Summer is here! And with it comes hot, thirsty days, kids at home needing entertainment and lots of snacks, barbecues and picnics. Keeping it simple, healthy and tasty is key! You could make these fruity popsicles for summer snacks and keep them in the freezer to pull out on a moment’s notice, and they’re fun for the kids to make too. Avoid sugary ice creams and opt for fruit popsicles instead – you can use lovely, fresh, organic fruit and throw in some essential oils for even more health-boosting properties.
There are many reasons to take steps towards balancing blood sugar – maximizing energy, balancing moods, and keeping your weight in a healthy range, to name just a few. To keep blood sugar in balance, the biggest factor is your diet. Understanding what contributes to blood sugar regulation helps us to make good choices and be conscious of those choices every day.
The ketogenic diet has risen in popularity recently, being widely used to boost energy and brain clarity, while balancing excess weight. The ketogenic diet was developed in the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy, and while it is still used for that today, the rise of anticonvulsant drugs meant that it was sought out less as a therapy in that context. These days, fitness enthusiasts are choosing the ketogenic diet for enhanced performance, as well as those with chronic illnesses that involve fatigue, brain fog and neurological issues.
The ketogenic diet can be useful for someone who:
- Struggles with ups and downs of energy
- Experiences sugar crashes
- Experiences chronic fatigue
- Struggles with neurologic issues, such as poor memory and decline in cognition
- Has a difficult time losing weight
The diet focuses on high fat, low carb and moderate protein. The distinguishing factor from other low-carb diets such as paleo, is that the ketogenic diet involves much higher fat intake, and just moderate protein intake, where paleo might be more even in proteins and fats. In fact, the ketogenic diet suggests a ratio of 4:1 fats to proteins.
By focusing on low carbs, no sugar and high fats, the body enters a ketogenic state, or ketosis. In this state is the brain can use D-beta-hydroxybutryrate and acetoacetetate (primary ketones) to survive. Using ketones instead of glucose for energy prevents insulin spikes, and provides more sustained energy and more efficient energy utilization.
The greater efficiency in providing cellular energy has shown to be beneficial in ischemic states such as stroke, myocardial insufficiency, neonatal stress, genetic mitochondrial problems, and physical fatigue.
Due to the neuroprotective properties of a ketogenic diet, it has proven to be effective in patients with epilepsy, as well as patients with other neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Studies have shown an association with delayed progressive motor neuron loss and improved performance on motor tasks with induction of this diet.
Also, due to the reduction of body fat, increase in HDL (good cholesterol), and decrease in blood pressure and blood sugar, this diet has also been seen to be beneficial in those with heart disease. Additionally, there has been promising evidence of slowing tumor growth in those with cancer. Disorders, which are related to insulin, such as PCOS, diabetes, and acne, can also benefit from this diet.
When beginning to transition to a ketogenic diet, it is recommended to slowly begin removing carbohydrates and increasing intake of these better energy-sustaining foods. This slow transition will help to avoid the transient symptoms of the “keto-flu” which some people will experience if adopting this diet too quickly. Symptoms of the “keto-flu” include poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, gastro-intestinal distress, and decreased exercise performance.
The breakdown of foods is this:
- 75% quality fats (coconut oil, ghee, grass fed butter, salmon, chia seeds, avocados, nuts, seeds)
- 20% protein
- 5% carbs
Foods to be avoided include:
- Gluten, grains
- Refined sugars
- Processed foods
Adopting a ketogenic diet isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do, however I have seen tremendous benefits in terms of energy, brain clarity and healthy weight management. If you struggle in those areas it may be worth considering.
I love fresh vegetable juice, I really do. But as a busy, working Mum, the truth of the matter is that if left to my own devices, getting a fresh juice in 5 days a week simply doesn’t happen. First there’s making sure I have enough of all the right produce, washing it, cutting it up, then juicing it; with the resulting huge mess to clean up. Call me super-duper-ultra lazy, but it’s enough work to have me not doing it. Juicero, on the other hand, gives me the easiest juice in the world. 2 minutes, no clean up, fresh organic juice. I’m hooked.
Could pyrrole disorders be holding back your health? Pyrroluria is a condition in which the the body produces excess of pyrroles. Pyrroles are normally produced in small numbers as a byproduct of hemoglobin synthesis and excreted in the urine. However, some people produce an abnormally large numbers of pyrroles. These pyrroles then bind to pyridoxine (B6) and zinc, causing them to be excreted from the body, with deficiency states arising as a result.
Pyrroluria creates wide range of symptoms – physical, mental and emotional – but is particularly associated with emotional and psychiatric issues eg autism, ADHD, behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, aggressive behavior, schizophrenia. Physical symptoms include poor digestion, poor appetite especially in the morning, low tolerance for protein, white flecks on the fingernails, tooth and gum problems, motion sickness, allergies and fatigue.
We know that sugar can be as addictive as any drug, and that it’s pretty much devoid of nutrients. But did you know how bad sugar is for your immune system? Anyone wanting to keep their body in tip-top shape and optimize their health should be aware of the 4 ways that sugar suppresses immune function. Armed with this knowledge, it might just be easier to say no to the next candy bar that looks your way.
Let’s face it, as much as we strive to be really good with our diet, avoiding the sugars, eradicating gluten and often all grains, eating all the good protein, sometimes its nice to have a little treat too. Short of rushing off to the ice cream tub, there are some great nutrition hacks that provide a sense of satiety and satisfaction without sabotaging all your hard work. This high protein healthy pudding recipe is so quick, so easy, and actually provides good nutrition while still feeling like a treat.
This delicious chickpea salad recipe is so quick and easy to make; it’s gluten free, can easily be made dairy free, and is sure to please your family and friends. I love that I can use fresh herbs that we grow in our garden, and lemon from our own tree. I also sneak a couple of essential oils in there for extra flavor. The recipe comes from the book Savour, by Peter Gordon. It’s such a great book filled with amazing salad recipes. Here’s how it’s made … [Read more…]
Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is normally secreted by the stomach to enhance the breakdown and subsequent absorption of the food and nutrients that we consume. HCl also serves a protective function, killing various pathogenic microorganisms that might otherwise cause infection in the gastrointestinal tract. Hydrochloric acid impacts your digestion significantly through these two factors – break down of food, and protection from external threats.
People with low HCl (hypochlorhydria) or absent HCl (achlorhydria) may be asymptomatic, or more commonly, may experience symptoms of impaired digestive function including gas, bloating and excessive fullness after meals. Interestingly, what seems to be excess acid in reflux or GERD is often a sign of low hydrochloric acid, but faulty regulation of the valve that divides the esophagus and stomach. [Read more…]
The importance of magnesium in the body cannot be overstated. Magnesium is involved in energy metabolism and hundreds of biochemical reactions – ranging from assisting in calcium and potassium uptake, to boosting immunity. It is crucial for the growth of white blood cells and decreasing the level of cell damaging free radicals in the body. There are some dietary sources of magnesium, and supplementation is helpful in certain cases. [Read more…]