Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie

Hey Gorgeous!

Here's that wonderfully decadent smoothie recipe as promised...

Handful spinach or kale

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 ripe frozen banana

1 chopped peach

5 pitted dates(optional)

1 cup unsweetened almond, hemp, or coconut milk

1 cup water

 

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

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

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

 

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

 

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

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

Information Overload Image.jpg

Hey My Beautiful Dear Friend,

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

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

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. 

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

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

 

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack.  You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Enough healthy protein.  Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).

  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones).  There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” - you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, if you eat eggs choose organic and get grass-fed meats when possible.  You don't need to overdo it here.  Just make sure you're getting some high-quality fats.

 

How you eat and drink

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink. 

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

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

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

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

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

Thought so!

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

And don't forget about drinking your food.  

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!)  

A green smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider, drinking too much of a concentrated food can also make you fat and sluggish, so consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack.  And don't gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don't fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds. Try my Peachy-Chia Smoothie recipe coming soon...!

Summary:

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

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

As promised Everyone...!

Serves 1-2

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

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

 

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

 

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

 

Blend until creamy.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

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

 

References:

 

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

 

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

Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night...

HEY THERE SLEEPY HEAD!

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

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

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

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try not to skimp!

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

 

Tips for better sleep

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

  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  

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

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

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

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

Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead

Hello!

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

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

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

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

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

They're grouped into two main categories: 

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

  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”). And yes, it's even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test. So “cholesterol” isn't simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it's bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

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

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn't nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood. While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It's actually not from the cholesterol you eat.  Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  'Cause that's where it's made! What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn't need to make as much.

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

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

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

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

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

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don't seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well. Guess what does? Nutrition and exercise, baby!

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

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

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

Summary: 

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we're learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are.  And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.

Recipe (Dressing to go with your salad): Orange Hemp Seed Dressing

Makes about ¾ cup

½ cup hemp seeds

½ cup orange juice

1 clove of garlic, peeled

dash salt and/or pepper

Blend all ingredients together until creamy. Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!

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

References:

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol

http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/

Honey Sesame Tofu recipe naturally improves male strength...

Honey Sesame Tofu(protein, vitamin D and zinc):

Serves 4

1 pound packaged extra-firm tofu

¼ cup soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

¼ cup sesame oil

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons honey or coconut nectar

1” of ginger, shredded or 1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 tablespoon coconut oil 

2 tablespoons diced green onions or chives

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

 

Mix soy sauce/tamari/aminos, sesame oil, lemon juice, honey/coconut nectar and ginger together to make a marinade. Place sliced and drained tofu in a glass dish and cover with marinade.  Let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Heat a large cast iron frying pan over medium heat and add coconut oil. Place tofu slices in pan and cook each side for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned.

Pour marinade into the pan, lower the heat and cook for 3-5 more minutes.

Sprinkle with diced green onions/chives and sesame seeds.

 

Serve and Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Slice tofu into 1 inch slices, drain, and then freeze overnight. This will give it a meaty texture when thawed and fried.

 

 

MEN...losing strength??? This hormone can help!

MEN...losing strength??? This hormone can help!

Strength?  Are you losing some of yours?

 

There is so much going on in our bodies.  Many, many biochemical reactions and all of them need nutrients!

 

It's no wonder that a few key deficiencies can lead to low testosterone levels.

 

Did you know that you need enough zinc and vitamin D to produce enough testosterone?  Do you know which foods are the best sources of them?  Do you know what to look out for before you consider supplementing?

 

Well, I've laid it all out for you here.

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There is no shortage of health information available on the internet, in the media, and from well-meaning family and friends.  But some of that information may be doing you more harm than good. In this post I spill the beans about some common healthy eating myths and what matters just as much or even more than “how much” you eat. Learn why “what” you eat and “how” you eat it are super-important things to consider.  Plus try my green smoothie meal recipe.  HINT:  Smoothies should be considered “meals” not snacks or drinks.

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