Detoxification, Digestion, Food Labels, Food Sensitvities, Health Food, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Metabolism, Microbiome, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Overating, Recipes, Weight loss, Wellness, What to eat

Five Ways to Get Back On Track

 

On Track Header

There’s nothing better than knowing that you’re progressing in your wellness journey and sticking to your healthy eating. Nothing better, except that slice of chocolate cake you’ll just have for that special occasion, or that delicious pile of pasta you’ve been saving your cheat meal for. To be clear, there really is nothing wrong with those in moderation, but sometimes those little treats lead to you completely straying from your path… and you might be having trouble finding your way back. Here are five tips that can help you get back on track.

  1. Don’t let one cheat meal throw off your entire week

Often, when we slip up and have a cheat meal or even a full day of unhealthy eating, we write off our hard work as “undone” and give up. We get back to unhealthy eating habits and steer right off the track. We all indulge sometimes— don’t let one unhealthy meal lead you to believe that you’ve undone all your progress. Simply get back on track and have a healthy, balanced meal for your next meal.

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods

Instead of complicating the “healthy eating rules” and measuring, calculating, and recording everything you eat, just remember to eat real, unprocessed, whole foods. This makes things very simple for you. This means eating lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and proteins. Stay away from the pre-packaged meals and foods with ingredients that you can’t pronounce. This will often save you money and is the healthiest way to fuel your body.

  1. Plan and prepare your meals

The key to maintaining your healthy eating is always to be prepared. Don’t let a busy week leave you with no other option than to order takeout. You probably always hear the advice to meal-prep, but it really is one of the best ways to keep on track. Dedicate one day in the week towards washing and cutting your veggies, preparing some staples such as brown rice or chicken breast and store them in the fridge, so you have healthy options for the entire week.  Hard boil eggs for a quick breakfast or snack.  Pre prepping can work for pretty much any dietary plan you are following.

It will be easy to throw together a salad for lunch or dinner if you have your protein already cooked and veggies ready to go. Consider batch cooking too, which is basically pre-making whole meals in larger quantities that you can eat throughout the week or freeze & reheat.

  1. Keep an emergency food kit with you

Again, planning and preparing your meals is the most valuable thing you can do. If you’re hungry at the mall or your friend has no healthy snacks at her house, be prepared! Keep an emergency food kit with you. Pack a bag of nuts and seeds, homemade granola, hummus and carrots, an apple, or even some dark chocolate for dessert. Pack whatever healthy snacks YOU enjoy, so that you will actually eat them, and always keep a bottle of water with you.

happy lady

  1. Stop restricting yourself and enjoy life!

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Don’t be so restrictive with your diet, or you will end up hating it, and you won’t enjoy the foods you eat. That’s no way to live life! Eat healthy, whole foods, and if you want a slice of cake once in a while, have it. It’s better to enjoy that cake than to stress about it while eating it. A negative mindset surrounding food is much more destructive than treating yourself once in a while and really enjoying it.

Being too strict about what we eat for long periods of time usually ends up in binge eating down the line and that can put us on the path to diet roller coaster hell.

Always in health,

Cynthia

More ways to connect with me:

Join my weekly newsletter for health & wellness tips, recipes & more.
Follow me on Facebook Prairie Hill Nutrition
Follow me on Instagram Cynthia Hill, NTP
Join my Facebook Group Live Your Best Health Forward!
http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

 

Detoxification, Digestion, Food Sensitvities, Gut health, Health, Health Food, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Overating, Recipes, Weight loss, Wellness, What to eat

Five Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

Sugar Busters (2)

The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.

But that might also bring thoughts of “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.”

Right?

Let me give you my best weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious!

What’s my criteria you ask?

They have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods that contain protein and/or fibre.

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1 – Nuts

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are NOT fattening!

Well, I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones, of course. Those probably are fattening.

Studies show that people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fiber, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. (a little goes a long way!)  Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body, and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!

Tip: Put a handful of unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag.

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2 – Fresh Fruit

As with nuts, studies show that people who tend to eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but whole fruits (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) also contain a fair bit of water and fiber; not to mention their nutritional value with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.”  Berries are best!  (Tropical fruits like banana & mango…) are higher in sugar/calories).

Win-win!

Try a variety of fruit (apples, pears, berries, etc.) and pair that with a handful of nuts.

Tip: Can’t do fresh? Try frozen. Plus, they’re already chopped for you.

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3 – Chia seeds

This is one of my personal favorites…

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes THOSE omega-3s!). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?

They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).

Tip: Put two tablespoons in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts, and/or cinnamon and enjoy!

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4 – Boiled or poached eggs

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.

Yup, you read that right!

Tip: Boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack!

Oh, and let’s not forget avocados – loaded with satiating healthy fats!

Sugar Busters (1)

5 – Vegetables

I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

Veggies contain fiber and water to help fill you up, and you don’t need me to tell you about their vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, right?

You can easily open a bag of baby carrots and/or cherry tomatoes and give them a quick rinse (they’re already bite-sized).  Think broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers & mushrooms too.

Tip: Use a bit of dip. Have you put almond butter on celery? How about trying my new hummus recipe below?

Conclusion:

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before if you need to. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.” Trust me and just keep in mind they are “snacks” not a meal!

Sugar Busters

Recipe (Vegetable Dip): Hummus

Makes about 2 cups

1  can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained & rinsed

⅓ cup tahini

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 dash salt

1 dash pepper

  1. Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to thin it out with a bit of water, so add it 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time and blend.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Don’t like sesame? Use an avocado in place of the tahini, and olive oil in place of the sesame oil.

Always in health,

Cynthia

More ways to connect with me:

Join my weekly newsletter for health & wellness tips, recipes & more.
Follow me on Facebook Prairie Hill Nutrition
Follow me on Instagram Cynthia Hill, NTP
Join my Facebook Group Live Your Best Health Forward!
http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/almonds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/almonds/

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/best-fruits-diabetics/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/apples/

https://authoritynutrition.com/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables/

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

Autumn, Detoxification, Digestion, Food Labels, Food Sensitvities, Gut health, Health, Health Food, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Metabolism, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Overating, Recipes, Weight loss, Wellness, What to eat, Winter

The Best Fall Spices to Use This Season

 

Spices Header

Fall is officially here— we can smell it in our kitchens. The smells of fall spices are undeniably comforting and delicious, but some of your favorite fall spices also have fantastic health benefits. Make sure to include these spices in your fall dishes for some brilliant flavors and extra health kicks.

 

  1. Turmeric

Turmeric is one of the healthiest spices on the planet. It contains an active compound known as curcumin, whose long list of proven health benefits includes fighting off unhealthy cells and slowing down the signs of aging. Curcumin also contains strong anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that it is beneficial in reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms of inflammatory diseases. As a bonus, turmeric also adds a beautiful golden color to your dishes. Make sure to add black pepper whenever you use turmeric as it significantly improves the body’s absorption of curcumin.

 

  1. Cinnamon

This famous fall spice contains a vast number of various antioxidants. Antioxidants are key for fighting off those damaging free radicals that can cause chronic diseases. It also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the primary hormone involved in blood sugar regulation. Therefore, cinnamon is a beneficial spice for individuals with insulin issues.

 

  1. Nutmeg

You can’t have staple fall dishes, like apple and pumpkin pie or eggnog, without nutmeg. However, this powerful spice also contains many important nutrients. It is rich with manganese, copper, and magnesium, but it also contains many other essential vitamins and minerals. Some studies have shown that nutmeg can relieve pain, such as the joint pain experienced by individuals with arthritis. It is also often used as a natural remedy for insomnia because it helps you fall asleep easier and get good-quality, uninterrupted sleep.

 

  1. Ginger

Ginger is well-known for its digestive health benefits. It is widely used for treating nausea and other digestive issues, such as an upset stomach and acid reflux. Adding ginger to your meals or making a ginger tea after a big fall feast can help your digestive system process all that food with ease. If you’re experiencing morning sickness or nausea for any other reason, ginger will provide you with relief. It also has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can help your body fight against infections while also controlling inflammation.

 

  1. Clove

Cloves are high in antioxidants, which help the body fight off disease-causing free radicals. They are also well-known for their health benefits for the liver. The liver is a powerhouse organ with many responsibilities. One of its main jobs is to break down unwanted or old molecules and prepare them for excretion from the body. However, sometimes in the process of breaking down unwanted molecules, damaging free radicals are produced as a by-product. These free radicals can build up in the liver and impair its function. Cloves and other antioxidant-rich foods can help clear away these free radicals from the liver and keep it (and you) healthy.

cinnamon cloves nutmeg

Tip:  To maximize the health benefits of spices (and herbs) look for non-irradiated on the label.  Anytime you can use spices in their whole form will boost their freshness, flavor, intensity and benefits.

 

A personal favorite of mine is whole nutmeg.  I love the fragrance freshly grated, and added to both sweet & savory dishes.

 

What spices will you be using this Fall?

Always in health,

Cynthia

More ways to connect with me:

Join my weekly newsletter for health & wellness tips, recipes & more.
Follow me on Facebook Prairie Hill Nutrition
Follow me on Instagram Cynthia Hill, NTP
Join my Facebook Group Live Your Best Health Forward!
http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

This post contains affiliate links.

Detoxification, Digestion, Food Sensitvities, Gut health, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Microbiome, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Recipes, Wellness, What to eat

Can My Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerance?

5.2 food intolerances a

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.

And they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening.  If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance or sensitivity, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify.

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea; symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

5.2 stomach ache

 

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

Symptoms like:

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.

How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD. Often times it is the very foods we crave and consume regularly that are the foods we are sensitive to!

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.

Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Lactose (in dairy – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.

5.2 gluten lactose free

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, how you feel after, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

Click here to download a free copy of my Weekly Diet Diary/Food Journal to help you track.

And, as I mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.

What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that’s OK. I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!  Having food intolerances does not necessarily mean you can never eat that food again.  By identifying and healing your gut issues (such as leaky gut which often can lead to food sensitivities or can cause them) you may be able to enjoy suspect foods again.

Another way to identify food sensitivities is food intolerance testing.  Look for a quality test that detects both igG antibodies and compliment antigen together like the KBMO Diagnostics FIT test that tests 132 foods, colorings & additives. KBMO also offers a FIT 22 test which tests for the top 22 allergens. A Zonulin marker test can identify leaky gut and candida.  All of these tests are simple finger blood prick tests available in my practice.

Recipe (dairy-free milk): Homemade Nut/Seed Milk

5.2 nut milk recipe

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients

½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)

2 cups water

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
  2. Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
  3. Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth.
  4. Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can double the recipe and store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Always in health,

Cynthia

More ways to connect with me:

Join my weekly newsletter for health & wellness tips, recipes & more.
Follow me on Facebook Prairie Hill Nutrition
Follow me on Instagram Cynthia Hill, NTP
Join my Facebook Group Live Your Best Health Forward!
http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

References:

http://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

https://authoritynutrition.com/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-sensitivities-health-infographic

Detoxification, Digestion, Food Sensitvities, Gut health, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Metabolism, Microbiome, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Recipes, Wellness

All About Digestive Enzymes

Hen 5.1 enzymes

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

As a practitioner, I find that many people with digestive issues want to jump straight into using a supplement. And many times 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.

Hen 5.1 enzymes body

What do I need to know? – 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.

What do I need to know? – 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, you should probably 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.

Conclusion:

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.

hen 5.1 tropical smoothie

Recipe (food containing bromelain & papain): Tropical (digestive) smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup pineapple, diced

1 cup papaya, diced

1 banana, chopped

1 cup coconut milk

ice if desired

Put all ingredients(except ice) into the blender and blend. Add ice if desired.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: The levels of enzymes in whole pineapple and papaya aren’t as concentrated as taking them in a supplement; so if you’re not allergic to these delicious fruits, you can try this smoothie.

Always in health,

Cynthia

More ways to connect with me:

Join my weekly newsletter for health & wellness tips, recipes & more.
Follow me on Facebook Prairie Hill Nutrition
Follow me on Instagram Cynthia Hill, NTP
Join my Facebook Group Live Your Best Health Forward!
http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

References:

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/digestive-enzyme-supplements/

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=514&lang=eng

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=516&lang=eng

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=196&lang=eng

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=508&lang=eng

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=515&lang=eng

Natural Medicines Database, Bromelain, Papain, Retrieved January 21, 2017 from https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com

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How to Naturally Lower Your Stress Hormone (Cortisol)

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STRESS!!!

Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree?

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flew. But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society – it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic.

You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.”  It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?

Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!

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Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol

Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar. Reducing the sugar we eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for our minds (and bodies).

High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.

Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty.

Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn’t just help reduce stress hormones, it helps all aspects of your health.

Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate (not the sugary milky kind!). Have a bit to unwind.

Don’t forget your probiotics and prebiotics! There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection, and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key!  Make sure you’re eating probiotic rich fermented foods (raw fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, yogurt)  and getting a healthy dose of prebiotic fiber (raw Jerusalem artichoke, raw dandelion greens, avocados, raw or cooked onions, raw garlic, bananas, apples, jicama root) .

 

Lifestyle techniques to lower cortisol

’s not just food, but there are things you can do with your time that can lower cortisol.

Reduce your stress with mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.

Get enough exercise (but don’t overdo it). While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels. Too much too often though, can lead to elevated cortisol levels as the body perceives as stress.

Get enough sleep!

Getting adequate sleep is way too underrated. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.  Sleep is when your body does its housekeeping (detoxification, rebuild & repair).

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Relax and have fun. Things like deep breathing, massages, leisurely walks in nature and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol.

Work on reducing, eliminating or changing things that cause stress in your life (unhealthy relationships, jobs, and so on…).

Be social and bust loneliness. Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key.

Conclusion

Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.

In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine. Have more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.

Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, and have more fun!

In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

Recipe (High fiber prebiotic): De-Stressing Chocolate Pudding

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Serves 6

3 ripe avocados

¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)

¼ cup maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 dash salt

Instructions

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Try adding a pinch of cinnamon for a deeper flavor.

Always in health,

Cynthia

P.S. Not getting a good nights sleep and feeling stressed out all the time? Do you find yourself caffeinating and sugaring up to get through the afternoon? Or maybe you feel sluggish & bloated after every meal? Click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and sleep.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/ways-to-lower-cortisol/

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

https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response

 

Digestion, Food Sensitvities, Gut health, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Holistic, Microbiome, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Recipes, Wellness, What to eat

Dairy Intolerance (Lactose, Casein & Whey)

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Having a food intolerance is not fun. It can cause abdominal pain, discomfort, and nausea. It also causes embarrassing symptoms like flatulence and diarrhea. Other symptoms linked to food intolerances include muscle or joint pain, headaches, exhaustion, and even skin symptoms like rashes and eczema.

Dairy is just one of those foods that many people seem to be intolerant of. Let’s talk about the main components of milk that people react to: lactose, casein, and whey.

Milk sugar (lactose) intolerance

It’s estimated that up to 75% of adults are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the carbohydrate “milk sugar” naturally found in most dairy products. Lactose intolerance is so common you can buy lactose-free milk in your regular grocery store. Lactose-free products are treated with the enzyme “lactase” that breaks the lactose down before you ingest it. It’s this lactase enzyme that is lacking in most people who are lactose intolerant.

The lactase enzyme is naturally released from your intestine as one of your digestive enzymes. It breaks down the lactose sugar in the gut. When someone doesn’t have enough lactase, the lactose doesn’t get broken down the way it should.  Undigested lactose ends up being food for the resident gut microbes. As they ferment the lactose, they create gases that cause bloating, flatulence, pain, and sometimes diarrhea.

Lactose is in dairy but is in lower amounts in fermented dairy (e.g. cheese, yogurt, kefir) and butter. Steering clear of lactose isn’t that easy as it is added to other foods like baked goods, soups, and sauces. And if you’re taking any medications or supplements, check to see if it’s in there too. Lactose is a common ingredient in tablets used for its compressibility properties, although usually not enough to cause intolerance issues.

If you have symptoms of lactose intolerance, keep an eye on food, medication, and supplement labels.

Note:  Another factor to consider with lactose is that unprocessed raw (unpasteurized) milk contains the enzyme lactase that helps break down and digest lactoseLactase is destroyed in the pasteurization process. Some individuals who have difficulty with pasteurized milk find they can tolerate raw unprocessed milk.

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Milk protein (casein & whey) allergy

Milk is a known, and common, food allergen. In Canada, it is considered a “priority allergen” and must be declared on food labels.

So, what are the allergens in milk? You’ve heard of “curds and whey?” Well, these are the two main proteins in milk. The solid bits are the curds (made of casein), and the liquid is the dissolved whey.

Unlike lactose intolerance, casein and whey can cause an actual immune response. It’s an allergy. And this immune response can cause inflammation. In fact, we don’t know how many people have these milk allergies, but most estimates put it far below that of lactose intolerance.

Like lactose, these allergenic milk proteins can be found in other products too. They’re not just in dairy but are often in protein powders as well (Have you heard of “whey” protein powders?).

Some of the symptoms of milk protein allergy differ from that of lactose intolerance; things like nasal congestion and mucus (phlegm) are more common here. And casein seems to be linked with belly fat.

Interestingly, people who have gluten intolerance are often allergic to milk proteins like whey and casein as well. These can go hand-in-hand.

Like lactose intolerance, if you’re allergic to casein and whey keep an eye on labels so you can avoid these.

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Note:  Yet another factor to consider is A1 and A2 (forms of casein) milk. Newer breed cows milk contain both forms with a higher percentage of A1 casein. Research suggests that the A1 form of beta casein protein may be linked to the indigestibility of milk and possibly to disease.  A2 milk (mostly from older breeds) is all A2 beta casein protein and may be a safer, healthier choice.

Conclusion

If you get gassy, bloated, or experience diarrhea after eating dairy, you may have a lactose intolerance. If you often get a stuffy nose and mucus, then you may be allergic to casein and/or whey.

While dairy may be nutrient dense it is not essential. All the nutrients in dairy are available in other foods. If you experience these symptoms, you can try removing dairy from your diet You may find improved digestion and fewer gut issues. Or you may find improved nasal congestion, or even less belly fat.

If you really love your dairy, you may want to look into unprocessed (not legal in some states) and/or A2 milk (always from healthy pastured cows),  or try fermented dairy products to see if you tolerate better.  Easier to digest goats milk is another alternative too.

If you decide to (or have already) removed dairy from your diet, let me know your experience in the comments below.

 

Recipe (Dairy-free): Chocolate Ice “Cream”

vol 4.3eServes 2

3 bananas, sliced and frozen
2 tsp cacao powder, unsweetened
1 tbsp almond butter

Instructions

Place frozen bananas in food processor and blend until smooth (a few minutes). You may have to stop a few times to scrape the sides.

Add cacao powder and almond butter and blend until mixed well.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can make this in advance and freeze in an airtight container.

Always in health,

Cynthia

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http://www.prairiehillnutrition.com/

Are you confused about what to eat and not eat for optimum health?  Sick of yo-yo dieting? Do you feel sluggish & bloated after eating or have a lack energy throughout the day? If this describes you, click here and select “free call” to connect with me on a 5 minute call. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to help support your diet, digestion and energy levels.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-ways-to-reduce-bloating/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/how-to-get-rid-of-bloating/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

https://authoritynutrition.com/dairy-foods-low-in-lactose/

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/whey-protein-allergies-intolerances-bloating

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-food-sensitivities

https://www.thepaleomom.com/the-great-dairy-debate/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-milk-and-mucus-a-myth/

https://nutritionfacts.org/video/milk-protein-vs-soy-protein/

https://examine.com/supplements/casein-protein/

https://examine.com/supplements/whey-protein/

http://foodallergycanada.ca/about-allergies/food-allergens/milk/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blood-pressure/milk-protein-may-lower-blood-pressure

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4586534/

https://www.sharecare.com/health/lactose-intolerance/how-pasteurized-milk-lactose-intolerance

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/a1-vs-a2-milk