Thriving with Nutrition, Lifestyle and Mindset

What problem(s) were you facing and how did it make you feel? 

Five years ago my health was in a bad place. I was depressed, anxious, lethargic, my hair was thin, I had skin issues, dry eyes among a myriad of seeming unrelated symptoms. I bounced from doctor to doctor, all of whom told me either that I was fine or that there was nothing that they could do to help. I felt lonely, afraid and worried for my future. If this was my life at 23 - what would 30, 40 or even 70 look like? I knew I had to act...

What did you discover that started to help?

 I'm am incredibly grateful for the internet. Without it, my health would most likely still be in a poor place. A simple Google search turned out Dr Terry Wahls Iowa TED X talk, documenting her miraculous recovery from secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The further I dug into her story, the more I understood that the principles which brought her back to good health could be applied to anyone. It wasn't until this moment that I realized that I already had the power to reclaim my own health - all I had to do was apply the principles of a Nutrition, Lifestyle and Mindset to my life!

What happened to you after you started these new actions?

 I researched many healing protocols and after careful deliberation I decided to push forward with the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. It made the most sense to me, a number of the symptoms I was exhibiting were autoimmune in nature and I knew intuitively I had to calm/reset my immune system. The results were profound, after a few weeks my symptoms stopped progressing (the very first time this occurred since they began), after a year they started retreating and three years, I was healthy enough to start running again, go to the gym five times a week, launch my website (The Paleo PI) and work a full time job. Four years later I felt healthy enough to pack up my life and move to Washington DC from Australia and five years later, I'm healthier than I have been for a decade. It's been profound! My goals, dreams and ambitions are not only back on the radar, I'm pursuing them and achieving them.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems? : Nutrition, Lifestyle and Mindset works. Great health is as simple as watching what you put in your mouth (plenty of vegetables, some fruit here and there, seafood, nuts, seeds, grass fed/pasture raised meats), your lifestyle (the amount of sleep you get, time outdoors, sunshine, time with friends and family, the media you consume, your stress levels, etc.) and your mindset (are your thoughts empowering and positive or do you talk down to yourself, your spirituality and your beliefs).
For more check out my guest post on the Paleo Mom

Altaring Your Reality For Your Wedding-Day Diet

6 Mistakes Brides Make In Losing Weight For The Altar

Congratulations on your engagement!  Saying yes to the proposal now moves you into the planning details for your wedding day.  One of those details will be finding & fitting into your perfect dress and how you’ll look walking down the aisle. If you’re like most brides you’ll wish you could drop a few sizes before your special day. However be cautious with your methods, according to a Cornell study[1]. 70 percent of brides make harmful health mistakes that can cause long-term damage to the body.

Vanity is a double-edged sword. You can either use vanity as the motivating factor for a lifestyle that can increase your energy, deepen your sleep, and heal your body or you can use vanity for the sole purpose to lose as much weight as possible.

 This article is intended for those brides who want to use their wedding day as way to develop a healthier version of themselves, and to use this knowledge of mistake avoidance to adopt the right wellness mindset even after you say, “I do!”

 Mistake # 1: Starving yourself to lose weight.

 Simplifying weight loss to calories in vs. calories out is at the root of this mistake. Viewing your entire weight loss goal through the lens of caloric deficiency is wrong, harmful, and dangerous to your health.

 The reason this is wrong is because many people do not understand what a calorie is, why it’s used in nutrition, and the formula it takes to actually measure it in the human body.

 What is a calorie? A calorie is the heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water from 0 to 1°C. This heat energy measurement can only be accurately measured in a lab. Human beings do not burn food for energy we digest food for nutrients.

Why it was discovered? The calorie wasn’t actually discovered. The scientist Nicolas Clement was looking for alternative ways to define another unit of heat[2]. It never had a purpose to be measured inside our bodies.

 How you would accurately measure calories in the body:

a.     Measure your body lipid composition.

b.     Personally verify calorie count.

c.      Analyze the chemical change of calorie density in your cooked food.

d.     Weigh yourself before you go to the bathroom.

 New Strategy:

Instead of counting calories count colors.  Introduce more colors of the rainbow in your diet. Eating color variety helps our body gets the nutrients it needs.  It’s nature’s way of putting in all our multi-vitamins in one place.  One caveat on the color selection, you want to avoid white foods in the forms of white sugar, white flour, and white salt. Sugar and flour and will raise your insulin level which in turn stores the excess glucose as fat on our bodies.  White table salt is deprived of the 87 trace minerals natural salt has and only has 2 minerals, sodium and chlorine . 

Mistake # 2: Avoiding fat because it will make you fat.

The major factor in the cause to this mistake is the coincidences in language.

It’s unfortunate that the word fat is used both to describe the stored tissue in the body (adipose) and an essential macronutrient (lipid).

Adipose tissue is stored on the body due to the increase of insulin[3].

Natural occurring fats in nature (butter, olive oil, nuts) are a class of a macronutrients that go directly into the cell, do not spike insulin, and contain fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K.  Notably vitamin E is an antioxidant that repairs our cells.

New Strategy:

It’s the processed oils you want to avoid.  To turn an unnatural lipid (fat) into an oil you need to add hydrogen. The hydrogen changes the chemical compounds making the fats highly unstable. Unstable fats trick your body into thinking it’s an antioxidant when in fact it’s a free radical. A free radical in the body destroys cells. When our bodies work hard to repair damaged cells, it will deprioritize fat metabolism and weight loss.

List of oils to avoid:

●      Margarine

●      Vegetable oil

●      Packaged snacks

●      Baked goods (especially premade versions)

●      Ready-to-use dough

●      Fried foods

●      Coffee creamers (both dairy and non-dairy)

 Mistake # 3.  Over exercising. Thinking you can burn off the weight with cardio.

 Yes exercise is crucial in a weight-loss program. However, it doesn’t work in the way of more cardio you do the more you’ll burn off.  We don’t burn anything in our body. The way adipose tissue/body fat is released from our body is through sweat and our breath[4].

 Exercise does one thing in this process: it builds muscle.  Muscles use 10x the amount of energy than fat cells, which means the more muscle you have the easier it will be use up your glycogen storage to access your fat metabolism. You’ll know you are in at fat metabolizing mode when you have plenty of energy on hand, can skip a meal without feeling hungry, do not get weird food cravings, easily lose body fat, and can workout longer without hitting the “wall.”

 New Strategy:

 Find a way to sweat for a minimum of 20 minutes in an exercise you enjoy doing. If you think of the gym is a cardio machine followed by lifting weights is boredom, find a workout routine you enjoy.  There is yoga,  Zumba, Crossfit, Barre method, bootcamps, etc. The goal is to sweat which is how you know the exercise is working.

Mistake # 4. Not getting enough sleep

 Sleep becomes something we have learned to sacrifice to fit in other priorities in life. The “I’ll sleep when I'm dead” concept is how we falsely trained ourselves to believe that sleep is for the weak.  There are many things to know about sleep. 1. It’s the most active time for cell repair and 2.It’s when we most efficiently metabolize our nutrients. When we allow our bodies to get the appropriate amount of sleep (7-8 hours) to rest and recover.

 We have picked up some pretty damaging sleep habits: looking at your phone before bed will negatively influence your melatonin (natural sleep hormone) and will affect your circadian rhythm.  On the AM side we are jolted out of bed by an alarm to get ready for our day not feeling fully rested. We then tend to ‘fix’ the problem by overly caffeinating ourselves only to repeat the problem.

 New Strategy:

 Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Start small. For a couple of nights experience what it feels like to go to bed without looking at your phone. If you find yourself bored while in bed, use that time to mediate and contemplate the emotion of boredom. Retrain yourself to go to bed without the dependence of looking at a screen.   Work up to going to bed without a screen an hour before your bedtime.

 Whenever you can, avoid using an alarm to wake up, instead allowing yourself to wake up naturally.

 Pro-tip: Ask a question of your sub-conscious before bed and keep a pad & pen to write down any brilliant ideas in the AM.

 Mistake # 5. Being guided by food manufactures for nutritional advice.

 Food manufactures have one job, sell you food. Virtually every food product they sell, they can add at least a little bit of sugar to a product to make it tastier. The “Bliss Point” is a term used for the point at which the product is the perfect desired sweetness, and therefore tastiest it can be before adding any more sugar would make it too sweet. This is why sugar is in 80% of foods on the market, and it’s mostly in foods you wouldn’t expect to have any sweetness to them.

 When we think about, see, or smell foods our brains trigger what is called the Cephalic Phase Insulin Release to prepare you for digesting that food. The sweeter the brain thinks the food will be, the more insulin it stimulates the pancreas to release. This extra insulin can make you feel even hungrier as it will block your leptin signal (natural feeling full hormone). The sight of sweet food on TV commercials, advertisements, store aisles, etc. can make you hungry even though the contents of your stomach have not changed at all.

 New Strategy:

 The good news is that you can deconstruct this programmed response the brain has created. If your normal programming is: see picture of food, buy food, take food out of the package, eat food; then advertisements or food labels in the store can have a real strong effect on you. However if you change your programming to: see real food, check if food is fresh or ripe, cook food, and then eat food, your brain will stop associating colorful packages with eating and it will become much easier to resist well marketed foods.

Mistake # 6. Stressing out over weight loss by setting false expectation. 

 Stress in general will naturally cause us to gain and keep on weight.

It’s the cortisol, which is our body’s stress hormone.  An increase of cortisol has a similar effect as an increase of insulin.  Our bodies shut down non-critical systems in order to handle the extra stress. Do you find yourself waking up at 3 or 4 am every night?  That’s a sign of adrenal fatigue, which means your cortisol levels are off balance.  Carrying around too much cortisol in our bodies will lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, mood swings, anxiety, and depression

 Planning a wedding will be stressful enough.  Adding unrealistic expectations of ‘what you should look like’ is a recipe for disaster.  If you find yourself comparing your body to a bride’s body in the magazine, remember that picture was created by stylists, editors, and professional models, and the photo was likely touched up by Photoshop.  They are not there to give you health tips.

 New Strategy:

Find ways to manage your self-care. The wedding planning process will no doubt be stressful, which makes having a stress management program in place will be important to mitigate any upcoming stressful situation.

According to Self-care expert Gracy Obuchowicz[5]., the first step of self-care is learning to recognize when you are acting from a stress response.  She defines the stress response as those moments when your nervous system is overloading.  You can tell you are stressed when you can’t stop snapping at others, are having catastrophic thoughts or can’t fall asleep at night. After you recognize you are stressed, the first thing to do is stop and relax.  She recommends doing something that feels decadent for 10-60 minutes.  “You can read a trashy magazine, watch a funny youtube video or lay down on the couch with a cool, lavender-scented washcloth over your eyes,” she said.  “It doesn’t matter what it is, just that it feels like self-care to you. Once you start to relax your nervous system, your problems won’t feel so big anymore.”

 Using these self-care methods will naturally lower your cortisol levels and give your body the time to release some excess weight. 

 In my work I discovered that being healthy means 2 things.  First you are actively removing the harm that causes our bodies to hold on to weight, and second you are providing the body with all the essential nutrients it needs to thrive and give us the energy we need to live life.

 I wish you all the joy and happiness on your wedding day and the days that continue into the health of your marriage.

 Sources:

[1] http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2008/01/wedding-day-weight-wishes-lose-more-20-pounds

[2] http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/insulin-and-glucagon#Glucosedisorders4

[3] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/136/12/2957.full

 [4] http://www.livescience.com/49157-how-fat-is-lost-body.html

 [5] http://www.selfcarewithgracy.com

 

Natural Healing

What problem(s) were you facing and how did it make you feel?

For 2 years I could not function at all. I had to just lay still in my bed. No sounds, no light, minimal movements. No energy to read, watch tv- no energy in my body. I was scared and devastated.

What did you discover that started to help?

 I managed to see a holistic doctor who holds a traditional medical degree. He ran some blood tests plus other tests. He explained to me that my body could hardly produce energy on cellular level. I needed lots of specific minerals and vitamins supplements. In addition, he gave me a list of foods with the specific vitamins and minerals in them.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? / How did you feel after these actions?

 I took 32 specific minerals/vitamins pr day for 2 years and followed the recommended food list. Gradually, my body became stronger and it could move more and be a little in upright positions like sitting, standing, walking slowly. It felt FANTASTIC. I've kept changing my diet and my supplements. Today, I eat eco vegetables, fruits, berries and nuts. All my supplements are vegan and organic.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems?

I have experienced that it's possible to heal to a large extent through eating natural live foods. The modern fabricated foods lack nutrition; essential vitamins and minerals which our bodies need to stay healthy and vital.

What is the lesson in your story? We CAN be the CHANGE. We CAN be responsible for CREATING our Health.

Name: Hilde Traaseth

The Truth About Nutrition & Health

What problem(s) were you facing and how did it make you feel? I had a heart attack while doing an early morning cardio workout in December 2009. Symptoms passed in 2-3 hours, Had stents implanted and soon decided learn about better nutrition. Went to a 4-hour session on nutrition for heart attack survivors. The teacher looked unhealthy and she presented mostly information I had heard for the past 40 years. There must be better information out there….

What did you discover that started to help? The first book I read was Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. He lit my fire and I began reading like crazy. I’d been introduced to Weston Price, but now took it seriously. Switched to grassfed meat, dairy and eggs, started drinking raw dairy. Quit 20 years of oatmeal and skim milk for breakfast and switched to bacon and eggs as a heart-healthy breakfast. Also began reading about causes of heart attacks and controversy over taking statin meds to lower LDL. Found the messaging about both conventional nutrition and heart disease to be hugely different when compared to credible independent sources.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? / How did you feel after these actions? Started sharing my “awakening” about the truth about nutrition and heath with others. Produced my first educational session in Reston in April 2011 and have been doing that for the past 5+ years through the Whole Food Nutrition Meetup Group.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems? Start reading and listening to bloggers and podcasters. Be skeptical of their messages. Evaluate their independence and motivations. Join the Weston A. Price Foundation for a year. It costs only $40 ($25 for students and retirees). Think of it as making a donation to a worthy cause, but enjoy its great quarterly journal. It’s tax deductible.

What is the lesson in your story? Chronic disease is best treated by nutrition, other holistic therapies, and lifestyle choices. Go to conventional medicine for acute interventions, like my next heart attack!.

How I Battled Crohn's Disease

What problem(s) were you facing and how did it make you feel? Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease during college. Felt scared and helpless for doctors wanted to treat it with expensive and dangerous drugs indefinitely. Was lead to believe that Crohn's is incurable, something to suffer thru until death do us part.

What did you discover that started to help? Weston A. Price's book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" clearly displays optimal health is achieved thru diet. There is no stronger source of evidence and his work can no longer be reproduced.

Weston A. Price a dentist turned nutritionist from the early 1900's. He analyzed the diets of healthy primitive peoples secluded from modern foods. This work can no longer be produced because isolated primitives no longer exist. When we say healthy we mean these cultures did not have words for disease, stillbirths, miscarriages, mental issues, etc... these conditions were unknown to them. Everyone in these primitive cultures had perfectly straight and cavity free teeth, no brushing or flossing required. 

Imagine a world where this book is mandatory reading in high schools. 

The point of no return for me was in the chapter about the Aztec South American Indians Dr. Price visited. The Aztecs buried their dead by placing their skulls in underground tombs which contained thousands of skulls. Dr. Price went thru a few of them and found that all of them had straight teeth with almost no cavity history. This is when I flushed my meds and fired my doctor.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? / How did you feel after these actions? Immediately felt better being off drugs and eating nourishing foods. A lot of minor health issues such as acne went away and overall felt better with more energy. Crohn's symptoms were greatly reduced.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems? Read these three books:
- Dr. Weston A. Price: Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
- Dr. Pottenger: Pottenger's Cats
- Dr. Edward Howell's: Enzyme Nutrition

Fire your doctor and find a holistic doctor.
Find a nutritionist who has read these books and faced an issue similar to your own.

What is the lesson in your story? When faced with a health issue look to mother nature for the solution. Ask yourself how does nature protect itself from your particular issue.

By: Michael Merrill

Healing Story: From Shaky to Strong

What problem(s) were you facing and how did it make you feel? I was a fitness professional that would start to get shaky mid-workout. It wasn't because I couldn't handle my free weights. It's because I would feel a sudden drop in my blood sugar and start to sweat and shake (which was not part of the work out)! I'd grab a power bar, ingesting it between exercises, and continue teaching my cardio class.

It became clear to me that I simply could not go too long between meals or snacks. I thought I was just one of those people who needed to eat frequently, "grazing" throughout the day. I supposed I was hypoglycemic, but I didn't know why. I never gave a lot of thought to what I ate exactly, though I tried to avoid sugar. My approach to nutrition revolved primarily around the "calories-in, calories-out" philosophy. I figured people could eat anything they wanted as long as they worked it off.

What did you discover that started to help? A dear friend of mine, Lisa, began struggling with chronic fatigue and conventional medicine had no answers for her. Lisa then turned to nutrition. She tried a variety of diets (macrobiotic, vegetarian, etc.) but none gave her relief. But one day, she ran into Sally Fallon Morell, the head of the Weston A. Price Foundation, at a health fair and Lisa thought she was the healthiest person she had ever seen. Sally was glowing with vitality. Lisa then began eating according to the Wise Traditions diet: whole, real foods that were organic and traditionally prepared.
When Lisa began seeing improvement, it gave me pause and I started revisiting what I considered a "healthy" diet. I began introducing whole real foods and swapping out processed food substitutes. I chose butter over margarine, whole raw milk over 2% pasteurized milk, etc.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? / How did you feel after these actions? This diet changed my life. Meals made of real, wholesome, nourishing ingredients satisfied and strengthened me in a way that the "power bars" and pseudo-foods could not. I no longer felt the huge blood sugar drops during my work out. More importantly, I began to feel more grounded, less anxious and flighty. 

I gradually transitioned my whole family to the Wise Traditions diet and we all are the better for it. We eat a variety of meats, fermented foods, vegetables, and sourdough breads. We enjoy the variety and the satisfied, grounded way we feel as we eat this way. My children do not get as sick as their friends do. We are all enjoying the benefits of good health that comes from true nutrition.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems? Examine your moods and attitudes toward life and toward your body. If you find yourself thinking "My job depresses me" or "I'm hangry right now," think about what you're putting into your body and how this may be affecting the whole of you. There is more of a connection between our fuel and how we feel than we may realize.

If the idea of transitioning from conventional, processed foods to a more whole, real food diet overwhelms you, don't do it all at once. Personally, I changed one thing a year. Seriously! One year was the year of butter. The next was "drop the chips."

Switching gradually is still effective and so very freeing in the end!

Anything else you wanted to share? I am such a fan of Wise Traditions that I became a chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation a couple of years ago. I also launched a podcast in January 2016 to help get the word out about the healing power of nutrient-dense foods and an organic, natural lifestyle! Check out the show---Wise Traditions---anywhere you get your podcasts (iTunes, Sticher, etc.)!

By: Hilda Labrada Gore

Healing Story: Bugger I Have Cancer

What problem(s) were you facing? Bowel cancer

What did you discover that started to help? Change of lifestyle starting with my diet. I have changed to a vegan / plant based diet.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? But I have done a lot of research since being diagnosed and also take Vitamin D3 (3000 IU a day), Curcumin capsules (vegan), Vitamin B12 and Cartia. I was diagnosed in 2012 and have my last visit to my specialist in 9 months and, fingers crossed, I will be given a clearance.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems? Diet is vital. Plant based, no processed foods they contain trans fats, aspartame and the list goes on. No red meat, sugary drinks. I walk daily and at 65 I have the ability to walk 10 kilometers which I do once a week.

Anything else you wanted to share?  Please research what you are putting into your bodies, food is our medicine.

By: Victoria Alyce

Healing Story: How Nutritional Therapy Helped Me Lose Weight

What problem(s) were you facing?: Overweight

What did you discover that started to help? I signed up to be a RESTART instructor December 2015, which is a program that takes processed foods and sugars out of your diet. I've implemented it pretty much this last year and have done well.

What happened to you after you started these new actions? I've lost 24 lbs over the last year, since I've cut out most processed foods and added more good fats, proteins and carbs. Fats are key to losing weight.

What wisdom do you want to share for people with similar problems?  Don't let people tell you that fat makes you fat. Eat nutrient dense foods to be more satisfied. Go for quality, not quantity.

By: Angela Reimer

10 Time Saving and Cooking Tips Get More Veggies aka Nutrients in Your Life

1. Buy many kinds of vegetables when you shop to have plenty of choices in the house.

2. Use vegetables that will go badly quickly, such as asparagus first. Save hardier varieties such as acorn squash for later use if you do not shop frequently in a week.

3. Keep vegetables where you can see them. The more often you see them, the more likely you are to eat them.

4. Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

5. Make a big tossed salad with several kinds of greens, cherry tomatoes, cut-up carrots, red pepper, broccoli, scallions, and sprouts. Refrigerate in a large glass bowl with an airtight lid, so a delicious mixed salad will be ready to enjoy for several days.

6. Pack a piece of some cut-up vegetables in your briefcase or backpack.

7. Add vegetables to lunch by having them in soup, in salad, or cut up raw.

8. Increase portions when you serve vegetables. One easy way of doing so is adding fresh greens, such as Swiss chard, collards, or beet greens to stir-fries.

9. Add extra varieties of vegetables when you prepare soups, sauces, and casseroles. For example, add grated carrots and zucchini to spaghetti sauce.

10. Take advantage of salad bars whenever possible. 

Beginners Guide On Reading Nutritional Labels

nutrition-label.jpg

According to the third National Health And Nutritional Examination Survey, which studied the eating habit of 15,000 American adults, one third of the average diet in this country is made up of unhealthy foods, including potato chips, crackers, salted snack foods, candy, gum, fried fast food, and soft drinks. These items offer little in terms of protein, vitamins, or minerals What they do have is lots of “empty calories” in the form of sugar and fat.  For those looking to live a healthier lifestyle, you will need to educate yourselves to choose wisely. . 

The 4 ways to read the labels: 

1. Top 3 Ingredients: If sugar, fat, or salt is one of the first three ingredients listed, means your taste buds are being hijacked and your health is going to pay the price.

2. Hidden Words. Be aware that certain words appearing on the label, such as sucrose, glucose, maltose, lactose, fructose, corn syrup, white grape concentrate, or evaporated cane juice, mean that sugar has been added

3. Partially hydrogenated oil = Trans fats. The FDA allows manufacturers to say that their product contains zero trans fats in the nutrition information, if that amount of trans fat is less than 0.5 grams.

4. Find Fiber. If a snack doesn’t provide at least 2 grams of fiber, it’s not a good choice.

 

6 Therapeutic Foods for Blood Sugar Detox

According to the US Candy Consumption & Halloween Spending the average American consumes 3.4 pounds of candy over Halloween. That’s a lot of excess glucose. More than our bodies are designed to handle. There is hope for those looking to detox all that extra sugar.

Step 1: Remove the harm. Put down that bite-sized candy bar.

 Step 2: Add the helpers. 6 therapeutic foods designed to ease the sugar crash   

Asparagus: Contains high levels of potassium which is essential for the conversion of blood sugar into glycogen.

 Brewer’s Yeast: Contain high levels of chromium which functions in a critical enzyme system involved in blood sugar regulation called the glucose tolerance factor.

Cinnamon: Acts as an insulin substitute. The active component in cinnamon responsible for its insulin-like activity is a water-soluble chemical compound called methylhydroxychalcone polymer, or MHCP. Not only does it increase the uptake of glucose by cells, but it also stimulates glycogen synthesis.

Eggs: Contain high levels of B3 (Niacin) for carbohydrate metabolism and adrenal hormone creation.

Kombucha: Contains B6 (Pyridoxine) which is involved in the creation of body proteins and chemical transmitters as well as maintaining hormonal balance.

Turmeric: Contains curcumin which switches on liver genes that keep glucose levels in check, improves the pancreas’s ability to make insulin and helps to slow down the metabolism of carbohydrates after meals.

Power of the Pumpkin

October is the season for pumpkins. For most people this means flavored pumpkin latte’s, carving jack-o-lanterns, and pumpkin pie recipes. If you want more nutritional value from your pumpkin you will need to learn how to properly pick one for consumption and then you can count on the health benefits.

Here is a 5-step process to pick a perfect pumpkin for consumption:

 Step 1: Avoid the big pumpkins. There are breed for size not flavor. Look for sugar pumpkins or the pie pumpkin variety.

Step 2: Check the stem. The greener the stems the fresher it is. Chances are you won’t find a green stem at a grocery store but hints of green are better than nothing.

Note: Never lift a pumpkin from its steam. The steam can pull on the weak parts of the pumpkin leaving an open wound.

Step 3: Choose a pumpkin that is a consistent color throughout.

Step 4: Turn it over and feel around for any soft spots. Pumpkins should be firm.

Step 5: Once you pick a good pumpkin store in a cool & dry place. To prolong the pumpkin’s life wash it and rub it with coconut oil.

 Top 3 Nutritional Health Benefits of Pumpkins:

1. Pumpkins keep our eyes sharp. 

Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give them their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A. A cup of cooked pumpkin contains more than 200 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

 2. Loads of fiber leaving you satiated.

 Pumpkin is an often-overlooked source of fiber, but with three grams per one-cup serving and only 49 calories, it can keep you feeling full for longer on fewer calories. A fiber-rich diet helps people eat less, and thereby shed pounds.

 3.  Packs in more potassium than bananas.

 Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. A cup of cooked pumpkin has more of the refueling nutrient potassium, with 564 milligrams to a banana’s 422.  A little extra potassium helps restore the body’s balance of electrolytes after a heavy workout and keeps muscles functioning at their best. 

The Vitamins In Traditional Diets That Nutritional Science Discovered.

Vitamin A: Traditional diets contained ten times more vitamin A than the typical modern American diet.  Vitamin A helps detoxification, strengthens the immune system and is essential for mineral metabolism and endocrine function. True vitamin A is found only in animal foods such as cod liver oil, fish, shellfish, liver, butter and egg yolks from pasture-fed animals.  Vegetables like carrots and red peppers are not adequate food sources of vitamin A. The beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables is not the same thing as vitamin A.  Beta-carotene is the precursor (inactive form) of retinol, the active form of vitamin A. While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, only 3% gets converted in a healthy adult.  

 Vitamin B6: Deficiencies are associated with cancer. Contributes to the function of over 100 enzymes. Most available from raw animal foods.

Vitamin C: An important antioxidant that prevents damage by free radicals. Found in many fruits and vegetables but also in certain organ meats valued by primitive people.

 Vitamin D: Required for mineral absorption. Strongly protective against breast and colon cancer. Found only in animal foods such as cod liver oil, lard, shellfish and butterfat, organ meats and egg yolks from grass-fed animals. Traditional diets contained 10 times more vitamin D than the typical modern American diet. 

Vitamin E: Works as an antioxidant at the cellular level. Found in unprocessed oils as well as in animal fats like butter and egg yolks. 

Weight Loss Is More Than Calorie Restriction

“During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. In 2009, only Colorado and the District of Columbia has a prevalence of obesity less than 20%.” - CDC U.S. Obesity Trends by State 1985-2009

Weight gain is not the problem it is another symptom of poor health. It is the outward manifestation of imbalances within the body. The secret to stay thin is no different than the secret to stay healthy. We need to correct the imbalances within our body.

5 Ways To Think About Weight Loss:

1. Food: Properly prepared nutrient dense meals provides adequate caloric intake.

Action: Count nutrients not calories.

2.  Digestion: Proper stomach pH is needed for micronutrient absorption.

Action: Chew your food for 30+ seconds before swallowing.

3.  Blood Sugar Balance: High glycemic foods will increase your insulin level leading to increased fat storage.

Action: Cut your sugar consumption in 1 / 2.

4. Essential Fatty Acids: Healthy fats in the diet provides satiation thereby reducing the overall caloric intake.

Action: Use coconut and/or olive oil as a topping on your meals

5. Hydration: The body can confuse thirst for hunger.

Action: Drink 1 / 2 your body weight in ounces of water

3 Free Ways To Detoxify Your Body

According to Scorecard, the web's most popular resource for information about pollution problems and toxic chemicals, over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released by the chemical industry into the nation's environment each year, including 72 million pounds of recognized carcinogens.

A toxin is basically any substance that creates irritating and/or harmful effects in the body. Toxins come from external sources such as air pollution, and internal sources such as cellular wasters. Toxicity can occur from the side effects of drugs, or from patterns of physiology that are different from our usual functioning.

Most drugs, food additives, and allergens can create toxic elements in the body.

A normal functioning body is able to handle certain levels of toxins. The concern is with excess intake of toxins, and a reduction in the process in our ability for elimination. There are many things we can do to help our body release toxins in our system. When our body eliminates much of its toxic buildup, we feel lighter and are able to truly experience the moment, allowing ourselves to be open for the future.

Here are 3 simple and free ways to help your body detoxify naturally:

1.  Drink More Water To Detoxify Through The Kidneys:

Toxins that are properly bound and ready for elimination exit the body through  feces or through the kidneys as urine. The primary role of the kidneys is to filter the blood to remove cellular wastes such as some water and bile pigments.

Action:  Drink ½ your body weight in water.

2.  Sweat More To Detoxify Through The Skin:

The sweat glands of the skin act like a second kidney and are one of the body’s avenues of elimination. The surface area of the skin of an average adult female/male covers 16-21 square feet, making sweat therapy a very effective way to remove toxins from the body.

Action:  20 minutes of high intensity training or 20 minutes in a sauna.

3.  Breathe More To Detoxify Through the Lungs:

The lungs eliminate a variety of waste products, particularly carbon dioxide. Respiratory rate is a major mechanism of pH control.

Action:  For 10 minutes, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, breathe out through your mouth for 6 seconds.

Are You a Sugar Burner or a Fat Burner?

Our metabolisms are designed primarily to be fueled by fat. Fat burning, using fat for energy, is the normal and preferred metabolic state of the human body. However, due to the overconsumption of highly processed and sugary food, we have switched into using glucose for our energy and have become sugar burners. There is a big difference in how we feel when we burn sugar for fuel verse burning fat for fuel.

Here are the 5 ways to tell if you are a sugar burner or a fat burner:

Sugar Burning Metabolizers:

  1. Still hungry after a meal
  2. Constantly feel hunger
  3. If you skip a meal you get “hangry”
  4. Crave carbohydrates / sweets
  5. Find it difficult in burning fat for weight loss

Fat Burning Metabolizers:

  1. Have plenty of energy on hand
  2. Can skip a meal without feeling hungry
  3. Do not get weird food cravings
  4. Easily lose body fat
  5. Can workout longer without feeling the “bonk”

5 tips to get your body into a fat burning state:

  1. Avoid all processed or packaged foods
  2. Eat a small amount of raw soaked nuts or nut butter combined with some raw veggies in between meals  to stabilize your energy.
  3. Eat organic foods to avoid excess toxins.   
  4. Eat only whole foods found in nature especially anything green. 
  5. Include some raw vegetables every day. 

One Common Health Myth That We Share...

One of the most common health myths people have is that heartburn occurs when you have too much stomach acid, when in fact it’s when you have too little. When it’s too low, the carbohydrates begin to ferment, the fats turn rancid, and the proteins putrefy. The result is off-gassing leading to burping and acid backsplash associated with acid reflux. We develop our low stomach acid from poor diet, low water intake, and excessive intake of antacids. The major consequence is poor digestion. This means even if we eat the most nutrient-dense dish with ALL the vitamins and we don’t produce enough stomach acid, we are unable to break down the food’s nutrients. The food simply passes through without getting absorbed.  

There is a natural 2-step way to find out if you are producing enough stomach acid and then to subsequently improve your digestion.

Step # 1: Swallow 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and wait. If you start to experience burning in your chest and throat (similar to taking a vodka shot), it’s a sign you have too much stomach acid!  If nothing happens, it’s a sign that you actually could have low stomach acid levels. However, if you’re right in the middle and only feel a slight irritation, then you’re good to go.

Step # 2: If you discovered you have low stomach acid, all you have to do is continue consuming apple cider vinegar until you pass the stomach acid test. Start with just 1 tablespoon a day. If you continue to feel the burning sensations, you can increase the amount slowly. Additionally, try to be more careful about chewing your food completely. Another good practice is to take the time to smell your food before you start eating. This gets your digestive system ready to go!

Bon Appetite!

 

5 Hacks To Break Your Sugar Addiction

If there is a war on sugar then consider me a foot soldier. Sugar addiction is a real thing.

Chances are you’re addicted and don’t even realize it. Don’t believe me? Try avoiding sugar for 2 days and notice how many times you will justify it’s okay to eat something sweet.

 The biggest challenge with sugar addiction vs. other addictions is that sugar is everywhere. It takes a high level of focus and determination to give it up and remove it from our diet.

Here are my top 5 hacks to break free from sugar addiction:

1.     Eat 3 meals a day with a focus on healthy fats: egg yolks, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, grass-fed beef, and wild caught fish.

2.     If you feel hungry, eat something with fat like nuts, cheese, avocado, and sardines.

3.     Keep yourself well hydrated. Sip water throughout the day. 

4.     Go to the grocery store with a full stomach. Shopping while hungry causes us to make poor choices because our brain is looking for quick fuel, like sugar.

5.     Breath through the temptation. Review your justifications that want you to have something sweet and anchor yourself to your health goals.

After you break your sugar addiction, your food will taste better, your skin will glow, your energy will increase and your sleep will improve. Then when you approach sugar it becomes more of a choice verse and an automatic response. 

3 Lessons I Wish I Knew Before I Quit My Job and Turned My Passion Into A Business

When we don’t like our jobs, dread our commute, and dislike our co-workers, it’s easy to fantasy about an alternative life. Before taking that leap there is a lot to consider. For all you aspiring entrepreneurs these are the 3 lessons I wish I knew before turning my passion into my business.

 Lesson #1: Your friends job is to be your friend, not be the only people you sell & market to.

 Our friends job is to listen to our ideas, share thoughts, lend support, and give encouragement. There will be occasions when skilled friends offer their talents to help, and for those people be entirely grateful. If you become that person who pesters everyone to buy, you’ll quickly cash in all your relationship capital. Remember the value of a friendship is greater than the value of your product or service.

 Lesson # 2: Having a passion is easy…running a business is hard.

 If I could spend 99% of my time teaching, educating, and inspiring people the value of how food can heal and optimize their health I’d be in hog heaven. (Organic, sustainably raised and humanely treated hog heaven of course)

 However that’s not how it works. When we start out, we have marketing campaigns to implement, blog posts to write, clients to service, and the 100 + other duties to do. It’s all the things you didn’t know about running a business that overwhelms most people. Spoiler alert: It is a lot and not glamorous. 

 Lesson # 3: Hard work takes on a brand new meaning.

There is difference between W2 hard / Passion hard. When you are a W2 employee you work hard, when it’s your passion you work 10x harder. You’ll have a task list longer than you can possibly manage and feel constantly stressed, overworked, and burned out. The good news is that you learn along the way. You figure out how to relieve your stress, become efficient with your time, and burning out = hustling.

 At the end of the day, ”Is it worth it?”

 In short, the answer is yes. Starting a business based on your passions is like having children. You fantasy about the dream life, only to wake up in a world of crying, yelling, and screaming. Worse is all your time, money, and energy is going away with no signs of return. And then you get a note from a client saying how you changed their life or a message from a business owner raving about your service.  It’s those moments that remind why you got started, makes it worth it, and keeps you going.

 For anyone thinking about starting your dream business know these 3 things.

It’ll be more work than you could ever think possible, you’ll probably cry in frustration, and you’ll doubt yourself & beliefs. After you have overcome these challenges you will learn: 

  1. You are capable of more than you think.
  2. Frustration is only 1 of 1,000 + emotions you’ll experience.
  3. You’ll gain confidence and new beliefs that make you believe, I CAN DO THIS!

 The cliché is true. If you are going to follow your dreams and start a business make sure you are passionate about it because passion is all that you will have in the beginning.