Get Moving for Your Mood

Our happiness is predetermined ~ 50% by genes. This leaves us with a huge opportunity to take action to smile, or want to smile, more often. Overall our brain is like a muscle, the more we influence happiness, the more likely or more easily it can be to attain. You see, happiness is part of a chemical process of neurons and dopamine receptors. If we don’t exercise doing things that enlighten our mood, those receptors can decrease with time and age.

Thankfully here we can hit 2 birds with one stone here! Aerobic exercise is one of the best ways to improve mood. Not only can we look at activity for fitness, heart health, and weight loss, but overall we can improve our happiness and mental health too.

Therefore, maybe weight loss should move to way wayside, and overall mental and physical health should be capitalized? Not a bad idea and research proves that focusing on health, in general, is better and more productive than focusing on losing weight.

As someone with diabetes, exercise impacts my blood sugar control, but that doesn’t hold me back from doing interval training, yoga and heavy lifting weekly. Also, I asked a few friends from “Females with Type 1 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetic Athletes Group, DMs Supporting DMs,” Facebook communities what their activity looks like, and this is what they had to share:

I have played soccer before and after my diagnosis, and crossfit 5-6 times per week. Crossfit keeps my blood sugar more level than soccer ever did! The most significant differences that I notice are overnight readings. My insulin sensitivity is very manageable as I am more aware working out… When I am not active or in the past when I have not been working out, it was much harder to notice my insulin sensitivities! Being active and staying fit has changed my life incredibly! My diabetes is pure motivation to get to the gym when I can hardly stand to do anything that day! It has really pushed me to have the desire to see within range blood sugar numbers and I know that being active is the only way I will accomplish that. Type 1 diabetes using the Medtronic 530g! Diagnosed for 10 years and 7 months! – Katelyn Partridge 

I start every day with a 2-mile walk with my dog. Then after working 8 hours depending on the night I play racquetball, tennis, do Zumba or yoga. In the winter I ski on the weekends. In the spring and summer, I do distance cycling. Exercise has helped me lose weight, maintain decent blood sugar control and it makes me more sensitive to insulin. Besides that it makes me feel good. Omnipod pump and a Dexcom. Type 1, dxed May 1975. – Clare T. Fishman 

I’ve been t1 for 24 years and got a Dexcom 2.5 years ago. It really helps with hiking. You can see a drop coming before it happens and eat some glucose to maintain nice flat lines. – Kate Sullivan 

I was a competitive dancer most of my youth and started really working out again two years ago. It changed my life and I started to feel strong and empowered again—my insulin needs dropped from 75 units a day to 45 units a day and I’ve been on a pump for 14 years…as I realized I could workout with diabetes as I had a fear that it would hold me back I found a passion in running and have now completed 5ks, 10ks and working towards my first half marathon this spring! I realized when I believe in myself, I can do anything I set my mind to. Diagnosed with Type 1 on st patty’s day 1997. – Amanda Jolene Smith 

Grew up racing BMX and mountain bikes nationally, competed in fitness competitions for a few years and now do CrossFit 4-5 times a week and stay active with my kids! Competing and exercising with diabetes can be tricky, but if you watch your patterns closely, with trial and error you can figure it out. Building muscle and staying consistent has been the best for me with managing diabetes! Also, this was crucial for two heathy pregnancies with diabetes too! Type 1 for 25 years since age 14, currently on Medtronic pump and CGM. – Allison Sigler MacKenzie 

I make it a point to exercise at the gym at least 3 (but I shoot for 5) days a week, with “active rest days” the rest of the week. Anything more than a gentle walk means I have to take extra insulin, but it’s totally worth it. Besides the benefits to my physical health, I dervive huge mental health benefits, too. When living with a chronic disease, we have to take every opportunity we can to feel good about ourselves, and to feel strong. This is how I keep my head up, and keep going on. I’m looking forward to rocking the NEXT 31+ years, whether they find a cure, or not. I got this! T1 for 31 years (pump/CGM), and active for 2 years… – Dana Coltrinari Burke 

I run 5-8 miles almost every day. On days I don’t run, my numbers are all over the place. I also do yoga and stretching almost everyday. The mental health benefits from the endorphin release and clearing of my mind is equally as important in managing this disease. Diagnosed 3.5 years ago, at age 51. I use both the Omnipod and a CGM. – Stacey Boehrer 

I mostly run, 3-5 days a week. Running has helped me reduce the amount of insulin I need to take and makes me more fit, which in the long run will add years to my life. I was diagnosed at age 5, 33 years ago. I use an Omnipod pump and Dexcom G5 CGM. – Matt Barnett  

“Control diabetes. Don’t let it control you” I had amazing parents who went through training and extreme patience when they first had to give me insulin and figure out the diet. We were an active family already so it was a little easier. Its crucial to have the support of your family and friends especially if newly diagnosed. It’s a complete lifestyle change! For those of us who’ve known nothing else it’s a little easier to transition through each phase. I tried the cgm for a week but due to the way the alarms were set, I went super high and super low due to overcorrections or overeating. For me it’s hard to change what’s been working- low carb meals, lots of protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise includes walking the dogs, running, playing with the kids, swimming, tennis, basketball and whatever comes in front of me.Type I diabetic for 32 years- only on the pump for the past 7 years. My A1c has been between 5.7-6.5 for the past 10 years but my goal is to get it back to 6.0 or under. – Joella Davis 

The formula for happiness is not the same for all of us, but figuring out what we enjoy is key. Go out and play and make time for personal play. When this is easier said than done, I make a gratitude list on paper or in my head, and quickly realize, “I’m too blessed to be stressed.” Or at least overly stressed. 🙂

 

Recap of Week #2 on the Cleanse

If you are new to this site, and interested to hear about the process of my 21 Day Standard Process Purification program, be sure to read:

And now let’s jump into my thoughts on Week #2! 

  • MEAL PLANNING: It’s great to batch cook, especially the vegetables, but diversity is needed. One huge perk of following the meal plan and using their One Degree of Change Cookbook. is variety is guaranteed. Being healthy is beyond having healthy ingredients as boredom can arise and needs to be prevented/intervened. If I wasn’t clear in my past posts, I am not using the meal plan bc following something so strictly doesn’t mesh with my rebellious personality and my reality of cooking for everyone in my house (2 littles and one big kid, my husband). Closing down this week, I know going into week #3 I need to mix up the grocery list and have different batch cooked items ready to go. Thankfully this can be as easy as changing the prep method and spices used.
  • SUPPLEMENTS: I do not tolerate the second supplement, SP Green Food, which came into the program on day 8. SP Green Food supports organ function and detox elimination. Overall, it’s not a huge loss, as I am still taking the fiber and using the nutritious shake powder, and I have a good candidate in the house who can take the pills (husband is getting lots of love in this post). However, it would be nice to reap the benefits of these pills. If you are reading this and question if you are not tolerating the supplements, you will have obvious digestive distress. Most cleanse participants eliminate more than normal, and I am less and bloated like a blimp. When I stopped the pills, it was night and day. However a few things you can try, before cutting out the pills: take a digestive enzyme with SP Green Food and/or decrease the serving size of 5 pills per meal to 2-3 pills per meal.
  • INDIVIDUALITY: Going off the 2nd bullet-point, I think 1) this is a fabulous well-rounded food img_4281and herb based cleanse for people coming from a pretty healthy diet, or even a not so healthy diet, however, 2) it is not for everyone. For example, I had a client email me about this cleanse and she is coming from an auto-immune paleo protocol diet (AIP) and I won’t recommend this program for her and people coming from a similar place, which would include myself. I really hate to say that about myself too as I am still getting results. Likely my results are from avoiding nuts (I haven’t done that before, even on the numerous Whole30 program and paleo challenges I have done in the past), but I know myself and am also avoiding the allowed quinoa, butter and minimizing my smoothies. Smoothies are a little tougher to cover with insulin, so I have minimized my shakes to 1x a day. The recommendation for the program is 1-3. All in all, no matter what cleanse people do/nutrition coaches recommend, they need to be recommended uniquely.
  • FOOD: I am eating so many nutrients. I am also not terribly missing much, except the occasional whiff of coffee I smell from my husband’s mug and a Friday night unwind wine. Overall, especially with the dairy free protein powder used in the shakes, all my food is so beneficial. My cells are getting awesome fuel and I can feel it in my energy and deep sleep. I continue to steer my desires to real food options. My latest obsession is sweet potatoes. I have a portion every night for dinner. To me, it’s mother nature’s dessert. img_4234
  • MEASUREMENTS: I haven’t gotten on the scale since day 1 as I don’t what a number to distract me from listening to what my body is craving. However, I feel really lean. A pair of pants I wanted wear Saturday night were too loose, and even if the scale doesn’t move much by the end of this program, my weight is shifting in a flattering way. This is bizarre, but I almost subconsciously ate more one day because I had a moment of fear of losing a lot of weight. It’s weird, yes, but it was honest and I like being in control. We will see come end of next week as how I will measure to conclude the program. On this topic, it’s very normal and common to lose an average of 15 pounds on this program (I read this in another Standard Process write-up). The more someone has to lose, the more likely their weight will calibrate to a new lower set point. Above all, this cleanse is not about under eating nor being hungry. I am never hungry and that is a good thing.
  • MOVEMENT: I increased the intensity of my workouts this week. I did more rigorous exercise most days – lifting, boxing, trampoline workouts with kettle bell swings, hot yoga and stair-climbing – and it felt great. I am just listening to my body and assessing how much I should push.

Day 8 – Going off my Saturday night out with friends, I woke more hungry. I played it safe with food and kept my order simple. I had a healthy appetite and changed up my egg and avocado breakfast and added a bowl of kale soup (I made this starting week 1, and should have froze half of it for week 3. I ended up pitching a serving of 2 because I let it sit too long). The rest of the day was a smoothie, veggies and a mouth-watering zoodle dish, broccoli and half a salmon filet I split with my husband for dinner.

I did some rebounding (trampoline) work to aid the detox, guzzled water and went to bed early.

Side note: I didn’t mention this in my last week’s summary, but I was so cold every day and night. I would sleimg_4244ep with wool socks and an extra blanket. By Day 8, my body temp has normalized.

Day 9 – I have good and steady energy and went back to a full-body lifting session at the gym. It felt so good.

I feel like I could use the word “awesome,” during this cleanse as much as the Bachelor says, “beautiful.” Forgive my redundancy of expression!

Life is a little slower in some ways. The herbs on my vegetables explode with flavor, I am more upbeat and positive in the kitchen. My plant intake is rubbing off on the household. My toddler loves the shakes and my husband is snacking on my batch-cooked veggies!

My biggest craving, which is funny, is actually gum. I want gum in the afternoon, but I am just opting for peppermint tea. I have had so much of this tea since the beginning, I wouldn’t be surprised if I started sweating candy canes.

Day 10a Tuesday – Loads of energy. I did so much today, but also woke up about an hour earlier than norm. I had eggs/avo combo for bfast, a beet, lots of greens, cucumber, fresh ginger, cinnamon and vanilla smoothie (it’s like a garbage can, I feel like I put anything in the blender) and had broccoli, sweet potato and a salmon filet for dinner.

Day 11 – I’m a go-go bunny. I was reflecting on the program and honestly I feel like I can eat like this forever. I would need a nudge to continue shakes through winter, but the food is delicious, and it challenges me to get creative with vegetables and spices. As mentioned above, I do need to be consistent in mixing up what I cook. I used cocoa in my smoothie, and it’s not exactly recommended in the program because Standard Process wants to ensure high quality cocoa, but that is what I had on hand, so I used it. I am being naughty, but it tasted nice!img_4241

Day 12 – Not much change from Day 11.

Day 13 – Hunger is roaring. I am very impressed with how much I can eat too. Lunch has been a big bowl of vegetables. The latest is half a bowl of spicy lime roasted broccoli, paired with spaghetti squash with onion, garlic and tomato. On top of this, I make a large smoothie with half a banana, vegetables, SP protein powder and some gelatin. I sprinkle most, if not all, of my smoothie with pumpkin seeds and or coconut flakes, unsweetened.

Day 14 – Pretty tired but hard telling if it’s my body or my toddler with his 5am wake-ups.Reflecting on the day, I got so much done and went out with friends in the evening. I’d typically wake up exhausted from a delayed bedtime, but I had a refreshed feeling waking up Sunday, starting Week #3, and certainly kept my dinner order clean! I had wild salmon, capers, Brussels sprouts and oysters to start.

img_4242

JANUARY CLEANSE – If you are interested in doing a cleanse in the New Year, Standard Process is kicking off their 21 Day Standard Process Purification program with a webinar on the 9th of January, and the diet/supplement regime starts on the 10th. Let me know if you need to order a kit, and I will get you what you need. Their cleanse has dairy free and a standard version (both ~ $235)

This program has a Guide and a full eBook (1 Degree of Change) with step by step meal plans and a free app you can download, which has tracking tools, shopping lists/list builder and recipes from the meal plan.

A lot of information, but all of the above makes the program really easy to follow. Hope you have a healthy New Year and entire 2017 in whatever way you choose to strive for your best health.

Cyber Monday Promos!

Tis the season to be social, but it is possible to keep your health in check while still enjoying yourself. Aim to maintain your weight from November to the New Year, as it’s more than common to gain 5 lbs this time of year. Not to worry, here are a few pointers on how to enjoy holidays healthfully.
This Cyber Monday I am offering some deals on facilitating a healthy and LEAN holiday season. Ends midnight tonight.
  • 25% off all of my services. This is a first, and jolly discount! I am thankful for my clients, and I want to show the love!
  • 15% off supplements from Standard Process and Thorne. If interested, please reply to this post via email ([email protected]) with what products you want, the quantity and the address to have them shipped.
  • $9.99 for my 21 Day Self-Guided Real Food Challenge. This is an eBook chalk full of education on what foods to eat, including a grocery list, sample meal plan, supplement recommendations, a progress chart, and additionally a separate day-to-day journal, including a daily tip, recipe and motivator.
Additionally, if you are thinking of doing a Cleanse in the New Year, stay tuned on updates from me regarding the 21 Day Detox I am hosting, starting January 9th. Commit this weekend and you will get 15% off the Cleanse Kit.
Above all, have a safe and happy holiday season.

My Superfood Superlist

When I first start working with clients, I look at what they are eating and assess if their meals and weekly intake is balanced. From there, I recommend things to remove/add to their routine, then address the quality of the ingredients they are eating, tweak their macronutrients to best, and most quickly, reach their goals and finally we discuss superfoods. The magical thing about superfoods is they target inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is defined as a biological response of cells to a stimuli, and chronic inflammation can lead to disease. So basically inflammation is the body’s attempt to self-protection and causes of inflammation include, but not limited to: low grade food sensitivities, an imbalance of gut bacteria (do you take a probiotic?), stress, environmental toxins (mercury, lead, etc), constant dehydration, lifestyle (sleep deprivation, inactivity) and certain foods (caffeine, sugar, oils (canola, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower oils), poor quality dairy, conventional meat, alcohol, grains, food additives) and the list can go on. Please note though, some inflammation is good. Too much is clearly bad.

I can continue to cover how to we have an overload of inflammation in our body’s, yet, my takeaway is to focus on good things you can eat daily, optimizing our health. When we focus on the good and healthy things to add to our diet and lifestyle, there isn’t a need (or as much of a need) to focus on what we need to take away.

Enlisted are a few of my favorite superfoods. What superfoods do you consume?

Cocoa Nibs

Why and how to consume? Cocoa nibs are very satisfying, especially if your senses are just after a chocolate taste or your body is in need of magnesium. Yet, cocoa nibs do have a bitter edge. For this reason, to get a chocolate craving satisfied I mix them either with some nuts/seeds and or coconut flakes, which all mix well in Greek yogurt. As you may know, cacao is a nutrient-powerhouse containing over 300 compounds including: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, chromium (appetite control and insulin sensitizer) calcium, flavanols (antioxidants, known to lower blood pressure and cholesterol), sulfur (strong nails/hair) and magnesium (muscle relaxant and strong bones). If you eat cocoa nibs, or dark chocolate, you want to ensure it’s organic to avoid chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.

“Every study on chocolate is pointing to the same conclusion: there is something in chocolate that is really good for us. That something is the raw cocoa bean, the nut that all chocolate is made from. The cocoa bean has always been and will always be Nature’s #1 weight loss and high-energy food. Cocoa beans are probably the best kept secret in the entire history of food.”
— David Wolfe, co-author of Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth About The World’s Greatest Food.

Chia Seeds

Why and how to consume? Chia seeds provide protein, fat and fiber to our diet, and one of my favorite perks, is they help us detox. To reap the fullest benefits, soak chia seeds overnight in either water, almond milk or coconut milk. I often add the end product to my morning smoothie or I mix in some berries and have it for an afternoon snack. Chia seeds provide satiety, absorbing 12 times their weight and expand in our stomachs. Chia seeds are good for our hearts and bones, providing a dose of calcium ebgs for an alternative to milk.

Maca Powder

Why and how to consume? I stumbled upon maca powder when doing some research for fertility and fatigue/low energy. Wow, was I impressed. Coming from the radish family, maca is touted to aid stamina, support immunity, increase vitality, balance sex hormones (PMS/PCOS/menopause) including an increase in sex drive and enhances memory. I most enjoy this nutty-flavored powder with my morning smoothie, but it can also be added to soups or just water. Maca includes 55 phyto-chemicals, including vitamins B1, B2, B12, and Vitamin C, zinc. It has amino acids, calcium and phosphorus as well.

Brewer’s Yeast

Why and how to consume? Known for its content of B vitamins, chromium and protein, aids in blood sugar control, relieves diarrhea, cold/flu, PMS and skin issues. The easiest way to consume Brewer’s Yeast for me is in my smoothie. Can you tell I like smoothies? I aim to have 2-3 a week, at a minimum. You can also mix Brewer’s Yeast in your eggs.

Shredded Coconut & Coconut Oil

Why and how to consume? Coconut flakes are great by themselves, used as a core ingredient in a homemade trail mix, mixed into Greek yogurt with berries and more. Coconut oil, along with grass-fed butter is the preferred fat to cook with at high heat. Coconut flakes have a nice helping of fiber and both flakes and oil contain medium chain triglycerides, lauric acid, among other nutrients. Overall, coconut has so many health benefits including weight loss my friends. One study out of the Journal of Nutrition suggests that we can expend more calories digesting medium-chain triglycerides (coconut) than digesting long-chain fatty acids (found in almonds, avocados, olive oil). Want to know more? I enjoy this write-up by Dr Mercola.

Grass-fed Butter

Why and how to consume? The difference between regular butter, even organic butter compared to grass-fed butter (I’ll name drop – Kerrygold is my favorite) is substantial. When Dr. Weston Price studied native diets in the 1930’s he found that butter was a staple in the diets of many supremely healthy peoples. Do you find it shocking that butter is America’s best source of absorbable vitamin A? Even more, butter contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against free radicals that damage and weaken the arteries. Yup, Grandma was right – eat (grass-fed) butter to protect your heart. Butter protects against cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, low thyroid and more. As for how to consume, I am not sure I need to explain this one, do I? Grass-fed butter is richer in the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), lauric acid and has vitamin K2. Grass-fed butter is also the best source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which aids in weight loss/weight management and targets cancer prevention.

Kombucha

Why and how to consume? Kombucha is a slightly sweet, carbonated fermented tea. You can make your own, yet, I find it most realistic to purchase a bottle every trip I make to a nutrition/specialty store, such as Whole Foods. The Ancient Chinese called Kombucha the “Immortal Health Elixer” for its health benefits containing organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids and polyphenol antioxidants. Kombucha improves joint pain, immunity, digestion and, again my favorite, helps cleanse the body.

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Why and how to consume? One, you can start the day with a shot of it, or you can add it to water with some lemon and honey. The most common way I find myself using it (besides cleaning my house) is on m salad. Please note, unfiltered is what you want to look for when buying a bottle. The unfiltered version has a wealth of vitamins, minerals and acetic acid. Acetic acid helps control appetite, increase insulin sensitivity, and helps decrease fat storage. I can’t fail to mention the alkaline benefits of ACV. Many foods and stress cause the pH of our body to be more acidic, which isn’t favorable.ACV can help combat this.

References:

Lead Contamination in Cocoa and Cocoa Products: Isotopic Evidence of Global Contamination (http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/8009/8009.html)

Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Cocoa and Chocolate Flavonoids – Implications for Cardiovascular Health

The Journal of Nutrition: Plasma LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Oxidized LDL Concentrations are Altered in Normo- and Hypercholesterolemic Humans After Intake of Different Levels of Cocoa Powder

Yu, L. J., & Jin, W. W. (2004). Study on nutritional components and the anti-fatigue effects of dry powder of maca (Lepidium meyenii). Food Science25(2), 164-166.

Cicero, A. F. G., Piacente, S., Plaza, A., Sala, E., Arletti, R., & Pizza, C. (2002). Hexanic Maca extract improves rat sexual performance more effectively than methanolic and chloroformic Maca extracts. Andrologia34(3), 177-179.

Dini, I., Tenore, G. C., & Dini, A. (2002). Glucosinolates from maca (Lepidium meyenii). Biochemical systematics and ecology30(11), 1087-1090.

Price, Weston, DDS Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1945, Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc., La Mesa, California

As If We Are Scientiest

Ever since I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 8 years old in 1992 I began to learn and understand that my activity, food choices, and mental health all had an impact on my diabetes, or what we check multiple times a day, my blood sugar. Can it get frustrating? Yes; I’m preaching to the choir. But it’s interesting. This situation (as in no one day is the same) allows me to understand my body in a way that others aren’t able to do (is this the silver lining??). I can truly assess how certain foods make me feel (energy, mood, mental clarity, blood sugar response, etc) and affect my insulin sensitivity.

Overall, I feel like a scientist when learning how to manage my diabetes and through the last 21 years I have most importantly learned, “There is no such thing as failure. It’s simply feedback. Assess, roll with the punches and carry-on.”

Sure it is easy to get down on myself when I slip up on diet, dismiss exercise and have a sub-optimal blood sugar reading to show for it, but what is that going to do for me? Nothing, and certainly nothing good. The right thing to do is to understand why a blood sugar is high or low (which sometimes can’t be pin-pointed) and think of a way how in the future, I can prevent the situation.

Having type 1 diabetes for 21 years and counseling others with type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes I have learned:

  • what macronutrient ratio (number of carbohydrates, verse fat verse protein) work best to have at each meal. For example, I do far better on a low carb diet where the margin of error is less when matching my insulin to my meal/carbohydrate content. Thanks to Dr. Bernstein’s book, Diabetes Solution, I truly grew to appreciate this concept. 
  • Firstly realizing this with myself, I do not thrive on gluten containing grains. Indeed, when I would eat whole grain bread my blood sugars were tougher to control (I did not fully realize this until 2009 when I did a 4 week gluten free diet; and I have been tested twice for celiac with negative results). Furthermore, looking at the data I am not the only person with diabetes finding this relationship. Research suggests that 10% of those with type 1 diabetes has celiac disease and this does not even encompass those with gluten sensitivity. Adding to this foreseen correlation a recent study just came out last year showing that a gluten free diet put a newly diagnosed 5 year old boy’s type 1 diabetes into remission. 
  • Supplements can have a place for people with diabetes. Especially real food supplements (I do not advocate synthetic supplements). I think the topline most important supplements are those that help strengthen our gut integrity and immunity. This can include fermented cod liver oil, vitamin D and a probiotic. Additional supplements can be of use, including chromium picolinate, gymnema sylvestre and magnesium.  
  • Sleep is crucial. If you have diabetes have you ever noticed an increase in insulin resistance with little sleep? When my sleep is rough, I can easily see an increase of 30 mg/dl+ in my readings. This starts in the morning and throughout the day I will notice an increase in cravings as well. talk about a lose-lose situation. 
  • Stress can act like a spoonful of sugar sometimes too. Can you relate with what I am saying? Even good stress can make my blood sugar go up. For example, I do a lot of public speaking and with this event, I am excited to present but have some nervous nerves and if I don’t give a small bolus I end-up with hyperglycemia. Managing stress is just as important in making smart choices of what to put on our plates. 
  • Exercise is so important (as if you already didn’t know). But this month, along with numerous other studies, a study published in Diabetes Care found that people with type 2 diabetes had better blood glucose control and an improvement in body composition. Besides this current study exercise (including walking, swimming, playing, tennis, you name it) can help your release stress, sleep better, have a more positive outlook on life and more. 
The underlying message here is that diabetes does bear a challenge, but it also gives us insight on what works for us. My diabetes is a daily reminder to not only count my blessings, but to push myself to be the healthiest I can be. We have to take the good with the bad and when our diabetes act up, we need to remind ourselves to take our emotions out of the equation and absorb the information as feedback. It’s as if we are our own scientist working on a daily experiment of optimal health.
Cheers to you and good health,
Kelly (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist)

On the Go? Constantly Traveling? #Health #NoExcuses

Along with yesterday’s blog post, “Client FAQ: When Traveling What Can I Prep/Eat?” I thought I would elaborate even more.

Too often I hear of reasons people cannot focus on their health due to workload, work travel and just always being on the run. Guess what? This doesn’t give you a hall-pass to eat at Five Guys, Popeye’s or Taco Hell. Sorry, I mean, “Bell.” But let’s be realistic. Just as you plan meetings each day/week, you can also plan in short workouts and meals, portable or not. To assist in the thought process here are some pointers to help you along.

What to pack in your handbag/suite-case:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Wild tuna in water, canned
  • Willd salmon, canned
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Lindt 85%/90% dark chocolate
  • Grass-fed and gluten free jerky
  • Dried fruit (prunes, figs, dates)
  • Raw fruit, portable

Now onto meals…

Breakfast:

  • This is where some of those hard-boiled eggs can come in hand. Pair a few eggs with a to-go coffee and be on your way to your first meeting.
  • Breakfast joints/diners – over-easy eggs, bacon or gluten free sausage. Double score if you can get some sauteed vegetables (spinach, mushrooms) and if the eggs are organic free range.
  • Starbucks- black coffee or tea, Kind bar and some fruit – or –
  • Starbucks black coffee or tea, Protein pack: Cage-free egg, white Cheddar cheese, honey peanut butter spread, multigrain muesli bread, apples and grapes, but perhaps avoid the bread and peanut butter. Assess dairy for your best needs – or –
  • Starbucks black coffee or tea and one of their hot sandwiches sans the bread (and perhaps cheese)
  • Subway ask for one of the egg breakfast sandwiches without bread
  • McDonald’s ask for scrambled eggs and apple slices – or – fruit and walnut breakfast, avoid eating the processed yogurt.
  • Burger King ask for scrambled eggs and apple slices – or – ham omelette sandwich with no bread
  • Dunkin Donuts has a large breakfast sandwich menu. Ask for one of the breakfast meat/egg combo without the bun.

Lunch/Dinner:

Arby’s the Roast beef plain is your best bet. You can pair it with a plain salad or apple slices. Their Angus beef is gluten free but not the purest of proteins. It contains soy as a filler. Their sauce is also heavy in corny syrup. Corned beef is on the same level as the Angus beef as id the Roasted Turkey. If you are itching for a condiment the sauerkraut and aoli is at least gluten free.

Subway – you can build a salad with an assortment of vegetables and proteins.

Chipotle – this is my go-to place. Their products are locally sourced, when able, and their meat comes from grassfed beef, pasture-raised pork and free range chicken. I opt for the pork, because it is not cooked in soybean oil. The purest order is their bowl – choose a protein, I go for all 3 salsa’s (not the corn), lettuce, and guacamole. This is more than enough food even without the rice, beans and cheese. #EatClean

Jimmy Johns – I love  a place that has an unwhich. Instead of bread, Jimmy John’s wrap a sandwich in a lettuce wrap. Depending on my schedule I may get double meat and always some avocado.

If I you have the chance to sit-down somewhere, perhaps with a client, ask for a gluten free menu and build/choose a meal starting with protein and then pair it with some vegetables, and this does not include French fries.

Even if you order room service, choose real food, in it’s purest form (salad, steak, fish with steamed vegetables and some wine for dessert), and do not overeat. You are already likely to not sleep well in a new bed and having a full stomach will not help.

On the go often? Dismissing your health is not a choice. Small changes can have big outcomes. Start today.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

 

Let’s Talk New Year’s Resolutions

Do you have one? I have a few in mind, and while my yearly goals do not always last the 12 months, they are still good to have.

Come 2013 I will be embarking on an auto-immune diet protocol during my January Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge. I am doing this because it will be a good challenge that will bottom-line improve my health. Most recently my thyroid has been showing some variation (signs of hashimoto’s) and ensuring my gut integrity is optimal for my well-being and defense in thyroid problems.

If I suggested this resolution to be last year or the year before, I would have set myself up for failure. It will (hopefully) work for me for this year coming, because I have a clear understanding of what I need to do, and my food intake is already rather restrictive, and more than half way in meeting the auto-immune protocol guidelines.

Overall though, the Paleo Infused Nutrition Pledge is not about restriction. It is a Pledge you come up with that aims to improve your health. You make a commitment/goal to yourself and to me your dietitian. And through the 4 week Pledge I help you stay on-top of your health game and propose some guidelines of being your healthiest you. So if you are interested, just let me know. It’s nothing to be scared of, it’s an opportunity to learn a whole new way of looking at food. Best part, you don’t have to spend time commuting to appointments, etc. The Pledge is an online private forum, where you have a dietitian, me, at your fingertips for questions and/or to voice your successes and struggles. Who wants to join?!

If you want something more hands out, I can also offer a Clean Eating Bootcamp developed by myself and an excellent Personal Trainer, Becky Schlageter, here in Chicago. Our Bootcamp is composed of 6 sessions, giving the client personal attention to their diet and fitness program. This Bootcamp will start the second Monday of every month. Who wants to join?

As a health professional, I make it my duty to create programs that are appealing, yet attainable for consumers. If neither of the above attract you, let me know what does. Nonetheless, aim to be your best person this year. Because you deserve good health, and the quality of life that goes with it.

Cheers to you and good health,.

Happy Holidays,

Kel

If This Is Out Of Order Then Everything Else Falls Apart

Can you guess what I am going to say? If you are thinking sleep, you are close! And nearly correct, but I am putting my finger on the root of the problem, which also disrupts sleep: Stress.

Stress is defined as a constraining force or influence. That is it. Just a force. But now, how can this force call for so many problems? When we are stressed our capillaries constrict, our thought processes are interrupted, focus is lost, we either reach for sugar and can’t touch food, sleep goes out the window, perhaps cholesterol levels go up, along with blood sugar and blood pressure, and geesh! We forget to breath. Yet, I know I am not addressing anything new, but the reminder this post serves to cope successfully with stress is needed; especially around the holiday season.

What are your go-to mechanisms for coping with stress? Do you call your mom? Does that do you worse? Do you go on a walk? Drink tea or water? Watch a comedy? Run? Walk? If you said yes, to any of the above, you are on a great path. But what other simple things can help you de-stress and reach your best health? How about some of these ideas?

  • While in Australia I had the pleasure of meeting with an inspiring lady who was a psychologist. We had a chat about the mad increase in anxiety currently being experienced by the common person. What is the cause? Well, there are probably a hundred things including technology, which makes us all feel like we need to know everything about everything. But the important thing to spend time on, is learn how to manage anxiety. This lady suggested for people to listen to their breathing, yet, quite often this can cause more stress. As a second recommendation, or perhaps first, she tells her patients to take 3 deep breaths every day. Or maybe twice a day. No matter what, whenever someone thinks of it, take 3 deep breaths, and soon one will find out their anxiety is less overall.
  • Gratitude. Start every morning by writing down something you are grateful for. This will assist you to practice mindfulness which is much stronger than stress.
  • Pay it forward. I think we all understand what it means to “pay it forward,” and in doing this everyone once in a while, allows us to stop and smell the roses and realize whatever race is running through our minds does not have to the tone of our day.
  • Use online free resources to help consumers manage stress, steps, food diary, labs and more.
  • Journal. Very much like the suggestion to write down one thing you are thankful for, it is also good to journal your thoughts. This is especially handy before bed. With a calm mind, comes a solid sleep.
  • Meditate. Using free resources again, iTunes has some free meditation downloads. Take advantage and decide which podcasts works best for you.
  • Exercise. Most recently I have been participating in FitGirl’s candlelit yoga sessions and they are just wonderful. I perform yoga poses in ambiance and leave with a clear mind.

Between holiday shopping, cooking and entertainment, take care of yourself with a mind, body approach.

Cheers to you and good health, Kel

My South Africa Travels: Part 1

I have the fortunate opportunity to travel to South Africa closing out 2012 and am truly amazed by the beauty of this country and the pureness of the food.  Thus far, I have tried a variety of new things including capaccio springbok, which is basically raw, thinly sliced game meat and while on our safari tour in Kruger National Park, we snacked on some droewors (dried sausage) or what we (Americans) would call beef jerky and drank some Pinotage (similar to Pinot Noir) at sunset.

So how can I describe the interesting observations I have collected in South Africa? Perhaps I will start with how everyone walks EVERYWHERE here. There are certainly plenty of cars and taxis, but when we drove the 5 hour route to Kruger National Park, there were people, rain or shine, walking along the highway and the streets throughout our travel. Many of those had their thumb out too, hoping to bum a ride.

While I prefer to branch out, trying meats and protein sources that are not regularly seen in the grocery at home, I soon realize that chicken forms an integral part of the South African diet. In the 1960s it was standard practice to grow and butcher free range chicken to meet the demand, but with a growing population the chickens were quickly processed differently by being genetically modified and grown a third quicker and heavier. Go back to old standards, trust me, it’s better and worth the time investment in the long-run!!

Carrying on, some more observations and facts I have learned thus far (and I want to note, these are observations and facts that I have researched. In no way do I intend my comments to be prejudiced or to categorize):

  • The total production of raw milk in South Africa increased from just more than 2,200 million litres in 2004, to just more than 2,600 million litres in 2011.
  • Only 3% of egg laying hens are free range. The remaining lay eggs in small battery cages.
  • Identifying authentic free-range and organic produce in South Africa can be tricky for consumers, as there is no official legislation in place for free-range or organic farming in South Africa.
  • At present the South African law governing organic farming is still in draft form.
  • The first free-range eggs were introduced onto the shelves of Pick ‘n Pay andWoolworths in 1991, and in 2004 Woolworths banned all battery eggs from its shelves. Eggs that are not labelled “free-range” or “barn” are from caged hens. Free-range eggs from pastured chickens are quite different in terms of their egg yolk color and egg shell strength.
  • Contrary to what I thought before coming to SA, I have been drinking the tap water. South African water institutions are considered to provide some of the highest quality of drinking or potable water in the world.
  • Gluten free requests are hard to understand and not successful when I ask. When eating out, and after asking the waiter/waitress about the need to avoid gluten, they don’t understand what gluten is. I have been fine working around this by opting for seafood and vegetables but failed miserably after eating a salad with a mustard vinaigrette  Most mustard jars I have read, have wheat in them.
  • Malls are pretty popular here in SA, and they are straight up BIG. Huge. We have spent some time in the Mandela Square mall and it’s chalk full of shops, fancy steak houses, seafood restaurants, cafes,  a food court and 2 grocery stores.
  • The lunch hour in the malls are always swarming with people. Goodness, I think regardless of the hour, there are people everywhere. I found it really neat to see large lines at the grocery store where business men and women await to order their lunch from the deli. Bravo! An excellent healthy choice when eating out on the lunch hour.
  • Many menus have meals made with cous cous. As well, I have seen menus with interesting Low GI labels and “Healthy Options.” Specifically on a breakfast menu the “Healthy” meal choice was 2 eggs, pork sausage and grilled tomato. Do you think you could find this on a USA menu? Maybe a paleo one, but for the most part a “Healthy” meal choice I’d see in the States would likely be an egg-white omelette with lots of whole grain bread. South Africa, one point.
  • If you are walking about be careful of traffic (and safety overall). Thus far, the walkways and signals don’t empower the pedestrian to cross a street. This is a bit different than the Green walking man in Australia that I experienced; which also ticked at a pace of how fast we should be moving across the street. I have confidently crossed a walkway with the right signal to do so, and then cars feel at ease to power towards me. This has added a skip in my step! And not in the right way.
  • I did a little bit of grocery shopping to have some snacks on hand and I am grateful for the amazing selection of macadamia nuts and “trail mix.” However, trail mix is marketed as Safari mix. Don’t you love it? I do, and the dried fruit in the Safari mix is pure, and delicious. As for the nuts, they are dirt cheap. I got a snack bag for R33 which equates close to $4USD.

As I am part-way through our amazing trip in South Africa, I will collaborate more things I find interesting and follow-up in a Part 2. Until then, cheers to you and good health, Kel

References:

Compassion in World Farming, SA

A Few Gifts For Christmas

I adore gifts that involve health and this December I have come up with the following ideas to assist with your seasonal shopping.

SERVICES

Nutrition Counseling – It would be (silly) hard not to list the idea of buying a voucher for a loved one to visit with a dietitian, such as myself. Depending on their current health status, anyone can benefit from conversing with an RD about getting the most out of their nutrition and understand what diet is best for their health goals. In the least, treat yourself. Your health should be a priority and no one is a better advocate than yourself in taking charge of your quality of life. Along with one-on-one counseling, I host a 4 week Pledge (via a private Facebook forum) and coach you along the 28 days to reach a set health goal and learn clean eating techniques, as well as, work with a local personal trainer conducting a Clean Eating Bootcamp, which will launch the second Monday in January!

Spa – give the gift of relaxation with a spa package. This is a perfect service around the holidays when everything is hustle-bustle.

Fitness Programs – give the gift of fitness. If in Chicago, I recommend Fit Girl Studio‘s monthly package of unlimited classes. They have everything from Barre to spinning. Throughout the month you can mix up the routine and stay inspired to keep on coming back for more. If you do the Paleo Infused Pledge, you get a massive discount. As well, I am affiliated with a great personal trainer in Chicago, who I can connect you with at a discounted price. Email me with interest. Other options include packages for yoga, pilates, Crossfit or barre classes. I am huge fan of barre. You work muscles you didn’t know you had and leave the classes feeling accomplished.

FOOD ITEMS

I love gourmet food, especially those hard to find gems that are clean of unneeded preservatives and flavor enhancers. Below are some of my top picks.

Hemp Seed – looking to increase your protein and fiber intake? This may be your go-to ingredient. It’s nutty delicious flavor marries well with salads, soups, smoothies and more. I often eat 3-4 T of Hemp Seed Hearts with some almond milk or coconut milk in the morning.

Organic Coconut Oil – use in place of butter and olive oil, adding an extra dose of nutrition to your meals. Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil here.

Dark Chocolate – Lindt dark chocolate 85% and above is one of few commercially found chocolates that does NOT contain soy lecithin (which is a huge plus!). Buy one for mom and one for yourself!

Bars – I do not want to categorize this gift as “granola bars” because my recommended bars lack grains and are gluten free. So therefore, we will stick with bars. However, with many of my clients who need something on the go, or have in the gym bag for a time of need, I recommend a few bars including Lara BarsKind bars, and Zing bars. As a health professional I am able to sell Zing bars at a discounted rate, compared to retail. If interested, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

Grassfed Meat/Cheese – high quality protein sourced from grassfed animals is one of the best fuel sources we have. I love US Wellness Meats and their broad offerings including sugar free, nitrate free bacon.

Looking for more food ideas? Feel free to review my collected list on Amazon by clicking here.

BOOKS 

There are a number of great books out there right now and a few of my favorite include: Wheat BellyPrimal Body, Primal MindEat Fat, Lose Fat, Practical PaleoGood Calories, Bad Calories and a few more.

A few fellow dietitian friends have also recently published some interesting eBooks including:

GADGETS

I am afraid this list could go on forever, but beyond the iPhone and accessories, these items are appealing:

FitBit Aria Scale – Aria is a high performance scale, tracking weight, body mass index (BMI) and % body fat over time. After easy, wireless set-up, your Fitbit aria scale taps into your home wireless network and uploads your information automatically to fitbit.com each time you step on the scale. Automatically recognizes up to 8 different people in your home, sending their info to separate accounts at fitbit.com.

FitBit One & Zip trackers – track your movement with this little device.

Nike + Sports Watch and GPS – Tap the screen to mark laps and activate the backlight during your run, and personalize the data that you want to see during your run. For direct connect, USB contacts are built into the watch strapjust plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery.

Camelbak Water Bottle – I love my camelbak water bottle, and the lid/straw helps me stay hydrated. When you see me, I am sure you will see me with my Camelbak.

There are numerous fun gadgets on the market right now. Everything from sound-proofed headphones to high-tech shoes. If I come across anything that I think is a must-have for the holidays, I will update this post. Until then, please let me know what you are eyeing for the holidays.

Enjoy the season, and try to stop and smell the pine once in awhile.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel