Digestive Enzymes

Not everyone should be taking digestive enzyme supplements; and not all of them are created equal.

As a health coach, I find that many people with digestive issues want to jump straight into using a supplement. I would rather try other strategies first. Not to mention, that some supplements can be harmful if used inappropriately.

So, let’s dive into a few of the common digestive enzymes, what they do, and who should NOT take them.

What are digestive enzymes?

Technically, “enzymes” are compounds that help critical biochemical reactions to happen in your body. These reactions can be anything, from making neurotransmitters like serotonin, to burning food for energy, to breaking down food we eat into smaller pieces that our guts can absorb.

 Oh, and they all end with “ase”.

As I just hinted, “digestive enzymes” are specifically those enzymes we use for digestion. They’re enzymes that our digestive system naturally makes and secretes when we eat.

Now, all of the “macronutrients” we eat (carbs, protein & fat) need to be broken down into their individual (smaller) parts so that we can properly absorb and digest them. They’re just too big otherwise, and if we don’t absorb them properly, we can get symptoms of fatigue, malnutrition, digestive distress, or a host of other symptoms.  

It is these individual (smaller) parts that our body amazingly rearranges and uses to create other larger molecules that our body needs.

The most common digestive enzymes you’ll see on product labels are:

●     Amylase – Helps to break down starch into its sugars.

●    alpha-Galactosidase – Helps to break down specific “fermentable carbohydrates” into its sugars.

●    Lactase – Helps to break down lactose into its sugars.

●    Protease – Helps to break down protein into its amino acids.

●    Bromelain and/or Papain – Help to break down protein into its amino acids.

●    Lipase – Helps to break down fats into its lipids.

Who should consider taking digestive enzymes? 

I would always recommend that you see a qualified health care practitioner for an expert opinion on whether your issues can be related to digestion, and which, if any, supplements can help you.

In general, the most common digestive symptoms that enzymes *may* help with are bloating, cramping, and/or diarrhea. Particularly if it happens after eating certain foods (think lactose-intolerance symptoms after eating dairy).

One reason for these symptoms can be that food particles are not broken down properly, and the larger pieces travel further down the digestive tract to the microbiota where those little critters start breaking them down themselves. And this is definitely troublesome for certain people.

Don’t get me wrong, a healthy gut microbiota is absolutely essential for good health. And more and more research is showing just how it can affect not only our digestion, but also our immune system, and even our mood.

What you need to know about medical conditions

Of course, you should read the label of any products you take, and take them as directed, especially if they’re not specifically recommended for you by your health care practitioner who knows your history.

Here are two critical things to be aware of:

  1. Digestive enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugars are not recommended for diabetics, or pregnant/breastfeeding women.
    This is because taking them breaks down more carbohydrates into sugars than your body normally would; so, anyone at risk of blood sugar issues should take caution.

  2. When it comes to enzymes that break down proteins into amino acids, there are a few people who should avoid them because of potential interactions. That is if you have an ulcer, or are taking blood-thinners or anti-inflammatories, or if you’re having surgery.

The reason is because the digestive enzymes that break down protein are thought to cause or worsen ulcers, as well as have the ability to “thin” the blood and prevent normal clotting.

Possible Side effects

Using digestive enzyme supplements for a prolonged period of time may well justify an appointment with a knowledgeable practitioner. There may be strategies other than daily supplementation that can serve you better.

  • If you find that your symptoms get worse, or even if they don’t get better, stop using them.

  • Allergies are always a possiblity, so if you know or suspect you’re allergic, then you should avoid them.

  • And, as always, keep supplements away from children.

Before considering a digestive enzyme supplement:

You shouldn’t just jump to supplementing with digestive enzymes without a proper diagnosis, or trying a few strategies first.

My first recommendation for digestive distress would be to relax more, eat slower, and chew more thoroughly. This helps to break down food and can put less stress on your digestive tract.

The second step would be to try eliminating certain troublesome foods from your diet (dairy & gluten, for example) and see if that helps. 

TL;DR –

While many supplements are safe products, they’re not all for everyone.  

I recommend that you:

●     Read your labels carefully (who should take them, how to take them, when to stop taking them).

●     If you have a medical condition or are taking medications speak with your doctor or pharmacist. 

●     If you want expert advice on whether a specific supplement is for you, speak with a qualified health care practitioner.

See my recipe for a digestion-promoting tropical smoothie!

References: 

 Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

Paleo Diet 101

You may have heard of the Paleo diet. It was the world’s most popular diet in 2013.

But what is it? Is it a fad? Is it right for you?

“The Paleo diet is a nutrient-dense whole foods diet based on eating a variety of quality meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.  It improves health by providing balanced and complete nutrition while avoiding most processed and refined foods and empty calories.”

— Scientist and “Paleo Mom” Sarah Ballentyne, Ph.D.

The name “paleo” is from the paleolithic era when earlier humans were hunters and gatherers. It is thought to represent the time of nutrition before agriculture.

What is and isn’t part of the Paleo Diet

Of course, being a specific way of eating, Paleo has food guidelines. The Paleo diet was created to increase the amount of whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods; while reducing the number of gut-disrupting, hormone-disrupting, and inflammatory foods.

But this doesn’t mean there are only a couple of foods to choose from! There is a pretty wide variety of food to choose from in the paleo diet.

You can include fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat (including organ meats), seafood, healthy fats, fermented foods, herbs, and spices.

The Paleo diet excludes processed and refined foods (e.g. sugar, vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, etc.), grains (e.g. wheat, oats, rice, etc.), dairy, and most legumes (e.g. beans, lentils, peanuts, etc.).

The paleo diet can be thought of as more of a framework rather than a strict set of rules.

It’s a way of eating that seems to be easy to maintain, and with little to no negative side effects. There is no measuring or counting of calories or carbs. And there are plenty of delicious and nutritious foods to choose from.

Many proponents of the Paleo diet even encourage experimentation by adding in a few of the (healthy whole) foods on their list of exclusions. High-quality dairy, white rice, or potatoes may be added to less restrictive forms of the Paleo diet.

How does the Paleo diet affect your health?

Several clinical studies have been done to find out whether there are health benefits of eating this way. Some of the research has shown that the paleo diet can help with reducing abdominal fat, you know – the kind that increases your risk for heart disease? That alone may be reason enough to give it a try.

Not to mention its effect on several modern-day chronic diseases. For example, it can improve risk factors for heart disease. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation, improve glucose tolerance, and even reduce symptoms of some autoimmune diseases.

It’s also thought to be gut-friendly because it includes a lot of high-fiber foods (i.e. fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds), fermented foods (which contain gut-friendly probiotics), as well as being full of nutritious natural foods.

Should You Consider Going Paleo?

Some people recommend the paleo diet for those with food intolerances or autoimmune diseases. Those at high risk for heart disease or diabetes may also be good candidates to give the paleo diet a try. If you react to gluten or lactose, this diet removes them both by eliminating all grains and dairy.

Even if you don’t choose to go Paleo, the elimination of added sugars, processed and refined foods can (and should!) be a goal you move toward.

TL;DR –

The Paleo diet is based on what hunters and gatherers ate thousands of years ago. It is a whole-food based, nutrient-dense diet that focuses on fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, seafood, and fermented foods. Science has shown that it can help some people to lose weight, reduce risks of heart disease, improve glucose tolerance, and reduce inflammation. At the very least, eliminating added sugars, processed, and refined foods are a great goal, even if you decide not to “go Paleo.”

Check out my recipe for Paleo Banana Muffins!

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/paleo-diet-meal-plan-and-menu/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/start-here/paleo-diet/

https://authoritynutrition.com/5-studies-on-the-paleo-diet/

Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

Does Disease Begin with Gut Health?

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

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

There are a lot of reasons for this. Our gut is the portal to the outside world. It’s here where we take in disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We also take in nutrients (and toxins) through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body.

We’re just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain (have you heard of the gut-brain axis?) Not just our gut per se; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health.

So, let’s talk about the roles that our gut and our gut microbes play in our overall health. Our gut’s role in our overall health

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

Hidden within the walls of your digestive system is what is known as your second brain and this “brain in your gut” is changing the way that we look at the links between mood, digestion, health and even the way that you think

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

For one thing, our guts can “leak.” Yes, like a long tube with holes in it, it can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc (bacteria, undigested food, and toxins). You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbed by your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it’s not supposed to.

And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can “leak.” When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don’t seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there.

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

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

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

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

How to Improve Gut Health

There are a lot of natural ways to improve gut health. Let’s start with what to cut out.

It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving our guts junk to deal with. How about eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Try that for a few weeks, and you may be amazed at how much better your body, and gut, feels.

You may also want to eliminate other gut irritants. Dairy and grains contain common compounds known to irritate some people’s guts. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for your health. 

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

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

Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they canbe eliminated.

Fiber also helps to feed our friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even cacao.

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

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

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

There is also evidence that lots of chronic metabolic diseases begin in the gut. We can prevent these diseases by following some easy steps.

Step 1: Understand Second Brain

This little brain is called the “enteric nervous system” or ENS and it comprises 2 thin layers of over 100 million nerve cells that line your GI tract from your esophagus to your rectum. The role of the ENS is to control digestion, including swallowing to releasing the enzymes that help break food down, to the control of blood flow, which aids with both nutrient absorption and elimination. The ENS communicates with our brain with significant results.

When you have an unhealthy gut the symptoms of that can manifest themselves in other parts of your body. It’s your body trying to tell you that something is wrong or out of balance.
Studies have found that increasing your gut health can lead to improvements in:
• Immune function–80% of our immune system is located in our guts
• Brain function
• Symptoms of anger, sadness, and depression
• Obesity
• Toxin levels in the body
• Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
• Allergies
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

How Is This Even Possible?

The ENS may sense things that our cerebral brain can’t. Evidence has been found that when the GI tract is irritated it sends signals to the central nervous system, which can trigger our mood and ultimately affect it. When you consider that between 30%-40% of the population has bowel problems of some kind and that a higher percentage of these individuals develop depression and/or anxiety it’s easy to see how there could be a connection.

Our bodies are filled with bacteria – good and bad. There are more bacteria in a human body than there are cells and there are an estimated 100 trillion microorganisms living in our bowels alone (http://www.naturallivingideas.com/ 13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/.) The key here is to have more good than bad bacteria in your gut – the fancy name for the good microorganisms is probiotics. Probiotics help us do things like:

• Digest food
• Absorb nutrients
• Break down medications
• Kill some of the bad bacteria that lead to infection

Step 2: Get More Probiotics

There are quite a few ways to get probiotics, but one of the easiest is to take a supplement. You will find many different kinds under different brand names and it would be a good idea to talk to your physician or pharmacist to see which is the brand that they recommend.

There are foods that are also high in probiotics. Unfortunately, many of them are not widely available. These foods include:

• Unpasteurized Cheese – Gouda, Cheddar, Provolone, and Gruyere are some examples
• Buttermilk
• Kefir
• Miso
• Sauerkraut
• Apple Cider Vinegar
• Yogurt–be sure and read the label and avoid ones with added sugar

Getting more probiotics into your system is one of the best ways that you can improve your gut health.

Related – Try my recipe for fermented carrots

More Probiotics, What Else?

Stress Less. Laugh More. Stress, especially long-term stress, not only affects our gut bacteria, but it also affects the productions of hormones and neuro-chemicals that communicate with our brain. When there is long-term stress these chemicals and hormones can change permanently (unless you specifically work to change them back). Long-term stress may also lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, IBD, IBS, and potentially food allergies

Laughter really is the best medicine. It helps to reduce stress and floods your body with the happy hormones and chemicals that make the good overtake the bad. In this study researchers studied healthy people as well as those with atopic dermatitis – a disease that is often associated with imbalances in gut bacteria. The researchers had the participants watch funny movies daily for one week. In only one week, the patients’ gut flora had changed and resembled the healthy participants.

Related: Want to Stress Less?

Step 3: Play in The Dirt!

This is true both literally and figuratively. Gardening is good for you because it gets you outside, gives you exercise, and putting your hands in soil introduces your body to the microorganisms that are found on the plants and in the ground.

In a more figurative way, stop killing all the bacteria. They have recently stopped putting anti-bacterial agents in things because humans are killing all the bacteria, the good and the bad. And what is happening? The bad bacteria are getting stronger and the good bacteria are dying.

Studies have shown that kids who grow up with a dog have both a lower risk of allergies and a healthier immune system. Dogs are associated with a type of house dust that actually exposes us to important strains of bacteria, L. johnsonii is one, which is essential within the digestive tract. You can read the study here.

Dogs also work somewhat like a probiotic, helping develop healthy bacteria that boost your immune system, stopping you from getting ill, and possibly reducing allergies. Dogs also help you, or in some cases, force you, to exercise more and help relieve stress in your life.

It may well be that a large part of maintaining good health is maintaining good gut-health. There are many ways that you can do this, including exercise, and learning to listen to your body; however, some of the easiest changes that you can make are to:

Resources:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection http://www.naturallivingideas.com/13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1954310
http://www.menshealth.co.uk/healthy/how-dogs-boost-your-immune-system
http://www.naturallivingideas.com/13-ways-to-improve-gut-health/
https://authoritynutrition.com/does-all-disease-begin-in-the-gut/
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health
http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut-bugs-what-they-eat-and-7-ways-feed-them

Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

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 diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

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.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.  

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

Breakfast for Busy Women – Why It’s Important Not to Skip

The alarm goes off and you are rushing around preparing for a busy day ahead, whether you have children to get ready for school, or papers to read for a morning meeting. By the time you’ve watched the news, brushed your teeth and slapped on some make-up, you are already exhausted – sound familiar?

It’s no wonder so many busy women end up skipping breakfast and just grabbing a fancy latte coffee on the way to work. But there are many reasons why the habit of skipping breakfast isn’t great for your health.

Breakfast Provides Many Benefits

If you think about it, when you wake up in the morning, your body has had no fuel since your evening meal the night before – potentially 12 hours beforehand – so your body is in starvation. Think about the words – “break” “fast” – literally the meal which breaks the fast you have been on while sleeping. You need the energy to kick-start your system and get your body ready for the day ahead.

According to nutritionists, a healthy breakfast should give you around 30% of your daily calorie requirements. It provides us with energy, protein, calcium, iron, fiber and B vitamins which are all needed to get you through the day. If your body doesn’t receive thesefirst thing, studies have shown your body is less effective at taking them on during the rest of the day.

How Eating Breakfast Can Impact Your Weight

If you skip breakfast you are not providing your body with what it needs for energy and you will soon get hungry. When you’re too hungry, you’re more likely to then reach for high sugar, high fat snacks, to compensate. People who skip breakfast tend to end up reaching for the snacks around 10am.

In terms of time, breakfast really needs to be eaten between 45 minutes and two hours of waking up. This timing gives you the chance to put the needed fuel into your body to make sure your metabolism is balanced throughout the day. It is also the premium time for your body to absorb any of the carbohydrates you consume, which helps balance out your insulin levels. All of these aspects mean breakfast really sets your body up for the day and can help curb those mid-morning sugar cravings.

In a study it was revealed that people who not only ate breakfast, but made it their largest meal, lost almost 18 pounds over a three- month period. The other people, who took part in the study, eating the same calories during the day but most of these for their evening meal, lost only around seven pounds.

Other Health Benefits Beyond Weight Loss

Breakfast brings a large number of health benefits, besides weight loss – providing more reasons why it really is important not to skip this particular meal.

Brain Function

Studies have proven that children who eat breakfast do better at school as they are better able to concentrate and behave well. If it has this benefit for our children, then it will do the same for us. Breakfast helps to restore the levels of glucose which help with our brain function. This helps to improve memory, concentration and mood and also lowers stress levels. We all know that feeling of anger that rises up through being hungry. Breakfast can help us avoid this.

Energy Supply

Breakfast is the first supply of energy your body receives when you wake up, making it part of your daily required calorie intake. A good nutritious breakfast will give you all the energy you need to take you through to lunchtime, and should be around 300 calories as a general rule. If you think about the energy you burn, you need the most in the morning and you need the least in the evening, when you are more likely to be sat on the sofa relaxing. Make breakfast your energy priority.

Diabetes

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a published study revealed that not eating breakfast could actually increase the risk of diabetes for women. The study showed that women who did eat breakfast between no, and six times a week, were at far higher risk of developing the disease than those who ate it daily.

Quick and Nutritious Breakfasts for Busy Women

So it’s all very well telling you as a busy woman, why you should eat breakfast, and why it’s good for you, but realistically you probably knew most of those things already and yet, you were still skipping?

Knowing you need to eat breakfast, doesn’t mean you suddenly gain time in the morning to start preparing and making amazing morning meals does it? That’s why we have come up with some tips for tasty breakfasts that are super quick to make.

  • A Naturally Sweetened Energy Bar or a Piece of Fruit – The combination of a piece of fruit and energy bar creates a balanced breakfast, providing fiber and vitamins. What can be quicker than just peeling a wrapper and a piece of fruit? Just doing this could make a big difference to your health.

  • Instant Oatmeal – There are lots of quick-cooking oatmeal options now – all you need to do is add water and microwave for a few minutes and then you have a healthy breakfast. Avoid the ones with added sugar and flavors. A plain version provides an easy breakfast virtually instantly.

  • Greek-Style Yogurt – Go for natural plain Greek-style yogurt and add in fresh fruit, for a nutritious, quick and healthy breakfast on the run. Again, this only takes a minute or so to prepare and can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.

  • High-Fiber Cereal or Oats – Fiber can bring health benefits and help you feel full so opting for a high fiber cereal will provide your body with a good start to the day. Make sure you avoid the traditional sugar-filled cereals as these will increase your calorie intake while not necessarily helping provide what your body needs. Go instead for the more natural cereals and oats that have no processing for optimal nutrition.

TL;DR – For many women, a busy lifestyle means rushing in the morning and skipping breakfast is a common but bad habit to get into. Breakfast can make a big difference in your health, reaping the benefits for us and there are many options which are quick and easy to make, from smoothies, to energy bars, from cereal to scrambled eggs, so no more excuses!

References:

  • http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/most-important-meal#1

  • http://www.livescience.com/39598-reasons-never-skip-breakfast.html

  • http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/why-is-breakfast-important

  • Healthy On the Go: Four Breakfast Ideas for Busy Women

  • http://sexyfit.com/nutrition/quick-and-easy-breakfast/

    Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

    It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

What exactly is a plant-based diet?

A plant-based diet is not a diet of vegetables alone. It is a diet based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, which may exclude or minimize meat, including chicken, dairy products and eggs. The diet will definitely exclude foods made from refined flour and sugar, and certain refined vegetable oils.

There are several food categories from which to choose, and most of these can be included as ingredients in familiar dishes you may want to prepare, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, and burrito bases.

Here are some of the foods you can add to a plant-based diet.

Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, plums, lemons etc.

Vegetables: lettuce, dark green veggie varieties, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, cabbage etc.

Starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, squash, peas, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans.

Whole grains: millet, barley, brown rice, whole wheat products, oats, whole grain cereals.

Legumes: All varieties of beans such as black beans, lima beans, kidney beans, and cannellini beans, as well as legumes like chickpeas and lentils.

Bear in mind that iodized salt should be added to your food as it is a great source of iodine to help maintain a healthy thyroid.

The foundation of a plant-based diet

Starch-based foods and fruit form the basis of a whole-food plant-based diet. While leafy greens play an important part in the diet, they are low in calories and do not provide much of an energy source, so they may result in decreased energy levels, and leave you feeling hungry.

However, combined with starch-based foods like corn, peas, potatoes etc, provide fantastic all-round nourishment, and keep your energy up.

The idea of a plant-based diet is not to eat one food for a single nutrient, such as oranges for vitamin C, as an example. The main plan of a plant-based diet is eat what is known as a package of the foods that you enjoy, which contain all the essential nutrients.

This package can provide you with most of your daily nutrient needs, and be of enormous benefit to your general health.

Health benefits of a plant based diet:

  • A plant-based diet helps lower blood pressure because of the potassium-rich legumes and nuts

  • Plants contain no cholesterol, and this includes the super-food coconut oil

  • The fiber in plants helps to manage high blood sugar, by slowing down the absorption of sugars into the blood stream

  • A low fat, plant-based diet seriously lowers your risk of certain types of cancer

  • Healthy weight management happens naturally when you eat wholesome, unrefined foods, lots of fiber, take in natural vitamins and minerals, rather than processed food that has been stripped of nutrients and fiber

  • Research has shown that replacing saturated animal fats with the mono-unsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados and olive oil, substantially lowers your risk of cardiovascular and heart disease.

  • You will also experience less inflammation in the body which is caused by sugary and fatty foods that can lead to other problems like constipation. The fiber in a plant based diet will keep your colon healthy.

  • Plant-based foods contain nutrients which are in proportion according to our human needs, and a variety of whole foods will easily meet your nutritional needs.

4 Steps to Adopting a Plant-based Diet:

Changing your entire diet will not be easy, especially if you have been eating a diet high in processed foods. Whether you want to fully embrace a plant-based diet, or perhaps ease into it gradually by keeping chicken or fish as part of your diet is a decision that only you can make. But there is no doubt that reducing your meat intake and following a plant-based diet can benefit your health.

If you are finding it difficult to drop meat and dairy altogether, here are some tips to help you:

  • Instead of cutting foods out, begin by adding healthy plant-based foods to what you’re already eating. You can do this by adding legumes in your regular diet, as they are generally high-fiber, make you feel full, and give you lots of energy.

  • You can also substitute one or two processed food items with a plant-based food in a meal each day.

  • Gradually exclude red meat from your diet. If you decide to keep chicken and fish in your diet, make sure that the chicken is skinless, and opt for healthy fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna or mackerel, for their high omega-3 content.

  • Replace one or two days of your week’s meals with a full vegetarian, plant-based meal. Do this on a regular basis, until you no longer feel like you miss meat and continue to replace one meal per week.

    Need Some Suggestions?

  • Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

  • Tri-color Roasted Potatoes

  • Seaweed ‘Sushi’ Bowl

    Follow my Meatless Meals Pinterest board for additional ideas!

Backed by science.

The health benefits of a plant-based diet are supported by scientific research. Fatalities from heart problems is rated as the biggest single cause of death today, mainly due to poor lifestyle habits, and grossly unhealthy diets. Embrace a healthy diet and help lower your risk of a future heart attack and cardiovascular disease.

References:

  • www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/amazing-health-benefits-of-embracing-a-plant-based-diet/

  • www.forksoverknives.com/what-to-eat

  • www.mindbodygreen.com./0../plantbased-diet-forbeginners-how-to-get-started

    Pssst… Want my printable healthy recipe book?

    It’s all yours. You’ll find it in my free resource library… get access here:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.