What is MCT Oil?

Fat is freakin’ awesome. Recent developments in science have been showing that fat doesn’t live up to it’s former bad rep, and that in reality a high fat diet actually has a lot of benefits. However, not all fats are created equal, and some are better for you than others. MCT oil is generally one of the good ones, and if you’re interested in learning about it, you came to the right place. In this post we’ll be covering all the bases about MCT oil: what it is, why it’s great, and how you should take it.

 

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What is MCT Oil?

MCT actually stands for medium-chain triglycerides. Medium-chain triglycerides are fat chains that are medium length, having less carbon-chains than long-chain triglycerides. MCTs are found in highest concentration in coconut oil, so mct oil is typically derived from this source through a process called fractionation.

How Should I Take MCT Oil?

As MCTs are a fat product, and as such they are often sold in liquid form. They can be found at most supplement and health food stores, and even some grocers are beginning to carry it as well. There are also some MCT powders sold on the market, known for dissolving better, however keep in mind that these powders are actually sprayed and encapsulated forms of mct oil, so it is not as pure as the oil form.

In liquid or powder form MCT is easily added to hot beverages like coffee and tea, or soups and smoothies. You could also simply add the MCT onto your plate on top of your food as well, although in this case the texture would be much more prevalent.

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What are the Benefits of MCT oil?

Energy Source In Ketosis

A lot of people are drawn to using MCT oil to supplement the fat in their high-fat keto diet. What makes MCT oil an especially good energy source for those in ketosis is that MCTs break down faster than their aforementioned long-chain counterparts. Because people in ketosis rely on fat for fuel, MCT essentially provides that quick energy source.

Help You Feel Satiated 

Fat is the slowest digesting macronutrient. When fat is added to any meal, it slows down the digest rate, leading to a feeling of being satiated or full for longer periods of time. If you have a fast metabolism, find yourself constantly hungry, or are prone to snacking then supplementing with MCT might be helpful for you.

Help to Maintain Energy Levels

One study also found that MCT consumption was better at regulating insulin response, compared to LCT consumption. Moderate blood sugar levels typically translates to more sustained energy levels throughout the day. If you find yourself crashing after a meal, MCT might be something helpful to add to help keep you from getting fatigued during the day.

Effective in Working Against Alzheimer’s Disease 

Alzheimer’s is gaining a reputation as “type 3 diabetes”. We now know that Alzheimer’s has a deep connection with brain glucose and the body’s inability to uptake it in the same way it used to. But there’s a catch: you have to be in a ketogenic state. Being in ketosis allows your brain to switch from using glucose as fuel to using ketones, thus providing your brain with an effective and more easily accessible energy source.

More studies are currently being conducted to study the relationship between MCT oil and autism, heart disease, and mood – just to name a few.

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As it currently stands, those who would benefit the most from MCT consumption would be those who are fat-fuelled: that is, people on the ketogenic diet. This is because they can take advantage of this fast-digesting fat as a fuel source for both body and brain, as well as gain all of the other benefits it has to offer as well in terms of energy and satiation.

If you’re on the keto diet or struggling with hunger and low energy, MCT might be worth trying. If MCT supplementation is out of your budget, go for regular coconut oil, as it still has a really high concentration (50%!) of MCTs.

As always leave any questions or comments for us below – we’re curious to know what you think about MCT oil!

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References

  1. https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874191/
  3. https://ketosource.co.uk/mct-powder/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-101#section3
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882694/
  7. https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nyas.12999
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1474442217304088

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

You know that what you eat is important, but did you know that when you eat is important too? As increased interest in fasting is infiltrating modern society because people are really curious about the benefits. If that includes you, then you came to the right place. This article is discussing just that: the benefits of fasting.

What is Fasting?

Fasting is abstaining from any food or drink, excluding water. Fasting has been used in religious contexts for many years and was also used by ancient healers to improve a variety of conditions.

Intermittent Fasting is a specific type of fasting in which you cycle between specific periods of eating and fasting consistently. For example, some people fast for 16 hours each day. This means that in every day there is an 8 hour window in which they eat – like between 10-6 or 11-7 throughout the day.

The 5:2 diet is another popular version in which an individual fasts for 2 days out of the week. These days would not be back to back, and although the person would be fasting they could still consume about 500 calories or less each “fasted” day.

There are other variations aside from the two named in this article (the warrior diet, alternate day fasting, 16/8 fasting to name a few). Most people who give fasting a shot will try out different patterns to figure out which one works best for them.

Why Should You Fast?

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Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss for a couple of reasons. Firstly, fasting can raise your energy expenditure, which basically means that it raises your metabolic rate leading to an increased amount of calories being burned.

Individuals who practice intermittent fasting also tend to eat less calories overall, potentially leading to a calorie deficit and leading to weight loss. This makes sense in that if you only have a specific window in which you can eat, it can be hard to continue eating the same calories you would throughout a normal day (2).

Overall, there is evidence to support that fasting is an effective strategy in losing weight (3). More studies are still being done to demonstrate how intermittent fasting compares to other diet interventions.

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Increase Human Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, is responsible for regulating body composition. It stimulates cell reproduction and growth. HGH has been shown to increase naturally in humans during a fasted state (4).

Why would we want an increase in HGH? Well increased human growth hormone levels increases protein synthesis and also helps the body utilize fat storage (5). This is a great advantage for those working towards a lean, toned look. It’s also an advantage in building muscle due to the enhanced protein synthesis it provides.

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Increase Your Lifespan

This is a new area of interest when it comes to the benefits of fasting, but possibly the most fascinating. Although studies are minimal so far, animal studies have indicated that fasting can prolong lifespan. This remains true even when calories have not been reduced overall. The mechanisms behind this phenomenon are not yet fully understood. Scientists hope to move forward with more mammal studies to figure out how and why fasting may slow the aging process (6).

Fasting has great potential benefits, but it also might not be suitable for everyone. Talk to your health practitioner if you have any concerns before trying a fast of any kind. Those who struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food may find that the restriction involved is not suitable for them.

But for those interested in fasting and it’s benefits for weight loss, muscle growth, and aging it might be worth giving a shot. Not only is it easy to follow, but there are a multitude of ways that it can be done. If optimizing overall health is your goal and your willing to try something new, fasting might be for you.

Read about the benefits of acute fasting for anxiety here.

Have you tried fasting, or would you? Let me know in the comments below!

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References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10837292
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29951594
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29419624
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC329619/
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/growth-hormone-athletic-performance-and-aging
  6. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/11/intermittent-fasting-may-be-center-of-increasing-lifespan/

What is Moon Milk?

Any restless sleepers out there? I am not one to have any trouble staying asleep – but falling asleep on the other hand, well that’s a whole different story.

When I had those nights as a child, my mum would always encourage me to heat up a cup of warm milk and sip on it. There is something about warm milk that is always so comforting. Of course, any warm beverage can make you feel warm and cozy inside – but warm milk brings me back to those childhood nights. I still love drinking warm milk before bed to this day.

However, long gone are the days of drinking cows milk. Now, it’s usually an unsweetened cashew or when I’m feeling adventurous, an almond hazelnut blend. And being the health enthusiast that I am, I love putting a delicious, nutritious twist on it.

That’s what Moon Milk really is. A health-infused update of that warm milk I always had as a child. It’s a warm hug. It’s nurturing. And it’s so easy to make.

How do you make Moon Milk?  Take your favourite nut milk and add your favourite non-caffienated tea, spices, and other creative (non-stimulating!) ingredients – warm on the stovetop – and you’ve got your very own Moon Milk.

I’ve seen all sorts of recipes out there – and these add-ins are my favorites:

  • Cherry Juice – naturally high in melatonin, which helps reset your sleep cycle
  • Turmeric – contains circumin, a potent anti-inflammatory 
  • Cinnamon – helps stabilize blood sugar
  • Ashwaghanda –  adaptogen that supports balanced cortisol levels 
  • Ginger – aids digestion
  • Lavender Tea – promotes relaxation
  • Black Pepper – helps with absorption 

Those are just a few of the options – but if you are going to make Moon Milk, why not dream up your own blend? It’s easy, and all you need are a few simple ingredients.

If following a recipe is more your thing, keep reading – I’m going to share with you my own personal Moon Milk blend. Only 3 ingredients needed!

Chamomile Moon Milk Recipe: 

Ingredients: 

  • Cashew milk (unsweetened)
  • Chamomile Vanilla Tea* – promotes relaxation
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg – used for sleep and digestive support in Ayurveda

Directions: In a small stove top pot, add 2.5 cups of your favorite nut milk. Add chamomile vanilla tea, and sprinkle in nutmeg. Let it simmer on low-medium for about ten minutes. We want this warmed, not burning hot! After ten minutes, whisk to froth. Pour into a cup and enjoy. Rest easy.

*You could go with straight chamomile, but chamomile vanilla is on a whole ‘nother level! 

The best part about this recipe is that you probably have the ingredients on hand already – and you can easily swap out the chamomile tea for your favorite caffeine free blend.

What do you think of this warm milk for grownups with a nutritious twist?

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Strong Babe Summer Guide Launch

It’s a day to celebrate, babes!

The Strong Babe Summer Guide is officially available on Standing Strong Wellness!

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After months of writing, rewriting, and recipe testing I have to say I couldn’t be more excited to share the finished product with you all.

The Strong Babe Summer Guide is so different from any other guide out there – because I wanted to bring you something different. That’s why instead of focusing on body ideals and weight loss, this guide is about feeling healthy, strong, and alive.

If you want to feel your best and stay body positive this summer, click here to read more…

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Why switch from coffee to matcha?

I did something just over one week ago I never ever thought I would do. I switched from coffee to matcha. Not fully – but hear me out. Every afternoon, I’m used to cozying up with yet another (usually 3rd) cup of coffee for the day.

I, Jen Standing, lifetime coffee lover and 3 pm Starbucks Americano FIEND gave it up.

It’s said that old habits die hard, but the truth is that they are simply more easily replaced than eliminated altogether. With coffee out, I needed to bring something in. I’ve seen various beverages that try to be coffee – different teas and cacao mixtures – but all left me a little broken hearted because I knew it wouldn’t feel like coffee to me.

So I decided to go in a completely different direction. If I was gonna give up my afternoon coffee, I needed something that was going to provide me with a more natural boost, and hopefully some other benefits as well.

Matcha was the perfect fit. Not only is there about half the amount of caffeine you’d find in a cup of coffee, but there are some real benefits too.

Matcha is also an adaptogen – and if you’ve been here before you know that I’m all about those these days! Adaptogens help relax your adrenals and balance cortisol levels. That, truly, is exactly what I need. The fact that it also supports the immune system, is a potent antioxidant, promotes relaxation and supports metabolism are all great bonuses.

Are you an avid coffee lover? What do you think of matcha?

Let me know in the comments below! Later babes.

Forget #FOODINSPO : How to be Healthy Without the Hype

Okay, yes – I’m as guilty as the rest of them!

Over the past few years I have been putting in a lot of hard work to make aesthetically pleasing meals. This started pre-instagram, to be fair, because I’ve always been a believer that you eat with your eyes first. And I love making beautiful food.

But it’s gotten way out of control. 

If you are following some #foodinspo accounts on Instagram, then you know that food photography is seriously an art. And all you need is a little time (but usually a lot) and, at the very least, a phone with a decent camera.

I do my best to keep up on Standing Strong Wellness but I have to tell you, the task has gotten daunting! These amazing foodies are taking pictures of their meals that seriously blow my mind. And I’m over here like, do I even food photograph?!? I mean, I eat pretty healthy, but somehow… it doesn’t look like THAT.

And by THAT I mean the perfect amalgamation of plant-based foods, surrounded by plants, flowers, a muted background and essential natural lighting.

Ugh can I just eat already

 

No, it definitely doesn’t always look like that.

I actually appreciate the effort that goes behind these pictures, because to some degree I know first-hand the effort that goes into them. And a serious applaud to those whose skill far outweighs my own!

In the age of social media I think it’s easy to forget that your food doesn’t have to look like it’s straight out a magazine (or influencer’s feed) to be healthy.

It’s okay to have your steamed carrots, even if it looks like a steaming pile of orange mush, after a long day of work. You don’t have to make a show of it to be healthy. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically pleasing. Heck, your ingredient doesn’t even have to match a colour in the rainbow! (Beloved tofu, I’m talking to you!).

But I do have a point to make in this post, and I don’t want to keep you waiting. So here it is, I’m gonna lay it out for you –

How to be healthy without the HYPE:

  • Understand your food can be nutritious AND ugly

I know this to be true from the many times I’ve attempted to photograph a shepard’s pie. I’ve gone all out to put my own spin on it, subbing veggie meat and adding sweet potato on top, you know, to substitute the regular beige stuff. And let me tell you: it’s ugly as hell. It’s nutritious and delicious, but NO ONE on my Instagram feed wants to see that.

And if they did, I would have waaaaay more content.

In summary, just as Instagram itself can be serious Life Porn, the #foodinspo on Instagram can lead to some unreal expectations as well. Don’t worry about your nutritiously yummy food being pretty. As long as it makes you feel awesome, it’s all good.

Are you guys guilty of idolizing or posting some serious #healthyfoodporn ?

Let me know!

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NEW EBOOK! Easy Peasy Meal Prep Guide

Special Announcement!

I’m very excited to share with you guys my newest ebook!

EPCover

 

This is something that I get asked about almost weekly – Meal Prep.

So many people make it too complicated – or too boring – or it just simply takes too long!

This ebook is simply a guide to help ease your meal prep struggles – it’s simple, works for any diet, and 100% free!

 

Check it out and download it here , and let me know what you think!

 

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Kombucha is the New Pop

I’m like sooooo over pop RN.

No really, this year I’ve done a serious upgrade.

I used to be in love (semi-serious relationship) with coke zero. Zero calories, but doesn’t taste like hairspray like it’s sibling, Diet Coke.

Then, I got myself some knowledge and realized that calories are not the end-all be-all of health and nutrition… and all of the bad stuff in my coke zero was probably going to outweigh any good.

You see, most pop is really just fizzy sugar water. It rots your teeth, contributes to inflammation, and messes with your blood sugar. This we all know. Most diet pop, I realize now, is fizzy sugar-alternative water that rots your teeth, contributes to inflammation, and messes with your blood sugar.

Coke Zero is one of the worst offenders, because it not only had all of those qualities, but it also contains asking aspartame, which is a neurotoxin (a fancy word for saying it kills your brain).

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Last year I thought to myself “I’ve had it!”, and I set my standards higher. I wanted a tasty, fizzy beverage that was also going to be good for me. Is that too much to ask?

Turns out, no.

Kombucha has gained wild popularity over the last couple of years, with companies both local and international popping up all over the place. Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that is naturally fizzy. It aids in digestion, elimination, and detoxification.

How? Well it contains strains of healthy bacteria that can help rebalance your gut flora. Repopulating your gut with healthy bacteria, and crowding out the bad stuff, can aid in elimination. And lastly, the antioxidants found in kombucha can be liver protective, thereby aiding in detoxification.

It also tastes darn good, although I will say that some brands have a stronger taste than others, I will admit that I actually enjoy the more potent ones. Most brands do a classic ginger, which is always a favourite. Other great ones I’ve tried include Hibiscus Rose Hips by Rise Kombucha, Trilogy by GTS Kombucha, and Hard Lime by Wild Tea Kombucha.

Are you guys into kombucha? What are your favourites?

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