So Long to Sleeping Through the Night

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night? 

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.    

  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.                                                                                                                 
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).                                    
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 7 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.                                   
  • Still having trouble, consult your doctor or naturopath for more tips and/or herbs that can help you.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.  And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep has been shown to even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind.  Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep. 
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 7-9 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.              
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.    
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.                                                                                                                 
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm.  Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).                                    
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 7 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.                                   
  • Still having trouble, consult your doctor or naturopath for more tips and/or herbs that can help you.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

 

 

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CAFFEINE-FREE CHAI LATTE

Delicious Caffeine-free Healthy latte for your afternoon “coffee break”:

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water or milk of your choice (I like to do half almond milk and half water)

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

1 tablespoon Tahini (optional)

2 dates (optional)

 

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and enjoy!

Tips: 

  • David’ tea sells some delicious Rooibos blends.
  • You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

 

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating may be Wrong and it may be Making You Fat and Tired

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

And each expert and association tries to lead you in their direction because they know best and their advice is going to help you. Right?

Well, maybe…

Everyone has heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked (and proven) benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

What you eat and drink:

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy (i.e. how much you eat) is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important. Don’t get me wrong, limiting calories, excess carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum energy for everyone.

When the intense focus on how much we ate didn’t work in the long-run it wasn’t really a surprise. We kinda knew that already, didn’t we?

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged” “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:
A colourful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads. Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks, and get grass-fed meats when possible. You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink:

Also pay attention to how you eat and drink.

Studies are definitely showing that this has more of an impact than we previously thought.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savour every bite. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This gives your digestive system the hint to prepare for digestion and to secrete necessary enzymes.

This can also help with weight loss because eating slower often means eating less. Did you know that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full?

Thought so!

We also know that more thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest and it makes it easier to absorb all of those essential nutrients.

And don’t forget about drinking your food.

Yes, smoothies can be healthy and a fabulously easy and tasty way to get in some fruits and veggies (hello leafy greens!) but drinking too much food can contribute to a weight problem and feelings of sluggishness.

Don’t get me wrong a green preotein-rich smoothie can make an amazingly nutrient-dense meal and is way better than stopping for convenient junk food – just consider a large smoothie to be a full meal not a snack. And don’t gulp it down too fast.

If your smoothies don’t fill you up like a full meal does try adding in a spoon of fiber like ground flax or chia seeds.

Summary:
Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

TAKE ACTION: What is one thing you do to be more mindful of the way you are eating?

 

 

 

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Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie
Serves 1

A handful spinach or kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 to 1 banana
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 scoop vega vanilla protein powder or your preffered protein (optional for extra protein)

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

References:

– http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend
– https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/
– http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal
– http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.

Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing.

And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance.

It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days.

But it doesn’t always stop there.

Sometimes we overeat on regular days.  Or at regular meals.  Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

Tip #1: Start with some water 

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger?  Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten.  And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’).

Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism.

Win-win!

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’ve heard of mindfulness but have you applied that to your eating habits?

This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. 

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But don’t start there.

(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

 

 

Have you been struggling to...

Reduce belly bloat?

Improve elimination?

Lose weight?

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Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals. 

Recipe (Water): Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas 

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

  • Slices of lemon & ginger
  • Slices of strawberries & orange
  • Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
  • Chopped pineapple & mango
  • Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. 

They’re already washed and cut and will help keep your water colder longer.

 

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.

How to Read Ingredient Lists when Choosing Healthy Foods

Have you ever looked at the front of a package and read the words “all-natural” or “heart-healthy,” only to look at the ingredients list and find it is packed with salt, sugar, and chemicals you can’t even pronounce?

The front of a food package has one purpose: to make you buy the product. It is not always fact-based and does not indicate the healthiness of the food inside. In order to know what you are truly buying, you need to understand how to read and properly interpret the ingredient list and nutrition information label on food packages.

You may be shocked when you begin to discover what’s really in the food you buy! 

Yet learning this very simple task will help make you an informed consumer. The key to remember is that ingredients are listed from highest to lowest proportions. That is, the first two or three ingredients are the majority of what the food contains. The last few ingredients make up very little of the product. If you want to ensure that you are buying foods that are truly healthy, high-quality, nutritious, and unprocessed, then follow the tips below. 

 

Quick Overview: Rules for Reading Ingredient Lists 

 

  1. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it/don’t eat it. 

  1. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity, with the largest quantity of ingredients listed first. 

  1. Ideally, choose foods with less than five ingredients; this means they are minimally processed. 

  1. Avoid chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors, and colors. 

  1. Avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and trans fats 

 The Details: Choosing Healthy Foods by their Ingredient List 

Whole Grains 

Particularly for cereals, crackers, pasta, and breads, the word “whole” should appear as the first or second ingredient, whether it is whole wheat, whole oats, whole rye, or another grain. One way to double-check is to look at the fiber content on the nutrition facts panel; whole-grain foods should deliver at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. 

Hidden Sugars 

Avoid foods with sugar listed in the first three ingredients, and be aware that “sugar” has many names, many of which add calories without boosting nutritional value, and others that can cause stomach distress and other symptoms. Ingredients that end in the word “ose” are all forms of sugar, such as fructose, sucrose and dextrose.

Other sugar sources are honey and corn sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). A recent study at the University of California/Davis found that these sweeteners had a similar metabolic effect as other forms of sugar. 

To know exactly how many grams of total sugar a product contains, check out the Nutrient Facts label. Four to five grams of sugar is the equivalent of one teaspoon.

Health Canada says that we should limit our consumption of sugar to a maximum of 10 teaspoons a day. Personally, I think this number is a little on the high side, but it’s a good place to aim for! 

Partially Hydrogenated Oils 

Partially hydrogenated oils are the primary source of trans fats, which have been shown to be even more harmful to arteries than saturated fat. Foods can call themselves “trans-fat free” even if they contain up to half a gram of trans fats per serving. Look on the ingredients list. If a food contains partially hydrogenated oils, it contains trans fats. 

Artificial Sweeteners, as in Sucralose, Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame 

I tell all my clients (and everyone I know) to AVOID artificial sweeteners. They can actually increase your craving for sweets, are loaded with chemicals, and are often the source of bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest warns that some artificial sweeteners can be dangerous in large quantities. A few diet sodas every day may be considered “large quantities” over the years! 

Sodium Nitrite  

Used as a preservative in meats, some research indicates that sodium nitrate may pose a cancer risk; another recent study suggested that nitrites and nitrates could interact with medications to damage DNA and increase the risk of cancer.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends limiting the amount you consume by choosing nitrite-free products whenever possible.  

Artificial Colorings in Food 

Research suggests that some colorings may pose health dangers, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Artificial colorings are found in cereals, candy, soda, snack foods, and the list goes on and on, particularly those designed for children.

They are listed on the ingredients label by their color name, such as Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 40, Red 3, Blue 1, Blue 2, Green 3, and Orange B.  

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a salty flavor and companies/restaurants add it to food to enhance flavor (at the expense of your health!) Some people experience “MSG symptom complex,” with reactions such as headache, flushing, sweating, fluttering heartbeat, and shortness of breath.  

Stay tuned for next month. With spring right around the corner, or hopefully right around the corner, comes the ideal time of year to cleanse from the winter months and enjoy the renewing foods of Spring. If you would like to look and feel better than you have in years, get rid of the bloat and some belly fat, have clearer skin, feel more rested when you rise in the morning, shed a few pounds, and more, stay tuned for more details. 

 

 

Have you been struggling to...

Reduce belly bloat?

Improve elimination?

Lose weight?

Get my free guide and start feeling better fast!

Recipe (Smoothie meal): Chia Peach Green Smoothie
Serves 1

A handful spinach or kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 to 1 banana
1 chopped peach
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/3 scoop vega vanilla protein powder or your preffered protein (optional for extra protein)

Add ingredients to blender in order listed (you want your greens on the bottom by the blade so they blend better and have the chia on the bottom to absorb some liquid before you blend).

Wait a couple of minutes for the chia seeds to start soaking up the almond milk.

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: Smoothies are the ultimate recipe for substitutions. Try swapping different greens, fruit or seeds to match your preference.

Bonus: Chia seeds not only have fiber and essential omega-3 fatty acids but they contain all of the essential amino acids from protein.

References:

– http://summertomato.com/wisdom-wednesday-salad-dressing-is-your-friend
– https://authoritynutrition.com/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight/
– http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal
– http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.

Debunking the Raw vs. Cooked Debate

Debunking the Raw vs. Cooked Debate

Have you heard the recommendation to eat certain foods (or all foods) raw?

Do you already eat a variety of healthy foods, and want to know how to get the most vitamins and minerals out of them?

You’re probably not surprised that there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to maximizing the vitamins and minerals your body absorbs from foods. 

Let me go over which types of foods are best eaten raw, and which ones are best eaten cooked to maximize their nutritional benefit.

Raw vs. Cooked – Which Contains More Vitamins and Minerals?

Let’s finally put an end to the debate of raw vs. cooked.

Of course, in the grand scheme of a well-balanced, nutrient-dense, varied, whole foods diet, the cooked vs. raw debate isn’t that critical for most people.

Where this can become a consideration is for vitamin and mineral deficiencies (or “insufficiencies”). These may be due to digestion or absorption issues, or avoidance of certain foods (due to allergies, intolerances, or choice).

And I’ll tell you that the answer isn’t as simple as “raw is always better” or “cooked is always better.” As with most nutrition science, it depends on several factors. Some vitamins are destroyed in cooking, while others become easier to absorb (a.k.a. more “bioavailable”).

Here is the skinny on vitamins and minerals in raw foods versus cooked foods.

Foods to eat raw

As a general rule, water soluble nutrients, like vitamin C and the B vitamins, found mostly in fruits and vegetables, are best eaten raw.

The reason why is two-fold:

First, when these nutrients are heated, they tend to degrade; this is from any heat, be it steaming, boiling, roasting, or frying. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are a bit more “delicate” and susceptible to heat than many other nutrients. 

Of course, the obvious way to combat these nutrient losses is to eat foods high vitamin C and B vitamins in their raw form (like in an awesome salad or a snack with hummus) or to cook them for as short a time as possible (like quickly steaming or blanching or add the end in a sautē).

Fun fact: Raw spinach can contain three times the amount of vitamin C as cooked spinach.

The second reason why foods high in vitamin C and the B vitamins are best eaten raw is that they’re “water soluble.” So, guess where the vitamins go when they’re cooked in water? Yes, they’re dissolved right into the water; this is particularly true for fruits and veggies that are boiled and poached but even for foods that steamed as well.

Of course, if you’re a savvy health nut, you’ll probably keep that liquid to use in your next soup or sauce to preserve those nutrients that are left after cooking. Just don’t overheat it or you may lose what you were aiming to keep.

But, how much loss are we talking about? Well, of course, it ranges but can go from as low as 15%, up to over 50%.

In short, the water soluble vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins degrade with heat and some of what’s left over after they’re heated dissolves into the cooking water. So be sure to cook your fruits and veggies as little as possible, and keep that cooking water to use in your next recipe.

Soaking nuts and seeds

Regarding raw nuts and seeds, it may be beneficial to soak them. Soaking nuts and seeds (for several hours at room temperature) allows some of the minerals to become “unlocked” from their chemical structure, so they’re more absorbable.

Foods to eat cooked

Cooking certain orange and red “beta-carotene rich” veggies (e.g. tomatoes, carrots, & sweet potatoes) can help make this pre-vitamin A compound more absorbable. 

Fun fact: One study found that absorption of beta-carotene was 6.5 times greater in stir-fried carrots than in raw carrots!

Of course, eating your fat-soluble vitamins with a bit of fat will help you to absorb more of them, so that’s one factor to consider.

One vegetable that’s best eaten both raw and cooked is:

Spinach! 

And I’m not just saying this to get everyone to eat it any way possible (although, I would love for this to happen…unless you’re allergic, of course).

Spinach contains so many beneficial compounds that it’s great eaten both raw and cooked.

Eating raw spinach preserves the water-soluble vitamins C & the B vitamins.

Eating spinach cooked allows the pre-vitamin A, as well as some of the minerals like iron to be better absorbed. Not to mention how much spinach reduces in size when it’s cooked, so it’s easier to eat way more cooked spinach than raw spinach.

In summary:

The old nutrition philosophy of making sure you get a lot of nutrient-dense whole foods into your diet holds true. Feel free to mix up how you eat them, whether you prefer raw or cooked just make sure you eat them.

 

 

Have you been struggling to...

Reduce belly bloat?

Improve elimination?

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Recipe (cooked spinach): Sautēed Spinach

Serves 4

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bag baby spinach leaves
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • Fresh lemon 

Directions:

  1. In a large cast iron pan heat olive oil. 
  2. Add garlic and sautē for 1 minute.
  3. Add spinach, salt, pepper and toss with garlic and oil. 
  4. Cover pan and cook on low for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Sautē cook spinach for another minute, stirring frequently, until all the spinach is wilted.
  6. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top.

 

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Enjoying the cooked spinach with the vitamin C in the raw lemon juice helps your body absorb more of the iron. why? because it is high in Vitamin C!

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/cooking-nutrient-content/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/10-ways-to-get-the-most-nutrients

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.

Are my symptoms the result of a food intolerance?

Do you have symptoms that just don’t seem to go away? 

I’m not only talking about just digestive symptoms but any random aches, pains, discomforts, etc.? 

One of the trickiest things to figure out is whether a random symptom could be due to a food intolerance. That’s because symptoms can be delayed, or ongoing, and not even resemble a gastrointestinal symptom at all.

In this post, I go over a few of the common symptoms, and two (very) common foods that you may be reacting to, but don’t even know it.

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.

And they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening. If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify.

Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea; symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way. 

Symptoms like:

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.

How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD.

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms. 

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.

Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Lactose (in dairy – eliminate altogether, or at least look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, barley, and some other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these, are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas. 

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE:  

When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements? 

 When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch. 

What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner (Doctor or Naturopath) for additional help getting organized and a good plan, and that’s OK. Do not continue suffering if you don’t need to!

For those of you who love to play around in the kitchen, here is a recipe for a homemade non-dairy milk. Of course, for those of you who don’t, or just don’t have the time, you can find lots of non-dairy milks in your local health food store or even most grocery stores carry a full range options today.

 

 

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Recipe (dairy-free milk): Homemade Nut/Seed Milk

Makes 3 cups

  • ½ cup raw nuts/seeds (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds)
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Soak nuts/seeds for about 8 hours (optional, but recommended).
  2. Dump soaking water & rinse nuts/seeds.
  3. Add soaked nuts/seeds and 2 cups water to a high-speed blender and blend on high for about one minute until very smooth. (if you have a vitamin even better!)
  4. Strain through a small mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Squeeze if necessary.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: You can double the recipe and store the milk in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

 

References:

http://www.dietvsdisease.org/11-warning-signs-you-have-a-food-intolerance/

https://authoritynutrition.com/lactose-intolerance-101/

https://authoritynutrition.com/signs-you-are-gluten-intolerant/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/food-sensitivities-health-infographic

 

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The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

The Best 7 Doctors are Free

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Do you agree with this? The Best 7 Doctors are Free : 💗 Sharing a belly laugh with your favorite people 💗 Basking in the warmth of the sun 💗 Taking slow, deep breaths to calm your mind 💗 Moving your body in ways that feel good 💗 Expressing gratitude for the little...

About the Author: Christina Della Rocca, n.d.

Christina Della Rocca is a multi-disciplinary Health Coach with over 20 years of experience in the fields of health, fitness, and wellness.

One of Montreal’s leading wellness professionals, Christina has been featured on Montreal AM live, RDS television, CHOM FM, CJAD, Mountain City Rock, and Trends Magazine.  Founder and Director of « EXERCISE PLUS » A Wellness Company that brings health & Fitness programs to companies in and around the Montreal area., Christina is a leading Corporate Wellness Specialist.