Candice Csaky, INHHC

Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods


Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines.


It’s a fact.


Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it's chronic (i.e. lasts a long time).


Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and diabetes, just to name a few.


But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it's measured, and where it comes from; why don't I focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it?


Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:


Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, Pineapple and Cherries


Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favourite of yours?


Berries, grapes, pineapple and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).


Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as "anthocyanins," "resveratrol" and "bromelain"  are found in these delicious fruits.


In fact, berries, grapes, pineapple and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.


Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers


Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant "sulforaphane." This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.


Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.


Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colours.  Peppers that are any other colour are not fully ripe and won't have the same anti-inflammatory effect.


I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week's recipe (see below). 


Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)


Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: "trans" fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: "omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.


The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.


Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don't forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.


Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea


Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.


EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer's.


Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It's thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.


Anti-inflammatory Food #5 - Turmeric


Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric? 


Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin. This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.   

The trick with Turmeric and your body's ability to absorb the anti-inflammatory curcumin, is Pepper.  One problem with curcumin is its low levels of bioavailability. Most of the curcumin that is ingested gets metabolized before it can get absorbed. Piperine is said to help make curcumin more bioavailable and therefore more anti-inflammatory than if you take it without pepper.  


I've added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation.


Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate


Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.


Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely "flavonols"). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They've even been shown to prevent "neuro-inflammation" (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.


Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!




There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colourful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.


You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of "anti-inflammation."



(Broccoli, Pepper, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory Quinoa




Serves 2


¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 medium onion diced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 dash salt

½ tbsp turmeric

1 dash black pepper

2 cups broccoli, chopped


In a saucepan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).


Melt coconut oil in a skillet. Add diced onions, turmeric, pepper and salt, and lightly sauté for a few minutes.


Add broccoli and lightly sauté for 5-6 minutes, until it becomes softened.


Add the cooked quinoa and stir everything together.


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: Add some cayenne pepper or curry spice for an extra spicy kick.










Candice Csaky, INHHC

How to Improve Gut Health

Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”


And while this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut (digestive system) has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think. And we're not just talking about heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD, etc. We're talking about all kinds of issues like allergies, pain, mood disorders, and nutrient deficiencies.


There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It's here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. We're just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of "the gut-brain axis"). Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health.


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


Our gut’s role in our overall health


Our gut’s main role is as a barrier. To let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out.


This seemingly simple role is super-complex! And it can break down in so many places.


For one thing, our guts can "leak." Yes, like a long tube with holes in it, it can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc (bacteria, undigested food, and toxins). You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbed by your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it's not supposed to. And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can "leak." When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don't seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there.


FUN FACT: About 70%-80% of our immune system lives in and around our gut.


A healthy gut is not a leaky gut. It maintains its barrier and shuttles things through to be eliminated. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first pillar of gut health.


The second main part of your gut are the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, make some vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar.


So, keeping your gut microbes happy is the second pillar of gut health!


How to improve gut health


There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health. Let’s start with what to stop. It’s always best to eliminate the big contributors to an unhealthy gut and some of these main contributors are the foods that feed your not so friendly gut bacteria, like processed refined sugars, processed foods and alcohol. Try eliminating these for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body (and gut) feels.


Many holistic health practitioners recommend eliminating dairy and grains from the diet to promote gut healing, but dairy and grains both contain very beneficial prebiotics that feed your healthy residential gut bacteria so unless there is a known sensitivity or allergy, I don't recommend eliminating these foods.  If there is a known sensitivity or allergy, then removing these while gut healing work is being done can be beneficial while working towards reintroducing these in the future. 


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


The second pillar of gut health is our microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, we can help to replenish our gut microbes. These are found in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Make these a part of your daily diet.


Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they can be eliminated. Fiber also helps to feed our friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even cacao.


And don’t forget the uber-important lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, stress management, time outdoors in nature and getting the right amount (and intensity) of exercise for you. It’s easy to forget some of the simple, but key links there are between what we do with our bodies and how well they function.




The function of your gut is key to your overall health. There are two pillars of gut health: maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes.


The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber. And eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.


Recipe (Probiotic-rich): Fermented Carrots



Serves 12


1 L warm water
4 tsp salt
4 carrots, medium, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)




Make a brine by dissolving the salt in water.


Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of head space at the top.


Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don't float (you can use a "fermenting weight").


Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Feel free to open and taste.


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: Use this as a side dish, or even a snack.




Candice Csaky, INHHC

10 Toxic Chemicals In Your Mascara

I started reading and learning about toxic ingredients in my personal use products so many years ago now, I don’t even remember, but it was sometime around when I became a mother and my super strong momma bear senses were turned on.  I instinctively knew that avoiding toxic chemicals on my babies just made sense to me, but what I didn’t know was where all these toxins and chemicals were hiding or how to avoid them, beyond shopping for products that I thought were cleaner, like Aveeno and Burt’s Bees (those are just two that come to mind).


My babies are now 24, 14 and 10 (this Saturday)!  I don’t know how they grew up so fast but I blinked and sure enough, my 14 year old is now taller than I am!  I digress…but the point is, I’ve always shopped for what I thought were cleaner products since I first became a mother and as my children grew, my knowledge and awareness grew.  Having already raised one teenage daughter, with a second entering that realm soon, and a teenage son who is now getting into hair products, skin care and deodorant, I know it’s up to me to educate them and to protect them. 


So today, we are diving into mascara!  Mascara is literally the second most used cosmetic in the United States and Canada with 47% of Canadian women using mascara (lipstick is # 1 and we will be diving into that one soon – so stay tuned)!




So while I had been using safer, cleaner products for years, mascara was one of those products I just hadn’t even considered changing!  I literally had no idea how toxic the ingredients in mascara were until I learned about a company that was working on creating a safer mascara for their customers, and they had been working on this product for 3 years!!!  They wanted both safety and performance to be the best, and apparently it just wasn’t that easy to accomplish without these regularly used toxins and now I know why!  (I’ll let you know about that company at the bottom of this post, so keep reading!)


As the second most popular beauty staple in North American households, commercial mascara brands often contain ingredients that are inexpensive to obtain and may be harmful to your health. The hazardous chemicals can be found in many of the top brands such as Cover Girl, Maybelline New York, Mac, and even Neutrogena, among many others. These toxic ingredients can get into your bloodstream through and can be very harmful to your health.


Since the beauty care and personal use industry is largely unregulated (The United States has only banned 30 known toxins from this industry since 1938, which Canada has done a bit better by banning close to 600 ingredients, they still have a long way to go to creating the safety standards that the European Union has in place, with more than 1,400 banned ingredients), nasty chemicals make it into those slick black tubes, boasting claims of Kim Kardashian lashes and formulas that won’t smudge even if you find yourself face-to-face with a power washer.


Makes you wonder what is in the eye makeup remover needed to dissolve said mascara…


So to help keep you safer and protected from the nasty ingredients used in many commercial brands, I’ve compiled a list of 12 chemicals found in mascaras that aren’t doing you or your body any favours.


1. Parabens such as Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, and Propylparaben
Parabens are used as preservatives. This means that they are added to makeup to stop the growth of microbes, fungi and bacteria in order to extend shelf life. These chemicals are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the tiny pores around your eyes.


Parabens have been linked to increases in breast cancer by mimicking estrogen and causing endocrine disruption. They have also been linked to reproductive toxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and skin irritation.  We also know now that 95% of breast cancer tumours contain parabens.  This is definitely one of those ingredients you want to avoid in all of your products.  (fyi – parabens are on the never list of ingredients of my favourite beauty product company!)


2. Phthalates
Phthalates are a chemical found in literally hundreds of beauty products, including mascara. Phthalates are an anti-androgen chemical, which means that they are a hormone disrupting chemical. In studies, phthalate exposure in young girls has been shown to cause early puberty.  Phthalates have also been shown to cause birth defects and deformities.

They can also damage the liver, lungs and kidneys whilst also interfering with the reproductive system. Whether you’re already pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or you are the mom of a young girl going through puberty, it’s definitely a good idea to steer clear of phthalates.  


3. Thimerosal
I have to say, this was one of the MOST shocking ingredients that I found in mascara. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that there are several brands that contain Thimerosal in their mascara.  Thimerosal is a mercury-based element used as a preservative and antiseptic.  It has been banned from most vaccines (with the exception of flu vaccines) because it is known to cause damage to brain function. In low doses, Thimerosal is still toxic as it is bio-accumulative – in other words, the body stores this metal.  Over time, repeated exposures and absorptions of this dangerous toxin can become a real health hazard.  The FDA has literally banned Thimerosal from all cosmetic products – EXCEPT those products used around the eyes. This may be due to the fact that produces used around the eyes must be bacteria-free.  That said, cleaner, safer products that do not use Thimerosal in their mascara have found other, safer, preservatives that are far less dangers. 


The EWG put it like this:


“According to FDA, ‘Mercury compounds are readily absorbed through the skin on topical application and tend to accumulate in the body. They may cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, or neurotoxic manifestations.’ Mercury is considered particularly toxic to the developing brain during pregnancy, infancy and childhood. FDA has banned the use of mercury compounds in all cosmetics except those used around the eyes, where levels are limited to 65 parts per million (ppm).”


That makes sense, because, you know, who cares about their eyes? Hmm….


4. Synthetic Dyes
Synthetic dyes are often used as a colorant to achieve the rich dark color that mascara offers. These are labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number (e.g. FD&C Red No. 6, D&C Green No. 6).

These are believed to be toxic and carcinogenic.


5. Coal Tar Dyes
Coal Tar is a thick liquid or semi-solid obtained as a by-product in the destructive distillation ofbituminous coal. These dyes are also used as a colorant in mascara and contain heavy metals. To avoid coal tar dyes, look for FD & C Blue no. 1 on the label. Also, you may find them listed as a five digit number that is preceded by a Cl. (includes D&C Blue 1, Green 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 33, etc.) They may also be labeled as Aminphenol, Diaminodenzene or Phenylenediamine.


Despite the fact that they have been proven carcinogenic, the 1938 US Act includes a specific exemption for them. Risks associated with coal tar dyes include severe allergic reactions, asthma attacks, headaches, nausea, fatigue, lack of concentration and nervousness. They are also link to an increased risk of Hodgkin’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.


Coal Tar dye has been banned or found unsafe for use in cosmetics in Canada.


6. Aluminum Powder
A metallic substance used as a cosmetic colorant. Rated as a high concern by the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for being a neurotoxin. Long term exposure of aluminum powder can impair the body’s ability to excrete mercury. This can result in making any amount of mercury that is in the body even more toxic. So let’s see, companies are using both Aluminum Powder and Thimersal in their mascara.  Yikes!


7. Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A Acetate)
Found in many brands of mascara, this ingredient is a high concern by the EWG because it can cause biochemical or cellular level changes. Side effects include developmental and reproductive toxicity, and organ system toxicity. Acetate has been prohibited and restricted in Canadian and German cosmetics. Retinyl Acetate, also known as Retinyl A, is one of the banned ingredients in the European Union. Retinal A is a synthetic vitamin A ingredient found in many brands of mascara and anti-aging eye creams.  One or more animal studies show tumor formation at very low doses.


8. Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is used in mascara as a preservative and is a known carcinogen.


Even absent as an ingredient it can be present from the combination of chemicals such Bronopol and Quaternium-15 which work together to form formaldehyde releasing preservatives.


In addition to being a known carcinogen, formaldehyde is a skin irritant and suspected to increase liver toxicity. It also can cause severe allergic rashes (think burning sensation and visible blistering) which becomes more likely with long term exposure.


It’s restricted for use in cosmetics in Canada and is suspected as an environmental toxin by Health Canada as well. 


9. Imidazolidinyl Urea
Imidazolidinyl Urea is used as an antimicrobial preservative, but it also acts as a formaldehyde releaser.


“Imidazolidinyl urea is an antimicrobial preservative that works by forming formaldehyde in cosmetic products. People exposed to such formaldehyde-releasing ingredients may develop a formaldehyde allergy or an allergy to the ingredient itself. In the U.S. approximately 20% of cosmetics and personal care products contain a formaldehyde-releaser and the frequency of contact allergy to these ingredients is much higher among Americans compared to studies in Europe.”  - EWG


It has been shown to trigger an immune system response that can include itching, burning, hives, and blistering of skin, in addition to possible severe respiratory reaction. It has also been suspected to cause gastrointestinal and liver toxicity issues.


10. Fragrance
You might not think that fragrance would have a huge effect on the toxicity of a mascara, but it really does. Most beauty products contain fragrance as the smell of chemicals isn't really very pleasant, but hundreds of thousands of different chemicals could be added to mascara in order to give it a distinctive scent. In the beauty care industry, companies essentially have the right to put any toxic chemicals together to create a fragrance that can be added to their products and they do NOT have to disclose these ingredients to you.  Many of these fragrances contain over 100 ingredients, which are often carcinogenic and/or hormone disrupting chemicals but the FDA has given them proprietorship over this ingredient.  So they never have to release these ingredients to you! Shocking, right?  One of my favourite documentaries on this topic is the movie Stink


As for mascara, The Environmental Working Group rates fragrances in mascara at an 8 out of 10, 10 being the most dangerous for your health. Some chemicals used to create certain fragrances have a vast range of side effects, including rashes, mood issues, headaches and hormonal imbalances.  


11. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
SLS is used in everything from mascara to toothpaste and shampoo and everything in between.


SLS is a really rather nasty skin irritant and it's even used to irritate skin in tests, causing dryness and roughness, in order to test the effectiveness of other chemicals that heal the skin. There's also increasingly strong evidence to show that repeated SLS exposure is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, because it reacts with other minerals within your body to produce carcinogenic toxins and nitrates.


Unfortunately, even some well known “safer” and high end beauty brands use these chemicals - and hundreds and sometimes thousands more.


Be ruthless in your choices for safer beauty and remember, you never have to sacrifice your health for the sake of looking beautiful!  


One of  the best pieces of advice I can give you going forward is to shop safer.  Get an app.
It can take hours to read labels, compare products and find safe brands. Download an app like Good Guide, Think Dirty or the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living.  These are all great resources that can be used right from your smart phone while shopping to help you find safer brands.


Looking to transition your mascara and other beauty products to a cleaner version? I chose this specific company (remember the one that took 3 years to formulate their mascara with safer, cleaner ingredients that really performs) because they have a Never List of ingredients that Exceeds the European Standards list with over 1,500 banned ingredients.  They are also EWG Verified (you can check all their products out on the EWG App and they have excellent ratings)!  You can start shopping here for safer mascara right now!  I also have a FB group set up where you can join in and learn more.  You can join Meet Beautycounter here


(Resources: EWG, SkinDeep, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, FDA.GOV, )


Candice Csaky, INHHC

The Key To Good Thyroid Function



Thyroid issues seem to be on the rise and health professionals are looking in different areas for a smoking gun. Some blame gluten (it is not a cause). Some assume everyone has an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s, even without a proper diagnosis.


And most approach the thyroid, like it is the problem and therefore giving it some key nutrients will solve the problem.


The issue with all the theories, is a failure to truly understand what affects the thyroid. The truth of the matter is that for most people with thyroid issues, lack of thyroid nutrients is not the problem. Nor is autoimmunity and it is certainly not gluten.


The problem is that too many other systems in the body affect how we produce and use thyroid hormones:


  • Excess cortisol from the adrenals can lower thyroid function
  • The liver does as well as it helps convert T4 to T3 (our active thyroid hormone) and plays a key role in affecting metabolism
  • The gut bacteria also help convert T4 to T3. Gut bacteria also exerts influence on the HPT axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid) which is the main signalling pathway for the production of thyroid hormones
  • Excess insulin adversely affects thyroid function again by influencing the HPT axis 


The thyroid’s relationship with the liver, the adrenals, the gut and the pancreas is important and these areas must be supported to help the thyroid. This is not usually part of most thyroid protocols and may explain why so many people fail to see an improvement even when they are prescribed thyroid medications.


So what can you do for your thyroid?


Eat thyroid foods such as sea vegetables like nori, kelp, or dulse, seafood and coconut oil.


Eat liver-friendly foods such as kale, broccoli, garlic, onions, apples, beets, lemon, limes, berries and Jerusalem artichokes and regular artichokes.


Consume plenty of fiber, probiotic and prebiotic foods to feed the gut and help it function as its best.


Reduce stress and support the adrenals. Adaptogens such as maca root powder and schizandra powder can be worked into recipes. Ashwaghanda, holy basil or licorice tea can all be consumed throughout the day. Pick the one you like. Also, developing a routine that can reduce stress and allow for proper relaxation is important.


Lowering stress will also help prevent blood sugar swinging up and down and prevent high insulin. Eating small meals throughout day as well as consuming many foods good for the gut, adrenals and liver will all play a role in keeping blood sugar stable.


A good thyroid protocol is not hard to accomplish and it is great that we can eat our way to better thyroid function and hopefully, have some relaxing fun along the way.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Protein - How Much is Enough?

Protein is not just for great skin, hair, and nails; it's critical for health. Without it, you wouldn't be able to repair damage, digest food, fight infections, build muscle and bone, create hormones, and even think and have good moods. Higher protein diets can help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Not to mention protein's great benefits for metabolism boosting, satiety (feeling full after a meal), and weight management.


Protein is important, and this is a given.


There are a few factors to consider when calculating how much protein we need. I go through those calculations with you. Then I list the amount of protein in some common foods.


How much protein is enough


There isn’t a real rule that applies equally to everyone. There are a few factors to consider when figuring out how much protein you need.


Start with the minimum recommendation of 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) per day.


So, for a 68 kg (150 lb) healthy non-athlete adult, this is about 55 g protein/day.


Mind you, this is a minimum to prevent protein deficiency. It's not optimal for good repair, digestion, immune function, muscle/bone building, hormones, thinking and great moods. It's not enough for athletes, seniors or those recovering from an injury, either. If you fall into one of these camps, you may need to increase the minimum protein intake. Aim closer to 1.3 g/kg (0.6 g/lb) per day.


Athletes need more protein for their energy and muscle mass. Seniors need more to help ward off muscle and bone loss that's common in old age. And injured people need more for recovery and healing.

How much protein is too much?


As with fat and carbohydrates, eating too much protein can cause weight gain. Extra protein can be converted into sugar or fat in the body. The interesting thing about protein is that it isn’t as easily or quickly converted as carbohydrates or fat; this is because of its "thermic effect." The thermic effect is the amount of energy required to digest, absorb, transport and store a nutrient. To digest protein, your body needs to spend energy (i.e., burn calories). More calories than when metabolizing fats or carbohydrates.


If you’re concerned that high protein intake harms healthy kidneys, don’t be. If your kidneys are healthy, they are more than capable of filtering out excess amino acids from the blood. The problem only occurs in people who already have kidney issues.


FUN FACT: Plant proteins are especially safe for kidney health.


How much protein is in food?


●     A 3.5 oz chicken breast has 31 g protein.

●     A 3.5 oz can of salmon has 20 g protein.

●     ½ cup cooked beans contain 6-9 g protein.

●     A large egg contains 6 g protein.

●     ¼ cup nuts contains 4-7 g protein.

●     1 medium baked potato contains 3 g protein.




Protein is an essential nutrient we should all get enough of. “Enough” is about 0.8 - 1.3 g/kg (0.36 - 0.6 g/lb) per day. If you're a healthy non-athlete adult, you can aim for the lower level. If you're an athlete, senior, or injured person, aim for the higher level.


Too much protein can cause weight gain, so it's best to have just enough.


I’d love to know: Are you one of those people who needs more protein? Let me know in the comments.


Recipe (high-protein):


Baked Chicken Breasts

Serves 4


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp paprika


InstructionsPreheat oven to 450°F. Place a layer of parchment paper on a baking dish.


Place the chicken breasts in the prepared dish. Brush on both sides with olive oil.


In a small bowl, mix spices until combined. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.


Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to at least 165°F at the thickest part.


Serve & enjoy!


Tip: Serve with lots of veggies.



Candice Csaky, INHHC

Adrenal Fatigue: What Is It?

Adrenal Fatigue: What Is It?


Stressed? Tired? Craving sugar? Can’t sleep?


All of these can be related to the constant stress we feel in our lives. We know that stress can have a huge impact on our health and wellness. And, since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue (or “HPA Axis Dysregulation,”) is a popular theme lately.


Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones.


But what happens when they become “overworked?”


You’ve heard of “adrenaline junkies,” right?


Adrenaline and cortisol are the stress hormones that give you the commonly known adrenaline rush; when you're totally alert and living in the moment. This feeling is known as your body's "fight or flight" response.


Some people (perhaps you?) just love that intense feeling.


The release of hormones in the fight or flight response is your body's normal reaction to stress.  Stress can sometimes be positive, like when it helps you swerve and prevent a crash.


After a short time, the flight or flight response dissipates, your body goes back to normal, and all is good.


But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? Like “chronic” stress?


It wouldn't feel like an awesome (once-in-a-while) "rush," anymore would it?


And what do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?


They’d get fatigued, right?


Do I have adrenal fatigue?


When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start getting other symptoms.


Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty sleeping, mood swings, weight loss or gain, joint pain, sugar cravings, even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are overworked.


First off, I have to tell you that there aren't medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it's not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnoses of "Adrenal Insufficiency" or "Addison's Disease" may apply.


However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she may even be open to discussing adrenal fatigue, or at the very least, wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).


What to do if I have these symptoms?


There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.


Ideally, if you think stress is starting to burn you out, stress reduction is key. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favourites are meditation, walking in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or taking a bath.


Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body. So go ahead and do it.




Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. After long-term daily stress, they may get tired.


Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific telltale symptoms.


The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or even a lovely bath.


Recipe (Stress-reducing bath salt): Lavender Bath Salts


Per bath


2 cups epsom salts

10 drops lavender essential oil


As you're running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved


Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!


Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.



Candice Csaky, INHHC

The Truth About Fermented Foods and Candidiasis

One of the most persistent concepts surrounding fermented foods is that somehow they are related to mold. In fact, this old school way concept used to be taught in holistic nutrition schools! And it proves the old expression “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing”  but nothing could be further from the truth.

As people continue to joke that fermented foods are “rotting foods”, it is clear that some science education may help clarify the matter.

But first let’s discuss what Candidiasis is for those who do not know. We have naturally occurring yeast in our intestinal system along with beneficial bacteria (good) and pathogenic bacteria (bad). They all live as one big happy family as long as the good bacteria is in charge.  Most of the yeast strains are harmless and some are even beneficial. One of them, though, candida albicans, is particularly nasty and worse, it is adaptable.

When the balance with good bacteria is disrupted, especially by antibiotics, the yeast has an opportunity to grow. Candida albicans are tricky because they can feed certain strains of bad bacteria, which they like to do after a course of antibiotics, to give the bad guys a helping hand to regain their numbers.  But they do not help the very beneficial lactobacillus family of good bacteria. Why? Because the lactobacillus family can inhibit them and are a key factor at keeping the candida numbers low.

The other insidious thing about candidia albicans is that it can morph, like a shape shifter, into a fungal form and this is when it causes us a lot of symptoms both in the intestines and throughout the body.

This is the subject of a lot of current research. Many MDs will tell you candidiasis does not exist yet this fungal form is known to be prevalent in several conditions such as yeast infections, sepsis and recently it was found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.

Food sensitivities, headaches, joint pain, brain fog, immune and fungal problems are just a few of the possible issues that are not recognized as connected but do go away when the candida albicans are brought down to normal levels.

This brings us back to fermented foods. Because people assume that fermented foods have something to do with mold or fungus, people are told to not consume them on a Candidiasis protocol. The truth is many fermented foods are extremely beneficial for helping the body get rid of excess yeast and more importantly, mold and fungus are not part of the picture.

The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods are anaerobic, meaning they live without oxygen. Bad bacteria, mold and yeast need oxygen to thrive. Most fermented food techniques seal out the oxygen allowing carbon dioxide to be produced by a specific strain of good bacteria. This creates a vacuum inside the container while the good bacteria strains develop over time. Bad bacteria, yeast and mold cannot grow in a vacuum. Hence, no mold or unwanted bacteria present.

Some might mention kefir, kombucha and sourdough as examples of yeast and good bacteria thriving synergistically together. Surely, these foods must not be good for those with Candidiasis. The truth is, the yeast strains in these foods are unique to them and are not the yeast strains present in us. They certainly are not candida albicans – these do not exist in foods. More importantly, these yeast strains can help feed the good bacteria that is native to us, which is out of balance and this imbalance is the cause of the Candidiasis in the first place. So foods that may help the balance be restored are essential.

Milk Kefir, in particular, is helpful at inhibiting candida albicans. One study found that the kefir added to a sugar broth – that is right, I said sugar broth inhibited bad microbes. Candida albicans were added along with several strains of bad bacteria such as salmonella and e. coli and the kefir inhibited all of them.

Studies of kombucha and sourdough show that they do not aid the growth of Candida, but they also do not inhibit the way kefir does.

Sauerkraut is another fermented food that research has found to inhibit candida alibicans. There may be more but the research needs to be done. What is known is that they are all antimicrobial to some degree and are not connected to mold. More importantly, they can help support the health of the gut plus they all have major benefits for other aspects of our health.

This is not to say that fermented foods are a simple solution for Candidiasis. The truth is that without ingesting antimicrobials and antifungals such as oil of oregano or caprylic acid (found in coconut oil), it will be difficult to get the good bacteria back into the power position. It also takes time for the body to heal and restore the balance of the good bacteria.

There are individuals whose intestines are so messed up, that they react to many foods, including fermented ones. These individuals need to start with probiotics and anti-microbials supplements to give the intestines a jump start to better digestion.

There is only one way to know. Try the fermented foods and see how they make you feel. Eventually, as you know more about these amazing foods, not only will you want them in your diet consistently, you may even want to learn the simple techniques to make your own so they taste just how you like them. Just be assured, you are not ingesting mold or bad bacteria.

Think you might have a Candida overgrowth?  Sign up here for our free Candida Questionnaire!

Fermented Green Smoothie Recipe

green smoothie
Prep Time: 5 minutes


1 cup raw spinach

1 tbsp hemp seeds

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 crushed ice or 1/2 cup cold water (to adjust consistency)

1/2 cup sauerkraut

1 tsp arame

1/2 tsp schizandra powder

Juice of 1 orange

2 tsp raw honey 


Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 

Ingredients can be adjusted to taste.


Antimicrobial activity of broth fermented with kefir grains., Silva KR1, Appl Biochem Biotechnol. 2009 Feb;152(2):316-25

Current trends in Candida albicans research. Datta A1, Ganesan K, Natarajan K., Adv Microb Physiol. 1989;30:53-88.

Fermented Sauerkraut Juice as an antomicrobil agent + invitro studyPundir Ram Kumar et al, Int. Res, J. Pharm 203, 4(12)

Candida albicans and Bacterial Microbiota Interactions in the Cecum during Recolonization following Broad-Spectrum Antibiotic Therapy Katie L. Mason et al, Infect Immun. 2012 Oct; 80(10): 3371–3380.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Unexplained Weight Gain? Discover Why Calories In, Calories Out is So Old School

You are positive that you're not eating more food or “junkier” food but you're still gaining weight. 

Is this possible? 

Yes!  And You are NOT crazy! 

Here's why. 

We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic, antiquated view of weight. 

There's definitely more to the story than just what you're eating, right? 

A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and even what you eat. 

But, let's go beyond the “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you're eating the same. 

Things like:

●     Aging;
●     Hormones;
●     Sleep;
●     Stress. 


Funny things happen the older we get.  People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, weight gain, as well as aches and pains. 

Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women.  And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies. 

The good thing is that, this is very common and not your fault one bit. 


Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and can be a massive contributor to your weight gain.  There are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. 

When your thyroid gets off course and produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  And when your metabolism slows down you can gain weight.  Even though you're eating the same way you always have. 

Pro Tip: Getting your hormones and cortisol levels tested to take a deeper look at what may be causing your health challenges may be a good idea. We are currently offering this testing to our clients when indicated.  To find out more, book your complimentary session here.  You can also dive in, like many other people in our community have, and take the 7 day Healthy Hormone Challenge. You can sign up and grab your free download here >>> 7 day Healthy Hormone Challenge. Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested.  Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post. 


There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.   

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night's sleep. 

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night to help avoid weight gain. 

It's true!  Lack of sleep is linked with weight gain. 

Who ever thought you can sleep off your weight? 

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  The first place to start is by implementing a calming before bedtime routine. 


It seems to be everywhere!  So many things that can cause stress responses in your body. 

What you might not know is that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right? 

While you can't necessarily change your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them. 

Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga.  Or even mindful eating.  What about those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now? 


There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you're eating the same way you always have.  Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you're eating the same way you always have. 

Recipe (Thyroid friendly iodine): Seaweed Sushi Bowl

 Serves 2

avocado sushi bowl_copy

1 cup cooked brown rice
1 avocado (thinly sliced)
½ cucumber (diced)
½ red pepper (thinly sliced)
1 green onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons dried seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons gluten-free tamari sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
½ garlic clove
dash salt and pepper
Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls. 

Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing. 

Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls. 

Serve & Enjoy! 

Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go.  Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl. 


Candice Csaky, INHHC

5 Reasons You Bloat More After Age 45

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they're just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”.

It can happen at any age but if it seems to be more frequent as you're getting older it can very well be because of your stomach's reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion. 

Normally, when we eat food, cells in our stomach release more acid which is important for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age this process can become less efficient and the result can feel like it's wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system.

Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” and that can result in bloating.

Bloating Reason #1:

Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

Pro Tip:  Try chewing your vegetables more thoroughly, or lightly cooking or steaming raw ones.  If a fruit or veggie seems to be consistently related to bloating try eliminating it for a few weeks and monitor your symptoms.

Bloating Reason #2:

Decreased stomach acid can reduce the activation of a key protein-digesting enzyme “pepsin”.  This means that the proteins you eat aren't broken down as much and they can pass through your system somewhat “undigested”.

Pro Tip:  You may consider reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat and see if that helps you out.  

Bloating Reason #3:

One thing that can seriously cause bloating is when your digestive system slows down.  Then things seem to be a bit stagnant, just hanging around in there a bit (a lot?) longer than you'd like.

Ginger has been found to help with digestion and reduce nausea for certain people.  And peppermint is thought to help your digestive muscles keep pushing food through, so it doesn't stay in one spot for too long.

Pro Tip:  Consider drinking a digestive tea like peppermint or ginger.  See my recipe below.

Bloating Reason #4:

All this lack of digesting in your stomach and small intestine puts extra stress on the large intestine.  The large intestine is the home of all of your wonderful gut microbes that have SO many functions in the body.  The problem is when undigested food enters the large intestine it can feed the not-so-great microbes.  These “unfriendly” bacteria produce waste material and gas as a part of their natural metabolism.  The more of these microbes you have in your system (they will multiply if they are constantly being fed by undigested food in the large intestine) the more gas that will be produced in the large intestine.

Pro Tip:  Try eating more fermented foods.  Fermented foods contain probiotics which will feed the good bacteria and microbes in your system to keep the bad guys at bay  This includes things like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi (as long as these don't cause bloating for you!).  Make sure they're unpasteurized and contain live cultures.  If you cannot tolerate dairy based yogurt and kefir dairy free options are available or you could make your own dairy free versions.

You can also consider taking a probiotic supplement. Just check the label first to make sure it's right for you. 

Bloating Reason #5:

With reduced stomach acid you also have a reduction of the “activation” of several of your digestive enzymes (protein-digesting pepsin being one of them).  In order for certain enzymes to go to work digesting your food they need to be activated.  This usually happens with the assistance of stomach acid.

Pro Tip:  You may consider trying an enzyme supplement to assist your body in digesting food while you work on reestablishing your own production of stomach acid (a healthy diet and lifestyle can do this!).  But before you do make sure you read the labels because some of them interact with other supplements, medications, or conditions, and may not be safe for long-term use.


You can try the “pro tips” I've given you in this post or you can download our FREE Gut Rebuilding Plans for lots of free recipes to support the gut, from fermented foods to nourishing gut balancing foods, we've got you covered on our 3 day meal plan.  For our Omnivores, you can download your FREE Omnivore Gut Rebuilding Plan here.  For our Vegans, you can download your FREE Vegan Gut Rebuilding Plan here.

Maybe you'd prefer working with me in private one-on-one sessions where we can actually order health testing for food sensitivities, gut permeability and inflammation to find out what exactly is the cause of your digestive challenges.  If this is the case, I would recommend requesting an appointment here so that we can develop individualized protocols based on your own results, your goals and your own bioindividuality. If bloating is a serious problem, as an Integrative Holistic Nutrition Coach, I can help you.

Recipe (Tummy Soothing Tea): Ginger Tea

Serves 1

Fresh ginger root (about 2”)

Hot water

Lemon slices (optional)

Honey (optional)


Pour the water into a saucepan and heat it on the stove.

Grate the ginger root into the saucepan.  Let it come to a boil, and then simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Strain the tea into a cup with a fine mesh strainer and add lemon and/or honey as desired.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  If you don't want to use a grater and strainer then you can peel the ginger and thinly slice it into your cup before adding boiling water.  The pieces should be big enough that they will sink to the bottom.


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Should You Do A Detox?

Detoxes are very popular right now. Most involve drinking a series of juices and while you may temporarily feel better, it is very important to understand that you may not have accomplished as much as you think you have.

It is important to understand what the goal of detoxing is supposed to be. The idea is that by severely reducing your food intake and existing on raw juices, the energy that is not being used for digestion, can be used to remove toxins a person may have been storing in their fat cells.

The nutrients in the juices may also support the detoxification processes of the liver.

However, there is a flaw in this scenario. Juice does not contain fiber, which is essential for toxins that have been prepared, by the liver, to actually leave the body. No fiber, toxins do not leave.

Good gut health is also essential for successful detoxification. Before anyone undertakes a liver cleanse of any kind, they should be sure their gut is in a state to handle the toxins that will be coming its way, on their way out of the body. Even toxins that leave via the urinary system must travel through the small intestines on their way to the kidneys.

If there are not sufficient good bacteria, the toxins that are bound to a liver conjugate can detach and go back into the body. They will just head back to the liver but this just puts more pressure on the liver, which is already overworked, or you would not have so many stored toxins in the first place.

In a perfect world, your liver would remove all toxins and any excess hormones immediately. If we feed our liver correctly, it will have all the nutrients and energy to do the work daily.

The following are some key liver foods you should consume frequently to keep your liver happy:

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage or kale, Calcium d’glurcurate foods such as apples and grapefruit, bitter foods like dandelion or collard greens, sulfur-rich foods such as garlic and onions, and high antioxidant foods like berries, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables. Jerusalem artichokes are extremely good for the liver. Milk thistle tea is also very beneficial.

Another easy way to help you detox is to do what is known as daily detox. This requires that you do not eat anything for 14 hours between your last meal in the evening and your first one in the morning. Again, liver foods are needed to be consumed daily in order to support the detox function during the night.

A safe detox option is the 7-Day Hormone Reboot Challenge. It is designed with a combination of fiber-filled raw foods, gut health foods and some cooked foods to keep you grounded and satisfied for the first fours days, then three days of healthy eating. This is a very responsible way to do a detox. Food amounts are not limited in order to make sure participants are not to hungry. Detox reactions may occur but they should not be too severe unless you are really toxic and you have been eating virtually no liver foods.

Give it a try – by supporting your liver with this challenge, you will feel better and it gives you foods that are good for all hormones so it will be a great start to re-balancing your system.

You can download our free 7-Day Hormone Reboot Challenge here.

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