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Body Balance + Blood Sugar

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Body Balance + Blood Sugar

 

Written by Amber McKenna R.H.N


[This article is not about weight loss, BUT] I am frequently about tips and tricks for weight loss.

I have heard every outrageous claim from, “Wrap yourself in plastic while you sleep” to “High doses of cinnamon” that a certain famous, television Doctor claimed will melt away body fat.

(I consider this to be a few degrees of separation from what Cinnamon will actually do:
Help to balance your blood sugar).

 

Lets talk about Blood Sugar + Mood for a second:


Balancing your blood sugar throughout the day actually WILL help you live a healthier, happier, more mood stable and energy stable life.


When we eat carbohydrates, which break down into sugars or glucose in the body, our pancreas secretes the hormone Insulin in an effort to control that spike in blood glucose, or blood sugar levels.


Insulin carries glucose to our cells to be utilized for energy. Unfortunately, if that glucose isn’t used up for energy immediately, it will be carried into the liver where it’s converted into glycogen which is then stored as fat. If we were ever to be without food, this would be awesome and our body would burn the fat stores for energy — but we see a lot of feast, and not a lot of famine these days.

In order to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance, keep energy stable and to keep metabolic functions optimal, a trifold of macronutrients in a healthy balance at every meal is necessary; Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates provide you with fuel to convert to glucose, Protein helps the body utilize glucose for energy in a slow-release capacity, and Fat helps to slow down the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream and leaves you feeling satiated.

Without this delicate balance things can go a little squirrely; Our blood sugar can spike and crash, we can experience mental fogginess, fatigue, mood swings, and even weight gain.

I recommend maintaining a healthy balance at every meal that includes all three vital macronutrients. For example, fueling the body at the beginning of each day with a protein heavy meal will balance and moderate blood sugar throughout the day.


TRY: A small portion of sugar-free, organic Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and cinnamon
TRY: A spinach smoothie with a TBSP of your favourite natural nut butter.
I also recommend finishing the day with a light protein based snack, which helps moderate blood sugar as you sleep, and will help you to wake up hungry.
TRY: A handful of almonds or a tablespoon of hummus with carrots

I tend to lean towards recommending a balance of a few servings of animal based protein a week (if that’s your thing) with veggie proteins found in beans and legumes.


Go get your balance on!

 

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If you have ANY questions at all for Amber, hop over to our CONTACT page and send them our way

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Meet Raf: An Integrative Health Coach Who Re-Vamped Her Life Doing THIS:

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Meet Raf: An Integrative Health Coach Who Re-Vamped Her Life Doing THIS:

Hi, My name is Rafia, and I’m a Health Coach. Here is my Story.

By Rafia Kanji

 

I have not been healthy my entire life.

I spent the first 20 years of my life planning McDonalds and Tim Hortons runs, drinking multiple sugar-filled coffees a day and embracing so many unhealthy habits. I took my health for granted and translated skinny as healthy. I was about 20 years old when I began to feel sick. I gained about 6 dress sizes to my body weight in a span of a few months, I couldn’t sleep, I was anxious, losing hair and overall just not well. I knew something was wrong. Now let me put this into reality.

Over the course of 3 months I went from a size 0 to a size 8 or 10.

You can imagine the confusion and trauma my body was going through, both physically and emotionally. I had no idea what was going on and I knew that something was wrong. I felt so uncomfortable in my body and was dealing with so many health issues I’d never had.

Fast forward about 2 years of going from one doctor to another and one test to another; I was diagnosed with my first auto immune disease – hypothyroidism. While usually this causes weight gain, it had extreme effects on me. At the time I didn’t know why, but later I found out it was because of my allergy to gluten.

Upon starting treatment for my thyroid condition my life changed immediately and it was for the better. My weight started to go down progressively for the next 2-3 years. I never became my original tiny size, but I’ve managed to maintain an average healthy weight that I am comfortable in. My anxiety reduced greatly, and the biggest change was that I no longer felt fatigued or had days where my brain fog took over. All in all, my health was improving, but I was still having a lot of underlying stomach issues. Eventually I went to a doctor that performed an endoscopy on my intestine. This revealed that my gut was destroyed, and gluten was what was causing it.

I was Celiac.

To be honest, once you find out you’re Celiac, especially as an adult, eating gluten free isn’t easy. I didn’t listen to the dietary restrictions properly for about a year. I binged on pizza and beer and ate a lot more gluten than I should have. I woke up one day feeling horrible. I went into work and ended up puking in the bathroom and going home sick. I remember this moment so clearly because that is the day that I made the decision that I was never going to eat gluten again. But it took me a lot of binging to get there.

When I first cut gluten, I have to admit that after my first few months of being officially gluten free, I had never felt so healthy. My body was thriving. It was nourished and happy and it was finally receiving the nutrients it lacked. I was feeling healthy again and just enjoying all the new gluten free foods I’d found at different grocery stores; all the way from pop-tarts to bagels. I felt normal and I was at the peak of my health and I was overjoyed!

 After about a year of eating gluten free, I started to feel sick AGAIN

I know right?

Did you know that most of the mainstream gluten free food on the market is completely processed with chemicals and refined sugar? Well I didn’t, but my body did, and it didn’t like it at all! I couldn’t have a day without dips in blood sugar and I walked around with sugar pills as if I was diabetic. I thought I was eating well; sandwiches with “whole grains” and vegetable pasta stir-fries – the mainstream picture of a healthy diet.

But really, I was just putting sugar into my body left, right and center.

I’d slowly started to learn more about nutrition on my own and I was becoming a comfortable cook in my kitchen and loved getting creative with food. I started reading and learning a lot about the hidden sugars and chemicals in many store-bought foods. I went to a few different naturopaths, but ultimately my mother’s lessons came into my mind:

 If I eat from real ingredients and cook from scratch, I will know exactly what I’m eating.

I went from eating out a lot, to eating at home and cooking all my meals. I felt great. I slowly started experimenting with different recipes and grains that weren’t gluten. And truth be told, I became obsessed with nutrition. I finally found a diet that worked for me. It was a really easy one too…

It was just real food!

Vegetables, fruits, saturated fats, proteins and fiber. I cut out starches and refined sugars and all of my health problems went away. Since then I’ve completely revamped by life. I removed all the processed foods from my pantry and life. 

Today, I’m still always experimenting. I will always be gluten free, but I will never adhere to one diet type. Your body needs different things at different times. But more importantly than ever, I’ve created a lifestyle that works for me. It is different for everyone and it is all about finding what works for you.

But to quote Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

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Follow Raf on Instagram: @eatwithraf

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Q + A with Lisa on Lyme Disease, Holistic Nutrition + Tapping Into Your Healing Power

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Q + A with Lisa on Lyme Disease, Holistic Nutrition + Tapping Into Your Healing Power

 

Lisa is a Holistic Nutritionist + Skin Coach that specializes in Skin, Digestion, Mindset + Deep Healing. Her personal journey is a complex and layered one; she tells us about how she conquered Lyme Disease, learned how to tap into her own healing power, and finding the positive when moving through dark times.

 

Q: Have you always wanted to be in the wellness industry? Can you tell us a little bit about the work that you do and the story behind how you came to do it?

 

L: I have quite the journey as to how I came to be doing what I do today. I actually wrote a 140 page eBook on my as my health journey as it’s now spanned over a decade! So boil some tea, and dig in.

Super long story short- in 2006 I was living in South Africa when I started to fall ill. It started off mild and then progressed; the most bizarre and alarming symptoms would flare up, disappear and then reappear in a completely unpatterned way. There was no rhyme or reason to it, and quite honestly it left doctors perplexed. Some thought I had MS, and they said to just wait until lesions started showing in a few years and they would do another MRI at the time to see. I then got told it could possibly be a tumour on my spine as I was presenting very neurological, but all of my brain and spinal scans were clear. The only thing they could find in my blood was a slight B12 deficiency and Mono. The Mono took months to clear; but as the months went by, and months turned into years I still wasn’t getting any better. In fact, MORE symptoms started to present themselves. At one point I had over 100 symptoms ranging from vertigo, to body numbness to eye floaters (so bad it hurt to go outside), to excessive weight gain (30 pounds in two months- which is a lot for me, as I’m naturally slender and lean), cystic acne, hair loss, brain fog and fatigue to name a few.

Fast forward to New York, where I had moved to go to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). This time of my life was supposed to be the best! I was living in one of the greatest cities in the world, but I found myself my sickest there. I was scared to tell people how sick I was because it all seemed so hard to believe, so a lot of my family and friends didn’t truly know how bad it had gotten. Also doctors were telling me I was healthy and OK- which I was anything but. I was very ill but no one could give me answers. I saw Doctors, Specialists, Naturopaths, Functional Practitioners- Most thought I was crazy and some even prescribed me Anti-Anxiety + Anti-Depressant meds, which I never ended up taking because I knew deep down I wasn't crazy and there was something wrong with me.

 

Rewind to South Africa: This is where my passion, devotion and complete love for nutrition started. Western medicine was failing me so at first it started as an informal way to provide me with some peace and answers. I’m extremely lucky that I connected the dots of, quite simply, we are what we eat. We are cellular beings- so therefore what we eat feeds our cells. I quickly decided to go vegan, and remained vegan for eight years (I’m not 100% anymore due to my intuitive connection to my body & mind). The vegan diet cuts out a lot of inflammatory foods so this helped initially, but there was still a lot of work for me to do. (But it was a start!) So I studied, read and researched for years, while trying to support and heal my body on my own.

 

In September 2012 I had a pure angelic moment and out of nowhere Lyme Disease popped into my head. Two weeks later I was in Calgary at a Lyme Literate ND’s office to investigate this thought further. She couldn’t confirm if I had it but gave me a test kit nonetheless, and the next day Fedexed my blood to a tick borne illness lab in California (unfortunately, Canada didn't, and still doesn't, have proper testing and treatment). Sure enough, two weeks later my test results came back: I had chronic late stage Lyme Disease that had ravaged my body for over six years.


I’m cutting a lot out, but from that point on I knew it was my mission to help others heal. I studied holistic nutrition formally and did my own intensive natural healing for a year (too much to go into detail, but I explain much more in my book). I also knew in order to fully heal I would have to move away from home (Edmonton, AB), which may sound crazy but I knew it was part of my journey. It was either Vancouver or Toronto- my heart told me Toronto and here I am.


I believe without discovering these things (which I help my clients find!), it’s near impossible to heal in a way that is sustainable long-term. People don’t always like to hear this because it takes patience, trial and error, unblocking old patterns, beliefs, habits and time (my healing journey took over a decade). This is why I do what I do every single day- because of my own health and healing journey, and the amount of time it took to figure things out. All the body wants to do is innately heal itself. It is not out to get you! Once we start to co-create with our bodies and the Universe healing starts to take place- and that is such a sweet place to be. You regain confidence, energy, vitality, zest, vigour, happiness, glow, and your trust is strengthened. When we turn into the miraculous nature of the body, and utilize it, so many doors start to open not just in health, but in life. This is what I help my clients find. It’s holistic - body, mind, and soul. The trifecta of healing. 

 

Q: The Move to Heal Project is all about how moving the body can be a helpful aid when working through anything mental health related.

Do you believe the mind and body are connected?

L: I believe the mind and body connection are literally everything. So many people ask me how I was able to heal on such a deep level, and I always say it was placing a focus on Mind first, Body second. Our subconscious mind is 30,000 times more powerful than our conscious mind (which we think is in control!). We live with such rooted programming and beliefs as to how we’re supposed to be and I truly believe this has an affect on healing at a deeper level. Without a solid foundation of this relationship it doesn’t matter how healthy we eat or how much we move, the core essence of healing must come from the Mind. 

 

Q: If someone is feeling a disassociation between their own mind and body, is there a simple exercise or mantra you have found to be effective?

L: I work on an individualized level so I think this would look different for everyone. However- I would say the first step is Self-Awareness. So many of us go through our days robotically and are extremely detached from what we do, say, eat and how we act. We do things mentally but don't connect the effect to our bodies. This is also bi-directional; we do things to our body, and don't think of the mental or emotional impact that follows. A wonderful first step is to keep a running journal. Start to take note as to when you’re acting out of fear, envy, jealousy, pain, old programming, etc. I believe the first step of any healing is becoming aware of things / thoughts / actions that aren’t serving you. 

 

Q: So many of us have moved, or are moving through difficult and painful things. You mention on your Instagram that no healing is done in isolation. Can you elaborate on that?

L: Healing requires constant support, guidance, love, nurturing, and advisement. When going through painful or difficult periods we can’t see things as they are, or how we want them to be. Again- we can act out of old beliefs, pains, and fears when we’re in it. I consider my clients friends, and they have 24/7 access to me via email and text. It’s just not just about a client / practitioner relationship, but a deeper bond that exists by showing and telling them that they will get through these periods. It’s not IF; it’s WHEN. It can feel really isolating when you're moving through a difficult time- like no one gets it. That’s just not true. There really is so much help, guidance, and support around. However, the first (and maybe the hardest) step is to reach out. When you are trying to heal but remain isolated, you will continue to reinforce pain, symptoms, fears, and instability. Reaching out in healing creates a foundation. It creates clarity. When you reach out there will always be a hand to lift you back up. 


Q: I created the Fuel to Heal portion on the site to prompt discussion about what we are eating and how it affects our body. 

Do you think the foods we eat can affect our daily moods and energy?

 

L: Food is Everything

Food is information to our body. It’s deep cellular nourishment. Food is the information we give our body to tell it what to do. The body does not recognize foreign substances and toxins found in a lot of foods today. We live in a society that’s been disconnected from what we truly need to thrive. Our bodies are miracle machines and work so hard for us every minute (millions of cells are replicating every single second). Yet- people are often feeding it things that don’t fuel this process. We will put premium fuel in our cars- yet we want to feed our body sub-par food, and then expect it to run optimally. However, the beauty of all of this is that we can shift it on a moment to moment basis. Food can heal : “LET FOOD BE  THY MEDICINE, AND MEDICINE BY THY FOOD”

 

Q: Do you have any go-to power foods? Something that gives a boost of energy or gets that long term feel good hormone going?

 

L: Greens - Endless amounts of leafy greens

-Heaps of pure / clean spring Water ( At least 2L a day)

-To Nourish the brain: Healthy fats- Avocados, seeds, nuts, lean proteins, olives, wild fish

-For Power/Energy: Protein- Sprouted legumes, wild + organic lean protein, bone broth (one of my favourites), nuts, seeds

-For Mood-boosting: Sweet potatoes

-For Blood flow: Beets

-Complex carbs: Brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, parsnips, carrots

-Fruit - Deep-hued berries, green apples, lemons, grapefruits, pears, kiwis, watermelon

-Cruciferous Veg - Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, asparagus, kale

-For Brain Health + Inflammation: Omega 3’s (critical), Flax, chia, wild fish

 

Q: It can be incredibly easy to get stuck in negative thought patterns. Do you have any suggestions as to how we can break these?

 

L: Time, patience, love, guidance, deep acceptance, and self-awareness. We often first have to find where are those negative thoughts coming from. Did we see our parents being negative (and therefore so are we)? Did we see people be negative and become successful? I believe we ALWAYS have control over our thoughts. It’s not just about “thinking positive”; it’s about doing the work to see how those patterns are showing up and when. For example: Do you find yourself negative around certain people? Then you must assess those relationships and see if they are healthy. Are you negative towards strangers ? Maybe this means flexing your compassion muscle. Are you mad or upset at yourself? Why? Are you not where you want to be. Etc. This process will look different for everyone. I always talk about doing the work; how healing is a journey.- because it's true! Society feeds us quick fixes and says that results are instantaneous. I think that deep patience, love and acceptance for where you are in your journey today can be some of the best tools. This moment is all we have and if we are fully living in this moment, it is the only place where anxiety + fear can’t live.

 

Q: There's a post on your instagram where you talk about loneliness. Depression, anxiety and trauma- they can all feel so lonely. For anyone out there that is reading this and feeling isolated or lonely- can you offer some words of guidance, support, or first steps?

 

L: I don’t believe anyone is meant to go through this journey we call life alone- especially a healing journey. First- we aren’t isolated humans. We were built for connections, community, and to apart of tribes. Second- know that there is zero shame for seeking guidance, support, love, and nourishment. I believe the body, mind, and soul to be one's best investment. If we aren’t healthy, nothing else truly matters. Even though I am a practitioner, I still have my healing team (naturopath, acupuncture, herbs I use, supplements, etc…) because I believe ones evolutions is never over.  Anxiety lives in the future, and depression lives in the past, so I fully and constantly tell my clients that being in Now is one of the best gifts and tools you can use, and have.

When you operate from a moment to moment to basis it doesn't seem so overwhelming and isolating. In reality it’s what any human is trying to do. So I would say - I love you, I fully understand where you are, and You can heal. We can all heal. Our bodies are built to heal. It’s not about what happens to us, it’s what we choose to do with it that matters.

AND NO MATTER WHAT - Do one thing every day that brings you Joy + List one thing you are grateful for. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for even in the darkest times. The Light is always there. 

To Contact Lisa:

Instagram: @lifebyleese

Website: www.lifebyleese.com

 

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Waking up During the Night? This can mean different things depending on the time!

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Waking up During the Night? This can mean different things depending on the time!

So- I am a frequent night-waker. It's rare that I get through the night without waking up multiple times. This has been something that has been happening with me for years- and also something I've never really given much thought to. I've always chalked it up to not being able to shut my brain off before bed.

I've had so many conversations about so many things with my amazing and intelligent friend, Dr. Camille Krause- and this came up in one of our chats awhile back. I had NO idea waking up at different times in the night could mean different things.

In regards to the Move to Heal Project- a big learning component for me over the years has been looking at how to love and care for myself. Getting a good nights sleep definitely falls into this category, which is why I wanted to share it here.

If you're wanting more info on Dr. Camille Krause, you can find her info under our FEEL TO HEAL page, as well as through the link at the bottom of this article.

Happy Sleeping :)

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Dr. Camille Krause, ND

So, you're waking up in the night?
 
Different times of waking can actually mean different problems. Sorting these problems out is the type of thing I do daily with my patients to get them sleeping through the night. 

(I'd love to share some of this information with you below!)
 
2am Wake Time

If you start waking up at 2am, the likely culprit is blood sugar.

When blood sugar gets too low the body thinks it’s a matter of survival and will send out alarm signals.
The alarm signals are sent out as adrenaline, which may feel like different things depending on the person:
Some people may feel this as being wired and wide awake in the middle of the night without knowing why, without anxiety or hunger signals.
Some people may also feel ravenous in the middle of the night.
Other people may experience this as sweating, jitteriness, heart palpitations - ie, anxiety!

START NOW:
Try a snack before bed. Something that includes fat, fibre, and protein. The easiest example would be a small handful of nuts.
Balancing your blood sugar through the whole day is also important!


Alcohol

This pattern of 2am waking is also seen in some people when they have had alcohol in the evening. Alcohol causes blood sugar to rise and then drop off suddenly within a 1-3 hour span.
The type of alcohol doesn’t necessarily matter – so even though wine actually has very little carbohydrates, it’s not the sugar that is causing a blood sugar spike, it’s the body’s response to alcohol.
 
START NOW:
See if you notice a pattern of whether your sleep is affected by alcohol. 

 

5am Wake Time (or, 1-2 hours before your alarm)

the likely culprit here is cortisol.

This means you're feeling wired (as if it's time to start the day) even though your alarm hasn't gone off yet.
Cortisol is known as a stress hormone, but it’s also an integral part of our circadian rhythm.  It’s our "get-up-and-go hormone", and helps us feel awake and alert throughout the course of the day.
You may notice that if you sleep in past this early morning wakeup, you actually feel more drained and groggy – because the cortisol is no longer as high and helping with alertness.


The goal is to calm down the cortisol overnight, so that it isn't overactive in the early mornings, and lets the person get those restful last few hours of sleep – then have cortisol be available to them during the day, when they need it to focus!
 
START NOW:
Many things calm down cortisol before bed, including exercise (earlier in the day), mindfulness, no screens or stimulating content before bed, and a bedtime routine that shakes off the thoughts of a busy day.   

If you are waking throughout the night, and the times aren't constant, there is more complexity to the issue - but of course it is still solvable!

Nighttime waking may be related to hot flashes, progesterone deficiency, or serotonin deficiency, as a few examples.
 
Lastly, if someone is waking multiple times in the night to use the washroom, this could mean they are not sleeping DEEPLY enough.


The body should be able ignore signals of a full bladder (within reason), while still maintaining sphincter function, and allow you to sleep.
If those bladder signals are making it to your conscious mind, you are sleeping too lightly!  I use the number of nighttime trips to the bathroom as a marker for how deeply someone is sleeping. We cannot always increase how long you sleep for, but we can certainly improve sleep quality.


START NOW:
Track your sleep and your wake times. Note how many times you’re using the washroom in the night, and whether you’re able to fall back asleep easily when you do wake.  
Do you notice what wakes you up in the first place?


With regard to the root cause of your different wake-up times, both the

1) 2 am pattern of blood sugar dysregulation AND
2) 5 am cortisol dysregulation

can also be rooted in burnout.  Burnout can be treated!  Sleep is a foundation for all the other hormones and biochemistry of the body to work properly. When someone is able to sleep deeply through the night, their body can function better on many different levels.

Often tracking the pattern is a helpful place to start, and a healthcare practitioner can better guide what those patterns mean, and what to do about it.


You’ll find more information on burnout atwww.FatigueFixWaterloo.com

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Eating for Energy: Maca Energy Smoothie Bowl

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Eating for Energy: Maca Energy Smoothie Bowl

For todays post, I've paired up with Alyssa, founder of The Running Kitchen! Alyssa and I both agree that our lives began to shift when we began to pay attention to what we were eating, and how we were choosing to fuel our bodies.

Below she shares a little bit of her story, and what she likes to eat when she needs a pick-me-up:

I’ve dealt with weight issues my entire life. I’d feel upset after eating too much, and then I’d feel even worse when I stepped on the scale or looked at myself in the mirror. So after years of struggling, and practically starving myself to maintain what I thought was a healthy weight, I finally decided to make healthy eating and staying active a priority.

Even though I eat (mostly) healthy and regularly workout, there are times when my mood still feels completely off. Between balancing my career in advertising as a copywriter, starting The Running Kitchen and finding time to meal prep and workout – I’m often exhausted and completely stressed. That doesn’t even factor in spending time with friends or family. I wanted to find a natural way to easily help boost my mood, and give me a bit more energy. That’s why I decided to give Maca a try.


Maca is considered a herbal adaptogen. That means it can change the balance of your hormones, adapt to stress and help balance anxiety. I find that it has a nutty flavour, making it perfect to add to smoothies and other treats. Since it’s rich in magnesium, copper, iron, potassium, and B12, it’s also a natural energy booster.  


Maca has actually been around for thousands of years. It’s pretty interesting that warriors consumed maca in ancient times to boost stamina before going into battle. So you can imagine how beneficial it could be if you’re training for a race and need to increase your endurance, or just looking for some extra energy to prevent an afternoon slump.


I’ve created this nutritious and energy-boosting Raspberry Maca Energy Smoothie Bowl full of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and of course maca. It’s perfect to help re-fuel post workout, first thing in the morning, or just as a snack. I hope you enjoy it!


*It’s recommended to take smaller amounts of maca when you first start using it, so around ½ tsp. is a great way to start.

Raspberry Maca Energy Smoothie Bowl
INGREDIENTS
- 1/2 Cup milk (I use homemade cashew coconut milk) 
- ½ Cup frozen cauliflower
- Handful frozen avocado
- 1/2 Frozen banana
- 1/2 Cup frozen raspberries
-  1Scoop vanilla protein (I use Genuine Health vegan fermented protein) 
- ½- 1 Tsp. Maca
- 1 Spoonful almond butter
Suggested toppings
- Granola
- Chia seeds
- Coconut flakes
- Fresh raspberries
- Hemp seeds

INSTRUCTIONS
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend for 2 minutes or until fully smooth and creamy. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy! 

smoothie bowl.JPG

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Mood + Hydration

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Mood + Hydration


When I started the Move to Heal project, I wanted to create a space on the site that not only addressed movement, but also addressed how to properly fuel the body. (Therefore- the Fuel to Heal portion of the site was born).


A few years ago I was completely unaware of the connection between my mood, the food I was eating, and its effects on my body. I used to eat in a way that was very unattached.

 

For example: some days I would eat something sugary in the morning and then drink two coffees on an empty stomach and wonder why I was crashing in the afternoon. This contributed to me being interchangeably tired and irritable. 


During this time I was also struggling with extreme anxiety; I sought help from so many specialists and doctors. Every single one of them told me to cut out coffee if I wanted to see a change in my anxiety levels. I finally gave in and did it- and the results were crazy. The anxiety I was feeling on a day to day basis was cut in half (if not more) just by switching from coffee to herbal tea. (I'm not gonna lie, it was the hardest thing EVER but completely worth it).


 A lightbulb went on in my head after that- it was the first time I realized the connection between what I ate and how it made me feel. It was my AHA moment.


Stories and experiences like these are the types of things we will continue to explore in the Fuel to Heal portion of the site.


For todays post, I have teamed up with Tamara, Owner of The Fix + Co, to chat about something that is so simple but could have a huge effect on how you feel on a day to day basis: HYDRATION!


Staying hydrated is just as important as the food choices you make because it supports your overall sense of well-being. When you are dehydrated it can affect both your mood and how you feel in your body. For example:
Low energy
Stiff joints
Constipation
Dry skin

While Caffeinated drinks like black tea and coffee are delish (and I'll add alcoholic beverages to this list too), they can be super dehydrating and disrupt your blood-sugar balance (cue- dizziness, lethargy, etc).

While I would never stand on my soapbox and tell anyone to avoid these options (I had a coffee and wine yesterday), I would encourage you to be a little more mindful of what you are drinking on a day to day basis.


I will confess- and this is where Tamara comes in- I am not a fan of drinking water. I'm just not. I have to force myself to drink it most days.

Tamara encourages you to switch up your water game by adding Fruit + Herbs! (I live under a rock, I have never thought of this, other than lemon haha)

At the Fix + Co, they offer something called the "Seasonal Refresher", which is a combo of Watermelon, Lime and Mint.

I have never put a ton of thought into adding fruit to my water, BUT the cool thing about all this is that Watermelon actually has so many added benefits. WHO KNEW.


Here are a few fun facts about Watermelon:
+ Watermelon contains cucurbitacin E, a triterpene anti-inflammatory phytonutrient which is helpful towards cardiovascular health
+Watermelon is an amazing source of Lycopene (a powerful antioxidant). The more your watermelon ripens, the richer the lycopene content as it provides the rich red colour.
+Watermelon is high in antioxidants and high in Vitamin C, making it cell protective and beautifying for the skin. It is also a good source of pantothenic acid, copper, biotin, potassium, vitamin A vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

On my own journey with Mental health I have learned that there are little puzzle pieces that, when pieced together, all contribute to the bigger picture. 

In NO WAY am I suggesting that drinking more water will cure anxiety or depression. Moving through both of these things can feel like an uphill battle and healing takes time, effort, patience, and work. 

What I am saying is that being mindful of what we eat and drink daily does matter. The little things ARE the big things (at least in my experience). Every little change helps.

For more ideas on staying hydrated in unique and delish ways, check out The Fix online: www.thefixandco.com


 

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Serotonin Smoothie *

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Serotonin Smoothie *

One of my favourite ways to incorporate protein into my diet is in a SMOOTHIE! And just like Camille talked about in her article on Protein and Serotonin (posted May 15th), incorporating protein into your breakfast can be pivotal in terms of how you feel on a day to day basis.

One of my favourite smoothie recipes was concocted by my friend Mel at our local run club. It has the perfect amount of antioxidants (hemp seeds), protein (bee pollen), and electrolytes (coconut water).

One of the biggest changes I've made in my life over the past few years has been paying attention to my diet. I began to notice a connection between food and mood. Ie I noticed a boost and felt more uplifted when my diet contained more whole, nourishing foods and less sugar and caffeine.

This blog post just scratches the surface but the FUEL TO HEAL section of this site will be a continual dialogue on how what we eat relates to how we feel.

The smoothie recipe is listed below. Happy fueling :)

 

Super Serotonin Smoothie:

1.5 cups spinach

1 banana

half an English cucumber

1 peeled lime

5 basil leaves

2 Tbs bee pollen

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

1 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

GARNISH: toasted coconut flakes// hemp seed with cacao// bee pollen

 

Photo cred: @acqtastemag

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Protein + Serotonin: How one affects the other

Protein + Serotonin: How one affects the other

I see patients in my office every day that would like to address their mood- even if depression and anxiety are not their chief concern. I will often work with them on the basics of diet, correcting nutrient deficiencies, or optimizing digestion/absorption.

One of the most profound changes someone can make, no matter how simple it may seem, is to simply incorporate 20 grams of protein into breakfast. This is not the end-all and be-all of a good diet, BUT it’s an easy change that supports having a foundation to stand on.

Protein works with your biochemistry to make sure serotonin gets made. We know of serotonin as our “happiness hormone.” It is a neurotransmitter that supports us feeling balanced, content, and calm. When your serotonin is made properly, it provides you with the opportunity to feel as happy as you choose to feel.

Let’s talk about serotonin and how to get more of it

I love to teach people how serotonin is made. There’s a lot that goes into making us feel happy, joy, or content (ie mindset vs circumstance, for example). But if we back up for a second and get really scientific about things, I can show you another layer to that happiness. The human body is an incredible machine, and when we understand how it works we can facilitate its best function.

We need the right neurotransmitters firing with the right neurons to feel any emotion. The goal in life is not to be ecstatic all the time- it is to feel the whole range of human emotion.

So what happens if we don’t have those neurotransmitters where we need them when we need them? Life has a grey cloud hanging over it. Take a look. (Of COURSE there’s more to happiness than this, much more, but we’re getting to the scientific foundation here.)

howhappinessismade.png

Our end goal is to make serotonin BUT- in order to even begin this biochemical process we need protein. Along the way we also need various nutrients (left hand side) that are co-factors in the reactions (via enzymes shown on right hand side).

There may be several reasons why a person may not be getting adequate protein due to diet, or digestive issues. Many people are eating protein but not breaking it down properly, and we often end up with mood concerns. I won't get into digestive concerns here but they are important and I will write more on this topic in the future.  

So start off your day in a way that is going to sustain your energy and support your mood: aim for 20 grams of protein at breakfast. I challenge you to try it for a week and see what happens.

Check out some inspiration here:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/shannonrosenberg/high-protein-breakfasts-that-wont-leave-you-hangry?utm_term=.hyeemaEJP#.jdnR7zaK5

 

By Dr. Krause, ND

All her contact info can be found on  www.healthsourceimc.com 

For upcoming talks and more info on burnout, www.fatiguefixwaterloo.com