Deanna

 

 
 
There may not be an obvious link between sleep deprivation and your weight, but more and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your mood, mental performance, overall health and wellness, and especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
 
Many studies show that people who have a short sleep duration simply weigh more. And, in fact, as the levels of chronic (long-term) sleep deprivation have increased over the past 50 years, so have the growing epidemics of being overweight or obese.
 
And many studies now agree that lack of sleep is an “independent” risk factor (i.e. a direct risk) for weight gain and obesity. 
 
Especially for women.
 
One large analysis of 45 studies which included over 600,000 people says, “studies from around the world show a consistent increased risk of obesity amongst short sleepers in children and adults.” The increased risks were 89% for children and 55% for adults.
 
The overall data in that study suggests that a reduction in one hour of sleep per day would be associated with about 1.4 kg in additional weight.
 
Right now, 40% of American adults say that they get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and 7 hours is the minimum recommended nightly sleep, with 9 being the maximum.
 
HOW SLEEP DEPRIVATION LEADS TO WEIGHT GAIN
 
Overall, there are two main ways (with two factors each) that we think that lack of sleep contributes to weight gain and obesity.
 
First, it increases calorie intake in two ways.
It allows more time available to eat; and 
It messes with your hunger hormones.
 
Second, it decreases your ability to burn off calories in two ways. 
It can slow your metabolism; and 
It can cause fatigue and, therefore, reduced physical activity.
 
Let’s talk about all four of these factors.
 
LACK OF SLEEP INCREASES TIME AVAILABLE TO EAT
 
Some researchers suggest that the longer the time you’re awake, the more opportunity you have to eat, or more specifically, to snack. In fact, some studies have shown that these tend to be nighttime snacks.
 
And guess what many sleep-deprived people tend to snack on at night?
 
You guessed it...high-fat, sometimes high-carb, and less protein and fibre snacks.
 
Which, of course, can lead to weight gain.
 
And, at least one study shows that eating at night increases the time it takes (healthy people) to fall asleep. Especially for women. So there is a bit of a “vicious cycle” in play here.
 
LACK OF SLEEP MESSES WITH YOUR HUNGER HORMONES
 
Many people who sleep less tend to eat more calories throughout the day. And not only due to increased time available for snacking, but also because of how lack of sleep can mess with the hormones that control both hunger and appetite.  
 
How does this happen? 
 
This is a “double-whammy” because some studies show that lack of sleep not only increases the stomach’s hunger hormone “ghrelin” (making you hungrier), but it also decreases the fat tissue’s fullness hormone “leptin” (making you feel less full).
 
These changes can clearly lead to more eating, and eventually weight gain or even obesity.
 
It’s possible that this is a natural mechanism that our body uses to make sure we get enough food for longer waking times. But this doesn’t always serve us well, as it tends to make us “overshoot” our energy needs and take in a bit more than we actually need.
 
LACK OF SLEEP MAY SLOW YOUR METABOLISM
 
Research is just emerging on this topic, but it seems to show that sleep deprivation can lower your “energy expenditure” and body temperature?
 
This means that your body may naturally burn less fuel at rest during the days when you’re sleep deprived.
 
When you burn less, you store more.
 
LACK OF SLEEP REDUCES EXERCISE
 
You know how tired you feel after not getting enough sleep?
 
This is the fourth way that lack of sleep affects weight.
 
By increasing fatigue, sleep deprivation can reduce the motivation to exercise. 
 
And when you’re burning less fuel at rest (slower metabolism), and less likely to exercise, you’re at risk of gaining weight.
 
WANT TO KNOW THE GREAT NEWS?
 
Lack of sleep is considered a “modifiable risk factor”.
 
This means that, although it increases our risk for obesity, we have some power over it.
 
How well you sleep and how much sleep you get is something that you can improve by putting into place some tips and making them regular habits.
 
TIPS FOR GETTING BETTER SLEEP
 
1 - Make sleep a priority.

 Let’s admit that, for a lot of us, the lack of sleep we’re getting is often because we simply give other activities priority. Making something a priority will help you achieve it.


 
2 - Be consistent with your sleeping times.

Your body loves routine, and having a consistent bedtime can actually train your brain, your body’s clock (circadian rhythm), and sleep hormones to follow suit.


 
3 - Eliminate stimulants after noon.

 Ideally, you won’t expose your body to chemical stimulation for the whole afternoon and evening. This includes caffeine (coffee, black and green teas, chocolate) and nicotine (cigarettes).
 
4 - Get some exercise and sunshine during the day.

 Of course, exercise and sunshine have many health benefits. They also tell your brain that it’s daytime, so it can help to set your body’s clock.

 Tip: Be sure to finish exercise at least three hours before bedtime, as it may stimulate some people and keep them awake.


 
5 - Stop eating and drinking a couple of hours before bed

By cutting out your bedtime snack you will eat fewer calories, and you may even have a better night’s sleep and wake up more alert. Also, by not drinking fluids a few hours before bed you’ll reduce the need to go the bathroom in the middle of the night.
 
6 - Lower your lights when the sun goes down

If your brain thinks it’s daytime it will not make the sleep hormone melatonin so it can stay awake. So, having bright white (or blue-ish) lights can trick your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. 
So, you can dim your lights, buy amber/red light bulbs and/or blue-blocker glasses, turn off electronics (or at least use the f.lux or twilight apps), and if you do need to go to the bathroom during the night, don’t turn on the light. 
 

7 - Create a relaxing pre-bed routine.

 Choose something that you enjoy and will help to relax your body and mind and prepare it for a good night’s sleep, whether it be a warm bath, or reading a book.

 When you start feeling drowsy, just go to bed.


 
8 - Keep your bedroom comfortable.Having a room that is too hot, bright, or noisy can keep you from having a good night’s sleep. Ideally, your room will be cool, completely dark, and either silent or with white noise.


 
9 - Get light as soon as you wake up.  

Turn on the lights or open the blinds as soon as you wake. This tells your brain to wake up and start the day. 
 
 
REFERENCES
 
Cappuccio FP, Taggart FM, Kandala N-B, et al. Meta-Analysis of Short Sleep Duration and Obesity in Children and Adults. Sleep. 2008;31(5):619-626.
 
Crispim CA, Zimberg IZ, dos Reis BG, Diniz RM, Tufik S, de Mello MT. Relationship between food intake and sleep pattern in healthy individuals. J Clin Sleep Med. 2011 Dec 15;7(6):659-64. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.1476.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3227713/
 
Dashti HS, Scheer FA, Jacques PF, Lamon-Fava S, Ordovás JM. Short sleep duration and dietary intake: epidemiologic evidence, mechanisms, and health implications. Adv Nutr. 2015 Nov 13;6(6):648-59. doi: 10.3945/an.115.008623. Print 2015 Nov.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642416/
 
Di Milia L, Vandelanotte C, Duncan MJ. The association between short sleep and obesity after controlling for demographic, lifestyle, work and health related factors. Sleep Med. 2013 Apr;14(4):319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2012.12.007. Epub 2013 Feb 16.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23419528
 
Lucassen EA, Rother KI, Cizza G. Interacting epidemics? Sleep curtailment, insulin resistance, and obesity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Aug;1264:110-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06655.x. Epub 2012 Jul 24.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418485/
 
Markwald RR, Melanson EL, Smith MR, et al. Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013;110(14):5695-5700. doi:10.1073/pnas.1216951110.
 
McHill AW, Wright KP Jr. Role of sleep and circadian disruption on energy expenditure and in metabolic predisposition to human obesity and metabolic disease. Obes Rev. 2017 Feb;18 Suppl 1:15-24. doi: 10.1111/obr.12503.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28164449
 
Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Mar;16(3):643-53. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.118. Epub 2008 Jan 17.
LINK:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2007.118/full
 
Shlisky JD, Hartman TJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Rogers CJ, Sharkey NA, Nickols-Richardson SM. Partial sleep deprivation and energy balance in adults: an emerging issue for consideration by dietetics practitioners. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Nov;112(11):1785-97. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.032.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23102177/
 
Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. 2004 Dec;1(3):e62. Epub 2004 Dec 7.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
Friday, 26 May 2017 14:12

Probiotics for Moods and Stress? Yes!

 
 
What do you do when your mood is off or you’re stressed to the max?

 Eat ice cream? Binge watch Netflix? Call your bestie?

 After reading this article, you may consider yogurt, a handful of walnuts, or maybe even some dark chocolate as your go-to mood-boosters and stress-busters.

Today, we’ll unpack some of the exciting (and preliminary) new research about the link between your gut health and moods/stress. 
 
We’ll talk about your friendly resident gut microbes (mostly bacteria), probiotic foods and supplements, as well as foods to feed those gut microbes and probiotics (aka “prebiotics”). 

WHAT THE HECK ARE “GUT MICROBES?  ”

Oh, our friendly “gut microbes.” 

They are the trillions of microbes that happily live in our gut. They help us by digesting foods, making vitamins, and even protecting us from the not-so-friendly microbes that may get in there.

Believe it or not, these friendly microbes have mood-boosting and stress-busting functions too!

FUN FACT: There are more microbes
 
FUN FACT: There are more microbes inside our gut than all of the human cells that make us. Yup, we’re more than half microbe! So, how can they NOT impact our health?

It’s a hotbed of research right now and we’re finding out more about their awesome health, and mood/stress benefits every day.

And, while the research is just starting to figure out the many gut microbe-brain connections, it’s such a cool new topic that I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

GUT MICROBES AND PROBIOTICS

The microbes that live in our guts are known as our “gut microbiota”. 
 
The microbes that we can ingest are known as “probiotics”.

“Probiotics” are live organisms that you can eat, drink, or take as a supplement. They’re what turn milk into yogurt, and cabbage into sauerkraut; and they are great for both your gut health and mental health.

Special probiotics that have mental health benefits are called “psychobiotics,” (psycho = mental health, and biotics = live). They’re live organisms that can benefit our psyche.

So, what’s the link between gut microbes, probiotics, and moods/stress?

  BAD MOODS/STRESS CAN MEAN BAD MICROBES

.  Stress can affect our friendly gut microbes.

 Several studies show that stressed rodents not only have increased stress hormones and stressed behaviours; but, they also have different gut microbes!

And this has been studied, to a small extent, in people too.

 One study showed that moms with high levels of stress hormones during pregnancy had infants with more of the “bad” gut microbes. 

But, can it work the other way around? Can changing our gut microbes affect our moods and stress responses?

Studies of rodents that grow up without any gut microbes at all (in a “bacteria-free” environment) respond to stress more than mice with normal gut microbes. Then, when they’re given either a probiotic or gut microbes from non-stressed mice, their stress responses often go back to normal.

The gut microbe, probiotic, and mood/stress connections are starting to get interesting, aren’t they?

  BAD MICROBES CAN MEAN BAD MOODS
 

“Gut microbiota and probiotics alter behavior and brain neurochemistry.” (Ait-Belgnaoui, et. al., 2012)

That’s a pretty powerful statement, don’tcha think?

Many animal studies show positive effects on behaviour when they get probiotic supplements.

For example, after a probiotic, stressed rats had lower levels of both stress hormones and an inflammatory molecule associated with depression (“LPS” - lipopolysaccharide).
 
 
One fascinating study showed that when people took probiotics, brain MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) tests showed reduced brain activity for negative and aggressive thoughts!

So, as you can see, there is some exciting research on the positive effect that probiotics can have on moods and stress.
 
You might be wondering how exactly your gut can influence your moods...
 
HOW IS THIS GUT-BRAIN CONNECTION POSSIBLE?
 
It may not seem obvious or intuitive, but your body is interconnected in many ways.
 
And more and more research is figuring out the “microbiota-gut-brain axis.” It’s the very complex connection between your gut, its microbes, and your brain.
 
This new field has been called a “paradigm shift in neuroscience” (Dinan, 2017).
 
In fact, there are a number of ways that we’re beginning to understand how our gut microbes can affect our brain.
 
One is via the “vagus” nerve, which is a nerve that directly connects your gut to your brain. 
 
The other ways are through “biochemical messengers.” Biochemicals that are made in your gut and travel through the body to communicate with other parts, including your brain. Biochemicals like short chain fatty acids, cytokines, and even tryptophan (the amino acid that the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin are made from).
 
The exciting thing is that this may help us with not only moods and stress, but the microbiota-gut-brain axis may one day prove to be helpful for other conditions like autism and Parkinson’s.
 
So, your trillions of gut microbes seem to be more closely interconnected with our moods than we used to think.

So, what can you do to nurture your own healthy gut microbes?
 
HOW TO NURTURE HEALTHY GUT MICROBES - PROBIOTICS
 
First, eat (and drink) probiotics. 
 
Probiotics can be eaten in yogurt, sauerkraut (and other fermented veggies), miso, tempeh, and kimchi. You can drink them in kefir or kombucha. Be sure to choose unpasteurized ones that will be refrigerated in your local grocer. 

Of course, there are a number of probiotic supplements available too. Look for one that’s refrigerated and has at least 10 billion active cultures. I also suggest you look for one that has been “third party tested,” which means someone outside the company has tested it and says it’s a quality product.

  Oh, and always read the label before taking any supplements.

 The probiotics with the most research are of the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus types. But we still don’t know enough about the psychobiotic effects to make specific mood-boosting recommendations...just yet.
 
HOW TO NURTURE HEALTHY GUT MICROBES - PREBIOTICS
 
Second, consider that our resident gut microbes don’t just live inside us to help us - they get something out of the deal too.

Food!

PREbiotics are “compounds that, when fermented in the gut, produce specific changes in bacterial composition or activity”. They are your friendly gut microbes’ favourite delicacies so they’ll happily grow, and multiply. 
 
Prebiotics are basically foods that contain fibre. Things like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Even dark chocolate (preferably with at least 70% cocoa).
 
Giving animals prebiotics can reduce stress hormones and anxiety-related behaviours.
, and in people, studies show that taking psychobiotic's along with prebiotics can improve both the microbes in our gut, as well as our mood. 
 
How amazing is that?

CONCLUSION

The science behind interactions of gut microbes and mental health is still new and ongoing. Much of it is in rodents, with a few studies in people. Some show interesting links and promising potential to help with moods and other areas of mental and brain health.
 
CONCLUSION

:  The science behind interactions of gut microbes and mental health is still new and ongoing. Much of it is in rodents, with a few studies in people. Some show interesting links and promising potential to help with moods and other areas of mental and brain health.
 
More research, especially in humans, is needed; so I’ll be on the lookout for new studies in this young and promising area of mood-boosting and stress-busting nutrition.

What if one day we were able to help mental health by fixing gut health? What an amazing, and less moody, a world that could be!
 
Try eating more probiotics like in yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, and kombucha. Consider taking probiotic supplements (making sure you read the label and follow directions).
 
And don’t forget their favourite foods called prebiotics. Those are in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds (and even dark chocolate). 
 
Optimize your gut for more than just gut health, but mood-boosting and stress-busting too.
 
Buh bye blah moods.
 
REFERENCES
 
Ait-Belgnaoui, A., Durand, H., Cartier, C., Chaumaz, G., Eutamene, H., Ferrier, L., Houdeau, E., Fioramonti, J., Bueno, L. & Theodorou, V. (2012). Prevention of gut leakiness by a probiotic treatment leads to attenuated HPA response to an acute psychological stress in rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 37(11):1885-95. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.03.024.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22541937
 
Bailey, M.T., Dowd, S.E., Galley, J.D., et al. (2011). Exposure to a social stressor alters the structure of the intestinal microbiota: implications for stressor-induced immunomodulation. Brain Behav Immun. 25(3):397–407.
 
Bharwani A, Mian MF, Foster JA, et al. (2016). Structural & functional consequences of chronic psychosocial stress on the microbiome & host. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 63:217–227.
 
Cryan, J.F. (2016). Stress and the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis: An Evolving Concept in Psychiatry. 
Can J Psychiatry. 61(4):201-3. doi: 10.1177/0706743716635538. 
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4794959/
 
De Palma, G., Blennerhassett, P., Lu, J., Deng, Y., Park, A.J., Green, W., Denou, E., Silva, M.A., Santacruz, A., Sanz, Y., Surette, M.G., Verdu, E.F., Collins, S.M. & Bercik, P. (2015). Microbiota and host determinants of behavioural phenotype in maternally separated mice. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 28;6:7735. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8735.
LINK:  http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8735
 
Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). Mood by microbe: towards clinical translation. Genome Med. 8(1):36. doi: 10.1186/s13073-016-0292-1.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822287/

Dinan TG1, Cryan JF. (2017). The Microbiome-Gut-Brain Axis in Health and Disease. Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2017 Mar;46(1):77-89. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2016.09.007.
 
Kelly, J. R., Kennedy, P. J., Cryan, J. F., Dinan, T. G., Clarke, G., & Hyland, N. P. (2015). Breaking down the barriers: the gut microbiome, intestinal permeability and stress-related psychiatric disorders. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9, 392. 
 
Messaoudi, M., Lalonde, R., Violle, N., Javelot, H., Desor, D., Nejdi, A., Bisson, J.F., Rougeot, C., Pichelin, M., Cazaubiel, M. & Cazaubiel, J.M. (2011). Assessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects. Br J Nutr. 105(5):755-64. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510004319.
LINK:  https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/div-classtitleassessment-of-psychotropic-like-properties-of-a-probiotic-formulation-span-classitaliclactobacillus-helveticusspan-r0052-and-span-classitalicbifidobacterium-longumspan-r0175-in-rats-and-human-subjectsdiv/2BD9977C6DB7EA40FC9FFA1933C024EA/core-reader
 
O’Mahony, S.M., Marchesi, J.R., Scully, P., et al. (2009). Early life stress alters behavior, immunity, and microbiota in rats: implications for irritable bowel syndrome and psychiatric illnesses. Biol Psychiatry. 65(3):263–267.
 
Rea, K., Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). The microbiome: A key regulator of stress and neuroinflammation. Neurobiol Stress. 4:23-33.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5146205/
 
Rieder, R., Wisniewski, P.J., Alderman, B.L. & Campbell, S.C. (2017). Microbes and mental health: A review. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Jan 25. pii: S0889-1591(17)30016-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.01.016. 
LINK:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159117300168
 
Romijn, A.R. & Rucklidge, J.J. (2015). Systematic review of evidence to support the theory of psychobiotics. Nutr Rev. 73(10):675-93. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv025. 
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26370263
 
Sarkar, A., Lehto, S.M., Harty, S., Dinan, T.G., Cryan, J.F. & Burnet, P.W. (2016). Psychobiotics and the Manipulation of Bacteria-Gut-Brain Signals. Trends Neurosci. 39(11):763-781. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2016.09.002.
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5102282/
 
Sender, R., Fuchs, S. & Milo, R. (2016). Revised Estimates for the Number of Human and Bacteria Cells in the Body. PLoS Biol 14(8): e1002533. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002533
 
Sherwin, E., Sandhu, K.V., Dinan, T.G. & Cryan, J.F. (2016). May the Force Be With You: The Light and Dark Sides of the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Neuropsychiatry. CNS Drugs. 2016 Nov;30(11):1019-1041. doi: 10.1007/s40263-016-0370-3
LINK:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5078156/
 
Steenbergen, L., Sellaro, R., van Hemert, S., Bosch, J.A. & Colzato, L.S. (2015). A randomized controlled trial to test the effect of multispecies probiotics on cognitive reactivity to sad mood.
Brain Behav Immun. 48:258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2015.04.003.
LINK:  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159115000884
 
Zijlmans, M.A., Korpela, K., Riksen-Walraven, J.M., de Vos, W.M. & de Weerth, C. (2015).  Maternal prenatal stress is associated with the infant intestinal microbiota. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Mar;53:233-45. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.01.006.
LINK:  http://www.psyneuen-journal.com/article/S0306-4530(15)00020-7/abstract
Saturday, 13 May 2017 13:03

3 Reasons to Stop Eating Cereal

3 Reasons To Stop Eating Cereal… 
And What To Replace It With
 
You wake up late because you had a horrible night's sleep, so instead of taking the extra 3 minutes to have eggs or make a shake you quickly scarf down a bowl of cereal or eat a bagel (same as cereal). 
The box of cereal claimed that it was whole grain (as was the bagel) so you wrongly believe that it must be an okay choice. You grab your large cup of coffee with 2 milks and 2 sugars and head to the office. 
What happens at 10:00am? 
 
The familiar feeling of hunger sets in around mid-morning. You walk to the office kitchen to grab your fat-free, fruit flavoured yogurt for 60 calories and take another cup of coffee. 
By lunch all you can think about is either a burger with fries or a big plate of Thai noodles (you get the point). 
 
Why? Have you ever stopped to think about why you crave what you crave? 
Let’s work through the 3 reasons to ditch cereal once and for all. *Note the reference to cereal is a general example. Replace cereal with whatever processed carb you choose for breakfast (whole wheat toast, English muffin, breakfast bar, etc.)
 
Reason # 1: Cereal promotes fast carbohydrate metabolism
When we consume high impact carbs (cereals, whole wheat, processed carbs) without adding in a significant amount of protein or fat the carb is quickly digested into glucose. 
When carbs digest quickly into glucose your pancreas is forced to secrete insulin (fat storing hormone). Since most of us are sedentary we don’t need the energy from the carb we just ate. Our muscle cells are full with glucose waiting to be used so insulin deposits the glucose (carbs) to your fat cells for later use (which we never use). 
 
Reason # 2: Processed cereals increase food cravings
Using the logic listed in reason # 1 we can better understand cravings. When you choose fast digesting carbs your blood sugar levels increase quickly and drop quickly. 
When your blood sugar levels drop your body sends you a craving to regulate them again. It’s a physiological response that is intense and hard to ignore. 
 
Reason # 3: Cereals lack protein and fat
Starting your day with a protein and fat helps to regulate blood sugar and trigger your satiety hormones. Protein supports your immune system and keeps energy levels stable. Fats are important for proper hormonal function and balance. 
When your breakfast choices are made up of processed carbs then you are setting yourself up for food cravings, energy lows and a day long battle with your will power. 
 
3 Breakfasts That Help Balance Hormones And Promote Fat Loss 
 
Breakfast # 1
2 whole eggs

2 handfuls of dark leafy greens (cooked with eggs)

1-2 tsp of coconut oil 

1 cup berries (any kind) 
 
Breakfast # 2
2 scoops protein powder

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)

1 cup frozen berries

1 tbsp of chia seeds

½ tsp cinnamon 

2 handfuls of spinach 
Blend and enjoy. 
 
Breakfast # 3


½ cup steel cut or slow cooking oats (plain) (cooked)

¼ cup unsweetened almond milk (to mix with oats) 

1 tbsp of chia seeds

1 tbsp of hemp seeds

1 scoop of protein powder (mixed into oats)
 
½ cup of berries 
 
All of these choices can be partially or fully made ahead of time. They are quick and simple to make. Best of all when you eat breakfasts like the ones listed above you won’t experience intense food cravings, you will feel full and lose weight faster. 
 
Monday, 08 May 2017 13:29

Easy Cherry 'Cheese'cake

Easy Cherry Cheesecake
Makes 12 Mini Cakes

For those who are dairy-free and gluten-free, finding a tasty dessert, let alone a cheesecake, can seem like an impossible feat.  These little cakes will tickle your taste buds and satisfy your craving for 'cheese'cake.

Theses mini desserts turn out wonderfully, as individual cakes from lined muffin tins, and are festive enough to use in place of a traditional birthday cake. The recipe certainly looks like a lot of work, but really it is all about measuring and using a food processor.

Ingredients
For the Crust
1 cup, soft medjool dates, pitted
1 ¼ cups natural walnuts
Pinch of sea salt

For the Filling
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup quality maple syrup
¼ cup pitted cherries, minced

Directions
1. Line muffin tins with festive wrappers or parchment paper circles.
2. Mix all of the crust ingredients together on a low setting in the food processor. It should be crumbly, but form into a ball.
3. Remove from food pro and press a heaping tablespoon into each muffin cup.
4. Take your soaking cashews and rinse well.
5. Do not shake the coconut milk can - skim the fatty part that has separated to the top and use this part.
6. Add them and the rest of the ingredients, less the cherries, to the food pro.
7. Allow it to blend on high, until a very creamy consistency has been achieved.
8. Taste for sweetness.
9. Separate the filling into the 12 muffin cups.
10. Spoon the cherry mixture evenly onto the tops of the mini cakes.
11. Place in the freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.

12. Remove 10 minutes before you need them and serve with some fresh cherries on the side.

Monday, 08 May 2017 13:24

Black Bean Chia Brownies

Black Bean Chia Brownies
This recipe is loaded with fibre in the black beans and the chia. You can omit the walnuts or replace with hemp seeds if you wish. Great gluten-free treat that tastes delicious.

1 15 oz can black beans (drained and rinsed)
3 large eggs
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup of walnuts, pecans or hemp seeds

Mix all but the chocolate chips and nuts together with a beater or in your high powered blender or food processor. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts. Place in an 8x8 greased pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Monday, 08 May 2017 12:35

5 Ways to Rev up Your Metabolism

How do I speed up my metabolism?

You aren’t the only one asking this question. It’s a hot topic of discussion this time year. Spring and summer are right around the corner. That means tank tops, shorts and the dreaded bathing suit.
Unfortunately, there is no right answer to that popular question. How your body burns calories is dependant on a variety of factors. Age, weight, height, level of activity, medications, sleep quality and stress levels all play a role in regulating or revving up your metabolism.
Men burn more calories than women, even while resting. Both men and women over the age of 40 have a harder time losing weight because metabolism starts to naturally slow down.
Don’t be so quick to blame your winter weight-gain on your metabolism. Your food choices and exercise level or lack thereof, play a significant role in helping to speed up your metabolism.
Read on for my list of top 5 ways to boost your metabolism.

Fill Up On Fibre:
Starting your day with a high fibre choice helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full throughout the morning. You are aiming to get 25 – 35 grams of fibre per day. Fill up on berries, beans, lentils, whole grains and chia seeds for added fibre.

Lift Weights:
The resting metabolic rate is much higher in people who have a good body composition. Every pound of muscle uses about 6 calories per day just to sustain itself. The more lean muscle mass you have the more calories you burn sitting around doing nothing.

Drink Green Tea:
Green tea is a known super food. Research has shown that those people who drink 2 – 4 cups of green tea per day may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderate to intense exercise. Here’s a tip, brew your green tea and throw some ice cubes in and drink it while you are working out.

Have a Lean Protein With Every Meal:
Protein burns more calories during digestion then both carbohydrates and fat. Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar and helps you to feel fuller for a longer period of time. You should aim for 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal.

Stop Crash or Yo-yo Dieting:
A crash diet means eating less than 1000 calories per day. Most people don’t even realize they are engaging in a crash diet 2-3 days out of the week. Then the weekend hits and they binge to make up for the lack of calories missed throughout the week. If you do lose weight through yo-yo dieting the weight loss often comes from a loss of lean muscle mass, which further slows the metabolism.

The bottom line is that everybody is different that no two people will burn calories in the same way.

If you are looking to boost your metabolism to shed the weight you gained over the winter I suggest you give me a call at 519-270-1889 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday, 08 May 2017 12:13

Beauty Bowl

This is a crazy good way to start the day. For an antioxidant filled breakfast this morning, I pulled a recipe from my 14 Day Eat Real Food Cleanse.
This is called the Beauty Bowl and I had it with 2 hard boiled eggs.

It was very satisfying and filling, and the taste is like sunshine in a bowl.

1 granny smith apple washed and cubed (any kind of apple will do)
2 celery stalks washed and diced
3 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp of chia seeds
1 tbsp of unsweetened coconut
and an ounce of organic dried cranberries (you could also use goji berries or raisins)

Drizzle with the juice of half an orange, and enjoy!

Have you written your cravings off as normal because you’ve been experiencing them for so long? It’s possible that you’ve created quick fix solutions to satisfy those cravings just so they don’t drive you crazy.
There is no shortage of “health” products that make BIG claims to help you lose fat, get rid of cravings or balance your hormones. You’ve probably already bought or tried many of these products in an effort to slim down.
Even with all of the free information available now it’s seems harder than ever to get a straight and reliable answer from a trusted source on how to balance your hormones, stabilize blood sugar levels and lose weight without depriving yourself, feeling depressed or angry.
Here’s the harsh reality…
There is no one single food, pill, powder or tea that will give you the results you are looking for.
While that might be hard to hear it’s true.
When you have cravings it’s a result of multiple of physiological triggers that come together to signal you to eat, usually a sugary or salty food. In fact, the signal to eat something sugary or salty can sometimes be so strong that no amount of willpower can overcome it.
So how do you overcome your cravings in a realistic way that is maintainable long-term?

Tip # 1 Ditch The Idea Of The Magic Pill Solution
No matter what your friends, colleague’s, Doctor’s, health food store or Dr. Oz says there is NO one magic pill to get rid of cravings or help you to lose weight.
Yes, there are certain supplements that support blood sugar stabilization, but if you first don’t remove the food triggers no amount of supplements will help you.

Common Food Triggers:
Coffee
Diet Coke or diet beverages
Dried fruit
Flavoured oatmeal
Wheat
Alcohol

When you are constantly looking for a quick fix magic pill to end your cravings and solve your weight problems you deny your personal responsibility involved in your behaviour (food) choices.
You can start by accepting that it will take work and effort to balance your hormones and lose weight. After all, you didn’t put the weight on in 14 days… it’s not going to come off in 14 days.

Tip # 2 Start Your Day With P & F
Do you know why oatmeal is considered to be a good breakfast choice?

Why are eggs a popular breakfast food?
What you choose for your first meal of the day is probably the most important food choice you can make when you are trying to calm cravings and lose weight. This is because your break-fast sets your hormonal tone for the day.
So when you choose foods that spike blood sugar, even if they are “healthy” you are not setting yourself up for an energetic, craving-free day. Just because something is touted as healthy doesn’t mean that it’s the right food choice for you.
Start your day with PROTEIN & FIBRE to stabilize blood sugar, help you to feel full and energetic all day long.

Good P & F Choices:
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt + 2 tbsp of chia seeds
2 whole eggs with 1 cup of blackberries (or mixed berries)
Shake with 1 scoop of protein powder with 2 tbsp of chia seeds
Chia seed pudding made with 1 scoop of protein powder

Tip # 3 Know The Foods That Cut Cravings
Even when you make the best food choices, have the right breakfast, plan and prepare your meals you still might have sugar or salt cravings. We live in the real world where there is NO SUCH THING AS PERFECTION.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to know which foods satisfy you without setting you up for more cravings later on in the day. Since we all have different food likes and dislikes you will want to test out these foods to see which ones work best for you.

Foods That Curb Cravings:
1 tbsp of raw almond butter
¼ - ½ cup of guacamole with 12 Mary’s crackers
1 ounce of full fat cheese
¼ cup of homemade trail mix
1-2 squares of 75% or higher dark chocolate
¼ cup salted cashews
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce with 1 tbsp of chia seeds

Start using these 3 tips to calm your cravings this week and see how you feel.

Sunday, 07 May 2017 23:44

Granola with Bee Pollen

 
 
Ingredients
2 ½ cups large flake oats
½ cup buckwheat, not roasted (should be green)
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup shredded coconut, un-sulphurized
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 tbsp unpasteurized honey
2-4 tbsp bee pollen, to your flavor preference
 
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients, except bee pollen, in large bowl, using your hands to incorporate the coconut oil.
2. Spread in thin layer on cookie sheet.
3. Cook for 15 minutes, then toss.
4. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, taking care to not burn.
 
5. Once removed from oven, allow to cool slightly before adding bee pollen as high heat will denature it. Store in an airtight container.
Sunday, 07 May 2017 23:32

Can't Sleep? Try These Tips

It’s been proven that sleeping through the night will help you lose weight. The more up and down you are throughout the night, the more likely you are to not only not lose weight- but you’re more prone to gain weight. This is related to a hormone level reaction. Waking up throughout the night disrupts how this hormone reacts and is made within the body, thus leading to weight gain. Researchers believe (and have proven over and over again in studies) that sleeping throughout the night helps to regulate all hormones, improving your metabolism and promoting weight loss.

Ok, this is easier said than done- right? Wrong. You can get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleeping through the night is not only good for your waistline, it’s great for productivity purposes, too. Here are my seven tips for getting more sleep each and every night!

1. Don’t drink anything caffeinated after three in the afternoon. This sounds obvious, but it’s hard to do. Coffee, green tea (well, any tea), and sodas (which you shouldn’t drink anyway) are all sources of caffeine and beverages we’ve learned to drink well into our favourite primetime programs. Cutting off caffeinated drinks after three in the afternoon will improve your ability to go to sleep on time and stay asleep throughout the night.

2. Keep your bedroom at 68°F and dark. This temperature is scientifically proven to help people sleep through the night. The warmer your room, the harder it will be to sleep. And bright lights or bright paint will not help your ability to sleep. Think ‘bat cave’ at a cool and crisp sixty-eight degrees.

3. Have a ten minute prior to bedtime routine. This will help you psychology prepare for sleep. Don’t just fall asleep whenever. Set a time and then set up a routine that allows your brain and body to cool down before you attempt to sleep. Some people write down what they’re thankful for ten minutes before bedtime, others pray, some people sit quietly and meditate. Do whatever works for you that doesn’t involve checking your phone or email.

4. Take the clock out of your room. You don’t need this. You think you do, you don’t. Trust me and try it for a week. Your body will naturally know when to wake up once on schedule. So, put the alarm clock down the hall or outside the door until you can get your body trained to wake up on time and without the clock. Having a clock in your room adds a subconscious pressure that awaits tomorrow’s stress. Don’t think about time or tomorrow, remove the clock and focus on being present in your bed.

5. Don’t eat heavy meals after seven at night. This will help you avoid digestive issues that will have you back and forth to the bathroom during the night. It also helps avoid foods that are prone to disrupt sleep. The same goes for drinking. Try not to drink anything (including water) an hour before your bedtime to avoid unwanted interruptions.

6. Shut off the phone. Many smartphones have sleep modes. Set your emergency numbers and ringtones to how you desire. Shut off the email and other non-essential alerts. Make sure the phone is across the room where you can’t see, hear or sense it.

7. Don’t go to the gym at night. Working out releases hormones and dopamine in the brain, which can make you feel great and even ambitious. So ambitious that you can’t seem to ‘settle down’ and you just have to send an email, plan out an idea or concept, etc. Plan your fitness routine for the mornings. Even if you have to wake up early, getting to the gym or walking early in the morning or late in the afternoon is far better than working out past dinner time.
Sleeping consistently is a crucial step in any fitness or weight loss routine. Getting a good night’s sleep can also help prevent strokes and heart disease and improve productivity. It also reduces stress levels. Don’t be one of these people who claim they don’t have time to sleep a full six to eight hours a night. That’s nonsense and it will eventually catch up to them medically. Our bodies sleep for a reason and we shouldn’t ignore our body’s natural urge to rest for more than four hours.
Sleep can also reduce how old you look. Proper sleep helps to improve skin elasticity and decreases bags under the eyes. By sleeping a minimum of six hours per night, for three months straight, you can take three to five years off of your appearance without any cosmetic procedure.
So look great, become healthier, and improve productivity simply by implementing these easy-to-follow seven tips into your daily routine!

If you think you might need more help, book an appointment with me to talk about hormone and blood sugar balancing, or perhaps helpful supplements.