As a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant I believe that every month should be nutrition month. Luckily the month of March provides us greater opportunities to educate people on how life changing eating well can be. It does not need to be expensive or complicated, but if you are struggling with knowing what is best to maintain optimal nutritional health we are here to help!
Nutrition can be a very complex and often polarizing subject, with so much information coming at us daily. However, with knowledge and focused attention, the journey towards better eating can become easier.
Here are 4 reasons as to why eating whole foods is worth the effort:
Food is not only fuel for the body, our body uses food as information that communicates directly to our bodies, brain & DNA.
The food we put in our bodies nurtures our gut bacteria (microbiome), allowing it to do what it does best, which is keeping our bodies and brains healthy. Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut microbiome. This gut microbiome is responsible for your metabolism, hormonal systems, brain and levels of inflammation.
Not all inflammation is bad, by nature inflammation is a protective function of our body. However, troubles occurs when inflammation goes into overdrive and becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is directly related to a poor diet, poor sleep, lack of exercise and chronic stress. When left unchecked, it begins to damage the body.
Did you know that sugar feeds inflammation and can decrease our immune system by 60% for up to 5 hours! In addition to sugar, other unnatural food products such as refined carbs, and vegetable oils, contribute to the cells in the body sending out SOS signals and creating free radicals. If these SOS signals and free radicals are left to their own devices, they can kill cells from the inside out. Think of free radicals like a bull in a china shop.
From just these 4 reasons, we can see that what kind of food we put in our body is critical to our entire body functioning as it was meant to. There are many ways to minimize chronic inflammation by simply making adjustments to one's food choices. If you are interested in learning more, book in with Kira Greasley at Active Sports Therapy today, simply call she will create customized meal plans to help assist you in your journey towards better health.
“Your fork sets you on a path that leads you to a disease or back to health”
- Dr. David Perlmutter
Follow Active Sports Therapy on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month of March to learn simple and cost effective ways to fuel your body the way it was meant to be fuelled.
Have you ever felt so stuffed that you could not move after one or several holiday festivities? I know I have! So for this holiday season, I am going to arm you with a few mindful eating tools, that will have you enjoying your festivities without that overstuffed feeling.
Tip #1: Size does matter. Choose the smaller plate and don’t load it up! I know this is a hard one when we are presented with so much amazing food, but trust me, this is an important one. Only take enough food to cover your plate, don’t build a mountain. You can always go back for seconds!
Tip #2: Build the colours of the rainbow with your food. This is a simple way to ensure you are getting the variety of required nutrients to nourish your body from head to toe.
Tip #3: Did you know that digestion begins with our eyes and nose? Sight and smell are the senses that activate our salivary glands. Take time to appreciate the beauty of the meal, deeply inhale the aromas, and feel gratitude for the food before you.
Tip #4: Chew your food, aiming for a minimum of 20 chews per bite (the recommended is 50). In our fast paced world, this step is often overlooked, causing large chunks of food to not be properly broken down and mixed with our saliva. This places excess strain on our guts, generating stress hormones which obstruct the production of stomach acid shutting down the digestive process, and leading to indigestion.
Tip #5: Put down your utensils after each bite as this will allow yourself time to chew instead of placing more food into your mouth. By doing this simple step, we allow our brain the time needed to catch up with the signalling from our stomachs preventing that “overstuffed” feeling.
Tip #6: Take small sips of room temperature water as needed. Drinking too much water during a meal can dilute your stomach acid, hindering the break down of food, leading to indigestion and other issues.
Tip #7: Everything in moderation.
Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season and remember, it is never too late to set YOUR stage for LIFE!
Did you know that a moderate amount of stress is beneficial! It can stimulate motivation and even protect the body from infection. However, chronic stress should not be ignored as it can contribute to cardiac, digestive, immune and mental health disorders. It is also important to keep in mind that how and what a person perceives as stressful is subjective to the individual. Getting to the root cause to assess and understand where your ‘Stressors’ are coming from and trying to eliminate or at least minimize your exposure to them will benefit you emotionally and physically.
One area that everyone has control over is the food you consume. Poor quality food is a very common source of the stress reaction in the body. This includes regularly ingesting foods you are sensitive to as well as consuming non organic foods (why? pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers to name a few makes for a messy chemistry experiment in your body), processed foods, GMO foods, and high glycemic foods such as sugar, refined carbohydrates and flour.
So what can YOU do? One thing is, when it comes to food, I have this simple rule; stay to the outside of the grocery store and if it hasn’t had a life, it is not going to give you life. Secondly, since stress burns through many key nutrients such as B Vitamins, Zinc and Vitamin C, it could be important for you to supplement with the following:
B Complex: in short, your B’s are everything in your body. They are needed for energy production, synthesis or your neurotransmitters (one being serotonin or the “happy” chemical), hormone production, you name it they do it. Some Food sources: good quality meats and dark leafy greens.
Calcium and Magnesium: is needed for nerve impulses that are responsible for thought, perceptions & memories. Magnesium is also known as the “anti-stress” pill. Some Food sources: Calcium: dark leafy greens (spinach, chard, beet greens, kale). Magnesium: Hemp seeds, Dark chocolate (85% cocoa), avocados.
Zinc: is essential for balancing emotional behavior & mood disorders. Some Food sources: pumpkin seeds, zucchini, cooked, pasture raised chicken breast (free of hormones & antibiotics).
Vitamin D: helps absorb calcium, plays a protective role against oxidative stress which will assist the immune system, and plays a protective role against neuro inflammation in illnesses such as MS and Parkinson’s. Most people are Vitamin D deficient. Best source is the sun which can be difficult depending on where you live, sunscreen, and make-up. So the next best would be Vitamin D drops as they are better absorbed than a capsule. Some food sources: Wild cooked salmon, eggs, grass fed/finished beef ribs or roast.
Omega 3 with both EPA & DHA: helps improve mood disorders, & supports cognitive function throughout life by assisting with decreasing inflammation in the body. Best food sources are your oily wild fish (salmon, halibut, and trout).
Probiotics: help maintain a healthy balance of good gut bugs (yes you have bugs in your gut) and we want more of the good than the bad. A Happy gut = a happy brain. Clinical evidence supports the role of probiotic intervention in reducing anxiety and stress responses. Some Food sources: whole milk yogurt, kefir, raw unpasteurized sauerkraut.
L-Theanine: is an amino acid that promotes relaxation without reducing alertness. It has a calming effect that helps to reduce stress levels. Organic green and black tea are dietary sources.
Lastly, get your iron levels checks. Human studies have linked anxiety driven behavior to poor iron status.
When choosing a supplement, they should be 3rd party tested, contain no fillers or additives and be free of gluten dairy and soy. Expensive does not always mean better and cheap is just that. It is always best to speak to a knowledgeable professional at a vitamin & supplement store in your area.
**It is important to always consult your ND or MD/healthcare provider before starting anything new to ensure that the supplements are the right choice for you and will not interact with any medications you may be on.
**Supplementation is not intended to replace any current medications you may be on for anxiety or mood disorders. Again. It will be important to discuss these additions with your physician so that you may be monitored and medication doses adjusted as needed.