Detox

It’s that time of year again, when everyone signs up at the gym and begins their detox programs. While I think any time is a great time to work towards a healthier you, it might be wise to consider trying a detox/cleanse in the spring, especially if you live in a colder climate. Winter is harsh, it’s cold, and there is little abundance of fresh foods to aid you through a cleanse. A holistic approach to cleansing will likely not be fasting, or any of the “lemonade” type detoxes you find out there. At least not long term, and especially not if you have other conditions or an unhealthy gut. There is one detox that uses lemon water, maple syrup and cayenne as a protocol…in theory these elements can work to help cleanse the body, however, you’re basically living off sugar (maple syrup) and little else. Be mindful that the “weight” you loose on these cleanses can be mostly water and muscle. Also detoxing releases a lot of toxins (hence the name…) and if our organs of elimination are not working properly, we may end up recycling these toxins in our body vs. actually ridding ourselves of them. Our bodies require nutrients to thrive and survive (and to loose weight). We need each of the macronutrients to be the best we can possibly be, so prolonged use of any type of starving detox I would not recommend. Depending on where you are nutritionally, any type of elimination of a food is considered a detox. For example, if you eat a lot of sugary treats, like chocolate bars and pop, just eliminating those alone is a detox. Getting off sugar is hard, but once you do, you can then move towards other cleanses. If you do feel you need to cleanse now, please consider incorporating lots of fresh vegetables, limiting tropical fruit (except lemons) because of their high sugar content, increase your water, limit dairy and gluten grains and meat. Guaranteed you will feel better if you follow a more simplified meal plan and stop with caffeine, smoking, sugar and any of the stimulants that create toxins in the body. You may also want to consider going all or at least half organic to reduce your exposure to pesticides. If you can’t afford 6 organic apples, buy 3 and eat them every other day. Another overlooked part of a holistic cleanse is to rid yourself of any chemical-laden beauty products, household cleansers - including those that make your house smell fresh, they are full of carcinogens, and limit exposure to microwaves, cell phones etc.

I am planning on cleansing in the spring, I’ll blog about it then and will include tips and maybe some recipes too!

To you health

Coconutlime

Happy 2013

Hi! I am back after a looong hiatus. I didn’t intend to not write for so long, but I was studying anatomy and physiology for most of November and December, so any free time I had was spent reviewing. Also, there was something else that got in the way…the holidays. I don’t know about you but I always feel that Christmas day is still around the corner even after it’s passed. It seems to come so fast and go by so fast, that I’m left feeling like it never happened.

The last post I wrote about Candida and how I was diagnosed with high levels of this bacteria in my gut, along with leaky gut syndrome. If you are at all familiar with the Candida Protocol you will know its a strict diet which is basically not fun at all. You need to starve the candida first, which entails not consuming any sugar or starches…so no bread, no honey, no pasta, no beans, rice is OK but in small quantities, no fruit! or at least limit to 1-2 apples a day (I say apples because they are low in sugar vs. tropical fruit). So I have been trying my hardest to follow this diet but it is hard, I will admit. I love eating, I love restaurants, I love food…so this kind of protocol is very hard to follow. Anyway, I have been trying, and have cut out a lot of stuff. I definitely do not eat anything “white” any more, and haven’t for a long time, even before the protocol. As you know, anything “white” is highly processed, energy dense but nutrient poor so basically useless for your body. I am trying hard to incorporate more vegetables into my diet. This isn’t easy. As a budding nutritionist I should be eating mostly veggies because I know first hand how good they are for you. But it’s kind of like a doctor who smokes…they know it’s really bad, but they just can’t help it! It’s the same with me and veggies, although I am definitely making an effort. I get organic vegetables delivered every other week, and each delivery is different which forces me to try new things. I bought a whole foods cookbook the other day and can’t wait to try the recipes - I didn’t even notice that the entire cookbook was vegan! Everything sounded so yummy and uses whole, clean ingredients (not MARGARINE!!! Margarine is NOT A [HEALTHY] FOOD). Sorry. But it’s not. I am also ensuring that I am at least taking my supplements every day – B complex, Fish Oil, Vitamin C, Vitamin D since it’s winter and probiotics. If I ate more veg and fruits I wouldn’t need the Vitamin C. But the Fish Oil and probiotics are necessary to supplement, and B vitamins are hard to get unless you eat whole grains (not whole wheat bread, but whole grain). And since I am off grains right now, I am not getting what I need.

Since I started this protocol I have definitely noticed a reduction in my symptoms. I no longer feel hung-over for no reason (candida bacteria produces alcohol in the body, hence the hung-over feeling), I get less headaches, I am no longer constantly bloated,  (I remember when I lived in England and my friends and I would go for a curry. Lots of white rice, and a creamy chicken curry equalled bellies so swollen we looked pregnant). I feel less tired and brain fogged and my moods have improved. We have a large amount of neurotransmitters in our gut, so when we experience low moods, guaranteed it’s food / gut related.

The more I learn about nutrition, the more obvious it seems to me that eating right is the only answer we need. We keep hearing about how people in X country have no chronic illnesses because they don’t eat Y and Z…there are so many reports it’s almost getting to the point that I’m sure people don’t hear it any more. But it’s true. I have never really followed the SAD diet (Standard American Diet = pop, fried foods, chips, packaged foods etc), but my diet definitely didn’t have enough of the good stuff in it, and even I notice a difference. It amazes me every time I do a bit of research online about stuff I find people who have completely cured themselves of one thing or another by just eating better. (I said better, not butter, although eating butter is perfectly fine in moderation.)

This has turned into a rambly post with no real point or direction, but I promise that will come in later posts. I mostly wanted to reconnect and get back into the habit again of writing to an unknown audience.

I do hope at least someone out there enjoys what I write about, and I hope that as the months go by I can help to educate folks on the importance of eating well.

To your health

Coconutlime

Candida

I had a nutritionist appointment on the weekend which included a live blood cell analysis. I’ve suspected for a while now that I have had an issue in my gut, and after doing some research on my symptoms I thought it might be Candida. Sure enough, my blood indicated that I was chock full of it. Plus, I have leaky gut. My symptoms haven’t been as severe as some, and I think it’s because I don’t eat a lot of sugar and white/processed foods, thereby not giving the Candida enough to thrive off of. But I do consume agave, honey etc which are all sugars at the end of the day, and I do indulge in white (i.e. not whole grain whole wheat) when a healthier option is unavailable. And of course, I imbibe in wine on occasion.

Candida is a yeast overgrowth in the gut caused by many things. In my case it was prolonged stress (job) and a diet high in carbs (all I could eat while pregnant, everything else made me nauseous). My symptoms are brain fog (where I literally feel like I can’t concentrate), a feeling of being hung-over despite not having alcohol for days, cramps and indigestion. Some severe cases can result in much worse symptoms, and if left untreated can be debilitating. If you think you might have Candida, or you have some symptoms you can’t identify, look into it. Especially if you’ve recently had antibiotics, or eat a refined food diet, or are under a lot of stress (or all the above!). From what I read online, most allopathic doctors don’t recognize it as an issue, so some people have gone to their doctor with these symptoms to be told to relax, or take anti-biotics (the WORST!) or put on anti-depressants (a side-effect of Candida is depression due to the toxins that permeate the blood-brain barrier. Also, we have a lot of serotonin receptors in our gut, so if our gut is compromised  that serotonin won’t be processed properly in the body, resulting in low moods). So you may be better suited to seeing a Naturopath or a Holistic Nutritionist.

Getting rid of Candida is not easy. It’s quite happy to hang out in your blood so long as it’s getting “fed”. So that means I need to starve it. So no sugar, no diary (lactose is milk sugar), limit my fruit intake (sugar), increase my veggies, drink lots of water, and kill it with probiotics.

The worst part of this is that the nutrients I am consuming, whether by supplementation or via foods, aren’t being absorbed because of my leaky gut. Everything is permeating the gut lining and not being absorbed properly via the liver and into the blood. So in a nutshetll: this sucks.

I went to a Candida cooking class last week and have a couple recipes I’d like to share. You don’t have to have Candida to enjoy these, they’re super tasty and healthy.

Please note, I am not a trained chef, just a mom studying to be a nutritionist, so the recipes I am sharing were written by other people.

Oat Bran Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups raw sweet potato, peeled & grated (about 1 large, or 1.5 medium)

1/2 cup grated apple (leave peel on for extra fibre)

2 cups oat bran (or you can use oatmeal – not the instant kind)

1/2 cup almond flour (basically ground almonds, can find this in health food store)

1 tbsp baking powder

4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice (or nutmeg)

1 cup water

3 eggs, separated

2 tbsp melted butter

(if you can have sugar, you may wish to sweeten this a little bit by adding a tablespoon of agave, honey, or  sucanut)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Scrub, peel and grate the sweet potato (or put thru food processor). Grate the apple. Add apple and sweet potato to a mixing bowl and add oat bran and flour. Add baking powder, cinnamon, allspice (nutmeg). Mix well. Make a depression in the centre of this mixture and add the water, egg yolks and melted butter. Beat egg whites and fold into batter. Fill 12 greased (use coconut oil to grease) muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes clean.

Mint and Almond Pesto

Ingredients

50g blanched almonds, lightly toasted (1/2 cup)

large bunch mint

1 garlic clove, chopped

finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and its juice

half tsp Dijon mustard (if using for candida, get vinegar free dijon)

75ml olive oil (5 tbsp)

sea salt & pepper

Put almonds, mint, garlic and lemon zest in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add mustard. With motor runing, add oil slowly until you have a thick consistincy. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Use as you would any pesto!

Garlic and Coconut oil are terrific foods for Candida. Fresh garlic helps to kill the yeast, and coconut oil contains caprylic acid which is anti-fungal and helps to kill Candida.  Fresh garlic tastes fantastic, and coconut oil is a great oil substitute, so these are both safe to use regardless of your health state – but if you are concerned please consult your health care provider before making any drastic changes to your diet.

**Disclaimer – Please note that I am not yet a registered nutritionist, and the facts in this and all my posts are based on opinion. Please consult your health care provider for more information or before you start a new dietary regime.**

Children in the Kitchen

I came home last night to find my husband and son cooking dinner together. It was honestly the cutest thing I have ever seen. My son was standing on a step ladder so he could reach the sink, and his responsibility was to supervise daddy and make sure he didn’t burn the pasta. My son is 18 months old, and I feel that it is never too early to get them into the kitchen to help out.  I used to stop him from getting into the utensil drawer so he wouldn’t make a mess of it. Then my husband told me a story about Chef Michael Smith, and how his mom used to let he and his brother(s?) play with all the kitchen stuff from a young age. And that’s what sparked his interest in cooking. After I heard that I thought it’s better to live with a bit of mess if it helps stimulate my child to learn new things and be creative with tools he has no idea how to use. And that way, when it comes time for him to really help out (when he’s a little older and less likely to throw everything everywhere), he will be familiar with these tools and hopefully want to use them.

Unfortunately I have a toddler who seems to not want to eat much at home, but eats very well at daycare. (hmmmm….maybe it’s my cooking?). But by having a positive attitude towards food, and teaching him how to cook and the importance of nutrients etc, hopefully he will take that with him into his teens and adult hood and be the healthiest he can be and not a statistic.

I’m sorry the photo isn’t clear, I literally had a split second to take it when I walked in the door, so used my blackberry. But grainy or not, it is in my opinion one of my favourite pictures of my family.

To your health.

Coconutlime.

Motivation (or lack of)

I find it very hard to motivate myself to work out. Probably 99% of the population is the same, right? Today I brought in my gym stuff to work with the intention of going at lunch. But instead, I went for a little walk, grabbed food and am now writing about the fact that I did not workout. The worst part is I know how important keeping fit is. Cardio increases your stamina by increasing the amount of mitochondria in your muscle cells, and weight training helps to keep you toned, strong and to lose weight. Not to mention the endorphins released that make you happy! I am totally fine once I get to the gym, I enjoy my workout and don’t want to leave. I just lack the gumption to walk to the gym, get changed, and workout. In my own defence, it kinda sucks working out in the middle of the work day, I have to shower, reapply makeup, fix my unruly hair etc; and with a toddler at home, it’s very difficult to workout in the morning or after work.

In addition to working out, here are some other things I lack motivation for:

·          Doing the dishes (Hi Dishwasher. I love you)

·          Taking out the Garbage (Honey….!)

·          Studying (unless it’s something really interesting)

·          Doing my day job duties (hence blogging…)

·          Hanging my artwork (I have had some pieces given to me as a gift over 10 years ago that are still rolled up in the tube. This is two-fold though, motivation (or more precisely not knowing where to hang anything), and needing to frame said pieces, which is costly)

·          Eating beets (so good for your liver )

Please tell me I’m not alone in this?

On the positive side, here are things I do without needing motivation:

·          Drink lots of water

·          Give my son and husband lots and lots of kisses every day

·          Go to bed early (I love sleeping)

·          Fantasize (plot/plan/visualize) of a life where I, and my husband, are doing something every day that makes us content vs being part of the rat race (perhaps once this has been achieved, I will have time during the day to workout!)

·          Eat apples

·         Learn something new every day

What motivates you?

To Your Health

coconutlime

First Post

So I have decided to start trying out this thing called blogging as a way to get all the thoughts that bounce around in my head out to the unsuspecting public. I have started a journey of learning about natural nutrition and it’s opened my eyes to the myriad of healthy alternatives for everything from what you eat, to what you put on your skin.

There is a lot of information out there, and it can be confusing and contradictory. I like to try to keep things simple, but I do tend to go into detailed explanations on the “how” or “why” so that people actually understand how or why they are doing something. For example, most people know they need to increase probiotics. But do they know “why”…like, the real why? Probiotics are essential in the gut tract to extract nutrients from food as it passes through the intestine, and deliver it to the blood stream via the liver. Without the proper amount of probiotics, you end up lacking the ability to absorb nutrients. Who knew!? I’d like to demystify the information that is out there, and while I am doing that, I am also learning more and more myself.

I am on a personal journey myself, I know more than some, but not as much as others. I feel I can help people, but only on the surface because my knowledge isn’t deep enough yet.

I plan on using this forum to write about my journey at school, and write about the new things I learn along the way. Eventually I envision this to become a website, then a clinic with actual real live clients! Then, who knows?

Part of my personal journey is overcoming my intense shyness and stage fright. A lot of people would not believe that I have this because I have masked it for many, many years. Instead, people who don’t know me might think I’m weird, or rude because of my facial expressions or random comments I made because I am very uncomfortable and nervous. This is one of my biggest challenges to overcome. Not sure where to start…it’s not like I have time for psychotherapy! But that may be what I need. Basically, when faced with speaking to a group – and I mean literally a small group of people, even people I know very well, my heart races, my mouth turns dry, and I lose the ability to think. I can’t process a comprehensive sentence, have nothing meaningful to add, and generally just want to run away and hide. I do prefer being alone, but love having lots of friends and family. I am confident, and intelligent, and do have a lot to contribute, but my fear of speaking to anyone who isn’t my best friend, husband, child or parents scares the shit out of me and I freeze. So if I am to be successful in the field of natural nutrition, I need to overcome this debilitating quirk.

This is a long post because it’s the first and I want to include most of the threads I will be randomly following going forward. So fear of public speaking is one journey, and part-time learning at Canadian School of Natural Nutrition is another. I started in September and have covered Fundamentals of Nutrition – so the basics  and am currently studying Anatomy and Physiology. I am completely fascinated at how complex the human body is. Most people know that we are basically made up of cells, but when you start looking deep into one single cell, you come across an entire ecosystem, or a city, like New York, doing all of this work. It’s mind boggling how complex we are, and these thoughts started to occur to me when I was pregnant. I had 4 terrible months of “morning” sickness where I would literally puke 4-5 times a day. Yuck. Anyway, I kept reminding myself that I was creating a human being. And humans are exceptionally complex. So kudos to women everywhere who have babies. It’s not an easy feat, and no wonder some people call it a miracle. So the study of anatomy and physiology has so far been very interesting to me, and to understand how nutrition impacts us on a cellular level. “How” you ask…? Well, all of the essential amino acids (from complete proteins) are required to make the protein inside the nucleus of a cell. Protein has many functions inside just one cell. And fat – or lipids, another essential macro nutrient  is required for healthy cellular membrane (where nutrients and substances pass in and out of the cell, nourishing it or helping it do what it’s supposed to do). And water…cells are 60-70% water. If you don’t replenish enough, your cells are losing water and won’t function as they should. And this is why people get sick. Fascinating, right?

Anyway, I think this is sufficient for my first blog. I do hope you visit often and I welcome your comments and questions, but please be nice! I am not an industry expert so if I have gotten something wrong, please constructively criticize.

Pour votre sante.

Coconutlime