2015 in review and my 2016 wishes for you!

2015 has definitely been another year of transformation and growth for me. Before the year is up I’ll be looking back, re-reading blogs, posts on Facebook, and my journal to reflect and review a lot of what I’ve done in this past year. And of course I’m also putting into place the steps for my plans both personal and professional for 2016. I’m excited about both! One aspect as mentioned that is fun to look back at is my activity here on WordPress.

I love knowing that my words here are reaching a lot of people, and hopefully connecting with and inspiring at least some of those readers. I love knowing my blog is being shared by other bloggers to their readers and to friends and strangers alike.

I also love to hear from my readers on how my words have affected them. I read every comment I get and use your feedback to create future blogs and to do things better. I hope you will continue to comment and share with me. We all seek that connection with others.

I would be even more thrilled if you wanted to share your 2016 goals and aspirations with me, especially if they involve health and wellness, but really it’s ALL about wellness – mental, spiritual and physical, isn’t it?

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for my blog. It’s posted below.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,800 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 47 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Are you ready to make 2016 YOUR year of change? Your year of inspiration? Your year of amazing change?

For 2016 I wish this for all of you:

may the coming year

 

 

 

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Research & Protocol Development for Professionals

Are you a busy ND or other professional? Are you looking for well researched, professionally created protocols, handouts, or other research papers for yourself or your patients but find you’re just too busy to get them done? 

I love to do research and create informative, easy to understand protocols and papers to share information and help patients and clients understand their health issues and conditions, how to take better care of themselves, where & how to shop when needing to eliminate foods from their diet, alternatives to common allergenic foods, how to manage a new or current issue, and more!

I’ve worked with my own ND to create handouts on at least 10 different topics that he can give to his patients so that they have concrete and easy to understand information in front of them when they go to the store or feel overwhelmed with something new with their health. 

I am also experienced in creating spreadsheets and gathering the pertinent information for a variety of topics. So far I have created spreadsheets on advertising in various online and daily newspapers, and magazines, various clinics & practitioner fees, other practitioners in a given city/area, and more.

Research and Protocol Development fees:

2 page Nutrition related Protocols are $60. Over 2 pages price will be discussed. It depends on the depth/detail of information wanted. If graphics and special fonts (standard font used is Verdana at size 11) are requested then price will be set accordingly (i.e. a two page protocol will be $75).

Papers requested to be more than 2 pages, on topics other than nutrition, or which require more than 2 hours to research and complete are $60/hour.

Spread sheets will be $100 for up to 2 hours of research and compilation time combined. Cost over and above the base charge will be more depending on topic, quantity and detail of info requested. This would mean an extra cost of $60/hour for additional research and compilation time.

Please contact me, Valerie, at 778-985-8807 or nourishment3@gmail.com for inquiries or questions about my services. 

Where does the fat go??

It’s been a while again since I’ve posted a blog. I’ve been happily focused on hypnosis and working with clients in that regard. I also have been working with clients with nutrition AND with the two combined. With the help of my mentor/teacher (Brian Wallace – I’ve mentioned him often and posted his bio here), I’ve created a Weight Control/Healthy Metabolism Hypnosis protocol. This program addresses the metabolic process and the underlying emotional connections we have to food which lead us to make poor choices. With these methods we can create effective permanent change at the subconscious level that creates a physiological response in the body. After all, What the mind believes the body accepts! 

The reason why I’ve titled this “Where does the fat go?” is because of the article I’m posting below in it’s entirety from Dr Mercola (www.mercola.com). I very much respect him and the information/knowledge/views he puts out on his site. And some of the information in this article I use in my Weight Control/Healthy Metabolism Program (in a scaled down format). This whole article has great information!

By Dr. Mercola

The vast majority of doctors, dietitians, and personal trainers believe that when you burn fat during exercise, that fat is being used up as fuel for energy or heat. Some believe it’s excreted through urine or feces, while others think the fat is turned into muscle.

All of these ideas are to some degree incorrect, according to Ruben Meerman, a physicist, and Andrew Brown, a biochemist specializing in lipids, who say there’s “surprising ignorance and confusion about the metabolic process of weight loss.”

When You Lose Weight, Where Does the Fat Go?

Their calculations, showing where the fat really goes when you lose weight, was recently published in the journal BMJ.1,2 As explained by Medical News Today:3

“Excess dietary carbohydrates and protein are converted to a type of fat called triglyceride. When people attempt to lose weight, they are attempting to metabolize these triglycerides while keeping their fat-free mass intact…

Triglycerides are comprised of three types of atoms: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Triglyceride molecules can be broken down only by unlocking these atoms, through a process known as oxidation.

The researchers chose to follow the path of these atoms when leaving the body. They found that when 10 kg of fat were oxidized, 8.4 kg were converted and excreted as carbon dioxide (CO2) via the lungs, and 1.6 kg became water (H20).

In order for 10 kg of human fat to be oxidized, the researchers calculated that 29 kg of oxygen must be inhaled. Oxidation then produces a total of 28 kg of CO2 and 11 kg of H20.”

The researchers note that this is not new to science—rather the process has simply been misunderstood. The equation does involve release of energy; it’s just that the process isn’t as direct as one might think. According to the law of conservation of mass, it’s actually quite difficult to convert matter into energy.

As noted by The Atlantic:4 “If you were able to convert your fat stores [directly] into energy, you would explode in a glorious, catastrophic spectacle…” According to their calculations, you basically exhale 84 percent of your lost fat. The remaining 16 percent is metabolized into water, which is excreted through sweat and urine. (words bolded by me, as this is the part I use in my program with a bit more explanation connecting it to metabolism)

The authors estimate that by substituting one hour of sedentary lounging with one hour of moderate exercise—to increase your respiratory rate—your metabolic rate is increased sevenfold. However, they note that you can easily hamper any potential weight loss by eating too much food—and I would stress, by eating the wrong kinds of foods.

Your Food Choices Make a Huge Difference

It’s important to recognize that most people who struggle with excess weight have some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that helps you regulate your appetite. When your leptin levels rise, it signals your body that you’re full, so you’ll stop eating.

As you become resistant to the effects of leptin, you end up overeating, as your body gradually loses its ability to “hear” the signals leptin sends out. Dr. Richard Johnson’s research clearly shows that refined sugar (in particular processed fructose) is exceptionally effective at causing leptin resistance. Fructose also effectively blocks the burning of fat.

Basically, if you are insulin or leptin resistant, as long as you keep eating fructose and grains, you’re programming your body to create and store fat. This is one of the key reasons why, if you are overweight, you’d be wise to restrict your fructose consumption to about 15 to 25 grams of fructose per day from all sources.

This means switching out most processed foods for whole, unprocessed foods, and avoiding any and all sweetened beverages. Clean pure water is really the only type of fluid your body needs. For further dietary guidance, please see my comprehensive nutrition plan.

If you’re insulin/leptin resistant and/or are overweight, you can also greatly boost your body’s fat-burning potential by incorporating intermittent fasting, as it helps reset your body to use fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel. It is by far the most effective way I know of to shed unwanted fat and eliminate your sugar cravings.

Exercising in a fasted state (such as first thing in the morning) will bring it up yet another notch. A simple way to get started with intermittent fasting is to simply omit breakfast, making lunch the first meal of your day.

Maintain this daily eating schedule until your insulin/leptin resistance improves (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol ratios, or diabetes normalizes). After that, just do it as often as you need to maintain your healthy state.

White versus Brown Fat

While we’re on the topic of fat, it’s worth noting that there are different kinds of fat cells in your body, and from a metabolic standpoint, they respond differently. They even appear to have different biological functions. None of this was discussed in the featured research, but it likely also plays a role in the big scheme of things. For a number of years, scientists have been studying so-called “brown fat”—a type of fat that generates heat that burns energy instead of storing it. So-called “white fat” is the kind that is primarily stored, and because it’s also difficult to burn off, it tends to cause obesity. Research has shown that certain groups of people tend to have more brown fat than others, and there appears to be direct correlations between the activation of brown fat and metabolic measures of good health. For example:

Slender people have more brown fat than obese people do
Younger people have more brown fat than elderly people
People with normal blood sugar levels have more brown fat than those with high blood sugar
How to Transform White Fat into Healthier Brown Fat

Newborns have a supply of brown fat to keep warm, but most of these stores are lost by the time adulthood is reached. However, although you have far less of it as an adult, scientists have found that you can activate the brown fat still present in your body by exposing yourself to cold temperatures. This has the effect of causing your body to burn more calories to keep warm, and there’s evidence suggesting ice therapy can be helpful for boosting weight loss. Animal research has also shown that animals convert white fat into brown fat simply by exercising.

The study,5 published in the journal Disease Models and Mechanism, found that during exercise the animals’ muscles released an enzyme called irisin, which triggered the conversion of white fat cells to brown. Preliminary studies presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association revealed that this holds true in humans as well. Among men, the benefits were found after 12 weeks of training on an exercise bike. One of the researchers, a postdoctoral fellow at Joslin Diabetes Center, said:6

“Our results showed that exercise doesn’t just have beneficial effects on muscle, it also affects fat… It’s clear that when fat gets trained, it becomes browner and more metabolically active. We think there are factors being released into the bloodstream from the healthier fat that are working on other tissues.”

As you can see, the human metabolism is extremely complex. On the one hand, exercise helps convert unhealthy white fat into healthier, heat-producing and more metabolically active brown fat. Exercise also increases the oxidation of fat, which then leaves your body via your lungs, in the form of carbon dioxide, and your bodily fluids, in the form of water. What’s not so complex however, is how to optimize your metabolism—even if you don’t understand the exact mechanisms involved. Following simple basics described below will catalyze your body’s ability to achieve your ideal weight and leanness.

Your Weight Reflects Your Lifestyle Choices

Simply eating fewer calories and exercising more usually doesn’t work very well, and the reason for that is because not all calories are the same. As mentioned, processed fructose in particular causes leptin resistance far more effectively than other sugars, with refined sugar coming in close second. Glucose is not nearly as harmful in comparison. Fructose also blocks the burning of fat. So, instead of focusing on calories, you need to address the quality of the foods you eat, and avoid chemical exposures. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, for example, can cause or exacerbate weight gain. Following is a short list of proactive, easy-to-remember guidelines that can go a long way toward improving your health, nutrition, and body weight.

Exercise regularly, and stay active all day long: Engage in high-intensity Peak Fitness exercise to burn fat and increase muscle mass (a natural fat burner). Also, strive to sit less (much less—ideally no more than three hours a day) and walk 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day in addition to your regular exercise program.
Consider intermittent fasting: If you’re insulin/leptin resistant and/or are overweight, boost your body’s fat-burning potential by incorporating intermittent fasting. This is one of the most powerful approaches to reverse insulin resistance. It is only necessary to do until your insulin resistance resolves.
Buy real food, preferably whole organic and locally grown, and cook from scratch. Ditching processed foods will automatically reduce your sugar consumption, which is the root cause of insulin resistance and weight gain. If you buy organic produce, you’ll also cut your exposure to pesticides and genetically engineered ingredients, and in ditching processed foods, you’ll automatically avoid artificial sweeteners and harmful processed fats like trans fats and vegetable oils (such as peanut, corn, and soy oil), the latter of which actually degrades into oxidation products when heated that may be more harmful than trans fat.
That said, most people do need upwards of 50-85 percent healthy fats in their diet for optimal health. Sources of healthy fats to add to your diet include avocados, butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk, raw organic dairy, coconuts and coconut oil, unheated organic nut oils, raw nuts and seeds, organic pastured egg yolks, and grass-fed meats. For more detailed dietary advice, please see my free Optimized Nutrition Plan.

Opt for organic grass-fed meats to avoid genetically engineered ingredients, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other growth promoting drugs.
Opt for glass packaging and storage containers to avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals.

*link to the original article- http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/01/09/fat-burning.aspx *

Spirituality, Journeys, Purposes and Visions

Hello all my lovely blog readers, once again I apologize for being so long between blog postings. As I mentioned in a previous blog I’ve been undergoing a lot of personal growth and change on many levels. I think I also mentioned that this work can become all encompassing for me when it’s happening.

I did a lot of work in this similar way last year at this time and it took up a good (and I mean good in all ways here) 4-6 months of my life. I gave myself- my mind, body and spirit- the time to adjust and incorporate all of that before being ready for more work this Feb. Now I’ve been having a spiritual journey that has been creating big changes deep inside me on the subconscious level. I’ve been working with my Hypnotherapist, my Naturopath and taking some courses with a Teacher/Mentor of mine.

The work is mentally and emotionally hard, which of course affects my body. They are all connected. My stress levels (cortisol and adrenalin) are higher. Sleep, diet and exercise habits have also been impacted. Add in “normal” life, having braces put on my teeth in mid March, and the exciting planning of a trip to Scotland with my bestie- we’re going in October, oh and I can’t forget hormones! I am 50 after all; so you can imagine how it’s been!

Let’s see if I can summarize and share some of what I’ve been doing. Working with my Hypnotherapist, we’ve been working on connecting with my inner selves at the various ages and stages of my life that they represent. Bringing them all together for the greater good. So I can move forward in my growth and be who I am. Also on connecting with my soul and what represents my soul. There’s more at work here, that I’ve been doing here, but it seems to be the hardest to articulate.

Working with my Teacher/Mentor, we’ve been discovering what my purpose is in being here and what my vision is for me and the world. It’s been a totally amazing discovery. Surprising and yet not as it has tied in with the work I’m doing with my Hypnotherapist. There has been a lot of emotion brought forth from all of it. Overwhelming at times, powerful  and empowering! I’ve started the second level of my Teacher/Mentor’s Vision courses last week, and in this level we’re working on developing our mission statements. So simple sounding but so profound in the impact it has on a personal level. It’s awesome that all but one of us from the first level class have returned for the second level. It’s nice to have that connection as we’ve each gone through and continue with our personal journeys.

My Naturopath is awesome! He helps look after ALL of me- the physical, emotional/mental and spiritual. He is supportive in his suggestions, his use of/recommendations for supplements and tinctures. He uses acupuncture to help support my body and mind through all of it. My body and mind respond very well to acupuncture. When he uses the needles on those spots for stress, I am so relaxed and mellow afterwards- all spacey and you’d think I was high ;). We are working with my Hypnotherapist to make the effects last longer as I can’t always see my Naturopath as often as I’d like to. He also reminds me to be gentle with myself and to “Trust that you are on the right path! Try not to focus on the “what’s next” now that you have discovered your vision/purpose. Instead focus on staying connected and in tune with that purpose, and I think you’ll find that the “what’s next” will happen organically.”  A wise man, yes? 🙂

All of the above work has also resulted in working on some other specific things like managing expectations, ‘what are expectations?’, managing the feelings around wants and hopes, changing how I react to situations, knowing on a deeper level that that is the only thing I truly have any control over, and more.

I’ve even experienced a panic attack and a huge epiphany within a week of each other with all this work! *Whew*, it’s scary and difficult and amazing and worth it and wow…

Don’t ever think that change and growth are not worth it. Don’t ever let the fear stop you. A quote from my Naturopath that resonates with me as I’m doing all of this work:

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~Jack Canfield~

 

BMI and why I don’t agree with it as an accurate measure of body weight proportion!

This article that I am copying in its entirety here, explains so well why the BMI should not be used as a guideline for weight in regards to health, obesity and fitness. I know it’s a bit long but trust me it is worth the read!! 

Female Bodies: A Weighty Issue

Posted: March 28, 2014

Hypothesis:

We have, as a society, such a completely disordered, distorted perception of female bodies that the vast majority of people are incapable of recognising what “overweight” actually looks like on a woman, let alone “healthy”. As such, we’re now at a point where women are not only raised to hate their bodies as a matter of course, but are shown, from childhood, a wholly inaccurate picture of what they “should” look like – a narrow, nigh on impossible physical standard they are then punished, both socially and medically, for failing to attain.

I don’t say this lightly. I say it because this is the only conclusion supported by the facts.

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

1: BMI

Overwhelmingly, the measurement used to determine whether or not someone is a “healthy weight” is the BMI, or Body Mass Index. Most people are still taught it in schools; indeed, it’s commonly used by doctors and in medical underwriting for insurance purposes,  and is also used by the WHO and various other official bodies, including many universities. It is, however, flawed to the point of uselessness – a fact acknowledged by the man who popularised its usage, Ansel Keys, who explicitly stated that it shouldn’t be used as a tool for individual diagnosis.

There are several main reasons why our cultural reliance on the BMI as a means of assessing health, and particularly women’s health, is deeply problematic:

1. It doesn’t take into account the fact that muscle is denser than fat. As such, it frequently registers athletes and bodybuilders as being obese or overweight, despite their incredible fitness, just because their bodies have greater muscle density, a prejudice which extends to anyone with significant muscle-mass. This is why, for instance, a superfit bodybuilder, Anita Albrecht, was yesterday told by an NHS nurse that she was obese and ordered to go on a strict diet.

2. It doesn’t take height or bodytype into account with any degree of accuracy. Taller individuals will always have a higher BMI regardless of their actual weight, because of the way the measurement is constructed, while shorter people will always have a lower one. Having been originally developed in Europe, using European physical norms, in the 1800s, neither does it factor in ethnicity or metabolism, which is why a Yale University student, Frances Chan, is currently being pushed to develop an eating disorder by the college’s medical administrators, all of whom are so obsessed with her naturally low BMI that they’ve assumed she must be anorexic, and are forcing her to gain unnecessary weight or risk expulsion.

3. Although women are both shorter on average than men while naturally carrying more fat, the BMI calculation doesn’t take this into account, but uses the same measurement for both men and women. In fact, it was originally formulated based on studies of white male populations only – which means that BMI is fundamentally predicated on judging female bodies against male norms. As such, and as useless as the BMI is anyway in terms of individual diagnosis, it’s especially harmful to women and POC, whose morphology and metabolisms it was never meant to accommodate.

4. It doesn’t account for age, or any change in height that occurs with age. A teenager who hasn’t yet achieved their full growth or settled into their normal, adult weight is held to the same standards as someone old enough to have begun losing height

Combine these facts together, and you have a recipe for disaster. All over the world, women of all bodytypes, ages and ethnicities are being told by physicians, family members, universities and insurance companies to try and adhere to a single, “universal” notion of bodily health that is, in fact, predicated entirely on what was considered normal for white European men in the mid-1800s.

2. Clothing Sizes

Consider the women in these two photos, all of whom, despite their wildly differing bodytypes, weigh the Australian average of 70kg, or 154 pounds:

American women who all weigh 154 poundsAustralian women all weighing the average 70kg

Clearly, these women all wear different size clothes for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with their weight, and everything to do with height and bodytype. But because of the fashion industry’s obsession with tall, thin, white, ectomorphic models – women chosen, not because they’re a representative sample of the population, but so their minimal frames can better serve as coathangers for clothes that privilege a very specific aesthetic over function – we have learned to correlate small sizes with healthy bodies, the better to justify their primacy on the runway, in advertising and on screen as a healthy ideal. Never mind that modelling agencies have been known to recruit at eating disorder clinics, with store mannequins more closely resembling the bodies of anorexic girls than average womenmodels eating tissues to stay thin and rail-thin models photoshopped to hide their ill-health and prominent ribs: because “plus size” models – that is, women whose bodies are actually representative of the general population – are treated as a separate, exceptional category, the fiction persists that “plus size” is a synonym for “overweight”, “unhealthy” or “obese”: women too enormous to wear “normal” clothes, even though the norm in question is anything but. As such, plus-size models are frequently derided as fata jokeunhealthy and bad role models. Today, catwalk models weigh 23% less than the average woman, compared to 8% just twenty years ago – yet whenever this disparity is pointed out, the reaction of many is to just assume that average women must be overweight, and that using plus size mannequins will only encourage obesity. Throw in the fact that women’s clothing sizes aren’t standardised, but fluctuate  wildly from brand to brand – or within the same brand, even – and the idea of judging a woman’s health by what size jeans she wears becomes even more absurd.

For anyone still temped by the idea that the standards set by the fashion industry aren’t really that bad, and that the obesity epidemic is surely skewing statistics somewhat, let me put it bluntly: Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorderWomen aged 15-24 are twelve times more likely to die of anorexia than of anything else, while 20% of all anorexics die of their illness. So when I tell you that 20 to 40% of models are estimated to suffer from eating disorders, and that only 5% of American women naturally possess a model’s bodytype, I want you to comprehend my full meaning.

Think about that, the next time you’re tempted to call the girl in the size fourteen jeans overweight.

3. Fat Health

And here, we come to the nub of the problem: the ubiquitous conflation of slenderness with health. With all the statistics I’ve just listed, I shouldn’t have to point out that one can be fantastically thin – model thin, even – and still dangerously unhealthy: among their many other evils, for instance, eating disorders can lead to bone loss and heart complications, to say nothing of the mental health component. What’s much harder to convey, given the overwhelming social incentives to the contrary, is the idea that one can be fat – and I want to talk about that word more, in a moment – and still be physically healthy. Obviously, there are also health risks to being obese, and that’s still something worth discussing, especially given that 6% of deaths are attributable to obesity. But on a daily basis, our fear of this fact, when combined with myriad other social distortions – our obsession with an extremely narrow and largely unrealistic image of female beauty, the conflation of small clothing sizes with healthy bodies, our phobia of anything “plus size”, the false reporting of BMI as an indicator of female wellness – means we’ve lost the ability to tell what obesity actually looks like.

(One cannot help noticing that, while the WHO claims the number of obese persons has doubled since 1980, this statistical leap neatly parallels the adoption of BMI as standard by that same body, which also happened in the 1980′s. Given the appalling flaws of BMI as a system – flaws which not only lead to average-sized women being categorised as overweight or obese for failing to have male proportions, but which also award higher BMI’s to taller people at a time when the average person is getting taller – it’s hard not to wonder, therefore, if it’s not that we’re gaining weight in such massive numbers, but rather that the yardstick for obesity has radically shifted. At the very least, if actual obesity is on the rise, I sincerely doubt it’s rising as much or as quickly as scaremongers seem to think it is, given the undeniable skewing of data inherent to the BMI system.)

Particularly for women, possession of any visible body fat whatsoever is invariably conflated with being overweight or unhealthy, and while that’s true some of the time, what it means in a practical sense is that fat, as a concept, rather than being a simple bodily descriptor, has instead become pejorative, a warning that we need to amend our ways. We talk about fatness like it’s a single, static thing, rather than a relative term: as though, if you’re fatter than someone – anyone – you must also be fat absolutely. We don’t talk about degrees of fatness, or bodytype, or distribution of mass. We LOVE big breasts (provided they’re not saggy, of course, or possessed in the expectation that you’ll be able to buy affordable bras to put them in, which – surprise! – you can’t) and we talk, gingerly, about “curves”, but always in ways that serve to disconnect them from the type of bodies to which, more often than not, such attributes belong: fat ones. Because being fat isn’t the same as being overweight, or obese; it just means not thin, and if you think “overweight” and “not thin” are synonyms, then you haven’t been paying attention. Being called fat, in fact, is often just code for “not the ideal”, which can be down to any number of things – that you have wide hips, stomach rolls, thighs that touch (our obsession with the thigh gap is dangerous in and of itself; unless you have a naturally splayed pelvis, it’s only attainable via malnourishment). Our language is full of mocking, heavily gendered terms tied to particular bits of anatomy or pieces of clothing, all of them designed to police women’s bodies: canklescameltoemuffin topwhale tailtramp stampthunder thighs, junk in the trunksaddlebagschild-bearing hips. As a teenager, I remember seeing a gossip magazine mock Jennifer Aniston for having “arm sausages” – little rolls of skin at the side of her armpits – and feeling physically sick as I realised I had them, too, and must therefore be fat.

Conclusion:

We need to stop reinforcing this idea that if you’re not thin, you’re obese. As a concept, it has absolutely nothing to do with health, and everything to do with justifying our demand for idealised female beauty by mocking anyone who doesn’t meet its impossible standards as overweight. We need to stop relying on BMI to tell us how healthy we are, or not – especially for women – and accept instead that “health” is too complex a concept to be boiled down to a single calculation. Especially given the horrific biases in the healthcare system against anyone seen to be overweight, using a single glib rule to determine the most likely cause of unwellness is not only counterproductive, but dangerous. We need to stop using “fat” as a pejorative, and we sure as hell need to stop the toxic culture of eating disorders, photoshopped images and outright malnutrition currently fuelling the fashion industry.

Because society deserves better. Women deserve better.

We deserve better.

*Here’s the link to the original article: http://fozmeadows.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/female-bodies-a-weighty-issue/

 

Snowy Sunday

It’s a (surprisingly) snowy day here in the Vancouver area. It’s actually been snowing steadily since Saturday morning. I’m not sure I like it, lol. I moved here from Ontario to get away from this white stuff but I have to admit today it was exactly what I needed to get out into at the nearby park and do some meditating. I have to thank my bestie Jenn for poking me to get out there. It was just what I needed to release some heaviness and negative energy. I feel cleansed now. 🙂 I found the perfect spot for future meditating too (see the 2 photos below- they don’t do the spot justice though). That makes me happy. 

20140223_093843 Looking up the trunk of the tree from the base. 

20140223_093831 This dead stump is at the perfect spot for sitting on and leaning against the tree trunk and meditating. It faces away from the path and is quite private. There is such a feeling of peace, reverence and old majesty under there.

One more thing: I’m just bringing you some light stuff. Some word pics on the spiritual side of things, because I think it’s always a good thing to remember the spirit and its connection to our physical selves.  Oh, which reminds about a new book I bought yesterday that I’m very excited about. It’s called Vibrational Medicine and I can’t wait to read it and bring some of the info to all of my blog followers!

6 benefits of exercising in natureMother Nature does a body good! (to paraphrase the old milk commercial) 🙂

healing and the soulMy biggest challenge!

Enjoy your Sunday wherever you may be reading this from. 

 

CONGRATULATIONS TEAM CANADA FOR WINNING DOUBLE GOLD IN HOCKEY! (men’s and women’s teams)

8%

Only 8% of people keep there new years resolutions! Are you one of that 8%? 

I already talked about using the SMART acronym in an earlier blog (https://nourishment3.com/2014/01/01/2014/) to help you reach your goals. So today my blog is more specific. It’s some tips to help you keep that number one (most common) new years resolution: To eat healthy and/or lose weight.

1. Instead of doing a radical diet overhaul that will make you feel overwhelmed, try just changing one meal a day, but everyday. For example, instead of your egg and cheese sandwich or bagel for breakfast that you had every day last year, try fruit, oatmeal or a green smoothie in the morning. Changing just part of your day will influence other decisions you make about eating and this could be the start to making everlasting changes.

2. Don’t just say you are going to “exercise more” or “get fit” – Do something every single day that will lead to that result. Develop a habit, routine and schedule it in your day. Everyone should devote and schedule at least 1 hour a day for wellness- it does not have to be one solid 60 minute block of time, break it up if you have to. Before work, during a lunch break, or right after work are often great times for this. If you do this at the same time everyday, your body and mind will adapt and it will become easier for you to create a new habit. Focus less on the end result and more the habit forming activity that you like doing. << That is so very important!

3.  Don’t set weight loss goals. Focus less on weight and more on getting healthier for life. If you are drinking or eating things you shouldn’t – linked to obesity, cancer, etc, try replacing those foods with something better. For example, try replacing soda with sparkling water or your artificially colored and flavored chips with baked homemade ones. Also, you could replace the artificial sweetener in your coffee with organic stevia extract or coconut palm sugar. You don’t have to deprive yourself if you make better choices. Also follow the 80/20 rule (or 90/10 if you like a bit more structure)- 80% of the time you eat well and make those healthy choices, 20% of the time you’re more flexible on your choices. That doesn’t mean that 20% of the time you let go of all the great choices you’ve been making, it just means you bend a little on those choices.

4. Don’t give up carbs. Going without carbs for life is just crazy and not sustainable – could you imagine not being able to eat a piece of cake ever again? Try going for the best carbs available instead- Quinoa over rice, sprouted wheat instead on white bread.

Instead of a crash or liquid diet, add one organic green drink a day before breakfast or dinner. Chlorophyll rich foods like spinach, kale, and collards blended with fruit or juiced can alleviate cravings because they provide a burst of nutrition that the typical diet doesn’t get. When your body doesn’t get what it needs nutritionally speaking, cravings continue which lead to weight gain.

Instead of going all out vegan or vegetarian which is hard to do cold turkey, vow to only eat meat that you know the source of and that is not factory farmed. Go vegetarian one day a week, and when that becomes a habit, add a second day. You can add more and become a full vegetarian/vegan or stop when it feels right for you and your lifestyle. When you go to a restaurant to eat, ask about the meat, if they don’t have a sustainable option available go for a vegetarian option. Just make better choices as often as possible.

5. When all else fails…. try one of these habits below to start and see if you can make them stick!

Drink warm water with lemon every morning (warm as in room temperature)
Ditch refined sugar
Drink a green drink every single day
Change where you shop

More importantly…don’t give up! Take it one step, one change at a time. If one isn’t working, try something else! Take small steps if something seems too big or overwhelming. Small steps are still steps in the right direction, you are still moving towards your goals. You don’t have to, nor should you worry about, taking the same or same size steps as anyone else. You are uniquely you…do what works for you! 

Detoxification = Dangerous?

That title may sound alarming considering in my New Years post I mentioned I was doing a juice cleanse this weekend. There is a difference between “cleansing” and “detoxifying”. 

What is the difference you ask?

The short answer is, there is no agreed upon definition of either term. They’re generally used interchangeably.

A slightly longer answer is, some health care practitioners do differentiate between the two, designating a detox as being more targeted to removing an unwanted (and specific) waste product or substance from the body. In such cases, a detox may be advised after exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, overindulgence in alcohol, use of certain medications, or similar situations. This would be where I work from as a Holistic Nutritionist.

On the other hand, a cleanse provides more general support for the organs of detoxification, including the colon, liver, and kidneys, without a specific target for removal from the body. This is the basics of the cleanse I did this weekend. 

Also of note: 

There are a great many types of cleanses/detoxes. For the most part, though, they usually involve a combination of different dietary recommendations, herbal products, and lifestyle changes. A detox program can last anywhere from a week to 10 days to a few months- if you are cleaning up your diet (eliminating GMO’s, common food allergens, fast food, etc), and your environment, and then doing the actual detox of unwanted chemicals in your body.

A change in diet focuses on removing foods that are considered problematic for the health of the particular person. This can include suspected food allergens or intolerances, processed foods, and products with artificial colours, flavours, or other additives. In some cases this also includes a period of fasting or the consumption of liquids only.

Natural herbal products support the main organs of waste removal, such as fibre and probiotics for the colon, and herbs and/or nutrients to improve the metabolism of waste products through the liver.

Rest and relaxation are recommended, as well as activities that help to promote waste removal from the body, such as infrared saunas, skin brushing, or colonics. I did Epsom Salt baths this weekend, as Epsom salts help remove toxins from the body, promote relaxation and help eliminate pain. 

So back to the dangers of detoxification

Before you decide to spend money on that detox kit (some of them are quite expensive), consider the following:

1. Avoid the poison. We must re-evaluate everything we eat and drink before starting a detoxification program. So many of the foods offered in supermarkets and restaurants are loaded with dangerous chemicals – like genetically modified organisms (GMOs), MSG, and artificial sweeteners.

2. Reduce intestinal inflammation. Most people never consider the health of their digestive system. Keep in mind – the ‘mobilization’ of toxic debris does not necessarily equal elimination. In other words, if you have gut issues – these toxins, which get released from fatty tissue, can be re-distributed and absorbed in other parts of the body including the brain.

3. Watch your nutrient intake. Many people get overly-enthusiastic about ‘cleaning out’ the body and they forget about replenishing vital nutrients. For example, water fasting should never be taken lightly and, if you have no experience with fasting, please consult a trusted healthcare provider. Detoxification programs increase the stress on several organs including, the liver and kidneys. So, be sure to consume plenty of antioxidants – like vitamin C – to minimize the threat of oxidative stress.

The most common detoxification mistakes to avoid

1. Don’t give up on the ‘first try’. Healthy detoxification strategies are lifestyle habits – not a “magic pill”. And, while results are important, we all have our own individual differences and requirements. For example, constipation may not be resolved with a powdered product – but increasing your water intake may do the trick – especially if your health problem stems from dehydration.

2. Stop wasting your money on ineffective products. A toxic body can cause brain fog, memory issues and physical pain. These toxins can be linked to cellular inflammation – a major risk factor for disease. Before starting an expensive detoxification program, your health may improve by simply removing toxins from your immediate space. For example, remove mercury-based tooth fillings, chemical-laced household cleaners and clean up your indoor air space by purchasing more house plants or a high-quality air filter.

3. Don’t overdo it. Being too ‘enthusiastic’ about cleansing can be dangerous. For example, do you think drinking more water will help you? That’s good – just be sure to drink pure (non-contaminated) spring water – get it tested. Or, use a high-quality water purification unit to remove unwanted elements like, fluoride and chlorine.

Lastly, many people believe that an ‘effective’ detoxification program (naturally) produces undesirable results. That’s simply not true. Sure, at the beginning, you may feel a little more sluggish – but, generally speaking, your energy levels should soar and your mental clarity should improve

 

Holiday baking and sugar!

You might be one of those people who loves to bake, maybe all year and not just around the holidays. If you are then this information is for you AND for all you consumers of those baked goods. 

Sugar has become such a part of our lives that we are not even aware of how much we consume and how much it is hidden in the products we buy. Whether we add it to our tea or coffee, or we are unaware of how much it is found in our favorite packaged foods, sugar is hard to remove from our diet all together. With obesity levels shooting up, and greater understanding of just how sugar can wreak havoc on our health, the hunt is on for alternatives.

But there’s a problem. Many sugar substitutes are synthetics that are no better for us than real sugar. What’s more, some of these synthetics – aspartame and acesulfame-K to name just two – have been linked to cancer.

Sugar itself has been linked with numerous health problems ranging from obesity to tooth decay. Americans consume, on average, 22 teaspoon of sugar a day – double the recommended daily amount.

 Most sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, a highly water intensive crop grown mainly under monoculture conditions across the tropics. Because of the large areas required for sugar cane production, much of which takes place in ecologically important areas, sugar cane has been accused of being responsible for a greater loss of biodiversity than any other crop.

6 Healthy Sugar Alternatives

1. Stevia
A herb native to South American, stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has been used as a sweetener for centuries in South America, and in Japan, makes up 41 per cent of the sweetener market.

The herb recently ran into trouble in the US with the Food and Drug Administration over the label ‘sweetener’ but has rebounded to become the second most popular sugar alternative in the US under the term ‘dietary supplement’. Stevia has no calories and no glycemic impact making it suitable for diabetics as well as weight watchers and eco warriors. It can be grown at home, although turning it from herb into a granular product isn’t an easy DIY project.

2. Coconut Palm Sugar  *This is my new favourite for use in baking and in tea!* 
Sap from the coconut palm is heated to evaporate its water content and reduce it to usable granules. Coconut sugar is nutritious and has a low score on the glycemic index, which means you don’t get a buzz followed by a crash. It tastes similar to brown sugar but is slightly richer. You can substitute coconut sugar for traditional sugar pretty much wherever you use the latter. Once tapped for sap, the trees can go on producing for 20 years and produce more sugar per hectare than sugar cane and benefit the local soil.

3. Raw Honey
Raw honey is used by many cultures as a remedy for many health ailments including ulcers, digestion problems, and even seasonal allergies. Studies have shown raw honey to have antibiotic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Many people use honey topically on cuts and scrapes to help fight infection.
With antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, carbohydrates, and phytonutrients, raw, unprocessed honey is considered a superfood by many alternative health care practitioners and a remedy for many health ailments. Choose your honey wisely. There is nothing beneficial about processed honey.

4. Molasses
These are by-products of the sugar production process. Although producing sugar from sugar cane has a negative environmental impact, not using all the products only compounds it. Because of the way traditional tabletop sugar is produced (heating the top layer which forms the crystals you have in your bowl), many of the nutritional benefits are left in the molasses. Blackstrap molasses is perhaps the most beneficial and is a good source of iron and calcium. It’s quite thick and viscous and is best used in baking. It is also sweeter than sugar so you’ll need less.

These last two are new to me and I don’t yet know too much about them, but the research seems to be there showing them as safe and beneficial alternatives. 

5. Artichoke Syrup
Artichoke syrup is rich in inulin, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly flora of the intestinal tract. It has an exceptional sweet taste and a very low glycemic index, making it a great sweetener for people with candida-conscious diets and diabetic blood sugar awareness. Research indicates that the inulin found in artichoke syrup may improve gastrointestinal health and calcium absorption.

6. Lucuma Powder
Lucuma has a uniquely sweet, fragrant and subtly maple-like taste that will bring your desserts to life without making your blood sugar levels skyrocket. Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It boasts of plentiful concentrations of beta-carotene, which makes lucuma a powerful immune system booster, and it is rich in iron, B2 and B1.
Its low sugar content makes it a healthy alternative to sugar for people who have diabetes and it is a great sweetener for women who are breastfeeding.

As with all sweeteners, use in moderation. Any sweetening agent that gets overused can overwhelm the liver and get turned into bad fat. Syrups like maple syrup and agave syrup (agave is becoming overly processed and not as pure as it used to be) have some plus sides, but they are both wrought with controversy in the health community and there are better options available.

By no means do natural sweeteners give us license to spoil a sweet tooth rotten, but they’re an improvement over sugar. So use the profiles above as guide to get you off of the nasty, toxic sugars, not as a licence to binge on somethings else.

With the holidays in mind though, I bring you my kind of baking: 

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies 🙂

1/2 C Butter (Organic and/or Goat Butter)

2 C  Coconut Palm Sugar

1/2 C Milk (I’ll be using Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)

4 Tbsp Cocoa (I use Cocoa Camino’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa)

1/2 C Peanut Butter (Natural and Organic please)

3 1/2 C Quick cooking Oats (Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quick Oats are great)

2 tsp. Vanilla (Organic and not artificial)

Add the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop onto wax/foil paper. Let cool until set.

no bake cookiesEnjoy!!

Life…

Life has been busy lately and I’m struggling to find an appropriate topic for this weeks blog, hence why I’m late posting it. At this time of year when we come into the tradition of celebrating Christmas, or perhaps you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, or another tradition close to your heart, it can be a time of great stress, sadness, happiness, peace, and a whole plethora of emotions and physical weariness. 

So how do you get through it without tearing your hair out, or being overwhelmed emotionally, physically or both?

I’ve got some ideas. 🙂

Remember, life is about balance. So indulge…a little, shop without overwhelming yourself, eat healthy 80-90% of the time, focus on quality sleep, and don’t get caught up in the commercialism of the season. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

1. Don’t panic- You don’t have to do everything, and if you have children they will sense your stress and may tend to act out which makes the whole situation worse. Take 30 mins a day for yourself. You and your sanity are worth it!

2. Limit travel if you can. If you’ve got your family and his family and other relatives to visit, try to spread the visits out over a few weeks, instead of trying to fit them all in within a few days.

3. Shop online! You can get great deals, often free shipping at this time of year, and returns policies are pretty liberal with online stores nowadays.

4. Get organized! Make lists. Mark important dates/events etc on the calender where everyone involved can see it.

5. Delegate! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not about perfection, it’s about fun and time with family and feeling connected. Get the kids to do things appropriate for their age, or helping when they can do some things with your guidance.

6. Don’t take on too much! You don’t have to do it all, and you can’t do it all. This is supposed to be fun remember, for you too, not just everyone else.

7. Don’t be afraid to say no. It’s ok not to bake something for the school sale, or to say no to one more potluck or cookie exchange.

8. When it comes to gift giving, set a budget and stick to it. I spent many years having a budget of $20 per person to spend, and I made the most of it and was happy with the gifts I gave because it required thought and effort, but also because I didn’t go into debt over Christmas, which would have added to my stress!

9. Let things roll off your back! Don’t take things personally. Remember everyone is undergoing their own stress right now and you don’t know what’s going on in their life. Let it go. Christmas is about giving, so give everyone a little extra slack…including yourself.

10. Limit coffee and other stimulating foods/drinks. Eat regularly- every 3-4 hours, even a little snack containing both complex carbs and protein is best. Consider a B Complex supplement from a whole food plant based source to help with energy and stress. If you really get stressed at this time of year, then consider a stress formula supplement from the same type of source. Also consider the following:

Eat whole foods rich in minerals and B vitamins.
–Green leafy vegetables – romaine lettuce, kale, collard greens, spinach
Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, teff, oats
Raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
Cooked beans – a rich source of magnesium (a vital stress-relief mineral).
Eat cruciferous (cabbage family) vegetables that support enzymes that metabolize stress hormones more readily.
–Cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts.
Consume natural-sedative foods or beverages an hour before bed.
–Oats, warm milk, protein sources high in the amino acid tryptophan (cheese, meat, turkey, etc.), chamomile tea
Fish or fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the stress response.
Break the fast and eat a good-sized breakfast.
Skipping breakfast and drinking a cup of liquid cortisol (coffee) first thing in the morning will surely spike stress hormones.

I hope these tips help make your holidays easier to get through as no matter how much we may look forward to them- they are a time of stress. Your body/brain doesn’t know the difference between good and bad stress, it just knows you are stressed.