Candice Csaky, INHHC

Magnesium 101: What You Really Need to Know

 

Magnesium is one of those nutrients we tend to hear about from time to time and which tends to cause a lot of confusion for a lot of people.  So today, I am going to try to clear things up and make choosing the right magnesium for you a little bit easier.

 

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies. Moreover, it’s the fourth most abundant mineral that we have and yet, some studies say that up to 68% of adults don’t get enough magnesium in accordance with the recommended daily intake (RDI). Magnesium is a necessary cofactor for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including making DNA.  These chemical reactions help to build muscles, maintain nerve functions, promote a healthy, heart, sustain optimal immune system function and support our endocrine system. 

 

Magnesium helps lower our stress levels. In fact, magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Serotonin, which is a natural mood stabilizer found mostly in our digestive system, requires magnesium for its production. Therefore, it is recommended that we take magnesium to help manage our stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. In turn, a magnesium deficiency can affect our stress level and emotional state.

 

Magnesium is used in hospitals and given to patients intravenously who are having heart palpitations – the magnesium helps slow down their heart rate.

 

Magnesium helps maintain our brain function by relaying signals between our body and our brain. It prevents overstimulation of nerve cells, which could result in brain damage.

 

Magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions – it's opposite to calcium to help our muscles relax. Magnesium is commonly recommended for treating muscle cramps.

 

Magnesium has also been linked to helping reduce the risk of many diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Several studies have shown that migraine headaches are associated with low levels of magnesium.

 

So what are the symptoms of magnesium deficiency? It might seem obvious now that you know a bit more about how the body uses magnesium but let's take a deeper look below; 

 

  • This might seem the most obvious but muscle pain, cramps, and spasms from feet cramps to chest pain (due to spasms in your heart muscle), and even restless leg syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Feeling constantly fatigued or weak
  • Depression, anxiety, and edginess
  • Craving chocolate (cacao is high in magnesium)
  • Quick exhaustion during exercise
  • Insomnia and mid-night waking
     

When it comes to Magnesium and hormones, magnesium plays a huge role in;

  • Improving thyroid function
  • Supporting estrogen detoxification of harmful metabolites
  • Lowering blood sugar levels
  • Lowering adrenalin and cortisol
  • Supporting testosterone production
  • Increasing serotonin
  • Increasing DHEA

 

So while I prefer that my clients get the majority of the nutrients from whole foods, I also know that our food is becoming deficient in minerals with the ongoing practice of conventional farming and heavy pesticide use.  Supplementation is becoming more and more necessary to meet our needs and not all supplements are made the same. Magnesium is no different. 

 

There are so many forms of magnesium that it's easy to see why people get so confused on this. 

 

  • Bisglycinate
  • Citrate
  • Malate
  • Threonate
  • Oxide
  • Chloride
  • Carbonate

 

My number 1 choice and most recommended form of magnesium is Magnesium Bisglycinate (also known as magnesium chelate, magnesium diglycinate, magnesium glycinate).  It is a highly absorbable (about 80%)  chelated form and what I take every day.  On days where my stress levels are high, I may even double up to give my body and adrenals additional support. 

 

“Chelated” forms of a mineral mean that an amino acid has been attached to them making them a very stable form of magnesium that is less likely to cause gastrointestinal symptoms and reduces the laxative effect.  It also helps with PMS, fibrocystic breasts, sleep, anxiety, cravings, pains, and cramps.

 

Magnesium Citrate is another chelated type of magnesium bound to citric acid. This form of magnesium is about 30% bioavailable, but it pulls water into the bowels giving it more of a laxative effect, which may be great for you if you are struggling with chronic constipation.

 

Magnesium malate is a type of magnesium bound to malic acid. For those having issues with energy production, a magnesium malate supplement may be effective for helping with chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia. Now if you are struggling with sleep, this form may be too stimulation and can actually disrupt your sleep, especially when taking at night! 

 

Magnesium threonate is a form of magnesium chelated to threonic acid, a metabolite of vitamin C. This form of magnesium in comparison to others was created to cross the blood-brain barrier – it may, therefore, improve learning and memory functions and maybe be especially beneficial for age-related cognitive decline.

 

Magnesium oxide contains a lot of magnesium by weight but has a bioavailability of only 4%. This form is found in many magnesium supplements and should be avoided. 

 

Magnesium chloride is a form of magnesium for topical use. The skin is a great way to increase magnesium levels and bypass using the gut – this is especially beneficial for people with IBS, IBD (or leaky gut) who suffer from malabsorption of nutrients.

 

Magnesium Carbonate, also called magnesite, is used as a remedy for heartburn and upset stomach.  Its bioavailability is about 30% when taken internally.  It has a strong laxative effect when taken in high amounts.   

 

So how much magnesium should we be consuming on a daily basis to keep our body functioning as it should?

 

Adult men should consume 420 mg/day, while adult women should consume 320 mg/day.

 

Some of my favourite magnesium-rich natural food sources are; 

 

  • Pumpkin seeds (check out the recipe below for making Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter)
  • Raw almonds and cashews (raw nuts are better than roasted nuts – roasted nuts lose
  • magnesium during the roasting process)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Black beans, peas, and soybeans
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach)
  • Whole grains (oat bran)
  • Herbs (coriander, chives, dill, sage)
     

The easiest (and yummiest) way of getting in your daily magnesium - is to include plenty of food sources high in this multi-tasking mineral, such as creamy pumpkin seed butters!

 

RECIPE:

 

Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter

bowl-food-seeds-1080071_copy

 

 

Ingredients:

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

1-2 tsp. olive oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
Cool for 15-20 minutes.
Put the pumpkin seeds in a food processor.
Run the food processor for approximately 4-5 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds begin to have the texture of butter. If necessary, stop the food processor and scrape the sides.
Continue running the food processor for another 2-5 minutes until the pumpkin seeds have the texture of butter. Add some of the oil, as needed, until the desired consistency is obtained.
 
REFERENCES:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do

http://www.magnesium.ca/

 

 

 

 

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Sleep and Your Gut Bacteria

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Circadian rhythms are patterns of brainwave activity, hormones, cell regeneration and biological activities that occur on a daily basis. And sleeping well at the right time each day is essential to keeping the circadian rhythms functioning properly so we function properly, too.

 

The fact that our microbes are actually the regulators of this function and that our sleeps patterns are an issue for our microbes should not surprise us. They need us to rest so they can do their thing while we sleep and keep their balance as it should be.

 

There is also more news you might be interested in. Not having the right microbes may be lowering your metabolic rate while you sleep and this can lead to weight gain. This is based on a mouse study at UI Carver College of Medicine which found that mice given a drug that lowers beneficial bacteria, had a lower metabolic rate both when resting and when asleep, causing them to gain weight.

 

So what should you do? Should you work on sleeping better to help the microbes or should you work on your gut health to help you sleep better? The answer is to do both. There are number of strategies that can help.

 

To help reset your circadian rhythm:

 

  • Go to bed at a set time and get up at the same time as much as possible
  • Avoid bright lights near bedtime
  • Avoid eating or exercising close to bedtime
  • Sleep in dark space – light tricks the body into thinking it is time to be awake.
  • Develop a relaxing routine before bed whether it is taking a bed, deep breathing exercises or having a nice cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or valerian.

 

For those who have irregular work and therefore, sleep schedules, consider talking to a practitioner about taking melatonin.

 

Diet also plays a role. In another mouse study, both high fat and low fat diets played a negative role in the function of circadian rhythms and they also altered the microbiome. Short-chain fatty acid production was lower, especially butyrate which is essential for circadian rhythm function.  Butyrate is produced by beneficial colon bacteria from resistant starch found in complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, wheat, rice, legumes and sweet potatoes.

 

To improve gut health:

 

  • Eat prebiotic foods, especially those with resistant starch
  • Take probiotics which can help melatonin levels which, in turn, help restore circadian rhythms.
  • Butyrate supplements are available if you are unsure as to how well you are producing it, or you can add in foods that are high in butyrate. To get butyrate from foods, you can either eat grass fed butter, or eat a lot of vegetables for the fiber, or double up for the most delicious route: a big pile of vegetables slathered in plenty of butter. 

 

Sleep is one more example of the potential problems caused by dysbiosis and why we should be focused on improving our gut health.

 

References

 

Circadian Disorganization Alters Intestinal Microbiota, Robin M. Voigt,1 et al, PLoS One. 2014; 9(5): e97500.

 

Effects of diurnal variation of gut microbes and high-fat feeding on host circadian clock function and metabolism. Leone V1, et al, Cell Host Microbe. 2015 May 13;17(5):681-9.

 

Melatonin regulation as a possible mechanism for probiotic (VSL#3) in irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized double-blinded placebo study, Wong RK1 et al, Dig Dis Sci. 2015 Jan;60(1):186-94.

 

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Four Tips To Help Balance Hormones


Balancing hormones is complicated. But you have to start somewhere and there are three things you can do to help which can give you a good idea as to how much work you have to do.

 

Tip #1

 

Lower Stress:  When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

 

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

 

The key is to support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practising meditation or deep breathing helps lower cortisol.

 

Tip # 2

 

Support the Liver:  Excess hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore is critical. Milk thistle tea or a whole foods milk thistle supplement helps the liver function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.

 

 

Tip # 3

 

Support the Gut:  We also need good gut health to help make sure that excess hormones and toxins leave the body, so supporting gut health is also important. This is easier said than done but it starts with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, wheat, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy.

 

Tip #4

 

Balance Blood Sugar:  Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or a beer. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

 

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose since adrenaline is a powerful hormone. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

 

To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

 

These are just four simple steps that you can add in to support more balanced hormones. Give them a try and see the difference they can make.

 

If you are looking for more support in hormone rebalancing, book your free discovery call with  Integrative Nutrition Holistic Health Coach, Candice Csaky today and find out how you can start feeling energized and sexy in your body again!  

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Essential Oils 101: All the Basics You Need to Know!


The power of essential oils (EO’s) is real - have YOU made them part of your everyday life yet?

 

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We’re going to lay out all of the basics so you can get on this one bandwagon that’s here for the long haul. And when you learn about the history of EO’s, you’ll know that they’re not even new. In fact, EO’s have been around for centuries!

 

Some essential oils come from seeds while many others are extracted from the leaves of the plant. Because EO’s are so highly concentrated, it takes a tremendous amount of plant to produce just one ounce of oil.

 

Due to this level of concentration, essential oils are incredibly powerful, so a little bit goes a long way!

Some “essential” terms you should know:


AROMATIC

Essential oils are basically the natural aromatic compounds extracted from seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. Diffusion is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the aromatic benefits of essential oils.

 

CARRIER OIL

This refers to a lipid- or fat-based liquid used to dilute EO’s. Olive, coconut, almond, jojoba and argan oils are the most common ones.

 

DISTILLATION

The process of extracting essential oil from plant material.

 

Steam distillation is the most common distillation method that uses low-heat pressurized steam to circulate through plant parts and extract oils.

 

Cold press distillation uses a mechanical press to squeeze essential oils from plant parts, and is the most commonly used method for obtaining citrus oils - a classic ingredient in DIY household cleaning products. This is to preserve their aromatic bounty!

 

Historic Essential Oils


Despite being suddenly catapulted into popularity, essential oils are not a new thing.

 

The ancient Egyptians were among the first to use aromatic essential oils for daily life, and pure EO’s were prized and saved for priests and royals. Other ancient societies, such as those in China, Greece and Rome used EO’s for aromatherapy, illness, and personal hygiene.

 

Essential oil starter kit:


Are you a newbie to EO’s?

 

Here are 4 of the most popular ones to try first, and a few suggested uses. They make great staples in your medicine cabinet too!

 

TEA TREE OIL (Melaleuca): Soothing, cleansing & healing

 

●     Combine 1–2 drops with your preferred facial cleanser (or moisturizer) for added cleansing properties

●     Mix 1-2 drops with pure aloe vera gel and apply to skin after shaving

●     Use diluted with water and/or vinegar as a surface cleaner - see recipe!

●     Add a few drops to shampoo and massage into the scalp - use in your conditioner too

●     Add a drop to toothpaste or swish with water for a quick and easy mouth rinse - but do not swallow or ingest

 

LAVENDER: Soothing & calming

 

●     Add a few drops to your pillow or bottoms of your feet for a restful night’s sleep - or use in a diffuser near your bed

●     Apply topically to help heal pimples, skin inflammation and irritation - be sure to test a drop on your skin to test for sensitivity; dilution may be required

●     Soak away stress! Add a few drops to a warm bath

 

LEMON: Cleansing, revitalizing & uplifting

 

●     Use to remove gum, glue, or any other sticky residues from surfaces

●     Use in a diffuser to purify the air, creating an uplifting & refreshing aroma

●     Add to a spray bottle full of water to clean tables, countertops, and other surfaces - recipe!

 

PEPPERMINT: Cooling & energizing

 

●     Apply a few drops directly to the skin of the back of your neck to cool off

●     For a refreshing aroma, diffuse at night by your bedside

●     Feeling tense? Rub on head and neck for a soothing, calming sensation

●     Add to shampoo or conditioner for a stimulating & invigorating scalp massage

●     Use as a natural bug repellent

 

Other popular ones for beginners are essentials oils of frankincense, clove, eucalyptus, clary sage, sweet orange, grapefruit, and rosemary.

 

Applications, skin sensitivity & ingestion


Essential oils can be used topically, which means you can apply them directly on the skin, mix them with carrier oils or mix with other personal care products.

 

DILUTE — A category of essential oils that should be mixed with a carrier oil. The carrier oil will help transport the EO’s onto the skin.

 

NEAT — A category of essential oils that can be applied topically without dilution because of a chemistry that is considered mild.

 

INGESTION— While there may be indication for internal ingestion of EO’s for therapeutic purposes, many of the ailments that we experience do not need such a heavy dose internally and may be more effectively addressed through inhalation (diffusers, personal inhalers, etc.) or topical application (salves, massage oils, baths, etc.). Personally I do not recommend essential oils for internal ingestion on a regular basis.  Be sure to consult a professional aromatherapist before ingesting essential oils. Always make informed choices and do your own research when choosing to use EO’s.

 

Essential oils are incredibly powerful and serve many purposes for the home, and in daily health routines. With some basic knowledge, and having a few high-quality oils on hand, you can DIY dozens of homemade products, and enjoy many therapeutic benefits.

 


RECIPE

 

Natural All-Purpose Household Cleaner

 

Ingredients:

●     ½ cup plain white vinegar

●     2 Tb baking soda

●     10-15 drops tea tree, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus &/or rosemary essential oil (or any combo of these) for their disinfectant properties

 

Preparation:

 

In a clean 12-ounce spray bottle (glass is best), mix the vinegar, essential oils and a splash of water before adding baking soda *important*.

 

Then fill to top of bottle with water, and gently shake to mix ingredients. Then spray area, wipe with a clean cloth, and allow it to dry. Dirty areas are now clean and disinfected!


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why Does Every Nutrition Pro Tell Me To “Heal My Leaky Gut” -- How Can It Be Leaking?!


There’s A LOT of talk in the health world about gut health these days. You’ve probably even heard that the key to reversing a whole host of health issues, ranging from skin issues to serious autoimmune conditions, starts with healing your so-called leaky gut. 

 

After all, Hippocrates is famously credited with stating that “all disease begins in the gut”.

 

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.

 

But what the heck is a “leaky gut” – and how do I know if mine is actually leaking? (Eww!)


This refers to damage and/or thinning of the lining of the small intestine (aka, your gut). Your small intestine acts as the barrier between the outside world and the rest of your body – a pretty important job!

 

The small intestine is also where partially digested food from the stomach (and anything else you take in from the outside world, like medications and supplements) is further broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is then carried for use throughout the rest of the body.

 

If your intestinal wall is damaged, thinned, or has gaps in it – known as impaired intestinal permeability, the breakdown and absorption of the food you eat is also impaired.  I recently spoke with a client who shared with me about the high dose vitamins he had been taking for years, and yet his blood test results showed that he continued to be deficient in these vitamins.  This is exactly one reason why you might see a vitamin deficiency, even when you are religiously taking your daily dose of vitamins. 

 

Partially digested compounds, bacteria, and chemicals that shouldn’t be absorbed can quite literally “leak” across the intestinal membrane and into your bloodstream.

 

The immune system then kicks into action, reacting to these foreign substances that have crossed the intestine as dangerous intruders.

 

It is believed that this immune response (from leaky gut) may be the underlying cause of other diseases, like:


 

  • Systemic inflammation
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Food allergies and intolerances
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Skin conditions like eczema

 

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.

 

Contributors to leaky gut include:

 

  • Excessive intake of calories, unhealthy fats, refined grains, sugars, and alcohol, which promote inflammation and digestive trouble.
  • The use of antibiotics and NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen). These can disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and cause damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal system, respectively, if used frequently.
  • Disturbances in the gut microbiome. Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine in relation to the good, healthy bacteria (your gut flora) that help digest your food.
  • Chronic stress, which can also cause inflammation throughout the body, including your gut.

 

Most healthcare professionals don’t recognize leaky gut as a real diagnosis and there isn’t a standard test to determine if you are suffering from it.

 

Whether the claims about leaky gut are true or not, gut health is something to consider when it comes to your overall health.

 

If you’re experiencing digestive woes, like bloating and irregularity, it’s possible your gut health and digestion may be impaired and that your gut is, in fact, in need of healing.

 

Good habits to support a healthy intestinal environment and properly functioning gut include:

 

  • Eat whole, minimally processed foods with a focus on fibre-rich plant foods.
  • Include fermented foods, like raw sauerkraut or kimchi, naturally cultured yogurt & kefir (unsweetened), or kombucha, which contain good-for-your-gut bacteria.
  • Sip bone broth or take a collagen supplement. Collagen is thought to help rebuild and restore the gut lining.
  • Take an omega-3 supplement or include 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week to help combat inflammation.
  • Take a daily probiotic supplement to support your gut microbiome.
  • Find natural alternatives to pain relief, like essential oils or meditation, instead of relying on over-the-counter NSAID’s which are known to damage the lining of the gut and cause digestive issues.

 


RECIPE

 

Gut Soothing Banana Berry Smoothie

 

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Ingredients

 

-       1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk

-       ½ cup kefir (or plain, unsweetened whole milk, naturally cultured yogurt)

-       1 banana

-       1 cup berries, any kind

-       1/4 tsp fresh rosemary 

-       1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flax

-       1 scoop collagen powder

 

Preparation

 

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency reached.
Blend in a few ice cubes if you prefer a cold, frosty smoothie OR use frozen fruit.
 


REFERENCES

 

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2009: Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis

 

BMC Gastroenterology 2014: Intestinal Permeability - A New Target For Disease Prevention & Therapy

 

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? (An Unbiased Look)

 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

HFLC (High-Fat Low-Carb) vs. the Ketogenic Diet - What’s The Difference?


It may seem like everywhere you turn the ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is being hailed as a miracle diet for weight loss and increased energy levels.

 

Keto is the “it” diet of the moment, but before you decide to jump on the bandwagon yourself, let’s take a look at what this diet is all about.

 

Keto is an extremely low-carbohydrate diet that replaces carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein and large quantities of healthy fats. The keto diet was originally developed to help manage seizures in children – really!

 

Anyone can eat fewer carbs and more fat, but doing so doesn’t necessarily mean you’re following a true ketogenic diet. Keto is one example of a low-carb diet, but not all low-carb diets are ketogenic.

           

The truth is, there’s a lot of confusion around what constitutes an actual ketogenic diet vs. a high-fat low-carb (HFLC) diet.

 

Both diets begin with reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake. So, what’s the difference?

 

It all boils down to ketosis - a metabolic state where your body uses fat instead of glucose as its main source of energy.

 

Ketosis is the main goal of a ketogenic diet. Your body prefers glucose as fuel, so the slightest change in daily carbohydrates or protein (yep, the body can make glucose out of protein when there’s enough of it) can shift the body out of ketosis and back to running on glucose.

 

The exact breakdown of macronutrients needed to keep your body in ketosis varies from person to person because we each have unique metabolisms.

 

The only way to know whether you’re in ketosis is to monitor your body’s ketone levels (via urine or blood testing strips). If you’re trying keto but not tracking your macronutrient intake and ketone levels, you’re probably following more of a HFLC diet.

 

A HFLC diet is less strict and focuses more on eliminating unhealthy carbohydrate sources, like refined grains and sugary foods, and including more whole foods, including healthy fats, moderate amounts of protein, some whole grains and fruit, and vegetables.

 

Here’s a run-down of the main differences between ketogenic and HFLC diets:


Ketogenic

○     Main goal - induce ketosis

○     Primary fuel source is fatty acids and ketone bodies from fat

○     Requires strict breakdown of macronutrients to maintain ketosis

○     Very little carbohydrate – usually 5-10% of total calorie needs

○     Moderate amounts of protein – about 20% of total calorie needs and NOT a free for all!

○      Lots of healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, olives, coconut, oils, and grass-fed butter and meats) – about 70% of total calorie needs

 

HFLC - high-fat low-carb

○     Main goal - reduce carbohydrate intake, but not necessarily induce ketosis

○     Primary fuel source is usually glucose from carbs and/or protein

○     No precise breakdown of macronutrients – less strict and many variations

○     Typically includes moderate amounts of carbohydrates and protein

○     Carbohydrate sources shift from refined and starchy, like pasta and sweets, to complex, like sweet potatoes

 

Whether you choose to follow a HFLC diet or the more rigid ketogenic diet, decreasing carbohydrate intake and increasing fat intake are linked to the following health benefits:

 

●     Weight loss

●     Improved blood sugar and insulin levels

●     Decreased blood pressure

●     Improved HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio

 

Our own clients are seeing phenomenal results in our brand ProEdge Program.  This program is customized for my clients based on their health goals and can be either HFLC or Keto based.  The preliminary results from our last group program are in and they are blowing everyone away! 

 

I've personally been following a keto way of eating during this challenge and I am back into jeans that I haven't worn in 4 years!  The results have been astounding!

 

Of the 600 respondents following our healthy HFLC program, 85.38% lost weight and 76.04% said they broke a plateau in the first week! 

 

The results have been so amazing that everyone is asking us to keep this group open and run another 30 challenge post Thanksgiving that will end right before Christmas. If you are looking for some accountability and a way to release weight or maintain your health over the holidays, this is totally for you!  You can register for the ProEdge Challenge today and get your ProEdge products here.

 

So, what do you think - are YOU ready for the HFLC and/or keto life? Perhaps just a taste of a great HFLC- and keto-friendly recipe? Try a spin on an old classic!


RECIPE

 

Avocado Egg Salad

 

AvocadoEggSaladRecipe-3_copy

 

Ingredients

 

4 large eggs, free range

1 medium avocado

2 tbsp real mayonnaise

1 tbsp each fresh dill and chives, finely chopped

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash smoked paprika

Romaine lettuce leaves, for serving

 

Preparation

 

1.     Hard boil eggs with your preferred cooking method, then cool, peel and chop cooked eggs.

2.     In a medium mixing bowl, mash pitted avocado with mayonnaise, herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

3.     Add chopped eggs to avocado mixture and toss to combine. Serve egg salad immediately wrapped in lettuce leaves or chill and then serve. Best eaten same day.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Practical Ways to Be Healthy This Fall

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With back to school and cooler temperatures, fall is always the time of year when focusing on your health seems to be put on the back burner. You don’t have to let this busy time of year take the wind out of your sails though. There are certain things you can do to have a healthier fall for you and your family.

 

1. Make the most of seasonal foods

We always think about apples and pumpkins in fall because it’s prime season for them. While pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes aren’t so good for us, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin is delicious and nutritious.  Apples don’t need to go in pies to be sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you'll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you'll love.

 

Additional nutrients that can help to boost your immune season and keep you healthy through the season are zinc and Vitamin C.  You can find zinc in meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, whole grains and eggs.  Foods that are high in Vitamin C are guava, cantaloupe, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kale, papaya, tomatoes and snow peas.  

 

2. Prepare and protect from colds and the flu

Ideally, you should do this before you notice everyone around you sniffling and sneezing. Keep your hands off your face and keep them clean. Don’t forget good rest and a proper, healthy diet will help you, too.

 

But there is more to do to prepare and protect yourself from the upcoming cold and flu season. My top tips for getting through the cold and flu season relatively unscathed are as follows: 

 

Check your Vitamin D3 levels.  Low Vitamin D3 is linked to a weaker immune system.  Keeping your D3 levels in the upper end of the range will go a very long way in supporting a stronger and healthier immune system.  I personally take 10,000IUs daily as my levels are quite low right now but I also make sure that I take it with a Vitamin K2 as it is a co-factor to D3 - meaning, you will absorb more D3 when you take it with K2.  Depending on where your levels are, a Vitamin D3 supplement anywhere from 2,0000IUs for maintaining adequate levels all the way to 10,000IUs/per day may be necessary. 

 

Be sure your gut health is optimal.  We know that around 80% of your immune system is found in your gut.  If your gut health is less than optimal, this will set you up for a weaker immune system and more colds and possibly even catch the flu.  By taking care of your gut health, you naturally boost your immune system.  If you are struggling with digestive health or hormone imbalances (which are intricately connected to your gut health), be sure to take advantage of our FB group to learn more about what you can do to support optimal hormones and digestive health or schedule a free discovery session with me so that we can develop a plan to get your gut and/or hormones back on track.  

 

Adding in a daily probiotic will go a long way to also supporting better digestion and gut health. I recommend looking for a probiotic with at least 7 different strains and a probiotic count of 20billion if you can tolerate it. (You may have to work up to this amount). Eating more fermented foods and making them a regular part of your diet will also help.  Fermented foods like Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or kombucha are all great additions to a healthy gut diet.  Bone broths are also a favourite of mind and something that I love so much this time of year.  

 

Elderberry syrup is something that I never go without and always have on hand.  Even when sending our son off to his hockey academy prep school this year, we knew that in his little self-care kit, we had to make sure he had his elderberry syrup on hand.  Living in a dorm with 40 other boys and there is a high likelihood that if the flu hits, it's not going to be so easy for him to escape it, so we made sure he was prepared.  The bioflavonoids in elderberries inhibit viruses from being able to infect a cell. Elderberries, on the other hand, target bacteria and viruses making them much more effective at knocking out colds and flu. Having elderberry syrup in your arsenal of natural healing products is a must to reduce symptoms faster and to lower the severity of those symptoms.  

 

Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy that has been found to temporarily relieve flu-like symptoms such as body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue and can reduce the length of time that you have the flu.  So again, if you find yourself coming down with flu like symptoms, this is another great item to have in your arsenal to help you get back on your feet soon, rather than later. 

 

Essential oils also have very powerful antimicrobial affects and can go a long way to destroying those nasty germs that might be trying to make their way to you.  I have two favourites that I like to diffuse regularly in our home this time of year. Coat of Armour by Essante Organics is a certified organic essential oil that supports the immune system. 

 

My other favourite is DefenseShield by Isagenix. Both of these oil blends are almost identical in their makeup but the Isagenix brand also has Frankincense in it which gives it extra immune boosting properties and it comes in just a little under the price of the Essante Organics oil. So if cost is a major factor for you when searching for essential oils to protect and support your family this season, Isagenix is the big winner with excellent quality oils to match even the biggest competitors but at a more affordable price point.  

 

By taking care of yourself, even if everyone else gets sick, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs.

 

3. Stay out of the candy trap

If one of your favorite things about fall is Halloween then this is for you. My best friend loves Halloween and will admit that it is her favourite time of the year!  She has always thrown the most amazing  Halloween parties and I have never seen anyone create a more elaborate or convincing costume than her.  It's a blast to decorate for and see all the kids in costume, but the most significant health problem we all face for this holiday is the surplus of candy. Tempting as it is to buy that big bag and stash it away for when the trick or treaters come around, don’t do it. If you can’t resist it, don’t buy it until just before Halloween, choose something you wouldn’t eat yourself, or even better, keep the neighbourhood happy and healthy by buying small sticker packs instead.  There are numerous healthy Halloween options to choose from!  And if your like me and want to just throw all that Halloween candy in the trash, you can come up with a fun game for your kids.  We have had the Halloween Goblin and the Switch Witch come by our house on Halloween night.  The kids simply leave their candy under the bed and in the morning find a gift that was left for them in exchange. 

 

4. Get into the great outdoors

With the colder weather, it’s nice to get outdoors and enjoy the crispness on your cheeks. It’s nice for hiking, biking, or just enjoying the change in the seasons. Staying active during the fall is an excellent way to keep your health in exceptional condition.  

 

5. Make wise celebration choices

Halloween is just the beginning. With fall comes the hockey season, football parties and then the holiday season where it’s an endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing libations. You don’t need to miss out on all the fun, but do choose wisely when you’re eating.  At parties, fill your plate up with veggies first before sampling sweets, so you’re too full to eat more than a bite or two. By doing that, you’ll avoid gaining weight by Christmas.

 

Don’t forget that fall should be fun, but if you fall into any of these fall pitfalls, take care and take steps to get back on track!

 

To join our weekly health challenges and grab more holistic health tips, be sure to join our HWHL - Holistic Nutrition for Hormones/Gut/Weight Loss & Safer Beauty, on Facebook.  We would love to meet you there! 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Irresistible Healthy Camping Recipes

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With so many outside activities to enjoy in the sunshine, it can be hard to let summer go.  There’s still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors before the cold really settles in, and one of my absolute favorite outdoor activities to enjoy as the weather cools off is camping.  Whether you go with your family, friends, or even by yourself, it can be the perfect getaway to rejuvenate and unplug. 



As you get ready to pack up for a big camping trip, you might be wondering how you can make delicious and healthy meals while in the great outdoors. Camping can indeed present some challenges for preparing tasty meals, but here are some great ideas to make every camper in your family a happy one!

 

Foil packets over the fire
One delicious way to make a healthy meal while camping is to pre-pack foil packets of food that you can lay flat in your cooler. Just use your favorite healthy food items, then add your favorite seasonings and olive oil. Seal them up tight and then throw them over the fire when you’re ready. Be very careful when opening them because of the escaping steam, it can present a burn hazard.


Pineapple chicken skewers
The prep is too easy on this one! Merely skewer chicken and pineapples together and stash them in zipper bags of teriyaki marinade. Take along lettuce for wrapping along with any other fun bits like crushed nuts to add a fun texture. Feel free to substitute the chicken with organic, non-GMO tofu for a meat free option. 



Chickpea salad
Mix tahini with a can of chickpeas and you have a healthy on-the-go salad that everyone will gobble up. Chickpeas are packed with protein and antioxidants too so they’ll help fuel your outdoor adventures!



Chili
Chili is a hearty meal that’s easy to make in your slow cooker first and tote along for easy heat-up anytime hunger strikes. Use ground turkey to lighten it up a bit or even make a meatless version of it. Chili is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any camping trip and can warm up any chilly night.



Fajita fun
Who says you need to go to your favorite Tex-Mex restaurant to get sizzling fajitas? Just marinate your chicken (or tofu) in a zipper bag with red and green peppers and onions and pack it away. Don’t forget the tortillas, salsa, and guacamole so everyone can customize it their way. If you want to make it even healthier, you can use lettuce for wrapping instead.


Banana s’mores
One tradition many campers have is to make s’mores, but it isn’t exactly healthy. Instead, use a banana as your vessel for creating this iconic camping dessert. Just split it lengthwise and fill it with a few dark chocolate chips and marshmallows. Then wrap it in foil and put it over the fire for about 7 minutes. It will get nice and gooey. You can include graham crackers to scoop out the deliciousness or just hand out spoons.



With these tasty recipes in your arsenal, you’ll be able to make that camping adventure delicious, healthy and fun. 



Our family loves camping and get a ton of use out of our old Scamp (some people actually call this Scamping!)  One of our best trips was to San Louis Obispo, CA last year in January!  It was pretty chilly at night and the car was covered in frost at 8am when we finally ventured outside to make some coffee but the weather was amazing and heated up to a sunny 25C (I think that's somewhere in the mid 70s for my US friends).   We spent a good part of our day kayaking in the ocean, exploring a beautiful lighthouse and taking our English Bulldog, Gracie, to play at the beach (you can see her below).  She loved it!

 

It's been too long since we ventured out with the Scamp and I'm hoping to bring it to Lake Tahoe in a couple of weeks.

 

Where’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever camped?  Reply and let me know, I’m always looking for a new place to explore.  Feel free to send a pic, too!  


Want more health tips and community support?  Be sure to join my HWHL - Holistic Nutrition for Hormones, Gut Health and Safer Beauty tips where I offer weekly health and happiness challenges, share my favourite recipes and support you on your health journey! 

 

gracie beach


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Four Tips To Help Balance Hormones

Balancing hormones is complicated. But you have to start somewhere and here are four things you can do to help which can give you a good idea as to how much work you have to do.

 

Four Tips To Balance Hormones

 

Tip #1

 

Lower Stress 

 

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

 

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

 

The key is to support the health of the adrenals with foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium. Practising meditation or deep breathing also helps lower cortisol.

 

Tip #2

 

Support the Liver

 

Excess hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone all need to be detoxed out of the body. This is a key process that the liver performs to make sure we do not suffer from the excess of these hormones. Supporting the health of the liver, therefore is critical. A milk thistle supplement helps liver function more optimally. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale, apples, grapefruit, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, lemons, limes and berries are just a few foods that help support the liver.

 

Tip #3

 

Support the Gut

 

We also need good gut health to help make sure the toxins leave the body so supporting gut health is also important. This is easier said than done but it starts with adding probiotics and fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi or sauerkraut. Prebiotic foods such as garlic, onion, potatoes, wheat, broccoli, berries and apples, just to name a few, feed our good bacteria and help keep our gut healthy.

 

Tip #4

 

Balance Blood Sugar

 

Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or a beer. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

 

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Again, it tends to be a lot of glucose since adrenaline is a powerful hormone. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

 

To keep blood sugar stable, eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

 

These are just three simple steps. Give them a try and see the difference they can make.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

What Do Hormones Do?

Hormones are chemical messengers and without them, proper functioning in our body does not occur. They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, emotions and even hunger and satiety. When our hormones function properly, we feel great and when they do not, we can have health issues that make us miserable.

 

For three years, I struggled with hormone imbalances and I honestly just didn't know what was going on with me.  I was exhausted all of the time, even if I slept twelve hours at night.  I could barely make it through the day.  I relied heavily on my husband to help out more around the house and with dinners because there was nothing left in the tank by dinner time to keep going.  I had gained an incredible amount of weight in a short period of time, despite doing everything "right" or "by the book" when it came to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.  Nothing worked to maintain my weight or to release weight.  To say I was frustrated was beyond an understatement.  I became embarrassed to leave my house. I came very close to not telling friends and family when I was in town, so that I could avoid visiting them - even lifelong friends - because I couldn't have them seeing me this way.  It was one of the most difficult times of my life. It affected every aspect of my life from my relationships with friends and family to my job.  Everything!  It wasn't until I learned about adrenal fatigue and subclinical hypothyroidism that I started to finally put the pieces together. 

 

But just having this information didn't fix the problems.  I spent thousands of dollars are naturopaths and saw multiple functional and integrative doctors and still, nothing was helping but my stockpile of very expensive supplements was starting to take over!  The exhaustion was getting worse. The brain fog was worse. I was losing words mid sentence! I thought I was losing my mind.  I couldn't remember what day it was - on a regular basis.  It was getting scary.  That's when I took my health into my own hands.  I literally took a deep dive into hormone rebalancing. I read every book on the subject of adrenal fatigue, the HPA axis, the adrenal/thyroid connection and I took training after training in functional and integrative nutrition on the subject until I knew exactly how to support my body in getting back on track.  It only took 3 years to figure this all out and to put together a program for myself and my clients that has finally allowed me to start to see some improvements in my own thyroid numbers and my energy is actually starting to improve.  The brain fog has lifted, most days and I feel so much more like the old me than ever before.  My clients that have followed this program have had very similar results.

 

I've personally released 11lbs in just the last couple of weeks by implementing my own protocols (it took some major adrenal support and healing before the weight would start to budge by the way).  This isn't a "quick fix" solution.  Rebalancing hormones and supporting the adrenals to get back to being healthy can take 1-2 years depending a lot on you and how advanced your hormone imbalance may be.  That said, the improvements started to show almost immediately in terms of the brain fog and energy.  If you are ready to take back your health and rebalance your hormones, you can start with either our free 7 Day hormone rebalancing reboot linked at the bottom of this article or you can grab our totally done for you 6 Week Healthy Hormone Program that will teach you everything you need to know about how to reset your hormones and get your body back on track.  You can learn more about the 6 Week Healthy Hormone program here. 

 

So let's dive in and take a look at a few key hormones systems and you will get the picture as to just how important they are.

Hypothalamus: It signals the production of other hormones and in doing so, helps regulate things like hunger, moods, sleep, body temperature and sex drive.

Thymus: It produces the hormone thymosin, which help regulate the immune system. The thymus shrinks as we age but scientists are not sure if it is supposed to, which means that, perhaps, good nutrition could help maintain immune function as we age.

Pancreas: Insulin produced in the pancreas is a key hormone and its sole function is to help blood sugar get into the cells so we have the energy we need for our cells to function. However, too much insulin has been implicated in many health issues.

Thyroid:  Hormones produced by our thyroid are associated with metabolism and heart rate. If you have trouble losing weight – your thyroid may not be functioning optimally.

Adrenals: There are many hormones produced by the adrenal glands but their main function is to help us cope with stress, both physical and mental. Because of this, the adrenals rule the roost in the body. This is because protecting us from danger is considered to be one of the most significant systems in the body and because of that, when we are stressed, the adrenals can cause all kinds of havoc with other systems.

Pituitary: This is a master endocrine gland that produces hormones that tell other glands and organs to produce more hormones. However, hormones from the adrenals like cortisol or insulin from the pancreas can exert pressure on the pituitary and interfere with other hormones relationships where the pituitary is involved.

 

Of course, the hormones that often concern most people are the reproductive hormones.

 

In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone before menopause. After menopause, it is the adrenals that produce these hormones to keep women healthy.

 

For men, the testes produce testosterone and small amounts of estrogen and progesterone.

 

These are just a few hormonal relationships – it really is complex and often hormone problems are a result of several hormones exerting influence in a way that causes more than one issue. Food and lifestyle can help immensely to feed the various body parts so they work in a more balanced way. This is an area that I am passionate about helping my clients with.  If hormone imbalances are an area you are struggling with, you can book your free Discovery Session with me to find out if our Hormone Rebalancing Program is a good fit for you so that you can get your hormones back on track. 

 

Balanced hormones are the key to a having a body in balance. Even small imbalances can cause an issue. Getting a proper diagnosis is key and from there decisions can be made to help correct the issues.

 

Feeling like you could use a hormone reset?  Follow this link to our home page and sign up for our FREE 7 Day Healthy Hormone Reboot.

 

This is an incredible 7 Day healthy hormone reset that will help you to get started on the path to healthy hormones! 


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