Deanna's Blog

Saturday, 17 March 2018 12:46

Maple syrup – a seasonal sweet treat

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Enjoying the sugary sap of a maple tree is a springtime ritual for many Canadian children. During the long winter, the maple tree has the unique characteristic of producing a supply of starch that acts as anti-freeze for its roots. When the snow starts to melt, water trickles into the roots and thus begins the flow of “sugar water” that will eventually be tapped. By mid-March, after the first thaw, the sap is freely flowing and will continue flowing through April. 
Families who make a day of visiting the sugar bush during the annual Maple Syrup Festival can go on a nature hike through a maple grove and learn about how trees are tapped to obtained this natural sweetener. Many tree farms also have wagon rides, a petting zoo and a gift shoppe to entice and amuse visitors. Then, after working up an appetite, people can enjoy a short stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup from the trees they just walked past!
Maple syrup is not only a local food, it's a natural wonder. Going on a guided tour of a sugar bush, one quickly begins to appreciate the laborious treat that is maple syrup. Amazingly, to make one bucket of grade A or grade B syrup that's good enough to eat, 40 buckets of clear sap need to be boiled down for several hours. 
It's this large-scale boiling process which produces the distinctive maple flavour. Straight out of the tree, the sap itself is actually rather bland and resembles spring water, making the sweetness of the final product even more awe-inspiring. The steam pouring from the large caldrons of boiling maple sugar water drift through the woods is enough to entice anyone to the sampling table. 
Maple syrup is a natural and nutritious alternative to refined white sugar or honey. Teaspoon to teaspoon, maple syrup contains fewer calories than honey and is a source of zinc, calcium, iron, B vitamins, and antioxidant manganese. 
Maple syrup is lower in calories than honey (only 17 calories per teaspoon) because it's only 60 percent sugar. Though calorie wise it's about the same as white cane sugar, the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in maple syrup makes it nutritional superior. It's far from being “empty calories”. 
Maple syrup products can be purchased in most local grocery stores in Canada or straight from the producer here in Grey/Bruce.
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.
NOTE: None of these are a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any of these conditions, make sure you’re being monitored regularly by a licensed healthcare professional.
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 16:19

Mental health, inflammation, and mood foods

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Mental health issues have a huge impact on society. Some suggest that their impact is larger than any other chronic disease, including heart disease or diabetes.
There are so many factors involved in complex conditions like mental health issues. Science is just starting to unravel one of these factors - inflammation. 
First, we’ll go over the many links between inflammation and mental health (there are a few). Then, we’ll talk about some exciting research into natural approaches - things like foods, nutrients, and lifestyle upgrades - and how these are related to better mental health.
NOTE: None of these are a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any of these conditions, make sure you’re being monitored regularly by a licensed healthcare professional.
What is Inflammation?
The word inflammation comes from the Latin word “inflammo,” meaning “I set alight, I ignite.”
Because inflammation can become harmful, it has gotten a lot of bad press lately. However, inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. As in most areas of health, it’s the balance that’s important.
Inflammation is actually a natural process that our body uses to protect against infections, irritants, and damage. Inflammation helps our bodies eliminate damaged cells and tissues, and helps them to repair. It also helps to reduce the cause of the damage, for example, by fighting the infection. Inflammation that happens in a big way, but for a short time can help the body to heal these injuries and infections.
On the other hand, lower levels of inflammation sometimes stick around longer than necessary. This long-term “chronic” inflammation can cause damage over time. Often, there are few, if any, signs or symptoms. It’s this chronic inflammation that is linked to many conditions including mental health, heart disease, and diabetes. 
Inflammation mostly comes from our immune system’s response to infections and injuries. It also involves our blood vessels (arteries and veins) and other molecules. A few of these inflammatory molecules, or “markers,” include free radicals (oxidants), cytokines, and C-reactive protein (CRP).
So, what are the links between inflammation and mental health?
Inflammation and mental health
There are many factors linked to suboptimal mental health. One of these is inflammation. 

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Your heart has four chambers that beat in a rhythm; two atria and two ventricles. The atria are the upper chambers. AF happens when the atria beat too fast and irregularly. They “quiver” instead of pumping properly.

AF is the most common arrhythmia worldwide. In fact, in the US, you have a 25% risk of getting it in your lifetime. The number of people with AF is increasing and is expected to increase further as the population ages.

Symptoms of AF include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and reduced ability to exercise. Sometimes you may not experience any symptoms.

Who is most likely to get AF? About 70% of people with AF are between 65-85 years old. AF is more common in men than women.

Why should we be concerned with AF? People with AF have a steep increase in risk of blood clots, heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and death. These are because the blood is not being pumped around the body properly.

Having AF also triples the risk for dementia.

AF is a serious condition that requires medical advice. Treatment involves medications; but, can also involve pacemakers or implantable defibrillators.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017 14:22

Beautiful skin with hyaluronic acid

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Did you know that back in medieval France, King Henry II’s wife, Princess Catherine, believed that if she ate chicken combs she would become beautiful? Even before that (in the 700s) Yang Guifei, one of the four beauties of ancient China, also ate chicken combs.
Chicken combs, as it turns out, contain a lot of a substance known as hyaluronic acid. Recent clinical studies show that ingesting hyaluronic acid actually can increase the moisture content of the skin. This shows up as more hydrated, and “beautiful” younger-looking skin.
Monday, 16 October 2017 20:06

Blood Sugar Creeping Up? Get Control by Doing These!

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Blood sugar is literally that: the sugar in your blood. Your blood contains all kinds of important nutrients and other substances that we need to be healthy. Including sugar. Blood is the liquid transporter that distributes these compounds to all parts of our bodies.

Sugar (a type of carbohydrate) is one of our body’s main fuels. The other two fuels are fat and protein. I call it “fuel” because our cells literally burn it to do work. It’s this “biochemical” burning of fuel in all of our cells that is our metabolism.

Monday, 16 October 2017 20:01

The Hormonal Effects of Crash Dieting

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Let me ask you a couple of questions:

Have you ever been on a diet?
Have you ever restricted calories in hopes of losing weight?
If you have been on a diet before how long does it take you to gain the weight back?
Do you find yourself more hungry after a crash diet?
Are you happy with your current weight?
Yo-yo and crash dieting is serious business. People want results quickly. They can starve themselves for a short period of time to get results. There are very real consequences to crash dieting; rebound weight gain, a slower metabolism, horrible digestion, an unhealthy relationship with food, intense cravings, binges and the worst offender…the inability to lose real fat later on.

Green tea extracts are promoted for both weight loss and sports performance.
But, do they actually work?
Not only this, you may have heard about serious side effects. Some cases of death have been associated with use of these supplements.
But you still see green tea supplements on the shelves.
So, let’s dig into the use of green tea extracts for both weight loss and sports performance. Then we’ll talk about how you can use these supplements safely.
Athletes & Antioxidants, is there a time I shouldn’t take antioxidants?
You may not be an 'athlete', but if you are like me, you do like to throw the weights around in the gym and maybe train for the odd multiport race.  Or maybe your children are heavily in to sports like gymnastics, dance, hockey, lacrosse or soccer.  It's good to know how to support optimal muscle recovery and fueling your young athlete and yourself so to prevent major injuries down the road.  As a mother to a teenage dancer/gymnast who has been dancing since the age of 4, we have encountered our share of sports injuries.  I always like to ensure that we are obtaining optimal nutrition and balance for healing.
You may have heard that antioxidants can help reduce your recovery time after strenuous exercise. You know the stiffness, swelling, pain, fatigue and reduced strength that your muscles experience after a good workout.
Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:13

Nutrients for Brain Health

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The best nutrients for brain health (and how to get them)
There are so many nutrients that you need for overall health. Vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and essential fats, just to name a few.
But which ones are the most important for your brain? 
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