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In Balance Blog

Holiday-Food Landslide
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November 1, 2018

Working with clients over the past 5 years has clued me into some trends that are prevalent during specific times of the year. One of those, and today’s topic is: The Holiday Landslide.

Historically, Halloween can mark the start of our swift descent into Holiday Hell…..nutritiously speaking. Bags of candy make their way from store shelves to our pantry shelves where they become colorful little bags of sweet temptation. Indulging a bit on Halloween is fun and I certainly do it, but I am now keenly aware that October 31 is when the shift in our eating habits begins to change. We’ve convinced our minds “it’s okay; it’s the holiday season.” Then comes… the buttons on our jeans start to get more difficult to fasten….We can’t blame the dryer, and I  often do, but my dryer works just fine….it’s my hand in the candy bag, cookies oh and that cake — that’s the problem.

Something gets triggered psychologically that tells me that it’s okay to start letting my good habits slide. Maybe it’s the cold weather, the shorter days, my instinctual desire for warmer, richer foods, the desire to stay under the covers in bed, the lack of variety of seasonal veggies, the knowledge that Thanksgiving and Christmas foods are right around the corner, or a combination of all. Here’s the scoop: Our bodies are designed to live and eat with the seasons, so let’s feed it what it truly craves and you’ll see how satisfied you’ll begin to feel! Let’s not fight the true desires of it’s natural instincts. Let’s try to live nutritiously within the season, because each season has much good to offer our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Here are some of my tips, starting with:

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COLD WEATHER/SHORTER DAYS: Our desire for salads, which are a wellness staple, starts to wane because our bodies want and need warmer foods to stay healthy during colder months. My suggestion is to trade your salads for pots of cooked greens. You will get the nutrition you need as well as the internal warmth. (Recipe below) We also tend to rise earlier and go to bed earlier this time of year, so consider moving your dinner time up by 30 or 60 minutes. This helps allow your body time to digest your evening meal before going to bed.


WARM WINTER GREENS:

Choose a few types of organic greens: Dandelion, Collards, Kale, Beet greens, Bok Choy, whatever! Just mix them up. Rinse them, chop them and set aside.

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Sautee an onion in olive oil until it’s translucent. Add some fresh chopped garlic — you decide amount. Toss the chopped greens into the pot, season with salt and pepper and stir. Add 2 cans of organic peeled whole tomatoes and sort of mash them up or squeeze them into pieces with your hands. Add a carton of organic chicken stock. Bring the greens to a boil, then turn the heat way down and let it all simmer for about 45 minutes. Season with extra virgin olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon raw local honey, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and sea salt and pepper.  When the greens are all cooked down and glossy, double check your seasonings, then serve plain or over some pre-made quinoa and beets. Top with kimchee or fermented vegetables and cranberries. The greens alone can be just a side for an animal protein dish as well.


DESIRE FOR WARMER/RICHER FOODS:
We touched on this above, but the desire for thick stews and meats and dense casseroles in the winter is natural. Our ancestors had to put on weight during the cold months because food was scarce. They were on a “store fat mission” every time they ate and it was purely for their survival. Cold temperatures trigger the same survival instinct in us today, but there’s a big difference: Food is not scarce. Let’s enjoy winter foods while being aware that our instinctive desire to store fat might remain, but is no longer necessary. Portion control, while staring at a bubbling, cheesy casserole might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you need help understanding proper portion sizes, or how to create a balanced plate that nourishes, but does not “stuff” you, please reach out to me for a private consultation: inbalancehealthcoaches@gmail.com.

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I rock my crockpot and cast iron pot all fall and winter long. I make soups and stews that warm my body and flood it with nutrients. To any soup, I will add huge handfuls of winter potatoes, squashes, greens….they wilt down into the soup but their nutrients infiltrate the whole pot! I drizzle my soups with avocado or olive oil for added healthy fat. I sprinkle hemp seeds over the top for added fat and fiber, and may even shred some raw goat cheese….oh, don’t forget the fresh herbs and spices… just for added taste and comfort! .


THE DESIRE TO STAY UNDER THE COVERS:
is so natural during the winter! We slow down; we go inward; we seek to conserve energy rather than expend it—we are instinctively in hibernation mode. Again, our ancestors did this in part because there was no land that needed to be worked in the winter, and they were storing up energy for the physical demand that would come in the spring. Our lives remain pretty much the same from season to season and even though we don’t want to move as much, it’s important that we do. I suggest giving yourself a little extra time to move from the warmth of your bed into the chilly air of your bedroom. Have slippers and a robe waiting for you beside the bed and head to the kitchen for some warm lemon water. Get your blood flowing while still in your pj’s with some stretching or a quick yoga flow….and then put on your workout clothes. The transition will be less abrupt and your body will be more ready and willing to comply with a workout or a run outdoors. Additionally, make sure you stay hydrated in the cold months….we think about hydration when we are sweating in the summer’s heat, but our bodies need hydration when they are dried out in the cold, too. Hot herbal tea hydrates and gives warmth to our cold bodies….skip the ice in your liquids and drink them warm or room temperature. Your body is already working harder to stay warm during the winter…. help it out by eating and drinking warmer foods/beverages.

To sum up, my suggestion is not to fight against winter cold, but to work with it…. remaining aware that there is an age-old drive in us to put on a bit of weight, snuggle in, and slow down. In moderation, that’s okay, but if we are not in check, we might be in tears by January 1. Take good care of you—if you need me, reach out for help in creating a game plan that works for/nourishes your life this winter.

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gut blog

Sept 10,2018

HEALTHY GUT MICRO-BIOME IS ESSENTIAL FOR HEALTH 

What does the term Leaky-Gut mean?

I was surprised to learn that bad gut bacteria can break down our health and affect the progress of our health goals. I've been health coaching for the last couple of years now, and each client has come to me for support in many different areas including weight loss, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, diverticulitis and stress. We take an individual approach with each healing process, but there's one thing they all needed: Going through the gut healing process!

The bad gut bacteria flourishes by not only the bad foods we eat, but also by unhealthy lifestyles, prescription drugs, antibiotics, bad habits, locked emotions, grieving, stress and even our bad thoughts! This can also make our metabolism sluggish, making it more difficult to lose weight or balance out our hormones. The gut is our home to a large 80% of our immune system and also produces approximately 95% of our serotonin is manufactured in the gut.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for maintaining mood balance, appetite control, memory and sleep.

All Health Begins in the Gut: The Importance of Our Inner Ecosystem

The health of your gut plays a key role in your overall health and well-being. What's located in our gut anyone; well, lots!!
The gastrointestinal tract, digestive system, digestive tract, groups of organs that includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. Wow! So what your ingesting each day plays an 85% role in your bodies function.

Just about anything can alter the gut microbiota- antibiotics, everyday stress, trigger foods that our bodies don’t agree with, oral contraceptives,  acid-suppressing medications, steroids, can harm the intestinal flora we rely on not for just digestion, but overall health. 

Some other contributing factors that can diminish the quality of gut flora would be: a diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates, chronic constipation and gastrointestinal disease. 

Gut Inflammation leads to “leaky gut” which will allow toxic particles to enter into the blood stream and these foreign invaders put more stress on the immune system as well. 

But, That’s Not All 

If the micro biome of the gut is not functioning as it should, estrogen metabolites are not carried out of the body efficiently which may cause symptoms and conditions leading to estrogen dominance. Hormone disorders can occur such as: PMS, hypothyroidism, weight gain, endometriosis and more! 

There’s Also The Gut-Brain Connection:

Did you know our guts can think? Ever hear of the term “my gut tells me”? Well it’s your gut speaking to you. Recent research has shown: Microbiota, our gut bacteria, can communicate with one another through mechanisms, sending signals to the brain. Our “gut” can carry our emotions, grieving, intuitive thinking and stress. In fact, we have more nerve endings in our gut than anywhere else in our body..wow! 

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Our Greatest Wealth is Health

How Can You Heal Your Gut?

  1. First thing I would recommend is get your “stress levels” under control.
  2. “Ditch” the bad sugar habits and bring in more natural sources of sugar found in whole food fruits and veggies. 
  3. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Bring in fermented foods into your diet. They can help with detoxifying the gut and because they contain helpful bacteria, they can assist bringing balance back into your gut. 
  4. Taking certain supplements as part of the protocol can support gut healing.
  5. Exercise and create movement for yourself.
  6. Add in a probiotic into your daily regime. A good probiotic containing a live bacteria should be purchased freeze-dried or from the refrigerator section. 
  7. Take a digestive enzyme pill, this support the break dow of your food. Taking a enzyme pill with each meal can also help neutralize gut acid. 

All these things combined can help bring balance back into your gut. But, it takes time with complete practice of the wellness wheel. 

Ask me how my gut care program can help you heal your gut. Which can reflect: Better nutrient absorption, weight loss, improved digestion and stress mangement. 



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*Tired* of Feeling Bloated and Hungry?

May 29, 2018

Has this ever happened to you? Where you'd feel super bloated a couple hours after a meal, but still hungry.

It was this weird combo of feeling like my stomach was blown up but I wasn’t satiated.

It can be confusing to feel like your stomach is full, but you’re still hungry. After meals, this is how you should feel…

– physically and psychologically satiated

yes, your food should be pleasurable, it’s not just about “fueling” yourself but also becoming mindful and aware of your sense of fullness

– calm and relaxed

if you get anxiety and/or heart palpitations after you eat, it probably means you’re eating something you’re actually sensitive or allergic to. Could have been food additives, seasonings, something artifical

– energized and focused

your food should give you energy, make you feel alive and vibrant. Not make you crash, feelings of needing a nap or difficulty concentrating. 

Yet so many people feel horrible, bloated, and exhausted after they eat.

There are a few key reasons this happens…

1. You’re not eating enough healthy fats.

Healthy fats are what make you feel genuinely satisfied after a meal. In combination with protein and complex carbs they stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t get all hungry and scatterbrained not long after eating. Healthy fats also support nutrient absorption. 

Adding in more fats will satiate hunger for longer and ease inflammation that can lead to bloating.

2. You’re not absorbing the nutrients from your food.

Consuming coffee and alcohol can deplete the necessary minerals from your system. If you’re consuming too much caffeine or alcohol for your body, you can’t absorb all the great nutrients from your food.

This’ll leave you feeling bloated and exhausted, because the food just sits in your belly rather than being efficiently utilized for energy.

3. Your metabolism isn’t engaged.

If your system is sluggish from lack of nutrients and sleep and/or too much stress, you simply won’t be able to properly digest and metabolize your food.

You can fire up your metabolism by including lean proteins and healthy fats at every meal, also add enough complex carbs for your body type. Be sure to get in some type of exercise, cardio and HIIT movements/intervals at least 3-4 times each week. 

4. Your not drinking enough water each day.

The first sign of a headache is dehydration. Lack of water can reflect in your skin, make you feel sluggish, difficulty concentrating and can lead to sweet cravings as well as other cravings. To avoid constipation (which often goes along with extra gas and bloating), be sure to increase fluid intake as you increase fiber intake. If you’re dehydrated, your body pulls water from your food waste, making it difficult to have routine bowel movements. 

Drinking half your body weight in ounces each day will help you to look and feel alive.

5. Get more fiber on your plate.

Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and is found in fruit and vegetable skins, wheat, wheat bran, rye and rice. It doesn’t readily dissolve in water so it adds to fecal bulk (poop mass). It’s crucial for hearty, healthy bowel movements, which should be excreted at least twice a day.

Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, swells and is readily digested by intestinal bacteria. It ferments and produces gases in the digestive tract. I know this doesn’t sound so sexy, but it’s very important for colon health. Soluble fiber creates a feeling of fullness and is the kind of fiber responsible for lowering LDL “lousy” cholesterol.  You have to look a little harder for soluble fiber in the diet, but champions include chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, oat bran, barley, beans, lentils, leafy greens, colored veggies and most fruits — especially berries.

Adding more fiber on your plate will help stabilize your blood sugar and help you to feel fuller longer. Fiber not only helps absorb extra insulin in your body but will help slush out water retention as well as stored toxins. Fiber on your plate will help you achieve "body balance" and promote healthy bowel movements leading gas and bloating, providing you don't have any other digestive or bowel disorders. 

6. The rest of the culprits.

Eating too fast, smoking, chewing gum, not chewing your food thoroughly, drinking carbonated beverages, eating lactose found in dairy products, even chowing on too much fructose (fruit sugar) sweet treats, simple carbohydrates and artificial foods as opposed to whole foods. 

A diet too high in fatty foods can also increase bloating and digestive discomfort. Fatty foods (even of the healthier fat variety) slow down stomach emptying and lower the transit time of foods through the digestive system.  This gives the body extra time to get gassy, bloated and uncomfortable.

I used to struggle with these same issues along with digestive and anxiety disorders. Learning what my trigger foods are, finding my unique bodies balance, detoxing out the bad while weaning in more whole foods was just the beginning to my sustainable journey of living a vibrant healthy lifestyle. ~ Gina Forgione Wellness Coach.


Top 10 Eating Healthy On The Go Tips

March  20, 2018

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Eating on the go does not have to derail your weight loss efforts. Being prepared and having a
strategic plan will allow you to eat out at almost any restaurant and still stay on track.

TIP 1 - Plan ahead: GPS some healthy pit stops along your route.
A grocery store is a great place to pick up fruit and cut
veggies to munch on. If dining out, most restaurants have their
menus online and some even have the nutritional info posted
(chains mostly). Go online, search for the nutrition information of
the restaurant you want to go to, and plan out your choices.

Tip 2 – Pack snacks. There's no need to stop for food. Keep a
few healthy snacks in the car for long rides or bad traffic. A trail
mix of seeds, nuts and fruit is an easy, non-perishable
option. Granola bars with vegan protein source and less than 6 grams of sugar
also work.

TIP 3- Drink please! Keep a filled water bottle in the car too.
We often think we're hungry when we are just thirsty. If at a
restaurant, try ordering a warm drink first thing such as hot water
with some fresh lemon slices. You’ll be surprised how this warm
calming drink can fill you up and soothe the craving/hunger beast.
Herbal tea is also a great option while coffee tends to throw off
blood sugar levels and may lead to cravings and bad decisions later

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TIP 4 - Be an assertive orderer: Don’t be afraid to modify the menu. Trust me, in this
age of “nutritionism”, waiters are used to it. Ask questions and know the terminology. Grilled,
steamed, broiled, boiled and baked are fine but beware of terms such as creamy, smothered,
lightly breaded, deep fried. Ask for sauces on the side and leave out the fries/rice/pasta/
potatoes that usually come with the main and ask for extra veggies instead (most restaurants
are happy to do this).

TIP 5 - Start with soup or salad: both can be filling and satisfying. Order the dressing on
the side and dip your fork lightly in the dressing before every forkful. Stay with non-creamy
soups. Ask the server if dairy is added. That will let you know if they add cream or cheese or
even butter (you can even tell your server that you are lactose intolerant to make sure they don’t add cream, butter or cheese)

TIP 6 - Appetizers as the main course: Try ordering from the appetizer menu if you don’t find anything you want on the main menu such as grilled calamari, Caprese salad, or shrimp
cocktail. Order from the appetizer menu saves calories with smaller portions and is less
expensive.


TIP 7 - Liquor Control: Alcohol can stimulate hunger so never drink on an empty stomach
(really throws off blood sugar) and try to follow the 1:1 rule; follow a glass of wine with a full
glass of water. Even try to cut the wine with 1⁄2 club soda or Perrier in a wine Spritzer or mix
vodka with soda water.

TIP 8 - Portion Control/Leftovers for the next day: Most restaurants provide huge
portions-take a look at the size of the plate or bowl! Eyeball your serving size (palm of your
hand) and divide your portion accordingly. Make a mental note to have the rest packed-up for
home, or better yet, ask the waiter for a to-go container and box it up right away. Bonus: Less
for you to cook the next day.

TIP 9 – Eat protein before a long trip. Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar which, in
turn curbs hunger. Eat a meal with protein before embarking on a long journey. Check out my no-bake oatmeal protein balls recipe!

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TIP 10 – Keep to regular meal intervals. Eat a meal every 4-5 hours regardless of time
zone changes. If the journey doesn't allow for a real meal, be prepared with a substantial
snack like seeds, nuts, dried fruit or a good source of cheese.

~ Gina Forgione / Wellness Coach


The Power of Bone Broth

“FOOD FOR THOUGHT”Something to Sip on This Fall Season!”

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So many articles have been written over the years on the gut healing properties of Bone Broth. This information has been out there for quite a while but it’s only been within the last couple of years that people are starting to take seriously all the data and research about the gut healing health benefits of drinking bone broth.
From all the research I have been doing on leaky gut, inflammation heart disease, cancer, basically any disease of the body starts with gut health or should I say lack there of. Medical scientists have discovered that your health is dependent on the health of your intestinal track.
Yes, this is true! 75-80% of chronic illness and disease stem from gut disorder.

BONE BROTH AND WHY IS IT VITAL TO YOUR HEALTH?

Bone broth is a rich infusion of beef, chicken, bison, lamb, fish stock to boost the immune system, it fights inflammation your body’s enemy. Why is inflammation bad? It is the root cause of all major diseases. Inflammation causes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and basically anything else that goes wrong in the body. It can heal the body on the inside. Such as, tissue, muscle and even our cells.

Because of the high content of collagen in the bone broth it helps with digestion, allergies, improves immune health, brain health, supports your joints, hair, skin, nails and so much more. It is high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus making it a must for bone health. They are also making the connection with Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, osteoporosis and depression.
I started making Bone Broth a few years ago because I began to have tummy issues and my joints started and I wanted to stay younger from the inside out. After doing research of my own, I discovered the miracle of drinking bone broth. I started drinking a cup a day and I noticed a difference in my stomach almost right away and within a few weeks the pain in my joints started to dissipate. Below is a list of what drinking bone broth can do for you.

A cup a day works miracles but it’s also good for protecting non-leaky guts. The gelatin in the bone broth (found in the knuckles, feet, and other joints) helps seal up holes in intestines. This helps cure chronic diarrhea, constipation, and even some food intolerances.

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The glycine in bone broth has been shown in several studies to help people sleep better and improve memory.

Some of the healing benefits of Bone Broth
Helps heal and seal the gut and promotes healthy digestion.
Inhibits infection cause by cold and flu viruses.
Reduces joint pain and inflammation,
Promotes healthy bones, hair and nails

HELPFUL NOTES ON MAKING THE BROTH
The stock needs to simmer over a very low heat for 24 to 48 hours for beef and 24 for chicken. If you are thinking wow that’s a long time it is. You need to give the bone marrow, collagen and amino acids time to soak into the stock.
Simmering low and slow for many hours helps to pull out all the necessary nutrients.

TIPS ON MAKING BONE BROTH
Roast the bones first to bring the rich smooth flavor of the bones for 30 minutes. In a large stockpot pour water to cover bones and add the vinegar, let sit for 30 minutes. The acid from the vinegar helps to draw even more of the nutrients from the bones as well.
Bring the broth to a rapid boil then reduce to a very gentle simmer until done.
You will most likely have to remove the impurities that float to the surface. It’s a foamy layer that’s easily removed. I do it every 30 minutes or so for the first few hours. A lot of oil will surface to the top, don’t let it concern you because you will place the stock in the refrigerator over night and all the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off easily!
I start the soup early in the morning and simmer for 24 hours on super low heat. Just barely bubbling!
Cool for at least 2 hours then strain using a wire metal strainer to remove all the bits of vegetables. Place the stock into the refrigerator overnight. By morning all of the fat will have risen to the surface. Remove the layer of fat and discard. Store the stock in mason jars and place in refrigerator. Will last up to 4 days. If you freeze the stock, it will last up to a year!

I hope you enjoyed to article and find it helpful!

Gina Forgione, Health & Wellness Coach


IT'S TIME TO DE-CLUTTER YOUR SPACE AND LIFE!


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Ever think about de-cluttering your life as well as a space in your home?. I love just the thought of that. The idea of preparing for something or just to detox out some of the things that fill our space unnecessarily.

Over time we all start to collect things that we tend to tuck away, with the thought; I'll get to it later. We also do those same things when it comes time to our goals, challenges, struggles, relationships and lifestyle. There are things we tend to tuck away or don’t want to deal with head on, and so we sweep them under the rug. We hope to deal with them when the time seems more appropriate, but do we?

There is one thing that I never prepared for when I started the practice of creating space in my own life, and that is, with my life ever evolving and changing, with wonderful things being placed in my path, my space will quickly be filled if there isn’t an ongoing process of letting go of what no longer serves.

When I speak of creating space, I am not only speaking in terms of time, but also to physical space as well as open-mindedness.

One of the biggest challenges I have found with this is structure. This could be a personal challenge to some, as you may struggle with finding the time and creating that space to do so.

Here is how you can create space in your own life to make room for something wonderful to enter:

~Take an inventory of how you are spending your time.

For one week keep track of EVERYTHING you do throughout the day. How much time are you spending surfing the web? Checking on social media? Watching TV? Putting into personal growth? Spent with your family? This will give you a clear view of what you have to work with. You may be surprised at what you find.

~Take a look at your living environment.

Is it cluttered? Is it neat and tidy? Is it open? Is it jam packed so full that bringing in groceries puts your home into overload? Once you have scanned your living space, realistically determine what you really need there. Get rid of furniture or items that are just occupying space and put away or store the things that don’t currently have a given spot. This will help give you a more clear view of which direction you want your path to lead.

~Open your mind

If a life changing opportunity fell into your lap tomorrow but it didn’t fit into the picture you have in your head of what your life “should” look like, would you take it? Or would you let it pass you by? I know that I rarely know what I truly want or need until the moment arrives so why would I discount opportunities that present themselves without giving them thought.

~Let go of whatever no longer serves you

Items, relationships, activities, jobs, whatever it is, if it is draining your time, serenity, and blocking you, chances are you should probably let it go. This can be scary and uncomfortable, but it will open you up to great things.

The process of creating space can be difficult at times, it can require many adjustments, but it is totally worth it and whenever I do it, great things always follow.

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Another way you can create space is through meditation. Creating the mindset to become more open both physically and mentally. I promise you, if you begin to slowly practice these steps you will begin to feel a sense of lightness as well as relief.

Practicing these steps will also open your heart and mind to other areas in your life that you may having tucking under that rug. Create that space for your soul and start to open up a sense of “mindfulness.”

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HOW TO INCREASE PROGESTERONE NATURALLY: 7 STEPS

There’s no need to take medication! Here’s how to increase progesterone naturally and maintain a healthy hormonal balance by eating the right foods.

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Progesterone is a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. It is extremely important for women’s health, and it plays a crucial role in the female reproductive system including the menstrual cycle and fertility, as well as the development of the fetus and the maintenance of pregnancy.

Imbalances of progesterone levels may cause infertility, an increased risk of miscarriage, increased PMS symptoms, depression, thyroid dysfunction, fibrocystic breasts, weight gain and irregular menstrual cycle.

Fortunately, there are many natural ways to increase progesterone levels and maintain a proper hormone balance in your body.

Read below to learn how it can be done.

1. Avoid Foods and Herbs that Increase Estrogen Levels

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The balance of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body is of extreme importance for her health. Excess estrogen and low progesterone levels can contribute to many psychological and physical conditions, including infertility.

If you have been diagnosed with estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency, you should avoid all foods that can increase estrogen levels.

2. Increase Your Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C Intake

1. Your body requires adequate amounts of vitamin B6 to maintain optimal levels of progesterone. The lack of this important vitamin may decrease the production of progesterone.

Vitamin B is also necessary for the liver to break down estrogen. If it doesn’t break it down, the levels of estrogen increase, creating hormonal imbalance. This means that levels of estrogen become higher than progesterone levels.

Good amounts of vitamin B6 can be found walnuts, whole grains, lean red meat, poultry, seafood, bananas, spinach, beans, potatoes, and fortified cereals.

2. Also take vitamin C! A study has shown that 750mg of Vitamin C taken every day for six months can considerably increase the progesterone production.

3. Consume Foods Containing Zinc

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Zinc is essential for hormonal health and it is extremely important for the production of adequate levels of progesterone.

Zinc is the mineral that prompts the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormones, which in turn promote ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone.

Good sources of zinc are veal liver, lean red meats, shellfish, crabs, dark chocolate, wheat germ, chickpeas, and pumpkin, watermelon and squash seeds.

4. Eat Magnesium Rich Foods

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Magnesium is another key nutrient for increasing progesterone levels, as it plays an important role in maintaining a healthy hormonal balance in the body.

You can either take dietary supplements, or eat more foods that are good sources of magnesium such as black beans, spinach, raw plantain, halibut, whole grain cereals, pumpkin and squash seeds, okra, and nuts.

5. Control Your Stress Levels

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Stress can considerably reduce progesterone levels in the body. During chronic stress, adrenal glands aren’t able to produce enough “fight or flight” hormone called cortisol, which they constantly need. In this case, our body converts progesterone into cortisol.

6. Herbs to Avoid and Herbs to Take

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Avoid all herbs that can increase levels of estrogen – with estrogen dominance, your progesterone levels are lower. These herbs include blue cohosh, black cohosh, dong quai, hops, lavender, licorice, motherwort leaf, rhodiola rose root, red clover blossom, saw palmetto berry, and tea tree oil.

A herb that is good for balancing hormone levels in the body is chasteberry, also known as vitex. It can stimulate the progesterone production and reduce levels of estrogen, as well as amounts of prolactin, which is another hormone that can lead to low progesterone in the body.

7. Use Natural Progesterone Creams

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Natural progesterone creams seem to be very helpful in creating a proper estrogen and progesterone balance, since the natural progesterone has the same molecular structure as the one produced by the human body.

Mexican yam cream

Mexican yam, also known as wild yam, is a root that contains a substance called diosgenin, which can be converted through a simple laboratory process into progesterone. The cream is also enriched with vitamin E, which gives it exceptionally nourishing and regenerative properties. When used correctly, it can considerably help balance hormonal levels in the body.

All summed up, there are many natural methods to increase progesterone levels and maintain a healthy hormonal balance in your body.

The Benefits of Teatea

  1. Tea contains antioxidants. Antioxidants work to prevent the body’s version of rust and thereby helps to keep us young and protect us from damage from pollution.
  2. Tea has less caffeine than coffee. Herbal blends have no caffeine, while traditional teas have less than 50% of what is typically found in coffee.
  3. Tea may reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. In a study published (Univ. of Pittsburgh Medical Center) found a 20% reduction in heart attack and a 35% reduced risk of stroke among those who drank 1 to 3 cups of green tea a day; it was found that drinking 4 or more cups daily resulted in a 32% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
  4. Tea may help with weight loss. Studies were done mostly with green teas as an appetite suppressant.
  5. Tea may help protect your bones. Animal study data found that green tea may prevent bone loss.
  6. Tea may keep your smile bright. Japanese researchers found that tea can change the pH in your mouth and may prevent cavities; beyond that, tea (unlike many other beverages) does not appear to erode tooth enamel.
  7. Tea may boost the immune system. Studies have shown tea can tune up immune cells so they reach their targets quicker.
  8. Tea may help battle cancer. Studies are mixed on this, but some of the research does show the anti-oxidant property of teas to be an important part of battling cancer.
  9. Herbal tea may soothe the digestive system. Herbal teas, in particular chamomile, can be good for people with IBS because it is an antispasmodic; also, ginger teas can calm nausea.
  10. Tea is calorie free. It’s a great no-calorie alternative to water. It provides so many options for flavor and versatility. You can have it hot or cold. And you don’t have to put anything in it, though you may want to add a cinnamon stick or some ginger. Also you can hydrate with teas other than water alone.


DO YOU CONTINUALLY FALL BEFORE YOU RISE?

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February 19, 2017

How many times have you said “fail” to yourself before giving yourself the opportunity to rise and succeed? Have you ever felt that you struggle to get ahead? Maybe in your career, relationships or even with the food on your plate? I understand; I’ve been there and have struggles in all of these areas. Sometimes we stop proceeding because we are afraid of judgement of others or even of ourselves. Once our brain realizes we are getting creative, negative thoughts will try to intercept. I have repeatedly started on a project or pursued the next level and put up roadblocks halfway there because of lack of faith in myself and that word "fail" starts wearing on my confidence. But what I have learned along the way is remembering and knowing my “why."

It's what bought me here to this point so far. 1. Knowing and understanding our why helps us to maintain our focus and is the key to succeeding at our goals and our guide to success. 2. Following our intuition, it becomes your pioneer chief and your guide that will steer you in the right direction. 3. Believing in yourself! Find your inner strength it's such an important step. Once we master believing and having that faith in ourselves then confidence, respect, blessings, and success will follow.



Leaky Gut Overload

“All Disease Begins In The Gut” -Hippocrates

Recent studies are finding that gut issues are the root cause of autoimmune disaease and other conditions; the biggest culprit is leaky gut!

What does Leaky Gut Syndrome mean anyway?

leaky gut syndrome diagram



Basically, the tight junctions of your gut (intestinal) lining separate and create “holes” that allow food particles and toxins to pass easily through. Those food particles and toxins then pass into your bloodstream which can wreak total havoc on your body causing food intolerances, sugar cravings, weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, hormonal imbalances, and even autoimmune disease.

That doesn’t sound like a party I want to be invited to!

The truth is that in our antibiotic-obsessed world, where GMOs and chronic stress run rampant, leaky gut is not an uncommon issue.

Under normal circumstances, your gut lining acts as a “gatekeeper”, with tight junctions in place to prevent unnecessary or potentially harmful particles from entering your bloodstream. But when leaky gut occurs, it is as if the gatekeeper skipped town and left the gate open for anything to pass through.

When the tight junctions in your gut lining to break down and become more permeable, random particles can enter your bloodstream. Since these substances aren’t meant to leave your digestive tract, your body will set off “alarm bells” to tell your immune system that foreign invaders have entered your bloodstream.

To get these particles out of your body, your immune system reacts aggressively and attacks these particles by eliciting an immune response. While this is intended to protect you, each time an immune response is triggered, it causes inflammation. This is a problem because chronic inflammation is one of the leading causes of many chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes .

As you can see, leaky gut isn’t a condition to ignore or take lightly. So, how do you go about dealing with a leaky gut?

Healing your gut begins with adding the right nutrients to your diet (while eliminating offending foods). Let’s now take a quick look at the common signs of leaky gut, and what causes intestinal permeability in the first place.

Mentioned above, symptoms of leaky gut can range from digestive discomfort and food sensitivities, to full blown autoimmune disease. In fact, leaky gut has been linked to celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis (MS), autism, and cancer. Really, the list goes on and on.

The connection between leaky gut and chronic illness makes sense because a) approximately 70% of your immune system cells are found in your gut, and b) the chronic inflammation caused by leaky gut is what can lead to inflammatory disease.

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Inflammatory Foods -- today’s western diet is full of pro-inflammatory foods that when frequently consumed can damage the cells in your gut tissue (which is called epithelial tissue) and promote intestinal permeability. Some of the foods include:

  • Highly processed vegetable oils
  • Refined Sugar
  • Additives and preservatives found in processed foods

By eliminating these foods along with some other trigger foods from your diet, you’ll begin to naturally reduce the inflammation in GI tract, which may help alleviate symptoms of leaky gut.

good gut bacteria

A Lack of Friendly Gut Bacteria?

Low fiber diets and frequent antibiotic use contribute to depletion of beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, that reside in your colon. An adequate supply of probiotics is key to preventing leaky gut; they’ve been shown to help strengthen the gut barrier to prevent intestinal permeability. Along with increased daily fiber and proper nutrients, your gut should be in good shape.

A lack of friendly gut bacteria can also promote the occurrence of conditions that further damage the gut lining, such as candida or yeast overgrowth. It’s important to maintain the proper balance in the gut, in order to maintain a healthy gut.

If you would like more information or have concerns about Leaky Gut Syndrome please contact Gina or Carmen at In Balance Health Coaches!




We Challenge You

Are you a woman who sometimes feels so frustrated that you just want to run away? Are you tired of not finding time for “YOU” because you’re too busy trying to juggle it all?

stress stock photo

Would you like to have more time, feel more energized, lose weight, and feel confident in your clothes? Are you tired of bad eating habits because you’re always eating on the run? Do you want to make better food choices for you and your family?

As a woman myself and having experienced all of the above, I can certainly relate to this frustration and vicious cycle that you live daily. But, what do we continually do? We put it all on the back burner and “suck it up”.

We as women carry around so much stress and too many burdens, to the point where our bodies crash! Where does this leave us? Unhealthy, emotionally over eating, and feeling hopeless, that things may never change.

Well I know exactly how you feel.

I want to inspire, encourage and empower you to create a new lifestyle for yourself, as I did years ago.

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My name is Gina Forgione, Certified Wellness Coach and an Educator in Integrative Nutrition, and I am one of the owners of In Balance.

With In Balance Coaching you will be able to put “YOU” at the top of your list.
• Imagine using your time more effectively and productively, at work and at home, with more “free time” for your family as well as for yourself.
• Say goodbye to the stress in your life! Unwind and relax again, with techniques that are unique, especially for you.
• Finally loose the weight you’ve always wanted to, and feel confident in your clothes. Using gradual simple changes, while still enjoying your favorite foods.
• Wouldn't it be divine to wake up feeling refreshed and renewed with a goods night rest?
• Experience the energy you been longing for without crashing during the middle of your day.
• Let us take you on a grocery store tour! With some of our helpful tips, that will help you make better food choices for you and the family.

There is hope! Please join me for a free 30-minute consult along with free bi-weekly events that will educate, inspire, and lift you off on a journey to new beginnings -- all just for “YOU!”

And please consider our 30-day Wellness Transformation Program!



15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Get Your New Year Off to a Great Start!

Happy 2017 everyone! We hope the New Year is off to a great start for all of you!

Today, we want to talk about Anti-Inflammatory foods. Chances are, you want your diet to be healthier in 2017 than it was in 2016. Perhaps eating healthier was your New Years Resolution.

Remember that small, gradual changes are typically more sustainable; they're easier for the body to adapt to, and they can make you less likely to go back to your old ways. So rather than emptying your pantry and pursuing yet another crazy diet, you can pursue an anti-inflammatory diet one step at a time.

By adding in the anti-inflammatory foods that fight inflammation and restore health at a cellular level, you can begin to repair the body without any harmful changes. Once you find foods that heal your body and satisfy your taste buds, you can remove the inflammation-causing offenders without feeling deprived. Let’s take a look at 15 of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can add to your diet.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids.

2. Bok Choy

Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

3. Celery

In recent pharmacological studies, benefits of celery include both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease.

4. Beets

When added to the diet, beet benefits include repairing cells and adding high levels of inflammation-fighting potassium and magnesium.

Beets also contain quite a bit of magnesium, and a magnesium deficiency is strongly linked with inflammatory conditions.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is high in both potassium and magnesium, and its antioxidants are particularly potent anti-inflammatory substances in their own right.

Broccoli is an antioxidant powerhouse, with key vitamins, flavonoids, and carotenoids.

6. Blueberries

One antioxidant in particular stands out as an especially strong anti-inflammatory, and that’s quercetin. Found in citrus, olive oil, and dark-colored berries, quercetin is a flavonoid (a beneficial substance or phytonutrient that’s prevalent in fresh foods) that fights inflammation and even cancer.

In a study seeking treatment for IBD, an extract from the noni fruit was used to affect the gut flora and colon damage done by inflammatory diseases. Of the effects the extract had, quercetin created the prominent anti-inflammatory actions.

Another study found that consuming more blueberries slowed cognitive decline and improved memory and motor function. The scientists in this study believed these results were due to the antioxidants in blueberries protective the body from oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.

7. Pineapple

Pineapple helps improve heart health because of the effects of powerful bromelain. which can fight blood clotting and is nature’s answer to those taking an aspirin a day to lower the risk of heart attack.

The benefits of pineapple are due to its high supply of vitamin C, vitamin B1, potassium, and manganese, in addition to other special antioxidants that help prevent disease formation. Pineapple is filled with phytonutrients that work as well as many medicines do to reduce symptoms of some of the most common illnesses and conditions we see today.

8. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, and it is considered one of the best omega-3 foods. Omega-3s are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory substances, showing consistent relief of inflammation and reduction of the need for anti-inflammatory medications.

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function.

The source of fish and meat among anti-inflammatory foods is a vital component. One of the dangers of farmed fish is it doesn’t have the same nutrients as wild-caught salmon.

9. Bone broth

Bone broths contain minerals in forms that your body can easily absorb: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and others. They contain chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine; these are compounds that reduce inflammation, such as arthritis and joint pain.
It is excellent for Leaky Gut, as well.

10. Walnuts

When following a diet without a lot of meats, nuts and seeds can make up the difference for protein and omega-3s. Add omega-3-rich walnuts to green leafy salads drizzled with olive oil for a satisfying anti-inflammatory meal, or grab a handful for an on-the-go snack.

Phytonutrients can help protect against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes. And some phytonutrients in walnuts are hard to find in any other foods.

11. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has many health benefits. It’s properties contains polyphenols and nutrients whichprotect the immune system. Coconut oil is also made is up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid. which provides us with numerous health benefit, such as, antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and immune-boosting effects.

Also, oxidative stress and free radicals are the two biggest culprits of osteoporosis. Since coconut oil benefits include fighting such free radicals with its high levels of antioxidants, it’s a leading natural treatment for osteoporosis.

12. Chia seeds

Fatty acids found in nature are more balanced than the fats we typically consume in our typical diets. Chia seeds benefits, for example, offer both omega-3 and omega-6, which should be consumed in balance with one another.

Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse, containing essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine.

13. Flaxseeds

An excellent source of omega-3s and phytonutrients, flaxseeds benefits include being packed withantioxidants. Lignans are unique fiber-related polyphenols that provide us with antioxidant benefits for anti-aging, hormone balance and cellular health. Polyphenols support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.

14. Turmeric

Turmeric’s primary compound, curcumin, is an active anti-inflammatory component. Documented for its affects against inflammation in numerous circumstances, turmeric health benefits prove invaluable in an anti-inflammatory diet.

Due to its high anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is highly effective at helping people manage rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Ginger

Used fresh, dried, or in supplement form and extracts, ginger is another immune modulator that helps reduce inflammation caused by overactive immune responses.

Ayurvedic medicine has praised ginger’s ability to boost the immune system before recorded history. It believes that because ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It is also known to cleanse the lymphatic system, our body’s sewage system.

In fact, ginger health benefits may even include treating inflammation in allergic and asthmatic disorders.

Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

With anti-inflammatory foods filling the diet, you naturally begin to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods and substances — they’re not as satisfying as a diet rich in whole foods.

A prime suspect is the duo of saturated and trans fatty acids. Found in processed foods, these fats cause inflammation and increase risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions. The same foods are also likely to be higher in omega-6 fatty acids, which are necessary, but only to an extent.

In excess and without the balance of omega-3s, omega-6 fats actually create inflammation in the body. Sadly, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports, “The Standard American Diet tends to contain 14–25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids”.

Simple, refined sugars and carbohydrates are more inflammation-causing culprits. Limiting refined grains is an important factor in an anti-inflammatory diet. Whole grains should replace the refined carbohydrates, as truly whole grains are important sources of nutrition. Sourcing these grains as fermented allows the nutrients to be broken down and better available to the body.

Finally, establishing a regular routine of physical activity can help prevent systemic inflammation from building up or returning. An active life fueled by fresh, whole anti-inflammatory foods and unrestricted by processed, toxic compounds can set you on the path to a healthy lifestyle and increased longevity.

Happy Holidays!

Hello all,

We here at In Balance want to help you achieve your dreams in 2017; for now, though, we just want to wish you a joyous holiday season.

And might we suggest these? http://www.inbalancehealthcoaches.com/recipes/2016/8/4/chocolate-energy-cocoa-balls

They're sure to make any holiday party a little more merry and bright!

Please check out our holiday newsletter, as well: http://www.inbalancehealthcoaches.com/holiday-newsletter/

Be well, and we look forward to interacting with you all next year!

Cordially,

Carmen and Gina



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