Candice Csaky, INHHC

Men and Women are More Different Than We Knew

Do you think the differences between men and women is just about X and Y chromosomes and estrogen and testosterone levels? Well, science is starting to shed even more light on the subject and it seems our gut bacteria are different, too.

Current research is focusing on learning the connection between gut bacteria and various health conditions. The goal is to learn how to use the new understanding about different strains to develop strategies to help people recover from health conditions. Inflammatory conditions including IBS, colitis as well as diabetes, heart disease and depression are just a few conditions that can benefits from healthy gut flora.

One key area of focus is looking at diet to help manipulate the gut microbes to help these conditions. And here is where a monkey wrench has been thrown into the process. Apparently, the gut microbes of males and females react differently to the same food.

In a recent study published in Nature Communications, researchers found several key pieces of information:

For too long, the influence of the diet has been assumed to be the same for men and women.

Sex hormones may be influencing gut microbes and directing the preference for one strain over another.

This new information means it is no longer as simple as telling people to eat more vegetables.

Research is going to have to focus on genetics, environment, diet and now hormones and how they all interact. Normally research looks at each of these one at a time. This is no longer enough.

And finally, in looking at mice studies, it was found that diet does not vary gut microbes between sexes the way it does in other species such as humans. Since most research is done initially on mice, we must not take any results regarding diet as gospel and wait for the human studies.

That being said gut bacteria from males can make a difference when transplanted into females, according to mice. In a study, female mice, with a 90 percent risk of developing Type I Diabetes (the autoimmune condition), were given gut bacteria from healthy adult male mice.

The females saw increased testosterone, yet their levels did not reach that of males. However, the increase in testosterone did deliver enough active testosterone signaling the ability to prevent Type I Diabetes.

This makes the issues of what to eat more confusing. It certainly should make you think twice the next time you pick up a book that is trying to tell you what is right or wrong about food. And it definitely means we should reconsider a lot of the information we have received in the past.

We know we need nutrients for our body and for our microbe friends. However, we need to develop more intuition for listening to our body and apparently, to our microbes, which are working hard to communicate with us, about what we should eat.

References:

 

Individual Diet Has Sex-Dependent Effects On Vertebrate Gut Microbiota, Daniel I. Bolnick, Lisa K. Snowberg, Philipp E. Hirsch, Christian L. Lauber, Elin Org, Brian Parks, Aldons J. Lusis, Rob Knight, J. Gregory Caporaso, Richard Svanbäck, Nature Communications, 2014; 5

Sex Differences in the Gut Microbiome Drive Hormone-Dependent Regulation of Autoimmunity, Janet G. M. Markle1, Science 17, Jan 2013

 

 

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Three Must Eat Breakfast Foods

Do you love your breakfast?  Do you have a short list of “go-to” recipes?  Do you need a bit of inspiration to start eating breakfast again?

Getting some protein at each meal can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss.  This is because protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize it.  So I'm going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favourite new “go-to” breakfasts.


Breakfast Food #1: Eggs



Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

No, I'm not talking about processed egg whites in a carton.  I mean actual whole “eggs”.  

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.
 
Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you're running short on time.

And...nope the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases. 

One thing to consider is to try to prevent cooking the yolks at too high of a temperature because that can cause some of the cholesterol to become oxidized.  It's the oxidized cholesterol that's heart unhealthy.
 

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won't be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know I'm talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you're running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds as you're running out the door; you can nosh on them while you're commuting.

Not to mention how easy it is to add a spoonful of nut/seed butter into your morning breakfast smoothie.

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a tablespoon or two of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy. I personally love blending a Rooibos Chai Tea with 1 spoonful of Raw Tahini and 1 spoonful of almond butter.  Delicious and caffeine free!  


Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know I would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?  
 
Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You can't go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don't already you should definitely try them for breakfast!  

And no, you don't need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don't want to but you totally can!  You wouldn't be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast.

I've included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.


Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

omelettes

Serves 1

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 or 2 eggs (how hungry are you?)
¼ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)
dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric

Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).

In the meantime grab a bowl and beat the egg(s) with your vegetables of choice and the spices.

Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.

When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny.

Serve & Enjoy!

 
Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favourite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli or diced tomato.


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/
https://authoritynutrition.com/eating-healthy-eggs/
https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

You knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (borderlining obsession) about cholesterol, right?

Before we jump into some myths let's make sure we're on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it's floating through your blood is what's more important than just how much of it there is overall.  In fact depending on what it's combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart.  Yes, opposite!

So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood.  These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.  

They're grouped into two main categories:

●     HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.

●     LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).

And yes, it's even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn't simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it's bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats.  Not to mention that it's incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn't nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It's actually not from the cholesterol you eat.  Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  'Cause that's where it's made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn't need to make as much.

Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness there's a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

Don't start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don't seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

Guess what does?

Nutrition and exercise, baby!

One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies.  I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day.  Every day.

Don't worry the recipe below should help you add at least another salad to your day.

You can (should?) also exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats.  That means fatty fish, avocados and olive oil.  Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.

Summary:

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we're learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are.  And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.
 
Recipe (Dressing to go with your salad): Orange Hemp Seed Dressing

Hemp-Seed-Salad-Dressing-Recipe


 
Makes about ¾ cup

½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup orange juice
1 clove of garlic, peeled
dash salt and/or pepper

Blend all ingredients together until creamy.

Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!

Tip: Store extra in airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep for about a week.

References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol
http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/


Candice Csaky, INHHC

Can One Food Make a Difference For Weight Loss?

We often wonder if there is a magic bullet for weight loss. The short answer is no. However, research is
discovering some fascinating pieces of information and one food that may help is Kimchi.

What is Kimchi?  In case you didn't know, Kimchi is the National Dish of Korea. It's a traditional side dish that is made up of fermented foods, mostly Napa cabbage and Korean spices.  A few years ago, our family was hosting a Korean student on an exchange program and learned to make Kimchi from scratch.  We fell in love with it and since then, it has become a staple in our household.  We've included our favourite Kimchi recipes below!

So, what happens when they study Kimchi? A recent study that featured 22 obese participants. The study divided them into two groups with each eating either fresh kimchi or fermented kimchi, added to
their diet for two weeks and then switching with a two-week washout period in between.

The fermented group showed a significant decrease in hip-to-waist ratio and percentage of body fat as
well as significant improvements in symptoms of metabolic syndrome such as fasting blood glucose, blood pressure and total cholesterol.

What is most interesting is that both groups lost weight and saw improvements. So, the ingredient in
kimchi were playing a role. It was just more significant when they consumed the fermented kimchi,
meaning the process of fermentation turned good foods into super foods.

Just one more reason to consume kimchi on a regular basis. However, if you are trying to lose weight
you may want to add it to your regimen everyday to help you reach your goal.

Need some more reasons to try Kimchi? It's loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, but its biggest benefit may be in its "healthy bacteria" called lactobacilli, found in fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt. This good bacteria helps with digestion, plus it seems to help stop and even prevent yeast infections, according to a recent study. And more good news: Some studies show fermented cabbage has compounds that may prevent the growth of cancer!

Remember that kimchi is also good for gut health and optimal gut health has also been shown to aid weight loss and decrease cravings. If the flavour of kimchi is too strong for you, then consume it will
something bland like rice. 

Simple Kimchi Recipe

kimchi

Ingredients

1 medium head of Napa cabbage
1/4 cup sea salt or kosher salt (see Recipe Notes)
Water (see Recipe Notes)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons seafood flavor or water (optional, see Recipe Notes)
1 to 5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes
8 ounces Korean radish or daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Equipment
Cutting board and knife
Large bowl
Gloves (optional but highly recommended)
Plate and something to weigh the kimchi down, like a jar or can of beans
Colander
Small bowl
Clean 1-quart jar with canning lid or plastic lid
Bowl or plate to place under jar during fermentation

Instructions
Slice the cabbage: Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips.

Salt the cabbage: Place the cabbage and salt in a large bowl. Using your hands (gloves optional), massage the salt into the cabbage until it starts to soften a bit, then add water to cover the cabbage. Put a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, like a jar or can of beans. Let stand for 1 to 2 hours.

Rinse and drain the cabbage: Rinse the cabbage under cold water 3 times and drain in a colander for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and dry the bowl you used for salting, and set it aside to use in step 5.

Make the paste: Meanwhile, combine the garlic, ginger, sugar, and seafood flavor (or 3 tablespoons water) in a small bowl and mix to form a smooth paste. Mix in the gochugaru, using 1 tablespoon for mild and up to 5 tablespoons for spicy (I like about 3 1/2 tablespoons).

Combine the vegetables and paste: Gently squeeze any remaining water from the cabbage and return it to the bowl along with the radish, scallions, and seasoning paste.

Mix thoroughly: Using your hands, gently work the paste into the vegetables until they are thoroughly coated. The gloves are optional here but highly recommended to protect your hands from stings, stains, and smells!

Pack the kimchi into the jar: Pack the kimchi into the jar, pressing down on it until the brine rises to cover the vegetables. Leave at least 1 inch of headspace. Seal the jar with the lid. Let it ferment: Let the jar stand at room temperature for 1 to 5 days. You may see bubbles inside the jar and brine may seep out of the lid; place a bowl or plate under the jar to help catch any overflow.

Check it daily and refrigerate when ready: Check the kimchi once a day, pressing down on the vegetables with a clean finger or spoon to keep them submerged under the brine. (This also releases gases produced during fermentation.) Taste a little at this point, too! When the kimchi tastes ripe enough for your liking, transfer the jar to the refrigerator. You may eat it right away, but it's best after another week or two.

Recipe Notes

Salt: Use salt that is free of iodine and anti-caking agents, which can inhibit fermentation.
Water: Chlorinated water can inhibit fermentation, so use spring, distilled, or filtered water if you can.
Seafood flavor and vegetarian alternatives: Seafood gives kimchi an umami flavor. Different regions and families may use fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, oysters, and other seafood. Use about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, salted shrimp paste, or a combination of the two. For vegetarian kimchi, I like using 3/4 teaspoon kelp powder mixed with 3 tablespoons water, or simply 3 tablespoons of water.
 
 

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why Your Waist Circumference Matters 100x More Than What You Weigh


You totally want to ditch your scale, don't you?
 

You may have this weird kind of relationship with your “weight”.  I mean, it doesn't define you (obviously). What you weigh can matter but only to a certain extent.
 

Let's look at your waist circumference (well...you look at yours and I'll look at mine).


Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”):

 
Do you remember the fruity body shape descriptions being like an “apple” or a “pear”? 


The apple is kinda round around the middle (you know – belly fat-ish, kinda beer belly-ish) and the pear is rounder around the hips/thighs.


THAT is what we're talking about here.

 
Do you know which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart issues
(high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases). 
 

Yup – that apple!


And it's not because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may refer to as a “muffin top”.  The health risk is actually due to the fat inside the
abdomen covering the liver, intestines and other organs there.


This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and that's where a lot of the problem actually is.  It's this “in-pinchable” fat. 


The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that
can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure. And the apple-shaped people tend to have a lot more of this
hidden visceral fat than the pear-shaped people do.

 
So as you can see where your fat is stored is more important that how much you weigh.


Am I an apple or a pear?


It's pretty simple to find out if you're in the higher risk category or not.


The easiest way is to just measure your waist circumference with a measuring tape. 


You can do it right now.


Women, if your waist is 35” or more you could be considered to have “abdominal obesity” and be in the higher risk category.  Pregnant ladies are exempt, of course.


For men the number is 40”. 

 
Of course this isn't a diagnostic tool.  There are lots of risk factors for chronic diseases.  Waist circumference is just one of them. 

If you have concerns definitely see your doctor.


Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:
 

●     Eat more fiber.  Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

●     Add more protein to your day.  Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

●     Nix added sugars.  This means ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).

●     Move more.  Get some aerobic exercise.  Lift some weights.  Walk and take the stairs.  It all adds up.

●     Stress less.  Seriously!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone cortisol have been shown to increase appetite and drive abdominal fat.

●     Get more sleep.  Try making this a priority and seeing how much better you feel (and look).

 
Recipe (High fiber side dish): Garlic Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Fabulously-delicious-balsamic-and-garlic-roasted-brussel-sprouts-Theyll-turn-anyone-into-a-vegetable-lover- 

Serves 4


1 lb Brussels sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)

2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

dash salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400F. 


In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.  Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.


Bake for about 15 minutes.  Toss.


Bake for another 10 minutes.


Serve and Enjoy!

 
Tip:  Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K.  You may want to eat them more often.

 
References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location

http://www.drsharma.ca/inspiring-my-interest-in-visceral-fat

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/abdominal-obesity/

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Amazing Sourdough

Have you been encouraged to stop eating carbohydrates? Do you think it will help you lose weight or worse, have you been convinced that carbohydrates, especially grains are bad for you?

It is a shame that such misinformation circulates and so many people are confused about this important food group but it just shows that we need to apply some common sense before we remove foods groups form our diet. 

A friend and mentor of mine that I once studied under shared a story of her struggle with weight loss for years and for her, it wasn't until she dropped all the diet advice around grains and ate a higher carbohydrate diet, that she finally was able to release that stubborn weight she'd been carrying around for years. The truth is, there is no one size fits all approach that will work for anyone, and I'm not necessarily advocating for a high-carbohydrate diet here but common sense, whole grains and carbohydrates from whole foods can have huge benefits to our health outcomes. 

So what if you have a digestion issue with grains, does that means for sure, you should avoid them? No. Not necessarily.
 
Before you remove anything, try sourdough. What is sourdough? A traditional method of fermenting
grains to make bread. It has many benefits and is much more digestible. Fermenting grains creates prebiotic substances from the starches in the flour to aid gut health making sourdough a great food for feeding the good bacteria. This is sourdough made with white flour as that is what they do the research with. The fermentation process also makes nutrients more available, as it does with all fermented foods. However, the process of sourdough also adds B-vitamins that were not there before the fermentation occurred.

sourdough

This makes sense since sourdough is a combination of good bacteria and yeast, 100 times more good
bacteria than yeast as it happens, but wild yeast strains are definitely present since this is what makes
the bread rise to give it an amazing, light-texture. And yeast is a great source of B-vitamins.

The acid nature, the sour of sourdough, aids in pre-digestion of the protein molecules in the grain especially the gliadin in gluten, as protease enzymes prefer an acid pH for optimal function. As a matter
of fact, researchers are studying sourdough for consumption by celiacs. The gluten must be completely degraded in order for a celiac to tolerate it, and this would make it quite sour tasting. Some experiments involved using fully-degraded sourdough mixed with fresh gluten-free grains added after fermentation to lessen the sour taste and these breads were also suitable for celiacs.

But probably the most amazing research comes from the University of Guelph. Researchers took four
samples of bread: regular white flour bread, whole wheat bread, whole wheat with barley bread and
white flour sourdough bread.

The participants in this study were all between the ages of 50 to 60 and
were all overweight. They were fed the breads at breakfast and then again at lunch. After both meals, blood sugar and insulin levels were measured. The sourdough provided the lowest level of blood sugar and insulin, and surprisingly, continued to keep the blood and insulin levels low for the following meal where no bread was consumed.

The whole wheat, on the other hand, provided the highest level of blood sugar after a meal, even higher than the regular white flour bread!

If you want to try sourdough, look for bakers in your area who are making traditional sourdough bread.
This is a delicious adventure for you take. A quick google search of sourdough and the name of the city or town where you live could make it easier to find someone local.

And if you cannot find a source in your area, you can order it online and have it shipped to you. When you do find a source, cut yourself a slice, drizzle it with some virgin olive oil or cultured butter. Enjoy!

References
Sourdough and cereal fermentation in a nutritional perspective, Kaisa Poutanen a,
b,*, Laura Flander a, Kati Katina a, Food Microbiology 26 (2009) 693–699

Structural changes of gliadins during sourdough fermentation Gokcen Komen, Ayse Handan Baysal,
Sebnem Harsa, Izmir Institute of Technology, Izmir, Turkey http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough_bread.html

Glycosidases and B group vitamins produced by six yeast strains from the digestive tract of Phoracantha
semipunctata larvae and their role in the insect development, C. Chararas et al, Mycopathologia 1983,
Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 9-15

Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients, Raffaella Di Cagno1, †, et al, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. February 2004
vol. 70 no. 2 1088-1096

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Why is My Metabolism Slow?

You may feel tired, cold or that you've gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don't worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it's so complicated I'm only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

●     low thyroid hormone
●     your history of dieting
●     your size and body composition
●     your activity level
●     lack of sleep
 
We'll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune disease, mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) and hormone imbalances for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.  If you are going to go this route, you want to make sure to have a full thyroid panel done, not just TSH.  TSH can tell us some things about your thyroid health, but you can have normal TSH levels with abnormal T3 and T4 levels. It's just doesn't give a full picture.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food. 

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.
 
Tip: Make sure you're eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.  

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have. 

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to...

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you're also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. 

Now as great as that sounds, what if you just can't. What happens if you go to bed at a reasonable time but you wake up in the middle of the night and just can't get back to sleep, no matter how hard you try. 

This is a good indicator of hormone imbalances often caused by adrenal fatigue.  The adrenals are the major regulator of your hormone health, and when you are stressed (the body recognizes all stress the same) from life, from work, from traffic, from all the day to day things you have on your list to do or from a major stress that happens suddenly, the body recognizes it all the same. When this happens, the adrenals will pump out high levels of cortisol while you are fight or flight to protect you from what it perceives s imminent danger.  These high levels during the day can completely mess with your circadian rhytms and wake you up at night when you should be sleeping! 

This is one of the biggest reasons why you may have a slow metabolism and why regular weight loss programs may not work for you.  If you don't address the cause (hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue) then a slow metabolism and added weight may be your least best friend right now.  The great news is, you can reset your hormones which can make a huge difference in how you sleep at night.  If you're struggling to sleep at night, I highly recommend signing up for our FREE 7 Day Healthy Hormone Reboot to get your sleep patterns back on track!


Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  There's some great tips in our Blog Post Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night.


Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

chocolate-chia-seed-pudding 

Serves 4

Ingredients

½ cup Brazil nuts
2 cups water
nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
½ cup chia seeds
¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
 
Directions

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
 

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.


Serve & Enjoy!
 

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.
 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?
 

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
 

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!


The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing
 

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.


Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.


Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)


OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???
 

Knowing this it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

●     To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.

●     To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.

●     To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.


Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night.  For real!


Try not to skimp!

 
(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

 
Tips for better sleep

 
●     The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.


●     Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you're getting some protein every time you eat.


●     During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.


●     Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).


●     Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

 
So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?


Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Chai-Latte-800



Serves 1-2
 

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)
 

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.


Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.


Blend until creamy.


Serve and Enjoy!


Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best. 

Cashew Cream anyone? (You can find our recipe for Cashew Cream here).
 

References:

 

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep


Candice Csaky, INHHC

The Physical & Nutritional Benefits of Gardening

Gardening

Exercise and nutrition are essential components of a healthy lifestyle, but did you know gardening can provide both? In honor of Earth Day on April 22, here are three top benefits gardening can provide your mind and body.

Staying Fit and Healthy
You can burn about the same amount of calories during 30 minutes of gardening as you can performing moderate calisthenics, mowing the lawn or going for a brisk walk. Because gardening is low impact, it can be a great exercise option for children, the elderly and those with mobility issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control, physical activities like gardening can also lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, obesity, depression and diabetes.

Building Community and Helping the Planet
Community centers and schools use gardens to educate and promote the value of growing food and incorporating fresh produce into your diet. They also teach both children and adults about the importance of plants and the natural cycle of life. Eating locally grown produce from a community garden or your own backyard can also help decrease your carbon footprint.

Boosting Your Mood
Some studies have shown that gardening can reduce cortisol levels, promoting a sense of relief from stress and leading to an improved mood. Researchers at the University of Bristol also discovered that a certain bacteria found in soil might contribute to higher levels of serotonin, the mood-boosting neurotransmitter.

Looking for a fun way to improve your health and increase movement? Spend some downtime tackling yard work and tending to a garden.

Candice Csaky, INHHC

Men... Losing Strength? This Hormone Can Help



Yes, we're talking testosterone.  That muscle-building hormone.  But I'm not going to recommend that you take any anabolic steroid hormones or anything like that.

 

I am going to give you two solid tips on how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally with supplements.

 

Tip #1: Get enough zinc

 

Zinc is an essential mineral that helps with a number of processes in your body (it helps over 300 enzymes).  Zinc helps your immune system, helps to produce critical proteins and DNA, and also helps with wound healing.  Enough zinc is necessary to maintain healthy skin and for optimal ability to taste and smell.  Zinc is an antioxidant and can be supplemented to support optimal levels of testosterone because it helps the enzymes that converts cholesterol into testosterone.

 

Zinc is found mostly in red meat, poultry, egg yolks, and shellfish.  Some plants can also provide zinc such as beans and nuts.  The best dietary source is oysters.

 

The daily recommended dose of zinc for men is 11 mg/day (for women it's 8 mg/day).  Low zinc levels are rare but tend to occur in vegetarians/vegans, athletes, and people who sweat a lot (zinc is lost in sweat).  And low zinc levels have been linked to low testosterone levels.

 

Of course if you don't get enough zinc in your diet you can always supplement.  Before you do, however, consider a few things:

●     It is possible to get too much zinc so unless your doctor tells you never take more than 40 mg/day.  For many people just 5-10 mg/day is enough to prevent deficiency.

●     Zinc supplements can also interact with certain medications so be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if zinc supplements are safe for you.

●     Zinc supplements are best taken 2-hours away from any medications (if it's safe to use it at all while taking those medications) and should be taken with food.

 

Tip #2: Get enough vitamin D

 

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” is actually the most common nutrient that we in North America just simply don't get enough of.  Not only is it not very abundant in foods but most places far from the equator don't get enough sunlight to produce adequate levels year round. 

 

Hello winter; goodbye sunshine vitamin.

 

Vitamin D is known to help us absorb calcium from our foods and is also necessary for our immune system, nervous system, and muscular system.  As with zinc if you're deficient in this nutrient you may experience increased testosterone levels after supplementing.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly associated with bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

 

It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is found in fatty fish, organ meats, and egg yolks.  Unfortunately it isn't abundant in most other un-fortified foods.

 

The bottom line with vitamin D is that you may need to supplement.  Of course if you're always outside in the sun or eat fatty fish every day you may be the exception.  You can always ask your doctor to check your blood levels to be sure because vitamin D is another one of those nutrients where more is not always better.

 

Here are a few tips to supplement with vitamin D safely and effectively:

●     Read your labels and don't overdo it.  Never supplement with more than 4,000IU/day unless supervised by your doctor.

●     As with zinc (and most other supplements) you should check with your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any medications. 

●     Take your vitamin D with some fat to help your body absorb this vitamin.  It is often recommended that you take it with the largest meal of the day.

●     Note that vitamin D is also found in cod liver oil, and multivitamins, so you may not need to take it separately (read your labels).

 

Summary:

 

If you aren't getting enough zinc and/or vitamin D every day your testosterone levels may be a bit low but don't overdo these two essential nutrients.

 

Recipe (vitamin D and zinc): Honey Sesame Salmon

 11d393d6851bd212e10476b235d12550

Serves 4

 

2-3 lbs salmon fillets

¼ cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

¼ cup sesame oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar

1” of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons diced green onions or chives

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade.

 

Place salmon in a glass dish and cover with marinade.  Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

 

Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil.

 

Place salmon in pan skin side down and cook for 2-3 minutes.

 

Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork.

 

Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Wild salmon can contain up to 4 times the amount of vitamin D as farmed salmon.

 

References:

 

https://examine.com/nutrition/how-can-i-increase-testosterone-naturally/

 

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_elements_tbl-eng.php

 

http://thewellnessbusinesshub.com/yes-nutrient-deficiencies-heres-proof-can/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=zinc.mono&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Zinc/

 

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

 

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=183&lang=eng

 

https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/8-ways-to-boost-testosterone/

 

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show?ndbno=15087&fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=Abridged&count=&max=25&offset=0&sort=c&qlookup=&rptfrm=nl&nutrient1=328&nutrient2=309&nutrient3=&subset=0&totCount=5376&measureby=m

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/9-foods-high-in-vitamin-d/

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