All posts filed under: Wellness

Low Carb Confusion

There is so much confusion about low carb diets. The choice is individual. See how they compare, without the hype.

The Skinny on Oils

There is so much information on cooking oil out there, and so much confusion! On my coaching boards we discuss this a LOT, mostly because restaurants STILL think they are smart cooking with VEGETABLE oil. NO! Do NOT use canola, corn or soy! They are: not heart healthy they do NOT help your cholesterol they CAUSE inflammation they are NOT good for high heat cooking! So, with that in mind, what oils SHOULD you use? Here’s the lowdown, and it is pretty simple. The first question you should ask yourself is what are you using it for? If you are heating it to saute or roast, then only certain oils are safe. Many “good oils” degrade when heated, so you need to stay away from them. When I teach my “Food as First Medicine” class, I use this great graphic from The Academy of Culinary Nutrition: (original here) One caveat I would add: if you use butter or ghee, use only organic PASTURE RAISED butter or ghee. It is much healthier nutrition wise. For our …

Protein Labels 101

Organic vs. Natural vs. Free Range vs. Grass Fed: Making sense of labels on your protein choices. Natural“Natural” can be very misleading. The USDA defines a natural product as one that contains “no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed.” Processing must not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a specific explanation such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed.” So, based on this definition, ALL fresh, raw meat qualifies as natural. Confusing? Absolutely. This term does not require that animals be raised in sufficient open space or indicate that antibiotics have been used prudently. It does not bar growth hormones. It does not mean organic. The term can mislead consumers to believe that a product is healthier and more humane than it is. OrganicFood labeled organic must be third-party certified to meet the USDA’s criteria. Organic foods cannot be irradiated, genetically modified or grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals or sewage sludge. Organic meat and poultry cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics (sick animals must be treated, but cannot be …

Abuse has many faces…

I hated tickling.  As a kid both my sister and I were tickled by my father whenever he wanted to do it.  And as small children, we realized we HAD NO CONTROL.  At first, for maybe 10 seconds, it was funny, then it became either terrifying or painful. And we had no say.  And here’s the important thing:  Our father, ANY father or grandfather can read our signals.  He could clearly see we were uncomfortable, but he ignored that. Intentionally. And we forget that these fathers and grandfathers need to understand (and be called out) that this is ABUSIVE. And like this young mother, we need to get strong in the face of family “oh it’s no big deal” and stand our ground. Doing something to another person’s body against their will is NOT OKAY.  This young mother and writer does an amazing job here of articulating this boundary.  I only wish I had had a mother who would have stood up for me this way.  Sadly, my mother was much like hers.  Complicit in …

Why you should know your reverse T3

Read this and ensure your thyroid function get evaluated properly.

Organic on the Cheap

So, a lot of people say to me “I just can’t afford organic”.  Besides the rationale I’ve already given in prior posts, (how much do you spend to go out to dinner?  movies? take out?  Why would you balk at spending that same amount on your food, the one thing that can energize and heal you?) here’s a source where you can get stock pantry items CHEAP, shipped right to your house, and save $$ in the process.  Thrive Market is the organic version of Amazon Pantry, and there are lots of other reasons to support it, and no relation to my blog, btw… (already a member?  see bottom of page to get a free maple syrup!) Thrive Market is the first socially conscious online marketplace offering natural/organic products at wholesale prices. For less than $5 a month ($59.95 annually), members can shop 4,000 of the highest quality food, supplements, home, personal care, and beauty products from more than 400 of the best brands on the market, all delivered straight to their doors at 25-50% …

Update on Fats: 2017

Since I first posted this in 2013, we’ve gotten even more research, especially about saturated fats, and the news is good:  they help decrease heart disease and they truly help inflammation. Here is the latest: You need fats.  Do NOT try and lose weight by turning to low fat options.  Guess what they trade for fat so that the product tastes ok?  SUGAR = CARBS.  The trade off is that you’re hungry in an hour!  Why?  Your insulin just spiked.   How many times have you eaten a meal only to feel hungry in an hour or two?  Fat gives us satiety, the feeling of “I’ve had enought to eat”.  So, fat is your FRIEND, especially if you want to lose weight.  Here’s simple guidelines for fat consumption.  Did you know you don’t absorb certain vitamins without fat?  Vitamins A, D, E and K are considered “fat soluble” and are absorbed MUCH better when paired with fat. List of “Good” Fats: vary where they come from, add them to your meals, and find you’ll stay …

The Essence of Functional Medicine

Because I am a nurse, I know a lot of people in the medical community and as they learn my story and I get healthier, I’ve often been asked what functional medicine is. This image below sums up completely what a patient’s experience with functional medicine is like: Patients have evolved since the 1950s and they’re much more informed and want to participate in their care compared to decades ago. They often want to know why they have whatever illness it is they have. Unfortunately  during those same decades, conventional medicine became more specialized, and, at least where primary care is concerned, it took a turn away from what was important: seeing the entire person and trying to figure out how the symptoms come together and solve a puzzle. Don’t misunderstand me — patients are being treated more efficiently and quicker than ever before, the problem is that chronic illness is exploding in a way that we’ve never seen in history.  So, despite having better drugs and more efficient technology, we are getting sicker faster …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 8

Condiment Caution! It may seem negligible, but ketchup can sabotage you!  Hiding behind it’s pretty red “I’m a vegetable” mask is actually a food that has a fair number of carbs.  Let’s look at condiments, some of the common ones.  Everybody knows jam and jelly have sugar, so I won’t address those.  Just the usual common condiments we eat every day with food. I did NOT use the same measurement for each one, for obvious reasons.  You would probably not eat 3 TBS. of mustard, but you could easily have that much mayo with tuna salad, or dipping french fries in either ketchup or mayo (yes, some people prefer mayo to ketchup on fries!). So, here they are.  Now, the calories are important, but not NEARLY as important as what happens to your blood sugar and insulin levels after you eat anything.  Yes, calories matter, but carbs are the driver behind the steering wheel of your insulin response.  More carbs, more insulin.  More insulin, more fat storage, more hunger.  In order to break the cycle, …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 6

T2T Restaurant Carb Hacks. It’s not as hard as you think to go low carb at a restaurant.  Here are some of my favorite tricks to stay low carb and still enjoy yourself: I want to say something first.  If you eat out once a year, or it’s your birthday, use the 90/10 rule:  decide when you’re going to have that 10% “blow my rules” meal, and then ENJOY it!  If you order something and then feel guilty about eating it, what’s the point?  For the rest of the time, use these hacks: Look for entrees that offer a simple fish, meat, or poultry option.  Stay away from pasta and things with sauces that may contain cornstarch, flour, sugar, or other thickening agents. When rice or potatoes are served, ask for two servings of the vegetable instead. Order a salad with dinner, and specify you want a dressing without sugar.  Oil and vinegar are usually available, and many restaurants make their own vinaigrettes, you just have to be assertive and ask what is in it.  …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 5

Today is a very important one.  I’m not posting these in order, and maybe this should be considered #1.  EAT MORE FIBER.  Sounds simple, but here’s a trick that can help you get healthier, thinner, and lower your cancer risk.  A win/win! The Role of Fiber in Weight Loss, Heart Disease and Diabetes: Dr. Dennis Burkitt, an English physician, studied the differences between indigenous African bushmen and western people like you and me.  The bushmen seemed to be free of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.  They ate a ton of fiber every single day.  In fact, the bushman had a stool weight of 2 pounds and the westernized men had a stool weight of only 4 ounces (yes, 87.5% smaller!).  Today, the average American eats about 8 grams of fiber a day. But the average hunter and gatherer ate 100 grams from a raw whole foods diet (roots, berries, leaves and plant foods). And the fiber is what helped them stay much healthier than the average American today. Why is fiber so great? Fiber …

10 Days, 10 Ways to Lower Carbs, Day 4

This one is simple once you see it in facts.  Stop drinking ALL juice.  Here’s why: Let’s take something you’d never eat on a diet.  How about a “fun size” snickers bar?  That’s clearly in the “no-no” zone, right?  Well, what if I told you that when it comes to blood sugar, insulin, and weight gain, orange juice is worse?  Would you be incredulous?  Here are the facts, based on TWO tiny snickers vs. 1 cup of OJ: So, the calories are a bit higher in the snickers bars.  But, although nutrient devoid (and that’s another post), they have less sugars than the OJ!  Now, this does not mean I want you to go out and eat snickers, but it does mean your use of juice should be negligible to NONE.  These calories go straight into your bloodstream, as there is no fiber in the juice to slow digestion.  Juice is not an item you want in your food plan at all.  In case you’d like more information, all the juices are listed here.  I …