energy boosting snacks

Little twinges of hunger can strike at nearly any point during the day, and it’s nice to be able to enjoy a snack between meals to maintain energy and keep that nagging hunger at bay.

Unfortunately though, most of the “quick fix” foods we have available to us today are filled with empty calories, excess sodium, high fructose corn syrup… and basically none of the things that your body actually needs out of a snack!
Because a key part of snacking is convenience, it’s so much easier to reach for those corner-store treats or processed, pre-packaged foods that will stave off hunger, but do very little for providing you with nutrition.

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healthy recipes

Do you want some quick and easy tricks and recipes for staying healthy this Fall?

Check out my friends at EPICURIOUS.COM and their tasty suggestions.

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fermented foods

 

Your gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms!

Maintaining these microflora is essential to your overall health, and has a huge impact on your whole body.

While many people think that the healthiest foods are always the freshest, the probiotic properties of fermented food are actually among the most powerful for promoting gut health.

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gluten free

The term “gluten-free” seems to be all the rage these days, and like plenty of the other fads that have come before it – and plenty that will come after – way too many people buy into it without really understanding why. They hop on the train without actually considering what the advantages or consequences might be…

Despite the popularity of gluten-free foods these days, a very small percentage of the population actually has a physiological aversion to these protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – and therefore, most breads, dough, beer, and a host of other consumables.

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cholesterol

I discovered a recent article in the Deccan Chronicle illuminating the U.S governments official green light for a u-turn on cholesterol. Cholesterol has been on the naughty list for over 40 years now because of the concerns that it contributes to heart disease and high cholesterol.

Here is a copy of the article:

After a study, eggs, butter, full-fat dairy products, nuts, coconut oil and meat have now been classified as “safe” and have been officially removed from the “nutrients of concern” list, reported the International Business Times.

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gut

Do you ever feel sluggish or run down? Have heartburn and tummy troubles become unwelcome daily companions?

When our digestive system isn’t working properly, it’s our body’s way of telling us something is off balance. Making small shifts in eating habits and managing stress can be the keys that allow your body to do its business properly.

Some of the signs of digestive distress can include, but are not limited to:

  • Heartburn
  • Frequent stomach ache
  • Burping
  • Gas after a meal
  • Constipation
  • Acne (adult and teen)

A working digestive system is one of the most important components to optimum health and wellness. Asking yourself some important questions can pinpoint the underlying issue that may be causing digestive distress.

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healthy mind

Often times when we talk about fat in our foods we cast fat as the indelible bad guy—clogging arteries, elevating blood pressure, and generally ruining bathing suit season. However, it is important to note that not all fat is bad fat. In fact, our brain tissue is made of 60% fat, which means we need fat in our diet to support our brain tissue.

High quality fats, like monounsaturated fats, can address cognitive issues, and are actually heart healthy! The real villains are processed fats, like trans fats, corn oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and canola oil. These “bad fats” can be found in fruit rollups and processed Dannon yogurts, Nabisco cookies, donuts, muffins, and many other commonly consumed processed foods. Watch out for these fats because they are not food for the brain, or the rest of your body. Many processed foods that claim to be “fat free” are anything but. Manufacturers can claim a product is trans fat free, when in reality it contains up to .5 grams per serving.

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coffee conundrum

The subject of coffee and health has been a topic discussed forever in the media. Is it a healthy addition to your daily diet?

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I did not start drinking it until after I had my three children. I then became quite obsessed with my daily coffee intake. Then moving forward a few years and my diagnosis with IBS. UGH!! So, there is so much trial and error involved in finding your individual triggers when you have IBS. I have come to the conclusion that coffee is taxing my system right now and decided to do a trial 30 day detox from my daily coffee. The thought seems quite daunting but at the end of the 30 days I will reintroduce coffee into my morning regime and notice any reactions that my body may or may not have.

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apple cider vinegar

I was introduced to apple cider vinegar a few years back when I was struggling with symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and systemic candidiasis.  Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been touted for many years because of its medicinal properties. It is anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral so it can alleviate the occasional heartburn, soothe a sore throat and YES even get rid of persistent warts, as well as tackle an overgrowth of yeast just to name a few properties.

So what exactly is apple cider vinegar you may ask?? Well, they take crushed apples and add yeast. The yeast then ferment the natural sugar from the apples and turn it into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution which further ferments the apple solution. The result is acetic acid which is the main ingredient in ACV. My “go to” ACV is Bragg’s because it contains the “mother,”  or the blob that is rich in probiotics and strands of protein and enzymes.

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So, you may be wondering: what is a FODMAP?

Well, I have to begin by talking about bowels and digestion. FUN!!!

People who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or other digestive disorders have consistent abdominal pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea. IBS is not dangerous, but it can be uncomfortable and painful to many who suffer from the disease.

Even if you have not been diagnosed with IBS,  you may experience digestive distress on occasion. You may think you are alone – but let me tell you, so many people quietly suffer from IBS and various forms of digestive distress, and choose not to share this information with friends or family. There is no need to suffer alone, and there are many useful steps to take to alleviate the discomfort.

Symptoms of IBS:

  1. long lasting abdominal pain
  2. flatulence
  3. diarrhea and/or constipation

The criteria for diagnosing IBS, according to PubMed:

There are several different medical criteria for diagnosing IBS. According to one of the latest definitions, you have irritable bowel syndrome if you have had pain or discomfort in your bowel in the last three months, on at least three days a month, and these symptoms have lasted for at least six months. Two of the following criteria must also be fulfilled:

  • Symptoms get better after a bowel movement
  • When symptoms start, the frequency of bowel movements changes
  • When symptoms start, the appearance of the stool changes

These symptoms could be caused by other things too, though, like lactose intolerance (where people cannot digest dairy products properly). They may also be signs of celiac disease (sprue). This is an intolerance to gluten – a protein found in different types of grains and many other foods. Check out The Ultimate Guide for Gluten test if you suspect you are gluten sensitive.

The causes of IBS and digestive distress and the discomfort associated with them:

Digestion takes place mostly in the large intestine. The large intestine moves the food mass while removing nutrients and water. The indigestible food thickens as water is drawn out to produce our lovely stool.

If the food passes through too quickly, the mass does not remove enough water and the result is diarrhea. If the food passes through too slowly, the mass removes too much water and the result is constipation. There are many factors that can lead to either of these scenarios. It is believed that IBS could be the result of oversensitive nerves in the intestine, inflammation in the intestines, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO, which I will discuss in a later blog), and/or a genetic predisposition, as well as one very overlooked trigger – STRESS. If the small intestine cannot absorb the nutrients, the mass moves on to the large intestine where the bacteria ferment the foods (in this case, fructose) to hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and short chain fatty acids. This is what leads to pain and bloating and gas.

Treatment:

Treatment for IBS and digestive disorders requires dietary changes and a better understanding of your triggers to various food and liquids (like alcohol, soda, sports drinks, and flavored waters). This is where the FODMAP intolerance protocol can be helpful to many who suffer digestive distress and IBS.

FODMAP is an acronym derived from fermentable oligosaccharides (a polymer of fructose – fructans and galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and polyols (sugar alcohols). They are all different types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the small and large intestine, leading to an increased volume of liquid and gas, resulting in abdominal pain. Who wants that?

Here is a downloadable list of high FODMAP foods to avoid: DOWNLOAD PDF

Here is the downloadable list of low FODMAP foods to enjoy: DOWNLOAD PDF

FODMAPs are both dose dependent and cumulative. In other words, each individual will have their own threshold of tolerance, and once that threshold is surpassed, their symptoms will appear. Also, certain individuals may find they can tolerate avocados without having any reaction, while some people cannot eat them at all. Malabsorption is highly individual for the different FODMAPs! Initially, it can be helpful to remove the high FODMAP foods from your diet for 3 weeks, and assess if your symptoms have subsided. Then, gradually reintroduce them one at a time to discern which foods provoke digestive distress. It takes patience and due diligence, but would you rather be in discomfort?

Of course, before any diagnosis or treatment, you should discuss your concerns with your doctor.

There are many resources that can be helpful:

This app was developed by Susan Shepard and Peter Gibson, who created the FODMAP protocol. It costs 7.99$ to download:

fodmap

 

A few more helpful resources:

http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose_malabsorption