6 Reasons to Quit Dairy For Good

What’s the deal with dairy? Last year the dairy industry took a real hard hit. Is quitting dairy a health-fad, or are the benefits for real? Today we’re sharing 6 reasons to quit dairy that may help you answer this question: should you quit dairy?

Tough on Digestion

Do you find dairy makes you bloated, or gives you irregular bowel movements? It’s actually more common than not. In adulthood, our bodies produce less of the enzyme necessary to digest lactose (lactase). Very few adults have a genetic variant that allows them to continue digesting lactose, while the rest of us would need to supplement, or simply deal with the bloating and indigestion.

Misleading Claims about Milk

Did you grow up believing that dairy was necessary for strong bones? That couldn’t be further from the truth. Nuts and seeds, white beans, and leafy greens like kale and arugula are all high in calcium. If you eat a well-rounded diet, you are probably meeting your daily requirements through other foods.

We’ve always been told that we need dairy to protect us against developing brittle bones, yet it’s been shown that countries that consume the least amount of dairy (like Africa and Asia) actually have the lowest instances of osteoporosis. Furthermore, recent research supports the importance of vitamin D over calcium for strong bones.

Dairy Contributes to Inflammation

Is dairy bad for you? For the benefits that dairy does offer (protein, probiotics), there can also be some serious drawbacks. Many nutrition professionals view dairy as an inflammatory food, because it contributes to bloating, gas, low-grade chronic pain, and acne breakouts. A lot of these symptoms have to do with the immune-response produced in the body when consuming dairy.

Dairy is Addictive

The dairy protein casein contains something called casomorphins, which is a compound similar to morphine. Casomorphins attach to the same receptors in your brain as narcotics, giving you that feel-good effect. Of course, milk is not heroin. However this does illustrate how dairy can be highly addictive. In an effort to produce that feeling again, your body will continue to crave the substance that produced it – dairy.

Endless Alternative Options

If you’ve never tried dairy-free milk, cheese, and yogurt options, I know it can be scary. But you’re truly missing out! There are so many different milk options out there, from soy to oat to almond milk. What’s more, they all offer their own unique range of nutrients. You can get amazing coconut yogurt almost anywhere now. And the cheese – don’t even get me started! Just in these past few years, the options for dairy-free cheese have exploded. I love the small artisanal ones offered locally, but I also keep store-bought shreds in the fridge at all time. You can find a lot of great homemade recipes online too.

Quitting dairy and replacing it with other plant-based options is something I’ve recommended to almost all of my clients, and the ones who really gave it a fair shot never went back. Why? They felt so much better without it. Their stomach felt better. Their elimination was normal – no more constipation and/or diarrhea. Their skin gets better too!

If you’ve been struggling with digestive issues, acne breakouts, and inflammation, getting dairy out of your diet could make a huge difference for your health.

Psssst – all of my recipes are dairy free! You can check them out here.

2020 Kitchen Staples – Nutritionist Favourites

You know when you get really excited about a song, and you think it’s so good that you just have to share it with everyone you know? This post is my personal version of that.

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and my kitchen staples are my treasures. I love these ingredients so much, and I think you’ll love them too – which is why I’m so eager to share them with you!

I’ve split this list into 3 categories – Pantry, Fridge, and Snacks. I’m leaving out produce because to me, preference for that is so individualized.

Here’s what I will be sharing: the staple itself, why I choose it, and even my preferred brand or flavour. I hope this inspires you to branch out and try something new, or get excited about being in the kitchen today!

Pantry

Almond Flour

Almond flour is a great high-protein, high-fat flour. I love it in baked goods because it produces a nice crumb, and is an easy substitute in most recipes. Almond flour is naturally gluten-free and easy to digest. Also great for paleo recipes too! I love having this on hand – but I don’t use it every day because it can be quite pricey. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill.

Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is something I’ve used in so many of my recipes! It’s gluten-free and very affordable. Great for coating your cauliflower in to make buffalo wings, or making my oh-so-good Chickpea Burgers with. I also use it for sauce bases too, like with my Creamy Garlic Sage Pasta. Keep in mind when baking with this, it can be a bit dry (no gluten, no stretch), so I like to use almond flour instead for baking, or half and half with the sprouted spelt flour coming up next. Like with the almond flour, I prefer Bob’s Red Mill.

Sprouted Spelt Flour

I eat mostly gluten-free, but I can tolerate gluten in smaller quantities. I know some recipes will turn out better (or be made easier) with a flour that does contain gluten, so I choose spelt flour which is known to be easier to digest. What’s especially important here is the sprouted part. This sprouting further enhances digestion by pre-breaking down some of those hard to digest nutrients – definitely go for sprouted! Great for flatbreads and pizza crusts. My favourite brand is Anita’s Organic.

Coconut Sugar

If you haven’t tried coconut sugar yet, you must! Coconut sugar, compared to other sugars, is lower on the glycemic index. This means that it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much when consumed. It has a bit of that mapley-brown sugar taste, which I think is phenomenal. My favourite brand is Wholesome.

Chickpeas

For a while, I debated changing the name of my business to “mostly chickpeas” because let’s face it – I cook with them a lot! They are packed with fiber and so versatile. You can make Breakfast Cookies, Chickpea Curry, Chickpea Burgers – your options really are endless. I don’t think that all brands are created equal. I usually buy the No Salt Added Compliments Brand, and I always soak for at least an hour before cooking.

Brown Rice Pasta

I know fancy pastas are all the rage right now, but I can’t be bothered to spent $10 on a box of lentil pasta. I love the texture of Brown Rice Pasta and it’s always affordable. We have pasta just about every week – I buy the compliments brand in spaghetti or penne.

Pumpkin Seeds

I like to use these as a sneaky way too add extra iron and magnesium to any dish, mostly on soups and salads. I buy the Compliments Brand, and go for organic and raw. Cooking the pumpkin seeds can compromise some of those nutrients, so get’em green!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips

What pantry would be complete without a little bit of chocolate? I love making chocolate chip cookies and homemade trail mixes. Sometimes we just grab a small handful when we need to! Enjoy Life makes dairy-free chocolate chips – regular, dark, and mini.

Fridge

Coconut Probiotic

When choosing a probiotic, quality is really important to me. The Cultured Coconut offers a liquid coconut probiotics which has 4+ TRILLION CFU / TBSP , which is basically unheard of. If you compare to the brand in your cupboard, you’ll be blown away. Because this one comes as a liquid, you will want to keep it in the fridge. I take 1-2 TBSP every night, and it makes a huge difference for me!

Coconut Nectar

When I was younger, we used to go to this sushi place that had a “sweet soy sauce” offered with or in place of the regular just-salty stuff. I loved the addition of the sort-of sweet taste, and the Coconut Nectar tastes just like it. I use this in place of soy sauce in my fridge. I use it in sauces, salad dressings, and of course stirfrys! I have tried a few that were just okay, but I love Braggs.

Plant-based Yogurt

Are we sending a trend here? I guess it’s clear I love all things coconut. Plain Coconut Yogurt is a great snack with fruit, or I sometimes pair it with oatmeal for breakfast. The plain one is quite tart, so I’ve also added vinegar, cucumber, and dill before for a quick cucumber salad. I buy the Silk brand because it’s available almost everywhere I shop. The vanilla is good too!

Apple Cider Vinegar

There are a lot of myths about ACV – so I want to make it known why I use this vinegar in particular. First, it has been shown to be helpful with digestion. Secondly, it is known to be antimicrobial, and can minimize the spread of bad bacteria. I use apple cider vinegar a lot in baking, and also to make vegan buttermilk, which is basically plant milk + ACV. I also use this vinegar in my homemade dressings. I go for the ever-popular Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar.

Zevia

Regular pop can keep it’s artificial sweetners and added corn syrups – I’ll take a Zevia. Zevia is a pop that’s sweetened with stevia. I love that Zevia is naturally sweetened with a very low glycemic sweetener. They also never use any dyes. Since discovering Zevia, I’ve had pop only once – maaaaaybe twice in the last 4 years. My favourite is Root Beer – the Cola is also really good!

Snacks

High Fat Bars

Fat is the slowest digesting micronutrient, so eating food that contains fat will keep you feeling fuller for longer. When I need a snack to hold me over until the next meal, I usually pick one that is high in fat and easy to digest. My favourites are Love Good Fats (plant-based PB & J) and Good to Go (Pecan). These feel like a treat but both offer a good amount of protein and fibre too.

Bean Chips

I’ve been going through a separation with corn, and one thing I’ve missed is tortilla chips. I can’t believe that this is what it’s taken for me to try Bean Chips – they are so good! Higher in fibre than your average chip, they are satisfyingly crunchy and also great with salsa (or on their own). I always choose Beanfield in Sea Salt or Nacho.

Smart Sweets

My love affair with Smart Sweets Candy is alive and thriving. These candies are plant-based and sweetened with stevia – only 3 grams of sugar for the entire bag! This is a sweet treat that won’t mess with your blood sugar and help keep your energy stable while still letting your tastebuds go WOW. My favourite is the Peach Rings – I’m seriously eating them as I type right now.

Sprouted Nuts

Like with the sprouted spelt flour, sprouted nuts can be easier to digest than regular nuts. If you have a sensitive digestive system like I do, try your nuts sprouted! A handful of nuts is a classic great snack. I especially love the blends by Living Intentions – White Chocolate and Honey Sriracha are so. GOOD!

Do you stock any of these ingredients in your kitchen? I would love to hear what is a kitchen-must for you right now!

Later Babes!

Is the Carnivore Diet Healthy ?

The nutrition world has no shortage of controversial subjects. There’s veganism, the keto diet, fasting, and countless other diets that remain both criticized and praised – depending on who you’re talking to. The idea of “dieting” in general is controversial, and you will find plenty of people on both sides of the debate. And now we have what might be the most controversial diet to date: The Carnivore Diet.

Whether this is the first time you are hearing about the carnivore diet, or you’ve heard of this diet countless times ( Joe Roegan’s podcast, anyone? ) , the idea is intriguing. When I first encountered this all-meat diet, I was curious to say the least. I wanted to learn more. If you find yourself in that very same boat, keep reading.

In this post, we’re leaving our bias behind to cover the pros, cons, myths, and more of the Carnivore Diet.

What is the Carnivore Diet?

Before we make any judgments about the Carnivore Diet, it’s important to understand exactly what being on this diet means. The hardcore carnivore diet followers consume only animal flesh, bones, and fat. A less strict version of the carnivore diet may include eggs and dairy. This diet is marked by hardcore reliance on animals (adherents can only consume animal products) and heavy restriction ( no fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts or seeds may be consumed).

Benefits of the Carnivore Diet

Compared to other diets that hit the spotlight, the Carnivore Diet is relatively new. Right now, very little scientific data exists to support the carnivore diet. That said, there is some anecdotal evidence that speaks to how effective this diet can be, especially under certain circumstances.

Mikhaila Peterson, daughter of Jordan Peterson, is probably the most popular adherent of the Carnivore Diet. In an effort to reduce the symptoms experienced from her autoimmune condition, she began removing certain types of foods out of her diet. What started as an elimination diet became a keto diet, and then eventually all other food types except animal protein were eliminated from her diet.

As a person who suffered with terrible bouts of gastrointestinal distress , arthritis flare-ups, and fatigue, the carnivore diet brought her incredible relief. According to Mikhaila, her digestion improved, she had less arthritic pain, her energy levels improved greatly, and she was more cognitively sharp. Put quite plainly, her life improved greatly by making this switch. She went from constant pain and discomfort to being able to live a much better quality of life.

There are other people who have reported similar experiences. It seems that many of them also found this diet for the same reasons Mikhaila did. Those it seems to help most are those desperate to address their extreme sensitivities or autoimmune concerns. By removing almost all other food groups, they remove the possibility of having their symptoms triggered by possible sensitivities.

Although this diet relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, we can’t disregard these experiences entirely. After all, the explanation makes common sense.

Of course these people are feeling better.

They’ve likely been consuming foods that have triggered symptoms which severely impacted their health and their quality of life. With those cut out, they avoid those symptoms associated. It gives those followers a chance at feeling better than they have in perhaps a very long time.

Is the Carnivore Diet Extreme?

The short answer: yes.

The long answer is a bit more complicated. This diet is extreme in that it eliminates so much that is essential to functioning optimally in terms of health. There are so many micronutrients found in other food groups that will essentially just be missing without them.

Obviously, those on a carnivore diet are not missing any protein. Followers of the Carnivore Diet will eventually make a metabolic change into ketosis (burning fat for energy), as this diet contains zero carbohydrates. This will allow them to function using alternate sources for energy, as opposed to carbohydrates which is the go-to for our bodies. However, this transition is not easy. This metabolic transition can make you feel irritable, lethargic, and generally unwell for a few weeks.

There are also many micronutrients found exclusively in plants. Being on the carnivore diet for an extended period of time may lead to nutritional deficiencies, which can affect your body functioning on many different levels. Issues related to this may take months or even years to appear.

Carnivore Diet followers will also be missing out on fibre, which is important for digestion and associated with maintaining a healthy weight. Although some proponents of this diet claim it can help with weight loss, there is a lack of evidence support this. Conversely, there is evidence to support how a high intake of fiber can support weight loss.

Due to it’s restrictive nature, those who have struggled to have a positive relationship with food may not be the best fit to try this diet. If you have struggled with disordered eating, I would not recommend trying the Carnivore diet.

Who would the Carnivore Diet be good for?

Some people may actually see some positive results from switching to the Carnivore Diet. Most likely, this would be the small population of individuals who have serious sensitivities, inflammation, and gastrointestinal issues that cannot be managed with any other diet.

There are people out there struggling with exactly these issues. They fear food because it doesn’t bring them energy or joy – it brings them pain.

The idea of a Carnivore diet is ultimately offensive to some. As a Holistic Nutrition Consultant, it’s important to put our moral judgements aside so that we can do what’s best for our clients – regardless of how we might personally feel about it. I think if we can look at it through the lens of people who are desperate to try an eating style that works for them, we can empathize with those who are attracted to trying it.

We could all benefit from dropping our judgement some when it comes to food. There is no one diet that works for everybody. We are all so uniquely bio-individual. That considered, it makes sense that a very small amount of the population could thrive on this diet.

Is the Carnivore Diet Healthy?

Like so many diets that make it to the mainstream, there are pros and cons of the Carnivore Diet. Although many adherents have made various claims about it’s benefits, virtually none of it is supported by science. That said, common sense can explain how it would help that small group of people who would benefit from what is essentially an extreme elimination diet.

The Carnivore Diet may be the best option for them, but we can’t generalize to say that this diet is healthy for everyone. If you are looking for a diet to support increased energy, or to combat skin issues, or to lose weight, there may be other more scientifically supported and less restrictive options out there for you. In that case, perhaps, the journey for you continues.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the Carnivore Diet! Feel free to share in the comments below. Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram – @standingstrongwellness !

How to Reach Your 2020 Nutrition Goals

We all start the year with the best intentions. I know you want to crush those goals for 2020! I can imagine you are starting this new year feeling overwhelmed with enthusiasm. You’re ready to move towards your nutrition goals full. steam. AHEAD!

I’m rooting for you, because I also know what a huge difference a change in diet and lifestyle can make. Making it a priority to eat better has changed my body and my mind. It has helped with my anxiety, made a drastic difference in my skin, helped balance my hormones, and gotten my gut on track for good.

Knowing how much this change has helped me, I get so fired up when I hear that other people have a goal to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. I want to see you win! But I also know what stands in your way. That’s why today I wanted to share with you a suggestion that could make or break your ability to meet your nutrition goals.

The suggestion is simple: hire an expert!

When your toilet overflows, you call a plumber.

When you need a cavity filled, you go to a dentist.

When you’re buying a home, you enlist the help of a realtor.

So when you’re ready to overhaul the way you eat, why not hire a nutritionist? Someone who is trained in nutrition has a lot to offer. If you haven’t considered the benefits before, you may want to dig deeper. The reasons, after all, back up why it’s such a good idea in the first place.

Education. Yes, your nutrition professional is (should be – double check this!) educated, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What’s really great about working with a professional is that they get a chance to educate you. With this gained knowledge, you will have the tools you need to make a long-lasting change. Plus, knowledge is so empowering! With enough of it you will be able to make your own educated decisions in the future, even after the experience of working with a professional is over.

Support. The ultimate goal of a nutrition professional is not to work with you forever. The goal is to support you on your journey as much as possible to ensure your success. This person can cheer you on and help keep you moving toward your goal with enthusiasm. Not only that, but they can provide you with the tools you need to make this a sustained change, and not one that lasts only as long as your motivation does.

Accountability. This is one of the most powerful tools available when creating a change. Being held accountable can be the key to so many people meeting their goals! Some of us just need that person. I know when I began working out, I loved having a trainer because they kept me accountable for the work I was doing. High accountability reduces excuses. If you are someone who struggles with this in particular, hiring a professional is really going to help you.

If you are ready to turn your 2020 goals into full gear, I hope you will seriously consider hiring an expert! If your goal is not necessarily nutrition, remember that hiring an expert to help you is transferable across all your other goals. Consider it a short-term investment in a long-term change.

I hope you work hard in 2020 for what you want, and let great things happen for you!

Can Leaky Gut Cause Anxiety?

Do you have leaky gut? A lot of people turn to asking this question when they begin having seemingly “weird” symptoms for which they have no explanation. And actually, that makes sense, as leaky gut can explain some pretty mysterious health issues. It can also contribute to mood issues, including anxiety.

If you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, it may be worth looking into leaky gut – it could be impacting your mental health.

junk_food_leaky_gut

What is Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut is also known as increased intestinal permeability. It means that the intestinal wall has become porous or permeable, allowing bacteria, waste, and undigested food particles to pass through into the blood stream.

But how does this happen? Some foods – especially the very processed, refined, inflammatory foods, irritate the intestinal wall. When this irritation goes on for long enough, the lining of the intestine becomes spongy and penetrable.

This same effect is seen with gut dysbiosis (when the gut microbiome goes out of balance – not enough good or more bad than good bacteria is present). Interestingly, some studies have even linked gluten to intestinal permeability – however it is important to note that these were not human studies, and these results were never replicated in human trials.

leakygutsymptoms

What are the Symptoms of Leaky Gut?

Increased intestinal permeability can present with all sorts of symptoms including:

  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea, and bloating
  • Fatigue (in some cases extreme)
  • Pain and inflammation
  • Lack of attention, brain fog

How can you Heal a Leaky Gut?

If you suspect that you have a leaky gut, it’s worth investing the time into fixing. Here are some tips to help you get that leaky gut patched up.

Say Farewell to Refined, Processed Foods!

Highly refined, processed foods are really tough on your digestion. Our bodies don’t recognize this type of food, due to how much it’s been altered from it’s natural form. On top of that, they are usually high in sugar, which promotes the growth of bad bacteria. This type of food also typically lacks in fibre, which can promote constipation. Normally these foods are okay in moderation, but if you have leaky gut I recommend steering totally clear until you’re feeling better – at least 8 weeks.

Increase Collagen Intake

Collagen is actually a protein – a very efficient amino-acid builder. Collagen is found in your eyes, bones, skin, organs, and inside your digestive tract. It builds and maintains a healthy gut barrier!

Naturally protein-rich foods are higher in collagen. Bone broth is another great source. Nuts, seeds, beans, and soy are all high in the top 3 amino acids that make up the collagen protein. If you’re plant-based, pair them together to ensure you’re getting enough so that your body can make it’s own collagen.

Eat More Probiotic-rich Foods

Probiotics are healthy bacteria, and this bacteria is essential to a healthy gut! A healthy microbiome (balance of bacteria in the gut) is essential not just for the intestinal wall itself, but it also influences metabolism, immune function, mood, nutrient absorption, and more.

Although the underlying mechanisms are still being uncovered, scientists know that if you want to have a healthy, strong gut lining, healthy bacteria is key. An easy way to add more healthy bacteria to the gut is eating probiotic foods. Examples are things like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, miso, fermented vegetables, and sourdough.

healthy_digestive_food

Aside from the foods you can use to heal your gut, there is another tool you want to keep in mind as well: consistency. It’s important to stay consistent with your gut-healthy habits – if you waffle and waiver, it may prolong the healing process!

Leaky gut can’t cause anxiety, but it can be a contributing factor. Just remember: having a healthy gut has been shown to promote better mental health – whether you have intestinal permeability or not. You don’t have to wait until leaky gut becomes an issue – you can also be proactive. Limit refined foods, up your collagen intake, and enjoy probiotic rich foods regularly for a strong, healthy gut.

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30340384

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27339216

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5964481/

https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(01)90326-9/fulltext#s0135

Is the Keto Diet Healthy?

Some diets come and go, but keto seems to be sticking around. Although some people in the health community see it as a fad, there is much more to it. In fact, I don’t think that the keto diet is going anywhere. In this article you’ll find out exactly why as we explore the answer to this question: is the keto diet healthy?

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet, also called the keto diet, is a diet that essentially eliminates ( well, drastically reduces ) the amount of carbohydrates in ones diet. Typically this means under 50 grams (net) carbohydrates each day.

Our bodies rely on carbohydrates for glucose, which the body uses for energy. In the absence of this, the body will use ketones or stored fat. Your body essentially goes through a metabolic shift in which it goes from relying on carbohydrates for energy to instead being fat-fuelled. Once your body makes that metabolic shift (this can take up to 2 weeks), you are in ketosis. On a keto diet, 70-80% of your calories should come from fat.

What are the Benefits of going Keto?

Why would someone want to do the keto diet? There are actually a couple of main reasons why you might decide to try the ketogenic diet.

keto_scale

Weight Loss

Thinking of trying the keto diet to lose weight? The keto diet has been shown to be an effective tool for weight loss. On the keto diet, the body burns fat for fuel. This can include stored fat. It works well if you stick to the diet properly, and it’s relatively safe for most people.

Not only does it help with weight loss, but one study showed that those who lost weight on the keto diet also lowered their blood glucose levels. It is also thought that the satiating nature of a high fat diet also helps with weight loss as well.

keto_brain

Enhanced Brain Function

The keto diet may enhance brain function. One animal study showed that a ketogenic diet improved neurovascular function in mice. Given that the brain is made up of 60% fat, and that fat is an important component of the brain-vital myelin sheath, it’s no surprise that a high-fat diet could boost your brain health.

The keto diet may also be neuroprotective and improve cognitive performance. The studies are preliminary, but promising. This could translate to having less mental fatigue and better focus day-to-day.

The mechanisms behind why this happens is not yet fully understood. Because a high fat diet lowers insulin levels and regulates blood sugar levels, it’s common for individuals to report feeling as though they simply “think clearer”.

keto_stomach

Healthier Gut

The keto diet could be a way to improve your gut health. Mice who were put on the diet had healthier gut microbiome. After 3 weeks the mice showed a complete shift in their gut biome bacteria, both in number and in type. In general they has less diversity in bacteria, but they also had more healthy bacteria present in their gut as well.

 

What are the Side Effects of the Keto Diet?

There are a couple of things to take into consideration before you embark on the keto journey. As with any diet, there are benefits but there are also some downfalls.

keto_restriction

The Diet is Restrictive

This degree of restriction, in the long term, is difficult for most people. Although there are some great recipes for keto-friendly meals, you might have to give up some of your favourite foods. This includes high carbohydrate foods like potatoes, bananas, dates, oats, and more. For this reason, many people use it as a short-term weight loss strategy but don’t stick to it long term.

That being said, due to the restrictive nature of this diet, it also might not be suitable for some people with past eating disorder issues. If you have any concerns about this you should contact your personal health professional.

keto_quality

Quality Matters

One overlooked aspect of the keto diet is that quality really does matter. Because this diet relies heavily on protein (animal meat in the majority of cases) , the quality of that protein is important to focus on. High processed protein options like bacon and sandwich meats are not something to be relied on in the keto diet.

If you decide to go keto, keep in mind the quality of your fats and protein sources. Go for organic whenever possible. Opt for grass-fed beef if you can. Choose healthy fat sources like avocado, coconut oil, as well as good quality nuts and seeds. Don’t use this diet as an excuse to lower the quality of your food!

keto_flu

Keto Flu

The transition into ketosis can be tough. The process is often referred to as the “keto flu” because the symptoms can mimic the flu. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dizzines
  • Irritability
  • Brain Fog
  • Muscle Pain
  • Difficulty Sleeping

The symptoms experienced really vary individually. Symptoms can be mild or severe and usually last between 7-14 days. Think of it as a “withdrawal” from carbohydrates – the body reacts in a sort of state of shock while going through the metabolic shift required to be in ketosis.

keto_food

The Takeaway

The keto diet can help with weight loss, cognitive function, and may also improve your gut health. However, it is also restrictive, can be expensive, and also might be difficult to transition into.

Is the keto diet healthy? For those with whom the pros outweigh the cons, then it might be something worth trying. It is safe for most people.

Tons of people swear by it, but the truth is that you might not really know how well it suits you until you try it for yourself.

Ready to take the next step? Be sure to read my article on How to go Keto – The Right Way for some helpful tips!

 

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-25190-5
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20204773
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2633336/

 

What to do for Low Stomach Acid

Bloating, Gastrointestinal Distress, Fatigue – sound familiar? Your stomach issues may feel like a mystery, especially because they can be so difficult to diagnose. Having low stomach acid (hypochlorhydria) is a common issue that you may have never heard of, but if you’re having digestion issues it might be worth looking into to see if it might be the culprit.

You might already know that high stomach acid causes heartburn, but did you know that low stomach acid does too? In fact, a lot of people begin treating what they believe is high stomach acid production when it’s actually low acid production they are dealing with. How can you be sure? Here are some other symptoms of low stomach acid:

Symptoms of Low Stomach Acid

  • Indigestion
  • Burping
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Protein and Iron Deficiency
  • Fatigue
  • Recurring ulcers
lsa_tummyache

Having trouble digesting animal protein, especially red meat, is an indicator that you have low stomach acid. This is because protein is broken down primarily in the stomach and protein digestion relies heavily on stomach acid to be broken down.

How can you test for Low Stomach Acid?

There are more concrete ways to test for low stomach acid. This includes the Gastric Acid Secretion Test, The Baking Soda Stomach Acid Test, and the Betaine HCL Challenge test. The Betaine HCL is a commonly used and also easy one to do at home. All you need is a Betaine HCL supplement. In the middle of a high protein meal, take one dose of the HCL.

If you soon feel a burning sensation (heartburn) or a heavy feeling in your chest, that is an indication that you have adequate stomach acid levels. If you notice no changes and your food digests well, it indicates that you have low stomach acid.

lsa_ACV

What To Do About Low Stomach Acid

Start Off Slow. Eat animal protein and other high protein foods in moderate amounts. Simply put: go easy on the 20 oz steaks. If animal protein is a part of your diet, work yourself up to your desired portions over time as you build up more stomach acid.

Eat or Drink Apple Cider Vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar promotes healthy stomach acid production. You can drink it diluted in water, or you can add it to a salad as part of the dressing.

Eat Ginger. Ginger is soothing to the digestive system and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Add it to your dishes, or drink it grated in some hot water.

Eliminate Processed Foods. Processed foods can be hard on your stomach and promote inflammation, aggravating your stomach. Eating whole foods, which are easily recognizable to your stomach, are easier to break down. Go easy on your stomach and stick to whole foods while you get your stomach acid levels back up, and then you can decide to proceed onto processed foods in moderation.

No Beverages During Meals. Save your beverage – even water – for after your meals. A lot of liquid during your meals can dilute your gastric juices. Diluting your stomach acid will lead you to have a tougher time digesting your food.

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Those 5 tips, especially in combination, will help you build up healthy stomach acid levels again. Ensuring that you have healthy stomach acid levels will help you with digestion and uptake of nutrients, which is important in your wellbeing overall.

Sources
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2543192
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1494327
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27574495

5 Different Ways to Use Kimchi

So you want to improve your gut health, but you need a practical way to go about it. I get it. A lot of the time we are given advice telling us where we need to go, but hardly ever telling us how to get there. When it comes to health, I prefer to start with food (duh!).

Getting inspired through recipes helps me and my clients in the journey towards the actual goal. If you care about your gut health and want some practical tips on improving it, read this post to find out how you can include probiotic-rich kimchi at any time of day.

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What is Kimchi?

Kimchi is a Korean staple made from salted and fermented cabbage. Typical additions include gochugaru (Korean red pepper), ginger, garlic, scallions, and Korean radishes. The fermentation process provides kimchi with amazing gut-supportive benefits. It is high in probiotics, and therefore supports the health of the gastrointestinal system.

The health of our immune system, the nervous system, the immune system and more relies on the health of our gastrointestinal system. Without proper gut health, we are impaired in absorbing nutrients and deriving from food all that we need to. That’s why it’s a great idea to start including probiotic-rich foods like kimchi.

When purchasing, be sure to buy kimchi that needs to be refrigerated. This will be the fresh, high probiotic, and better quality stuff. Find it at your local Asian market, grocer, or health food store.

5 Different Ways to Use Kimchi

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Serve it for Breakfast with Eggs

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse, but lets face it, sometimes they can be a little bland. Adding kimchi provides a kick without having to put in too much effort. If you’re plant-based, try making a tofu scramble and adding kimchi. In both cases, you don’t want to cook the kimchi, as this can compromise the probiotic content. Just add it on when you are ready to serve. You’ll be setting up yourself up for a gut-healthy day.

Add it to Any Salad

The older I get the more I realize how amazing salads really are – I mean, it’s just a bowl of (usually cold) stuff you like all mixed together. Adding kimchi is easy, and with any asian inspired salad it will fit right in. Try it with my Edamame and Greens Salad, or just add it to some lettuce, cucumber, protein and be done with it!

Enhance your Bowl of Soup

Kimchi has a powerful flavour that can bring out the best in any soup. Just a reminder: you don’t want to boil the kimchi with your soup, but just add it right before serving. Cooking the kimchi on high heat can reduce the probiotic content.

kimchisoup

Add it to a Charcuterie Board or Abundance Platter

Abundance Platters and Charcuterie Boards have quickly become a favourite way to feed guests, probably because they are so easy and versatile to put together. But I know sometimes, it’s easy to get to snacking and overdo it. Adding kimchi will help support your guts ability to break down and process what’s been eaten. Consider adding a bit to your next party platter – even if it’s a party for one.

Top it on your Tacos

I love Tex-Mex tacos as much as the next person, but sometimes it’s nice to switch it up. Asian style tacos with a soft tortilla or lettuce base are a great vessel for pretty much anything you can imagine. Add in Korean beef, Sweet Garlic Soy Tofu, shredded carrots, cucumber, rice, or anything else you can imagine. Top with kimchi, and you’ve got something pretty magnificent for a meal.

 

Now you have quite a few good ideas of how to use kimchi, and I hope you will take them and run. Starting in your gut is a great way to begin improving your health overall, and adding kimchi into your food routine gives you an easy way to accomplish that.

Have you tried kimchi? Would you use it in any of the ways I’ve suggested? Let me know in the comments below.

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January Reset

I am so so happy to introduce the newest addition to programs at Standing Strong Wellness!

When I was coming up with the Reset program, the motto I kept in mind was “health for everyone”. Years ago I would have loved to work with someone educated in nutrition, but I could never afford it.

I was determined to come up with a practical solution that worked for everyone, no matter what their budget or personal diet preferences (vegan, celiac, etc…).

Thus, the Reset Program was born! It’s affordable, practical, easy to follow, and effective! Health – for everyone.

I’m so proud of this program, and I’m excited to start January alongside all my fellow Strong Babes!

Sad you missed it? Don’t worry, we’ll be doing this program quarterly! Every 3 months we’re going to reevaluate, reassess, and reset!

It’s gonna be a great way to start off 2019!

Want to follow my January Reset journey? Follow me on Instagram @standingstrongwellness !

Later babes!

What’s the Difference Between Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes?

It makes me so excited to see people getting interested in gut health. Why? Because the health of your gut is linked to the health of all your other body systems – including your nervous system. And let’s face it: with all the refined convenience foods we’ve gotten used to eating, our digestive systems have become a bit out of whack. Now it’s time to get them back on track!

Aside from making diet changes, supplementation is one of the best ways to improve your gut health. But with all the information out there different supplements it’s easy to get confused. In this article we are going to break down the two main gut-helping supplements: probiotics and digestive enzymes. When it comes down to it, they are really different, but don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out which one is right for you.

probiotics

Probiotics

Probiotics are essentially “good” bacteria. And if right now you’re thinking “ew, why would I want to eat bacteria????”, let me explain. Your gut is home to hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Many of these play a very important role in digestion, supporting the immune system, and even synthesizing certain vitamins.

However, there are also some not-so-good ones. Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can lead to digestive issues like bloating, constipation, gas, and acid reflux. Some people also experience fatigue. Researchers now also believe that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can affects your mood, via the gut-brain axis.

It is really important in your gut microbiome that the good bacteria outweigh the bad. You can increase the amount of good bacteria by drinking and eating more fermented foods, but of course supplementation is always an option too.

How do you know if you need probiotics? 

If you have digestive issues after you eat, and it seems to not matter what you eat, probiotics might help. However, a diet change is also really important when it comes to helping your gut. You should be eating lots of fiber, drinking tons of water, and also cutting down on refined foods and foods high in processed sugar. The bad bacteria in your gut feed off of these kinds of food, so cutting those foods out while adding in good bacteria to crowd them out is a smart strategy.

probiotics (1)

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are just that – enzymes. When you eat different macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), your pancreas releases different enzymes to help with digestion. In fact, it has different enzymes for each macronutrient. For example, amylase helps digest carbohydrates.

How do you know if you need digestive enzymes?

A poor diet, or a diet with a lot of a caffeine and alcohol, can decrease the amount of enzymes made by your pancreas over time. Digestive enzyme production can also simply decrease with age. You shouldn’t feel like there is a “rock in your stomach” after you eat! If your stomach feels heavy and uncomfortable after a meal, digestive enzymes are worth trying.

Most enzymes on the market will come with enzymes to digest all 3 macronutrients. You can buy enzymes that will work for just one type. For instance, if you know that fat is what you struggle to digest you can find digestive lipase on it’s own. However most people by a complex that has enzymes for carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

vitamins

Make sure to buy quality products when you are looking at supplements. Yes, they typically cost more – but they are also worth the money. With generic brands, you might as well throw it away.

If you are unsure about adding new supplements to your wellness routine, don’t forget to consult with your health professional first to make sure they are right for you. It is good to ensure that you won’t have any contraindications with your other medications.

That being said, both probiotics and digestive enzymes are completely safe to use. And both can help you get your gut to optimal health –  especially when used together. If gut health is your priority, give them a try.

Are you currently taking probiotics or digestive enzymes? How have they helped you? I would love to hear your feedback below! 

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