Candice Csaky, INHHC

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it's Making You Fat and Tired

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it's certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let's focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don't get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that's simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn't work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn't we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don't forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:
● A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
● Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
● Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don't need to overdo it here. Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let's first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don't forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don't get me wrong a green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don't gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.


Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie


Serves 1

handful spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 banana
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Life's Balance


Is your life feeling out of balance?

No matter what we use as criteria when it comes to experiencing balance in our lives, we have certain needs that need to be filled throughout our lives and the more balanced our fulfillment of these needs, the smoother our boat will sail and the closer to balance we will get.

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (my alma mater) calls it primary foods.

Maslow called it a hierarchy of needs.

Anthony Robbins called it a wheel.

I call it the Circle of Life. 

Whatever we call it, it all comes down to balance. If our life is not in balance then we are in trouble and it will show up in all kinds of different ways.


Self actualization (morality, creativity, problem solving, learning, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts)

Esteem (self esteem, confidence, respect) 

Love and belonging (friendship, family, relationships and intimacy)

Safety (security of body, health, family, relationship, property, employment, resources and morality)

Physiological (breathing, health, our weight, hormones, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion)

Everyone can rank these in a different order of importance. At the same time, we may each rank them differently at different times in our lives. What is certain? If one of the above is lacking and another is over emphasized, then we are out of balance.

Anthony Robbins does an exercise with a wheel representing career, physical, spiritual and financial. We have to rank each by “how it is going.” It's very similar to the Circle of Life I use with my clients. Visually we are able to see, for example, that we are doing great financially and spiritually, but perhaps our relationships and our physical health are suffering. If we are out of balance, our wheel will not roll. 

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition calls it “primary foods.” Outside our triangle of nutrition is a circle that consists of relationship, spirituality, career and physical activity.

The truth is, we can fix what we eat.  We can eat more greens and get rid of processed foods, but if we don’t take care of the other areas of our life, we will still not experience balanced health and happiness. You can be completely healthy with your diet yet still feel imbalanced and still struggling to reach some health goals based on the imbalance in other areas of your life. Often times, when I am working with one clients in one-on-one coaching sessions, we may spend an entire coaching session exploring relationship and this client may have come to me for weight loss.  They are intricately connected in many cases.

To help you see the topics more clearly, take a look at the following basic needs and ways of fulfillment.

Self Actualization (morality, creativity, problem solving, learning, lack of prejudice and an acceptance of facts)

  • Prayer, Thoughtfulness, Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Fun
  • Study
  • Spirituality
  • Contribution

(self esteem, confidence, respect)

  • Gratitude
  • Feelings

Love and Belonging (friendship, family and intimacy)

  • Relationship building
  • Caregiving
  • Forgiveness
  • Intimacy

Safety (security of body, health, family, property, employment, resources and morality)

  • Environmental safety
  • Health & well being
  • Job Security
  • Career growth
  • Financial empowerment
  • Environmental preservation
  • Ethics and morality
  • Relationship Security
Physiological (breathing, environmental, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, excretion)

  • Clean air, meditation, breathing exercise
  • Environmental impact on health and well being through design (ex. bringing nature into the home, healthy light, smart space)
  • Nutrition
  • PH Balance
  • Probiotics
  • Losing  weight
  • Better Digestion
  • Super foods
    • Acai
    • Algae
    • Aloe Vera
    • Bee Products
    • Cacao
    • Camu Camu Berry
    • Chlorella
    • Coconut
    • Goji Berries
    • Hempseed
    • Incan Berries
    • Kelp
    • Maca
    • Marine Phytoplankton
    • Noni     
    • Yacon

  • Raw Nutrition
    • Juicing vs. Blending
    • Nuts and Seeds
    • Sprouts
    • Grasses
    • Seaweed
    • Roots
    • Mushrooms
    • Recipes 
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Water, the amount and cleanliness
  • Intimacy as a physical need
  • Amount and quality of sleep
  • Digestion
  • Bodily function, sight, hearing, pain
  • Cleansing
  • Illness and healing

We will be adding to this and focusing on each topic as total wellness.  Look forward to future blogs on each line item and broken down even further for more tips on how to improve the quality of our lives.  If anyone has any categories they would add to each need, please comment below.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals


Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.

And it's not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn't always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)


Tip #1: Start with some water


When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it's too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.


But did you know that it's possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.


Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (...just sayin').


Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.




Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”


You've heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?


This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.


Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.


Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.


This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 


When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.


So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.


Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.


Tip #3: Start with the salad


You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.


But don't start there.


(Don't worry, you can have some...just after you've eaten your salad).


Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they're full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.


Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They're “satiating”.


And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you're about to indulge in a large meal.




Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.


Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas


fruit infused water

If you're not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

●     Slices of lemon & ginger

●     Slices of strawberries & orange

●     Slices of cucumber with raspberries and lime

●     Slices of grapefruit & cucumber with fresh mint leaves

●     Blueberries & orange slices


Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning.  They're already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.



Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why Taking Vacation Matters


Are you among the nearly 50 percent of American workers who don't use the vacation time they've earned? Or the 27 percent of Canadians who now spend more time at work and less time with their families than they did just 30 years ago? You know it's important to take a break once in awhile, but skipping vacations can contribute to poor health.

Work Overload
Research confirms that Americans are spending more time connected to work and less time vacationing. Today, one in five workers spends at least 50 hours a week on the job and pass up vacations to stay ahead. Among those who do take time off, 30 percent are working remotely.

Why Time Away Matters
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that vacationing is good for you, reducing stress, improving your mood and productivity, and lowering your risk of heart disease. One study found that men who were at risk for heart disease and didn't take one vacation over the course of five years were 30 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Vacation Alternatives
If an occasional getaway is hard to muster, experts have a few suggestions. Enjoy a weekend away from your home, even if it's just a short drive away or a same-city staycation. Still too much of a commitment? Going on a nature hike for the afternoon has similar effects on your body and mind as a real vacation. Or learn to meditate, which has a long-lasting, positive impact as well. Concentrated breathing or a relaxing yoga class can give you the small breaks needed between longer retreats.

Whether it's an out-of-town vacation or an afternoon of "you" time on a regular basis, use your days off to benefit your physical and mental health.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

4 Actions Today for Better Nutrition


Is your year off to a healthy start? If you've veered off course, National Nutrition Month is here to remind you how to make healthier choices. Working the following tips into your life can help you get back on track.

The SLOW food movement, which stands for seasonal, local, organic and whole, encourages individuals to take the time to cook and share meals with others. Try to incorporate the idea of stepping away from the fast pace of modern living, paying attention your meal and enjoying each bite.

Keep It Simple
When you're health conscious, it can be difficult to navigate food labels and determine what's most important. To streamline the process, choose foods that have five or fewer ingredients.

The Half-and-Half Rule
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends filling up half your plate with fruits and vegetables and making sure to vary what you eat. (Choosing a variety of colors is an easy way to do this.) Opt for whole grains over refined grains, and mix up your proteins to include seafood, lean meats and poultry.

Baby Steps
There are several small yet positive actions you can take each day that can add up to significant changes. To increase your water consumption, start by switching one beverage each day to a glass of water. Build short, five-minute breaks into your schedule so you can relax and re-energize. And, whether you're alone or with others, sit down for at least one meal at an actual table.

Use these tips to integrate healthy choices into your busy lifestyle and even the smallest changes will make a difference.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why Adding Midday Napping to Your Routine Is Helpful


For many, nap time becomes a thing of the past once they're out of childhood. But numerous studies have pointed to the benefits napping can have on health, productivity and cognitive function.

How can your life benefit from a little midday shut-eye? Here are four serious upsides to adding a nap to your schedule:

  • Work better -- Napping has been found to improve memory and allow new information to be absorbed. Dr. Sara Mednick, an assistant professor at the University of California Riverside, found that participants who had a 60- to 90-minute nap showed the same positive results on visual learning tasks as those who'd slept a full eight hours. Napping also boosts mood, which can lead to more productive collaboration in the workplace.
  • Look your best -- Beauty sleep isn't a myth. Skin heals faster when we sleep. A nap can also inhibit the production of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates our appetite, which can aid in weight loss.
  • Feel great -- Healthy amounts of sleep, including napping, leads to the release of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and happiness. A midday sleep has also proven to be more effective than caffeine for giving an energy boost.
  • Live healthily -- Several issues, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks and depression, have been linked to the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation. To sleep better each night, stop using technology at least an hour before bed and stick to a routine when it comes to going to bed and waking up each day.
Need help napping? If you're looking for a quick power nap, aim for 26 minutes of shut-eye, which NASA scientists found improved alertness. If you have more time to spare, try to nap for a full hour to reap the benefits of improved memory.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Do Fitness Trackers Improve Your Health

Wearable devices

Over the last few years, more Americans have strapped fitness-tracking devices to their wrists in an effort to stay healthy. Some wearable options simply count steps while others offer sophisticated technology that provides more detailed data like heart rate and calories burned. But are wearables all they're cracked up to be? Here's an overview of various pro and cons based on recent research.

Possible Benefits

Higher satisfaction and productivity: Employees who wore devices that helped track their health reported a 3.5 percent increase in job satisfaction and an 8.5 percent boost in productivity.

More steps: In one study, participants who wore pedometers took more steps on average each day than those who didn't.

Greater awareness: Wearables that keep track of day-to-day health statistics can help doctors and patients in other ways. For example, one man's life was saved when ER doctors noticed abnormal heart behavior on his fitness tracker.

Potential Downsides

Determining the effectiveness of a fitness tracker ultimately lies with the wearer. If the competitive nature of a pedometer or other health-tracking device helps motivate you to move, all the more reason to wear it.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

How to Make Positive New Habits Stick

new habits
Making major life changes like starting a new fitness routine, losing substantial weight or getting out of debt can be daunting. But many experts in the fields of health and wellness say there are some key steps you can take to help foster success.

Focus on One New Change at a Time
Productivity blogger and author Leo Babauta suggests concentrating on implementing one new habit at a time. In his 2009 book "The Power of Less," Babauta explains how he used that strategy to quit smoking, get out of debt, write two books, become a marathon runner and more -- all in just two years.

Start Small
If your goal is to exercise five days a week and you're not currently working out at all, start with one day a week and build from there. If your goal is to become a vegetarian, begin by eating one plant-based meal each day. Starting small makes it easier to adopt new behaviors without getting overwhelmed.

Schedule Your Efforts
Set aside timefor goal-related activities. Mark them on your calendar and treat them like any other appointment. Say no to events during those time blocks and don't cancel on yourself.

Seek Social Support
Studies show that involving friends and loved ones in your goals helps motivate you and keep you accountable. It's even better if you and a buddy have similar objectives. Apps and sites that digitally connect you to friends or coworkers can ignite your competitive spirit and push you to keep going.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Yoga for Shoulder & Neck Pain

Smart phones offer numerous conveniences and help us stay connected, but overuse and improper use can lead to text neck and other body aches. Sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen all day can also cause problems. Certain yoga poses, however, can help alleviate and prevent minor neck and shoulder pain. The stretches below provide a good starting point.

Head Tilts -- When you hold your head in one position for too long, muscle tightness and stiffness can occur and lead to pain. Stretching your neck can help. Whether you're sitting or standing, drop your head to one side (ear to shoulder) and take three to five deep breaths. Then repeat on the other side.

Eagle Arms -- This move, which is half of eagle pose, stretches your neck, upper back, shoulder and arm muscles. Put one arm over the other in front of you and bend your elbows. Wrap your arms around each other so that your palms touch if possible. Switch arms and repeat.

Shoulder Stretch -- Open up your shoulders and upper back and fight against slouching with the shoulder stretch. From a standing position with feet about hip-width apart, interlace your fingers behind your back, straighten your arms and bow forward. Breathe deeply for three to five breaths.

Wall Reach -- Stand with your right side against a wall. Reach your right arm up with your palm on the wall and your fingers spread. Move your arm back as if it's the hand of a clock. Go to 1 o'clock, hold for a breath and then reach farther to 2 o'clock. Switch to your left side and reach your left arm up to 11 o'clock. Then move back slowly to 10 o'clock.

Be sure to consult your doctor if pain is severe or persistent and before starting a new fitness routine.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

What is Metabolism?

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

●     Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).

●     Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).

●     Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.  

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

●     Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

●     Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

●     Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too! 

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. 

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.  

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced

1 tablespoon rosemary

1 tablespoon thyme

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

dash salt & pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old


Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.


Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.


Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!