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:
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.
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: [email protected].
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.
The Benefits of Tea
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Tea may help with weight loss. Studies were done mostly with green teas as an appetite suppressant.
- Tea may help protect your bones. Animal study data found that green tea may prevent bone loss.
- 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.
- Tea may boost the immune system. Studies have shown tea can tune up immune cells so they reach their targets quicker.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“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?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Carmen and Gina