Deanna

Wednesday, 03 November 2021 16:31

Intermittent fasting - Not just for weight loss

The health benefits of intermittent fasting
If you want to lose fat, improve metabolism, and experience other health benefits all without giving up your favourite foods, intermittent fasting might be for you!
It’s an emerging area of research and the results are very promising. Similar to calorie reduced diets, intermittent fasting has benefits for weight loss and metabolic improvements, and might even improve brain and mental health.
Intermittent fasting (IF) has a few advantages over regular calorie reduced diets. Not only is it easier for many people to stick with, but it also seems to have a metabolic advantage. These are really good things when it comes to long-term health.
Intermittent fasting is just that - fasting intermittently (periodically). It’s an “eating pattern,” rather than a “diet.” That means regularly reducing your eating and drinking during pre-set times. It’s controlling when you eat and drink, as opposed to what you eat and drink.
There are lots of ways to intermittently fast. It can be done daily, weekly, or monthly. After we go over the health benefits, we’ll look at some of the most popular methods on how to, and who shouldn’t, IF. 
Monday, 09 August 2021 17:45

The Link Between Hormones and Belly Fat

The Link Between Hormones and Belly Fat
What is Belly Fat? 
The stomach muscle covers the entire midsection of the body and connects to the pelvis. If you have a pad of excess fat covering the muscle, it is known as belly fat and is called visceral fat. Visceral fat, or belly fat, extends deep into your abdomen and is close to your internal organs, such as the heart, stomach, and liver.
Visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat which lies just under the skin and is far more dangerous. It is made up of large fat cells that can grow bigger with time, and firmly pack into the spaces between the organs, having a negative effect on how they function. This can have a serious effect on your health.
It is not only fat people who have belly fat but there are also factors that show that thin people get it as well. Basically, though, we all need some belly fat to cushion our organs in case of a bump or fall. It is only when it is alarmingly expanded that we need to take action!
What Causes Belly Fat?
There are many causes of belly fat, most of them directly related to diet and lifestyle. Here are some of the dietary reasons for the increase in belly fat:
• Excessive intake of sugary and refined foods such as cakes, candies, sweets, rolls, and cookies. 
• Nutrient-poor processed foods and carbohydrates which are not able to be processed by the liver, are stored as fat in your fat cells.
• Heavy alcohol consumption is linked to excess belly fat.
• Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle play a huge part in obesity, including the dangerous belly fat.
Embracing a healthy eating plan can help prevent belly fat from developing, and fat-burning foods like nuts, eggs, lean meat, peppers, leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains.
How Hormones are Linked to Belly Fat
Extra belly fat can indicate an imbalance in the following hormones:
Cortisol
Cortisol is a hormone which is essential to survival. It is produced in the adrenal glands and dictates how energy is used, control of blood pressure, and promotes the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It also helps the body mount a response to stressful situations. Undue stress results in an over-production in response to the stress, which leads to cravings for sugary, fatty comfort foods. This extra food is stored as fat, especially around the abdomen.
Estrogen
Too much estrogen is a major cause of belly fat, and studies have shown that affects both men and women. Excess abdominal fat in men increases the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, and as the estrogen levels rise, the belly fat increases. 
This gives rise to a vicious circle as testosterone levels drop lower than normal, leading to increased stress, increased cortisol production, more cravings, and more belly fat.
The Dangers of Belly Fat
Researchers at the American Diabetes Association revealed that visceral fat is just not there in an inactive state. It, in fact, produces toxins, among which are chemicals called cytokines, which increase your risk of heart disease. The cytokines also make the system less sensitive to insulin, which could lead to the development of diabetes.
Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital reported that visceral, or belly fat, is one of five components of a metabolic syndrome which increases the risk of the following conditions:
• Stroke and heart disease. 
• Brain problems such as depression and dementia.
• High blood pressure and possible hardening of the arteries.
• Promotes the development of triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. 
• Leads to poor blood sugar control which can lead to diabetes.
• Causes inflammation in the body which increases the chances of falling prey to diseases.
• The inflammation may also aggravate arthritis, and lead to other bone problems.
Some ways to help combat belly fat
• Get your stress levels as low as possible. Stress may lead to a spike in blood sugar, which promotes insulin resistance.
• Get more exercise. Exercise is crucial to help combat belly fat, so commit to regular exercise to reduce the size of your midriff.
• Cut out refined, acidic foods. The extra acid in your system which cannot be metabolized will be deposited in your fat cells.
• Cut down eating saturated fats which are found in fatty red meats, bacon sausages, processed meats, and cheeses. Opt for lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, and fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, and hake which are rich in omega 3.
• Eat some good fats because research has shown that not all fats are bad, and adding some good fats to your diet, helps the body burn bad fat. Some foods containing healthy fats include avocado, olives, walnuts, and fatty fish. 
• Drink less alcohol which is high in calories and sugar, and leads to fat gain, often shows in the middle and waist area.
Banishing belly fat will be good for many things.
Excessive, unsightly belly fat may also have a detrimental effect on your self-confidence, and as well as your self-esteem. Looking good again can help rebuild positive feelings about yourself. But the most important benefit will be the restoration of good health and a major improvement in your general feeling of well-being.
Nip increasing belly fat in the bud by dealing with stress to prevent the super-production of the stress hormone, cortisol which is the major culprit in the development of belly fat.
References: 
Harvard Medical School – Massachusetts General Hospital. 
www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-truth-about-belly-fat
www.dailyburn.com/life/health/how-to-lose-bellyfat 
www.doctoroz.com/article/reset-your-hormones-beat-belly-fat  
Saturday, 28 November 2020 20:56

DIY Hummus Recipes: Fall/Winter Edition

DIY Hummus Recipes: Fall/Winter Edition
During the autumn and winter months and throughout the Holiday season, having friends and family over is one of these seasons' best parts. You may love coming up with what will be on the menu, or it may send you into a spiral of confusion. Whichever way you lean, there's one thing that is simple, delicious, and never disappoints -- hummus. 
Hummus is a healthy dip for fresh, raw veggies, crackers, and can even be a great companion for a dollop of flavour on your meal. You can feel good about serving hummus because it's packed with protein, fibre, and antioxidants, and with how versatile it is, it leaves you with many options. 
Before you swing by the store and grab it ready-made, you may want to think about making your own hummus to impress everyone at the table. Hummus might seem exotic, but it requires very little work. In its most basic form, hummus uses chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. How you season it from there varies, but there is great potential to go beyond basic hummus and get even more creative.
A way to experiment with this is by creating a hummus bar at your next gathering or even a hummus tasting plate with several varieties of hummus to enjoy. Want to make hummus that's unique for fall and winter flavours? Try these ideas.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus
This one will take a little more time, but it's so worth it. You'll need to roast your butternut squash and some garlic first. Then you can add them to your food processor with fresh minced garlic, chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper. To give this a more wintery feel, add cinnamon and cumin. Finish with a touch of smoked paprika.
- Savoury Pumpkin Hummus
Another one that will require some oven-roasting first is pumpkin hummus. Once the pumpkin has been roasted, you'll add it to your food processor with chickpeas, minced garlic, lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, ground cumin, salt, and a little water to get it into a nice, creamy texture. Toasted pumpkin seeds make a perfect garnish.
- Beet Hummus
Beets are so bright and cheery, perfect for that red holiday look. You can roast them yourself or buy them ready to go. Add the beets, garlic, olive oil, chickpeas, lemon juice, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water to even out the texture. With some roasted almonds and fresh rosemary sprigs, it will have that wow-factor on your table.  
- Sweet Potato Hummus
Try a savoury spin on your sweet potatoes for a winning snack treat this holiday season. You can even cheat by using your microwave for cooking your sweet potato. Once it's ready, blend it with your can of chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil, a chipotle pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of water for that creamy texture. Drizzle olive oil on top before serving, and it's ready to be enjoyed.
You can also make regular hummus to contrast with these flavours and see which one everyone gobbles up the fastest. Serving any of these with fresh veggies such as carrots, celery, bell pepper, jicama, broccoli, or snow peas is a fantastic way to get healthy veggies on the table people easily will be excited to pile on their plates. 
Friday, 28 February 2020 19:26

Cowboy Cookies

- Inspired by Danielle Walker's Recipe in Eat What you Love
6 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup butter, coconut oil, palm shortening or a combination
2/3 cup raw honey or maple syrup
1/2 cup raw cane sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
7 tbsp coconut flour
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (Enjoy Life is dairy free)
Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a small bowl mix the ground flax and water and set aside.
Place the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 2-5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl, add the butter, coconut oil and use a hand mixer to beat until creamy.  Add in the honey, sugar, vanilla and flax mixture and blend until combined.
Add the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt and beat for again until combined.
Add the toasted coconut flakes, chocolate chips and fold together until incorporated.
Form the dough into 24 golf ball sized balls and place them on two baking sheets lined with parchment, or use stoneware.  
Bake one sheet at a time for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
Cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Can be stored up to 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container, or the freezer for 6 months.
*The second time I baked these at 400 F for 10 minutes.
Wednesday, 26 February 2020 16:58

Waste Less Food With These Simple Tips

According to the EPA, 38.1 million tons of food waste was created in 2017. it's hard even to imagine how much 1 ton of food is, but 38.1 tons is unfathomable. Food waste is a problem for several reasons, and we can take small steps each day to do our part in lessening that number.

While you're throwing away your hard-earned money on food you didn't eat, you're also contributing to the methane emissions and adding to your carbon footprint. Food waste will inevitably happen, but there are several helpful tips to keep it at a minimum. Try these handy tips on how to waste less food and be better for the environment in the process.
- Plan your meals
This might be obvious, but the key factor so many of us forget when planning our weekly shopping list is how many times we'll use the ingredients called for in a recipe. Putting quantities on your list helps you avoid buying too much. It also will save you extra trips to the store when you realize you didn't buy enough.

Yes, it seems everywhere you turn health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
You totally get it.

Thursday, 21 November 2019 20:39

How Hormones Affect Your Energy and Weight

Are willpower and self-control the real solution to low energy and high weight?
Maybe not.
It might actually be your (powerful) hormones.
And we’re not just talking about sex hormones here; we’re talking about the hormones that directly affect your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite. Things that actually control your energy and weight.
Let’s go over a few of the critical links between your hormones, and how they affect your energy and weight. The links may be stronger than you think.
WHAT ARE HORMONES
Having healthy, happy hormones is all around the “health waves” these days.  
And for good reason! Your hormones are part of the master control system of your entire body. 
Hormones are compounds made by one part of the body that are used to communicate with another part. For example, insulin is made in the pancreas. When your blood sugar gets too high, insulin is released into the bloodstream. Then, it goes to your muscles and other cells to tell them to absorb that sugar out of the blood (and if there is still too much blood sugar, it signals to store it as fat).
Your hormones control not only your blood sugar, but also your metabolism and appetite (plus a host of other things). And you probably know that having healthy blood sugar, metabolism and appetite is a foundation for your optimal energy and weight.
So, how can your hormones get out of whack to zap your energy and pile up the pounds?
COMMON HORMONAL IMBALANCES
In optimal health, your hormones would work great, and you’d have ample energy and be a good healthy weight.
But often there are problems with this whole setup. One common issue is that there may be too much or too little hormone released to have the desired effect. This is known as hypo- or hyper- “hormone” (i.e. hypo- or hyperthyroidism).
Another common issue is that, even if the right amount of hormone is released, the cells they communicate with can start ignoring them. This is known as hormone “resistance” (i.e. insulin resistance).
As you can imagine, if your hormones have such critical jobs, including controlling blood sugar, metabolism and appetite, they can definitely cause issues with your energy and weight.
HORMONES AND ENERGY
Your metabolism is key for controlling your energy. Metabolism itself is basically how much energy (calories) you burn. One of the main players of this is...you guessed it! Your thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid releases hormones that affect the metabolism of all the cells in your body. If it’s too low and your metabolism goes down (hypothyroid), you may feel cold, hungry and tired. If it’s too high and your metabolism is too fast (hyperthyroid), you may feel hot, jittery and lose weight.
What you actually want is an ideal metabolism, ideal energy use, ideal temperature, and an ideal weight. Your thyroid hormones are the master controller here.
HORMONES AND WEIGHT
Your weight may be controlled by hormones more than you think! Insulin controls your blood sugar, and whether that sugar is going to be stored as fat or not. And when your blood sugar is too low, you may start craving sugar and carbs.
You also have hormones that control your appetite! How hungry and how full you feel are controlled by the hormones ghrelin & leptin. When those get out of whack, you may find yourself wanting to eat because your body thinks you’re hungry and not satisfied...even if that’s not true.
And craving food (especially sugary ones) and not feeling full are going to be huge drives for you to eat more. Even if your body doesn’t truly need it, the hormonal signals tell you that you do.
And don’t forget that stress hormone cortisol. When it’s too high for too long, it tells your body to store fat. And not just any fat - belly fat!
SUMMARY AND WHAT YOU CAN DO
Your body is very complex and uses hormones to control a huge number of functions. They control your blood sugar, metabolism, and appetite, amongst others. And these directly affect how much energy you feel, how much you weigh, and even where your body fat is stored.
Here are a few “hormone stabilizing” tips that might help you with your energy and weight:
  • Get regular exercise to use up excess blood sugar before your insulin has your body store it as fat
  • Try stress-relieving activities like deep breathing, meditation or even coloring to reduce your (belly-fat inducing) cortisol
  • Support your thyroid with iodine-containing sea vegetables, fish, legumes, or even an egg
  • Balance your blood sugar with extra fiber from raspberries, avocados, or flax seeds
  • Reduce blood sugar spikes by replacing your juice or soda with fruit-infused water
If you need some support with your energy levels and/or weight, contact me Deanna Trask RHN for a strategy session to see how I can help you.
REFERENCES
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fast-weight-loss-changes-hunger-hormones
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-thyroid
https://authoritynutrition.com/9-fixes-for-weight-hormones/
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 16:37

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

Now that autumn has arrived, and colder temperatures will only increase through the coming months -- having this slow cooker oatmeal recipe in your arsenal will benefit you for months on end.

Slow Cooker Oatmeal Recipe:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free, organic, steel-cut oats

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

6 cups of coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

Spray slow cooker with olive oil spray, so it doesn't stick to sides.

Combine all ingredients and add to slow cooker.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring every hour or so.

When desired thickness has occurred, your oatmeal is ready to enjoy. Add any fresh fruit or raw nut toppings you desire.

Some people can eat what they want without worry -- but for many others, certain foods can trigger reactions. Some of those reactions could be mild to the point where you might not associate them with what you're eating, while others are more severe and could require medical attention.   What foods tend to be the root of common sensitivities? Take a look below and think about what you eat. If you've had any symptoms like diarrhea, rashes, headaches, bloating, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, acid reflux, a runny nose, skin flushing or acne after eating something, you might be sensitive to one of these foods or ingredients. The best way to find out is by doing an elimination diet to see what's causing it and getting with your doctor to help you sort it out.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 19:21

Inflammation and excess body fat

Diabetes and heart disease are on the rise worldwide. They’re serious chronic (long-term) conditions. They have a few other things in common as well. 
For one thing, they’re both considered “lifestyle” diseases. This means that they tend to occur in people with certain lifestyles (i.e. not-so-awesome nutrition and exercise habits, etc.).
They’re also both linked with excess body fat, as well as inflammation.
While there are several links and risk factors, today we’re going to talk specifically about inflammation. Then I’ll give you some tips how to improve your nutrition and lifestyle.