right then and there? These sights and smells are called “food cues” and they are what kickstarts cravings.

Take for instance the going into the bakery shop of your local mall or grocery store and smelling the fresh cinnamon rolls.  That aroma gets me every time and immediately I start to crave a piece.  Mmmm I can smell a fresh one right now if I picture it.  Not as powerful as being right there though when my mouth starts to water.  

Being exposed to food cues ramps up our cravings and desire to eat on different levels: physical, emotional [psychological/mental], and neurocognitive (brain).

On a physical level, food cues increase our production of saliva and insulin. Our bodies are literally preparing to digest the food it expects us to be eating soon (you know the drooling I’m talking about, right?)

 On an emotional level, certain sights and smells can remind us of times when we felt comfort and joy while enjoying those foods. On a neuro-cognitive level, food cravings also activate certain “reward areas” of our brains.[5] These are shown in “brain imaging” studies as areas that “light up” when we think about certain foods. 

Food cues turn into cravings like this:

  • Step 1: You see or smell or think about a food and want to eat it even if you’re not hungry (remember, cravings are different from hunger). This is when the brain has a high desire for and preoccupation with a specific food or type of food. You think about the food and it’s so hard to stop thinking about it.
  • Step 2: Your craving leads you to get up and start seeking out that food.[6] 

What does this mean? That our brains can be triggered and which plays a big role in our food cravings.

Food cues are everywhere and they kickstart your cravings

How many times every day or so do you experience food cravings? Once? Twice? More often than that?

Why do you seem to experience intense food cravings so often? 

Because food cues are everywhere!

Whether you’re looking at a screen, listening to a show, reading a magazine or newspaper, passing a billboard, or even getting some fresh air and exercise around our neighbourhood, we are surrounded by food cues.

We’re inundated with ads, logos, banners, and other sights, smells, and memories. Convenience store windows have posters of craveable snacks.

As we go by restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, they let off aromas of their mouth-watering freshly baked and cooked goods.

You can be out to pick up a head of broccoli, a new pack of pens, or an herbal tea and what’s there waiting for you at the counter? Chocolate, gummies, potato chips, and craveable snacks of all kinds,

FUN FACT: Research shows that people who live in environments with an abundance of food make about 200 food-related decisions every day! That’s a lot of thinking about food and deciding what, where, when, and how to eat.[7]

As you can see, our food environment gives us a never-ending supply of food cues that trigger our natural cravings. 

Next step: Seeking and finding those craveable foods

Once you’ve registered a food cue that has kickstarted a craving, why is it so hard to resist? 

Because our environment is practically designed to allow us to effortlessly give in to our cravings. When we have the overwhelming desire to devour a chocolate bar, it’s usually not that difficult to find one.

Many of us are surrounded by a huge selection of inexpensive and convenient foods and drinks available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. How easy is it to grab a craveable snack within minutes?

And if this food is in the house, you know you will eat it eventually.  Can you think of a food right now?

And that’s not all! Don’t forget that many processed foods have been specifically designed to satisfy our cravings and be “hyper-palatable.”[8] They’ve been tested and manufactured to have the optimal flavour, colour, texture, mouthfeel, etc. The idea is to really get the brain’s (neurological) reward system going. 

It’s really no wonder that convenient access to a variety of craved foods isn’t helping us manage our cravings.

(Get extra help with your food cravings, by clicking on the image below to download your free 7-day Ditch the Junk Challenge.)

Why do we have food cravings?

Why do we have food cravings? Even though the food environment described above is a human-made, fairly recent phenomenon, science tells us that cravings are deeply biological. 

Throughout history our motivation to find food was to satisfy our hunger. But, our cravings go deeper than that. 

Food cravings point to specific types of foods: 

  • sweet, 
  • high-fat, 
  • starchy, or 
  • fast foods 

These are foods that can give us a lot of energy right away (sweet, starchy) and foods that can sustain us for a longer time (high-fat).   Are you thinking of chips or ice cream?

Having quick sources of energy to fight or flee can help us survive immediate threats. While foods with the energy we can easily store for the long run can help us survive droughts and famines. 

We don’t really crave low-sugar, low-starch, low-fat foods (like kale) that much, do we?

Of course, we don't naturally crave vegetables which are full of fiber and nutrients.   So no wonder you may find it difficult to get enough vegetables into your diet.

Stress relief is another reason you experience food cravings.   You probably have a lot on your plate and maybe you are saying yes to too many things.  Also demands at home for your time can cause stress on top of your daily work demands and to-do list.

Studies show that physical or emotional distress can increase intake of highly craved foods.   These hormones include, stress hormones, hunger hormones, and insulin, [9]

That’s why when you’ve got a busy week with multiple deadlines, you often desire the cheesecake even more than usual. 

Then, when the craved food is consumed, the parts of the brain that process stress seem to calm down a bit.  And the high fat in a cheesecake can sustain your energy for little bit but it is not so friendly on your waistline.

  • This brings us back to the physical aspect of food cravings versus the emotional [psychological/mental] and neurocognitive aspect. 

Conclusion

Now you know that food cravings are a normal part of your life. They’re part of your natural physiology and that makes them very difficult to change. 

Some people experience stronger cravings than others due to genetics and other factors.  

Don’t beat yourself up.  Knowledge is power and you, my friend, are now empowered to act on that knowledge.

If you would like to book a call and discuss this further in relation to your digestion and energy goals, I would be happy to chat with you.  Just click here and choose from the times available.  Hope to interact again soon!



10 - References

1 - Kahathuduwa, C. N., Binks, M., Martin, C. K., & Dawson, J. A. (2017). Extended calorie restriction suppresses overall and specific food cravings: a systematic review and a meta-analysis. Obesity reviews: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 18(10), 1122–1135. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12566

LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28557246

LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6226249/

2 - Examine’s Nutrition Examination Research Digest. (2017, October). Can dieting actually suppress food craving? Issue 36. Retrieved from https://examine.com/nerd/article/can-dieting-actually-suppress-food-craving/

3 - van den Akker, K., Schyns, G., & Jansen, A. (2018). Learned Overeating: Applying Principles of Pavlovian Conditioning to Explain and Treat Overeating. Current addiction reports, 5(2), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-018-0207-x

LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29963363

LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5984639/

4 - Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, June 24). Why people become overweight. Retrieved from 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-people-become-overweight

5 - Blechert, J., Klackl, J., Miedl, S. F., & Wilhelm, F. H. (2016). To eat or not to eat: Effects of food availability on reward system activity during food picture viewing. Appetite, 99, 254-261. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.01.006

LINK: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S019566631630006X?via%3Dihub

6 - Lee, Y. H., Kim, M., Lee, M., Shin, D., Ha, D. S., Park, J. S., Kim, Y. B., & Choi, H. J. (2019). Food Craving, Seeking, and Consumption Behaviors: Conceptual Phases and Assessment Methods Used in Animal and Human Studies. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 28(3), 148–157. https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes.2019.28.3.148

LINK: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31583379/

LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6774451/

7 - Fisher, N, Lattimore, P., & Malinowski, P. (2015). Attention with a mindful attitude attenuates subjective appetitive reactions and food intake following food-cue exposure. Appetite, 99, 10-16. ISSN 0195-6663.

LINK: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0195666315301185?via%3Dihub

LINK: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2561/1/Attention%20with%20a%20mindful%20attitude%20attenuates%20subjective%20appetitive%20reactions%20and%20food%20intake%20following%20food-cue%20exposure.pdf

8 - Monteiro, C., Cannon, G., Moubarac, J., Levy, R., Louzada, M., & Jaime, P. (2018). The UN Decade of Nutrition, the NOVA food classification and the trouble with ultra-processing. Public Health Nutrition, 21(1), 5-17. doi:10.1017/S1368980017000234

LINK: 

https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/2A9776922A28F8F757BDA32C3266AC2A/S1368980017000234a.pdf/div-class-title-the-un-decade-of-nutrition-the-nova-food-classification-and-the-trouble-with-ultra-processing-div.pdf

9 - Harvard Health Publishing. (n.d.). How stress can make us overeat. Retrieved from

 LINK: 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/how-stress-can-make-us-overeat


Continue Reading Why Food Cravings Are Not Your Fault. Part 1

The 5 Supplements You Need This Fall!

Supplements

Photo by ready made from Pexels

Do you know the 5 supplements you need this fall?

As a busy woman with people relying on you to be there for them, you are concerned about getting sick this season.  Every year you feel that it takes so much work just to keep from coming down with a cold.  But this year you are more than concerned.  Am I right?

We are living in a prolonged state of stress in many areas of our lives right now (can we forget the year 2020?).  For you it may be causing gastrointestinal discomfort or maybe you are suffering from a slight cold now that the weather is changing.  

You need to maintain what is called “immune tolerance”.  That is you need to be able to fight pathogens and foreign invaders when they enter your body tissue instead of having an allergy or an autoimmune reaction.

I want you to feel armed with the right supplements as a foundation to your digestive and immune health.

There are 5 that you can have on hand as a foundation for helping you deal with stress that leads to sickness at this time of year.

Just remember that supplements need a good functioning digestive system in order to be properly absorbed.  If you would like some help with this please book a call to find out how I can help you.

Probiotics

Probiotics - these are the good bacteria that reside in your intestinal tract.  They are part of the 5 supplements you needs this fall. By taking a supplement or eating probiotic rich foods that are fermented, you will be helping to regulate inflammation in your digestive tract and build up your immunity.  Probiotics are only as good as long as you are taking them since they are just passing through.

Miso Soup - Photo by Ponyo Sakana from Pexels

You can include probiotic-rich foods such as

cultured vegetables, 

kefir, 

kimchi, 

miso, 

sauerkraut, 

wine (red or white), 

yogurt, full-fat, or coconut

Vitamin C

Another one of the 5 supplements you need this fall is vitamin C.  This supplement is found in a variety of forms.  One that is easy on the stomach comes in an ester-C form or as buffered calcium ascorbate with bioflavanoids for absorption.  

Since stress affects your digestive health and energy, this supplement will help to build up your adrenals and assists in the production of anti-viral glycoproteins called interferons.  Interferons interfere with the ability of a virus to replicate. 

Sweet Peppers - Photo by Nick Collins from Pexels

You can also include foods such as

citrus fruits, 

strawberries,

kiwi, 

mango,

broccoli,

cabbage, 

sweet peppers

You can see a more detailed list here.

B Complex Vitamins

This is another supplement that is good for stress management and how you react to stressful situations.  B vitamins are also needed to metabolize protein, fats and carbohydrates, energy production, and hydrochloric acid production.  It is best to take a complex so you do not get an imbalance.

whole grain bread

Whole Grain Bread - Photo by Gil Goldman from Pexels

Also, whole foods are a good source such as

whole grains, 

nuts,

eggs,

greens,

beef,

liver and

poultry.

Zinc

Since it is flu season, this is a good time to add a zinc supplement to your multi-vitamin if you are taking one.  Zinc helps with the production of stomach acid which is where bacteria is destroyed when ingested.  

Stomach acid aids in the digestion of protein that is required to make antibodies and enzymes.  Zinc helps with the survival of good bacteria needed for good immune health, digestive health, and detoxification.  

As you age, your zinc levels decrease.  The only way to know your levels is from a blood test.  Frequent infections are a sign of low zinc.

pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Seeds - Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Food sources of zinc you can eat include 

shellfish, 

Brazil nuts,

pecans,

pumpkin seeds and

whole grains

Also check out whfoods.com for a list of foods.

Vitamin D (in the form of D3)

In conjunction with B vitamins, vitamin D helps promote good gut bacteria which is where 70% of your immune function resides.  

FUN FACT: Vitamin D is the vitamin with more scientific articles published since 2000 than any other vitamin

Some researchers think vitamin D, due to its effects on the immune system, may also help with serious food allergies.

Vitamin D comes in liquid and tablet form.  The best way to absorb it is pairing it with a fat when eating such as egg yolks, butter or avocado.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, when you have more than enough, it gets stored in the liver, and isn’t flushed out in the urine like excesses of many other vitamins are.  But in climates where you lack sun half of the year, you will need to supplement.

FUN FACT: Fish liver oil contains vitamin D, but not fish oil - it’s the liver that stores vitamin D.

Since vitamin D is fat-soluble, it’s absorbed along with fat in the diet. So, people who don’t eat or absorb enough fat are at risk of lower vitamin D levels. 

Also, a healthy vitamin D status seems to go hand-in-hand with a healthy gut. For example, there is a link between sub-optimal vitamin D, gut microbiome status, gut inflammation, and diseases of the gut like IBD and colon cancer. 

For more education on this topic, read my other post called Vitamin D and Your Immune System.

mushrooms

mushrooms - Photo by Paula from Pexels

Include these foods in your diet as sources of vitamin D:

You can find the food source chart at whfoods.com.

Mushrooms: Reishi, Oyster, Cremini, Shitake,

Salmon

Tuna

Sardines

Cow’s Milk (100% grass fed) - see more info here

Eggs

I would advise you to consult with a nutritionist or naturopathic doctor before grabbing the first supplement you see on sale.  Many cheap ones include ingredients that are filled with substances which make it hard for you to break down the tablet and absorb.

I can help you prepare for the winter ahead with some of my lower priced programs to get your system in tip top shape.  Please contact me if I can be of assistance in this area and book your call here.

Continue Reading The 5 Supplements You Need This Fall!

Discover Six Ways to Get Rid of Bloating

Discover six ways to get rid of bloating.   That extra weight suddenly appearing around the middle after a meal is very uncomfortable.

You know that feeling when your pants start getting too tight around your waist, or you go to put on your pants and can't zip them up.  That feeling  like you're turning into Sponge Bob!  

 Bloating is caused by many factors.  Discover six ways to get rid of bloating:

stomach bloat

photo by alexander krivitskiy-unsplash

1. Drinking Too Much Water with Your Meal

One of the causes of bloating would be drinking too much water with your meal. So think about that. How much water do you drink with your meal?

How much is too much?

Drinking a little bit is fine.  But if you drink a lot of water with your meal, you're watering down your enzymes and also you're decreasing the acidity in your stomach.

 So if you're having meat, chicken or fish you have to break that down and the acid in your stomach is diluted too much, then that can cause a digestive disturbance


2. Salty Food

You may also be eating food that is too salty. So when you eat food that is too salty, you can tend to have water retention. And holding onto water can make you feel spongy later on. So that can be uncomfortable. Right?

Salty Food causes bloating

Photo by emmy-smith on Unsplash

Sneaky snacks!

I find that if I eat chips the night before, the next day I can always tell I had those chips. Usually, I start feeling that extra bloating around my stomach and the water retention.

So think about this as you get older, especially how much salt are you adding in your food? Did you have chips the night before and that kind of thing? 

3. Portion Sizes

portion size plate

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Another reason that you may be bloating could be the portion sizes on your plate. So take a look at your plate, how much food is on that plate.

Usually your protein should be about the size of the palm of your hand.

Divide your plate!

So if you divide your plate with a quarter grains or starches and a quarter of the plate is your meat, poultry or fish, then you can use the other half of your plate for the vegetables.

4. Insufficient Chewing

Another cause of bloating would be not chewing enough of your food. Most people tend to chew a little bit and then swallow. It is important to chew food to a mushy consistency and to almost liquid if you have a weak digestive system.

So you're not thinking about how much you're chewing and when you're having grains, you're not going to be digesting them in the stomach.

You're going to be digesting grains either in your mouth or in your small intestine.

Now that's something I didn't even know was true before I was educated on it. Grains can be a culprit for bloating in the stomach.

So look back on the meal you had before you started bloating and say, “Did I have any grains, and/or a lot of starches?” And that could be the reason.

You want to make sure you're chewing more in the mouth to digest your grains. And also you want to reduce the amount of food portions on your plate and have a little bit more later on and see if that alleviates the bloating problem. (smaller meals more often)

5. Food Sensitivity

Grains can be a food sensitivity for a lot of people and it might be gluten. It might be just one particular grain.

Maybe wheat which is a very common one but it is not the food's fault. It's due to a lack of the proper gut bacteria that breaks down that food.

So if you do have an imbalance, there's no test to see what gut bacteria you're low in anyways. Okay!

But all you can do is experiment and see.

Maybe take that food out that you eat a lot of and then put it back in later. And if you get the bloating, then you'll be able to know, okay, that's the one take that out.

And then you have to work with a health and wellness practitioner to build up the good gut bacteria that you need.

Then maybe later you'll be able to put that food back in and digest it better.

So yeah, grains can be problematic when it comes to food sensitivities as well as eggs or nuts. And some people can't do dairy products.

So you just want to look at your food journal, which is good to keep if you're having a lot of digestive issues, especially with bloating and to determine what is it that's causing it.

It is just a process of elimination and just bringing it back in after three days and then you'll be able to see. Just do one food at a time though. Not, not too many at once. Cause then you won't know. Right? 

6. Food Combining

You may be eating the foods together in the wrong combination.  It may cause you gas in the meantime.  You can try the layering technique.

Food Combining Plate

You want to look at maybe just eating your grains first and then leave the meat till the end. Or just leave it out altogether, depending if you want to eat it later. Everybody's different, right? 

If you’re eating meat with grains together, that can cause digestive issues because the grains are digested in the mouth and the small intestine and the meat protein is digested in the stomach.

You see that can cause bloating if you're having difficulty with digestion. Some people have a weaker digestion.  In this case you would also eat fruit alone as a rule.

Summary

It may not be very simple to end your bloating problems but you have just read the possible causes to help you identify what you can work on changing:

  1. Drinking too much water with your meal
  2. Salty food
  3. Portion sizes
  4. Insufficient chewing
  5. Food sensitivity
  6. Food combining

Is there one possible cause in the above list that you will try to work on this week?  Let me know in a comment below.

If you are a woman suffering from indigestion and low energy including feeling constipated and bloated then you need this guide!

Get access to my 3 Best Steps to Better Gut Health & Well Being so you can FINALLY start to have better energy, less discomfort, and feel fantastic in your skin and clothes!

Continue Reading Discover Six Ways to Get Rid of Bloating

The Benefits of Lemon Juice

Have you ever thought of drinking lemon and water in the morning?

If you are feeling sluggish in the morning, that could mean that your liver is congested and needs a little help to do its job.


Lemons are considered a liver supporting food by enhancing the function of your liver in the production of bile. It is through this function that your body detoxifies excess estrogens and other toxins.

In order to contract your bile, fat in the diet is required. So think about adding these good fats:

  • olive oil,
  • avocados,
  • eggs or
  • coconut oil to your meals.


Bile is also responsible for disinfecting the colon. Lemons help to rinse the stagnant bile through the intestines. This helps with the health of your digestive tract and decreases toxic bile.


You can do this by adding 1-2 tsp. of lemon juice to 8 ounces of water every morning upon waking.

If you suffer from congestion, lemons are great mucous thinners and also helps with your stomach's production of hydrochloric acid.

Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant by fighting inflammation in your body.

If you suffer from joint pain, you may find it decreased by adding this protocol every morning.  A former client of mine had this exact experience.

There are many ways to add lemon to your diet. My sister-in-law married into the Greek culture and lemon is a popular ingredient in many dishes. Lemons go onto roasted potatoes, stuffed vine leaves and salads.

Lemons have a low glycemic index. If you are sensitive to blood sugar spikes, lemons should be good food for you to add to your menu plan.

Here is a breakfast idea to which you can add your lemon juice:


Avocado on Toast with  Egg and Lemon

Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels

Serves 1

Ingredients:
1-2 slices of sourdough bread (sourdough rye, or spelt bread, Ezekiel bread)
1 soft boiled egg  (or a scrambled egg)
½ avocado mashed
lemon juice (1 tsp.)
sea salt to taste

Instructions:
1.Soft boil the egg in a small sauce pan with boiling water for no more than 4-5 minutes. Add some vinegar to the water to help soften the shell.  
2. Drain the egg and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool.

3. Toast the bread slice.
4. Mash 1/2 of the avocado and spread onto the toast
5. Squeeze some lemon juice on top to aid digestion
6. Peel the egg and slice on top of the avocado and (if using a scrambled egg, it is easy to spread on toast)

7. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Enjoy one serving.

Continue Reading The Benefits of Lemon Juice

How to Get Enough Vitamin D

How to Get Enough Vitamin D
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Most of us know that getting vitamin D is important for bone health and absorption of calcium. But, vitamin D is also important for a:

  • healthy immune system,
  • digestive system,
  • heart and mental health,
  • blood sugar regulation,
  • fertility, and
  • resistance to cancer.

FUN FACT: Inflammation is mostly caused by the response of our immune system.

To ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamin D, you can implement any combination of the three vitamin D sources mentioned below on a weekly basis.

  1. exposure to the sun,
  2. consuming vitamin D containing food (not so much available), and
  3. through supplements

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin makes it when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D acts like a hormone! That means it’s produced in one part of the body (e.g. the skin), and travels through to act on another part (e.g. the bones).

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, when you have more than enough, it gets stored in the liver, and isn’t flushed out in the urine like water soluble vitamins such as B and C.

It’s also the most common nutrient deficiency!

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How can I get enough vitamin D from the sun?

Our skin contains “pre” vitamin D. When exposed to UV rays from the sun, this “previtamin” is converted into vitamin D (calciferol).  That's why it's referred to as the "sunshine vitamin."

How much vitamin D your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing, all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin can produce from the sun.

One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done without sunscreen, at least twice a week.

How can I get enough vitamin D from food?

Vitamin D is not naturally found in very many foods. The best sources include:

  • fatty fish and fish liver oils
  • some is also found in beef liver
  • some cheeses
  • and egg yolk

Because these are animal sources, they are in the D3 form. Some are even already converted into 25(OH)D which is thought to be 5 times more potent than the regular D3 form.

Naturally occurring plant sources of vitamin D2 are some mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun. That’s about it

Some foods are "fortified" (which means vitamin D has been added).

  • milk
  • some orange juices
  • breakfast cereals
  • yogurt

It will say on the label how much vitamin D has been added per serving.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some fat (ie. healthy fat such as olive oil).

Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D each day; this is why vitamin D supplements are needed.


LINK:  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html#a331


How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?

Having enough 25(OH)D in the blood is associated with higher bone density. Studies show that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the risk of falls and bone fractures

FUN FACT: Fish liver oil contains vitamin D, but not fish oil - it’s the liver that stores vitamin D.

At higher doses, however, vitamin D2 is less potent than vitamin D3.

But before you take vitamin D containing supplements, make sure you check that it won't interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels, and ask a healthcare professional for advice.

Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any vitamin D supplement, except under medical care.

The maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level), and this can affect your heart and kidneys.

The best thing, if you're concerned, is to ask your healthcare professional to do a blood test and make a recommendation about how much vitamin in supplement form is right for you.

Your healthcare practitioner may recommend higher amounts of vitamin D supplementation for a short time while under their care.

Conclusion

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which; many people have a hard time maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D.  

There are three ways to get enough vitamin D: sun exposure, through certain foods, and in supplements.

I've given you some ideas how you can get the minimum 400-600 IU or vitamin D daily.

If you're concerned, it's best to request a blood test that tests your vitamin D levels to be sure what's right for you. Always take supplements as directed.

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References

Continue Reading How to Get Enough Vitamin D

Does Gut Health Affect Your Energy?

Improving your gut health is important for better absorption of the nutrients in the food you eat.  Absorbing your nutrients will provide you with energy to get through your day.  So if you are suffering from fatigue, this is a clue that you may have an imbalance in your gut.

I knew that this was true for me especially when I would eat foods I could not digest well and felt very lethargic and experienced brain fog a few hours later. 

Your gut is also known as your digestive system and includes the ecosystem of microbes that must exist in balance in order to digest and absorb nutrients in your small and large intestine, as well as detox out of your body substances that will only cause you to feel unwell.  The health of your gut influences the health of your entire body.

Your fatigue issues can tell you a lot about the health of your gut.

A Greek physician also referred to as the Father of Medicine was named Hippocrates who said, “All disease begins in the gut.”

Recent research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role to pay in many diseases than we used to think. These would include but not limited to allergies, pain and inflammation, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is open to the outside world and acts as a barrier to toxins. It is here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients 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 called the gut-brain connection.   Have you also heard of "the adrenal-gut connection"?  This is regulated by the HPA axis which is the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis. 

The adrenals which sit on top of your kidneys are very connected to the health of your gut.  When you are stressed the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary gland to tell the adrenals to produce cortisol.  Cortisol that is pumping constantly will give you energy but will also interfere with the balance of your gut bacteria which consists of both good and bad bacteria that must exist in a balanced ecosystem in your gut for optimal health and increased energy.

So being constantly stressed is not good for the health of your gut. Also getting enough sleep and exercise will help to reduce the cortisol levels and therefore may help to bring your gut back into balance.

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

Click Here to book a call with me and discover how I may be able to help you get your gut back into balance.


The Gut - Health Connection

Your gut’s first pillar of health is its main role as a barrier. Your gut is a long tube with a job 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 of our body.

The role of your gut is super-complex and can break down in so many places.

For one thing, your gut can "leak." That means the lining of your intestines can open and allow undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins to enter our bloodstream.  This can wreak havoc on your whole system causing you to feel unwell and and have a variety of symptoms in including fatigue. 

The result of this irritation causes inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases. Inflammation is a cause of many fatigue issues.  It has been at the root of a lot my own fatigue issues even though I did not know it at the time.

Now do you see how your fatigue issues can be linked back to the health of your gut?

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

Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health.

The second pillar of gut health is its role of producing and maintaining the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make B 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. It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving ourselves junk food. You can start with 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 are common gut irritants. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your energy levels.

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

The second pillar of gut health is our microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, you can help to replenish your gut microbes.

These are found in fermented foods like:

  •  kombucha,
  • kefir,
  • miso,
  • sauerkraut, and
  • kimchi. 

Make these a part of your daily diet.  If you do have food sensitivities you can try fermented foods such as dairy in the form of Kefir or bread in the form of sourdough.

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Fiber helps us to:

  •  eliminate toxins and some also
  • act as food for your good microbes called prebiotics 
  • help you absorb and digest your food better.

What foods have a lot of fiber?

Some examples are: fruits, whole grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, and seeds

Summary and Main Points to Remember:

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.

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

Continue Reading Does Gut Health Affect Your Energy?

Reading the Nutrition Facts Table in Four Easy Steps

Nutrition Facts for a loaf of bread.

Do you read the nutrition label on the side of your food packaging?  Why does it matter?  Maybe you have not connected your fatigue issues to the food you are eating.  However, I do believe you probably are eating as healthy as you can and just are not sure what the nutrition facts mean to you.

The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of most packaged foods. It’s often found close to the ingredient listing.

The purpose of it is to help consumers make better nutrition decisions. When people can see the number of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. in food, they should be able to eat better, right?

Whether you like the Nutrition Facts table or not, let’s make sure you get the most out of it, since it’s here to stay!

Step 1: Serving Size

The absolute most important part of the Nutrition Facts table is to note the serving size. Manufacturers often strategically choose the serving size to make the rest of the table look good.

Small serving = small calories/fat/carbs. So, it's tricky.

All the information in the table rests on the amount chosen as the serving size. And, since every manufacturer chooses their own, it’s often difficult to compare two products.

In Canada, in the next few years, serving sizes will be more consistent between similar foods. This will make it easier to compare foods.

The new labels will also have more realistic serving sizes to reflect the amount that people eat in one sitting, and not be artificially small.

Let’s use an example - plain, unsalted walnuts from Costco.

As you can see, right under the Nutrition Facts header is the serving size. That is a ¼ cup or 30 g. This means that all the numbers underneath it are based on this amount.

FUN EXPERIMENT: Try using a measuring cup to see exactly how much of a certain food equals one serving. You may be surprised at how small it is (imagine a ¼ cup of walnuts).

Step 2: % Daily Value

The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the recommended daily amount of each nutrient the average adult needs. Ideally, you will get 100% DV for each nutrient every day. This is added up based on all of the foods and drinks you have throughout the day.

Please remember that the % DV is a guideline, not a rigid rule.

You don’t need to add all of your %DV up for everything you eat all day. Instead, think of anything 5% or less to be a little; and, anything 15% or more to be a lot.

NOTE: Not every nutrient has a %DV. You can see it's missing for things like cholesterol, sugar, and protein. This is because there isn't an agreed "official" %DV for that nutrient. The good news is that the new Nutrition Facts tables will include a %DV for sugar. Keep your eyes out for that.

Step 3: Middle of the table
 (e.g. Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and protein)

Calories are pretty straight forward. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts has 200 calories.

Fat is bolded for a reason. That 19 g of fat (29% DV) is total fat. That includes the non-bolded items underneath it. Here, 19 g of total fat includes 1.5 g saturated fat, (19 g - 1.5 g = 17.5 g) unsaturated fat, and 0 g trans fat. (Yes, unsaturated fats including mono- and poly-unsaturated are not on the label, so you need to do a quick subtraction).

Cholesterol, sodium, and potassium are all measured in mg. Ideally, aim for around 100% of potassium and sodium each day.

It's easy to overdo sodium, especially if you grab pre-made, restaurant foods, or snacks. Keep an eye on this number if sodium can be a problem for you (e.g. if your doctor mentioned it, if you have high blood pressure or kidney problems, etc.).

Carbohydrate is also bolded because it is total carbohydrates. It includes the non-bolded items underneath it like fiber, sugar, and starch (not shown). Here, 30 g of walnuts contain 3 g of carbohydrates; that 3 g are all fiber. There is no sugar or starch. And as you can see, 3 g of fiber is 12% of your daily value for fiber intake.

Proteins, like calories, are pretty straight forward as well.   Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts contains 5 g of protein.

Walnuts are a great source of fiber.

Step 4: Bottom of the table (e.g. vitamins & minerals)

The vitamins and minerals listed at the bottom of the table are also straightforward. The new labels will list potassium, calcium, and iron. Yes, potassium will drop from the middle of the table to the bottom, and both vitamins A & C will become optional.

Manufacturers can add other vitamins and minerals to the bottom of their Nutrition Facts table (this is optional). And you'll notice that some foods contain a lot more vitamins and minerals than others do.

Conclusion

I hope this crash course in the Nutrition Facts table was helpful. While you can take it or leave it when it comes to making food decisions, it’s here to stay. And it will change slightly over the next few years.

Do you have questions about it? Have you seen the new labels with a %DV for sugar? If so, leave me a comment below.

Continue Reading Reading the Nutrition Facts Table in Four Easy Steps