Let’s Make This Year (2018) Different

How many people do you think made a weight loss wish when the ball dropped this year? Chances are, quite a few.

With two-thirds of Americans overweight, there are an estimated 45 million people on a diet right now, chalking up $33 billion per year on weight loss products.

Yet, times are changing, and so are the approaches to improving our health. The dogma of calories in, equal calories out has been exploited. There is far more involved with wellness and weight loss than the obsession with eating perfect portions of perfectly healthy food.

Make this year different by relaxing the efforts on dieting, and create a balance between the mind, body, and spirit, emphasizing how you feel, how, what and when you eat, and what you believe makes you healthy. I’ve included a few items to focus on below:

1. Hydrate

The goal is to drink half your weight in ounces, and more if you are exercising or traveling. Start the day with an inner bath and drink 20 ounces first thing. In the winter, I fulfill this need by carrying a water bottle with me wherever I go, or more often you will see me with my Continga containing hot water with lemon.

2. Don’t Major in Minor Things

Sometimes eating “perfectly” can do us more harm than good. Relax and don’t give up 95% of your life to drop 5% of your weight (or fill in the blank of what you are trying to achieve). The healthiest version of yourself isn’t how good you look in a swimsuit. The healthiest version of yourself is when hormones are balanced, your body and mind are strong and you have the energy to do what you love. When you push your body to extremes, including talking to yourself in a negative way, you’re giving up more than calories. You miss out on life.

3. Avoid Vegetable Oils and Man-Made Oils (Canola. Corn, Sunflower, Soybean oil, Safflower and Cottonseed oil)

These oils have large amounts of biologically active fats called Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are harmful to our health.  The more Omega-6s you eat, the more systemic inflammation you will have. Opt for better fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil. palm oil, grass-fed butter or ghee for cooking, and olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil for cold uses. Make sure to have some sort of fat on your plate at each meal, and the right kind of fat.

4. Know Hunger is the Best Sauce

Master hunger and feel comfortable being hungry 30 to 60 minutes before a meal. Eat when you’re hungry – but only when you’re hungry. Forget the clock and listen to your body instead. 

5. Moderate

Perhaps my favorite tip: moderation (and I am not talking food). While working hard in your career, parenthood, friendships, life, find a balance in enjoying things like make you happy. Being healthy is a balancing act, and not about deprivation nor perfection.

6.  Stress Less – Sleep More

Sleep is the backbone of good health. Guard your bedtime as sleep deprivation decreases the release of growth hormones and increases cortisol levels. Both of these play an important role in blood sugar control.

 

To Yolk or To Eggwhite

From A1c%, to cholesterol, triglyceride labs, to CRP – there are numerous tests we draw to understand how our diet is affecting our overall health. While research shows that 90% of heart disease is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors, there is still a lot of confusion of what foods to eat and which to avoid. (1) Zooming in closer, I am going to layout some thought starters on cholesterol/cardiovascular labs, and propose some advice on how to hit optimal targets.

Strawberry Scrambler - 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #swee

Yet, first let’s get the elephant out of the room: high cholesterol is a symptom of some sort of inflammation in the body. It is not necessarily caused from eating egg yolks, and or other high quality cholesterol containing foods. Conclusions from research based in the 1960s suggested that cholesterol was caused from high cholesterol (animal) foods and saturated fat. However, more recent data, and stronger research puts this myth to bed. While 25% of the population may respond to a higher cholesterol intake, the increase does not impact heart health or the LDL to HDL ratio. In other words, I have no problem starting my every day with eggs and or bacon/sausage, and some sort of vegetable of course, even as a type 1 diabetic with an increased risk of heart disease. I digress.

Long-term studies on saturated fat and heart health are just as comforting, if not more. Low carbohydrate diets tend to be high in fat, including saturated fat, and have shown health benefits beyond lowering cholesterol including weight loss, decrease in triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference, c- reactive protein/CRP (indicator of inflammation), to name a few. (2)  So once again, understand you are doing no harm to yourself when you consume saturated fat and high quality cholesterol foods.

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Diet and overall health marry this quote perfectly.

To improve heart health first know your numbers, and what they mean, and how to interpret them. The total cholesterol is not the be all. Nearly half of the heart attacks, take place with people with low cholesterol. With all my clients, I hear their story, understand their lifestyle and interpret labs with this angle:

What is total cholesterol? HDL? LDL? Total triglycerides? The I take it a step further and measure: Total cholesterol/HDL? Triglycerides/HDL ratio?

With these results, I also want to know if my client has lost weight recently, and how long the weight has been stable, and/or if the client is postpartum. All the above can affect the lab results. Further more, let’s use some hypothetical lab results and play with the interpretations:

 

CHOLESTEROL 160 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 61 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >499 mg/dL
HDL CHOLESTEROL 70 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): >50 mg/dL
LDL CHOL (CALC) 78 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): < 100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >189 mg/dL

As you can see beneath each result are optimal ranges. However, going off what I want to know, I will calculate a few ratios.
Trig/HDL = 0.87
– Ratio is ideal 1:1 or less. If it’s 2.5-3.0 there are some said lifestyle changes to made. If it’s >3 may indicated insulin resistance and increased heart disease.

Total cholesterol/HDL = 2.285
– Goal is to be below 5. Closer to 5 or above, can be an indication of cardiovascular diet/lifestyle modifications.

Ideally want HDL to be above 70 mg/dL for immunity and overall health outcomes.
– HDL increases with exercise, grassfed butter, cream, and coconut oil. HDL is made from fat, so we need to eat clean and quality fat for the raw materials. A little alcohol can also increase HDL.

A high LDL can be a sign of maybe some low thyroid, as well as, miss managed stress, sleep deprivation, high blood sugars, or too many carbohydrates in the diet.

If Triglycerides are high, review the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. Research has shown by limiting carbohydrates to 120-150g per day, can improve triglyceride levels, unrelated to weight loss. (3)

Understand what foods to eat and avoid:

  • Avoid man-made foods, including vegetable oils. Indeed, vegetable oils/margarine were once recommended for heart health.
  • Avoid eating large portions of foods that are high in omega 6 fatty acids. For example: nuts and seeds should be treated like a condiment. Please note the emphasis on “large.” Nuts are healthy and have many wellness benefits, but any good thing, can be overdone.

Feed your heart the nutrients it needs:

  • Eat whole real food, more often than not,
  • Have wild seafood twice a week (omega 3 fatty acids),
  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods at every meal (think produce, coffee, chocolate). An awesome goal to strive for, is 2 cups of vegetables at meals and 1 cup at snacks. Enjoy fruit, but keep quantity less than vegetables.
  • Enjoy polyphenol- rich foods such as cocoa, coffee, spices, tea, wine, vegetables, fruit.

Treat yourself with the care it deserves:

  • Sleep like you are getting paid for it. In a way you are!
  • Get spiritual – religious or not. But make the goal of getting in touch with yourself, being present, and finding calm in our busy lives.
  • Be kind with your thoughts and actions. Our feeling shape who we become.

Above all, remember that it is hard to manipulate nature. I always tell my clients, “Mother Nature cries everytime we throw out a yolk.” Keep things simple. Eat real food, and try to not over think it.

PS – the picture is a Strawberry Scrambler – 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #sweet

RELATED TOPICS

Eat Your Heart Out

Recommended Grocery List

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Eating healthy begins with a good grocery list and having an idea of what meals to make for the week ahead. More tips and advice below.

Produce – focusing on seasonal produce and organic if possible

  • Veggies – lots and lots!
  • Sweet potatoes – great for sweet potato chips or just oven roasted with butter or coconut oil.
  • Mushrooms – use these in everything, from eating raw to throwing in eggs.
  • Wild green
  • Broccoli – usually buy frozen in bulk, therefore, no stress on consuming it before it may spoil.
  • Zucchini, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, all pending on the planned meals for the week.
  • Cauliflower – use as cauli mash or cauli rice.
  • Fresh herbs – can really change the way a meal tastes, and provide antioxidants and helps detoxify our body.
  • Avocado – helps heal us from the inside out.
  • Frozen berries – for those nights I want something sweet – coconut cream, cocoa nibs and berries.
  • Bananas – so good frozen
  • Jicama – full of fiber and great for dicing in a stiry-fry, salad or slice cylinders and use as a chip.
  • Lemons/Limes

Health Tips:

Eat fermented foods daily. You can find options at Whole Foods (including Kombucha), fermented vegetables at the farmer’s market and online at wisechoicemarket.com.

Overall diversify the types of produce you eat weekly, even simply rotate the type of salad greens you eat.

Meat/Seafood

  • Anything grass fed/free range at a good price – beef, lamb, venison, pork
  • Nitrate free bacon – shortcut or Canadian bacon
  • Organic, free-range poultry – opt for skin-on, bone in. Both of these elements are mineral rich and good for our body.
  • No nitrate, hormone free, gluten free deli meat (Boar’s Head, Applegate, Columbus
  • WILD Salmon, tilapia, scallops, calamari, tuna, cod, shrimp – usually buy frozen and some fresh if eating same day.
  • Sardines

Health Tips:

If you don’t have access to quality protein sources there are some great online stores and possible local CSA’s. I recommend US Wellness Meats, Tropical Traditions, Vital Choice (awesome seafood) and Eat Wild websites. Amazon is great for getting certain ingredients, including jerky.

Choose wild caught fish and not farmed. The nutritional profiles in wild are better and contain fewer toxins.

Dairy

  • Organic (grassfed is even better) butter
  • Full fat, organic and grassfed cheese
  • Free range, organic eggs

Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture contain: 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega- 3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.*

Aisles

  • Pickles
  • Oils such as coconut, macadamia nut and high quality olive oil
  • Nuts – store them in a cool place, heat can turn them rancid
  • Coconut flour and cream/milk
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa nibs
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Hot sauce and spices
  • Tea and coffee (organic coffee)
  • Raw honey (real raw honey)
  • Salsa ( no corn or wheat ingredients)
  • Chia, hemp, whole seeds (soak chia seeds overnight in water or unsweetened almond milk/coconut milk to have a porridge like texture)
  • Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

References:
Lopez-Bote, C. J., R.Sanz Arias, A.I. Rey, A. Castano, B. Isabel, J. Thos (1998). “Effect of free-range feeding on omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol content and oxidative stability of eggs.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 72: 33-40.

Do You Know What’s in Season Right Now?

Back in the day, we could all probably answer this question within seconds, but with recent technology, communication and travel advances, our food is making it to our neighborhood grocery store, from around the world. So who knows if I would naturally be eating bing cherries right now? One way to tell, is of course, whip out a Google search, but also really pay attention to the food you are eating. For example, last month my typical lunch was a lettuce wrap of some sort, and when I made grassfed beef patties, I craved onion and tomato. How did my tomato taste and look? Guess. It was dull in color and nearly tasteless. Why? Tomatoes are provided year round but not at their peak. Before I run out and do my Sunday errands, I am gathering a grocery list and docking a few “seasonal” produce items on my list, so I can thoroughly enjoy the flavors of the season. Please note this list was pulled for the Illinois  Midwest area. If you live in another region, click here.

For April/May:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli (one of my favorites!)
  • Cabbage
  • Cherries
  • Cucumbers (I love cucumber and tahini sauce)
  • Greens
  • Herbs (I rotate the type of herbs I buy each week. They can dress up any meal)
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Squash
  • Strawberries

Come June, I can enjoy some luscious tomatoes!

Cheers to you and good health, Kel

 

 

 

 

Nutrient Dense: Slow-Cooker Chicken Vegetable Soup

This soup, by far, has been  the best chicken soup I have ever HAD and made. Pure deliciousness.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 T of coconut oil, or grassfed butter
  • 1 chicken breast, free range, skin and bones
  • 2 drum sticks, free range, skin on, bones in
  • 4 cups, gluten free chicken broth, enough to cover the soup ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced, add more if your prefer
  • 1/2 yellow onion, add more if you want the soup to be sweeter
  • 7 carrots stalks, chopped
  • 1 celery heart, ~10 stalks,  chopped
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 T rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  • Turn slow-cooker on to high. Add coconut oil or butter.
  • Add in the garlic and onion and let it heat up and the flavors marry before adding the chicken (5-8 minutes). Place in the chicken.
  • Begin chopping and prepping all other ingredients. Add all ingredients, including broth and spcies.
  • Change temperature to Low, and cook for 8-10 hours. Remove chicken and once cool enough to touch, remove the bones and shred the meat. Place the meat back into soup mix.
  • Stir and then enjoy.

What may be different with this soup than ones you may find on Recipe.com or other quick-and-easy recipe sites? I have included chicken that is organic, free range, in the bone, skin on. Why? The nutrient density goes up substantially with these components.

Top 10 Reasons to See a Paleo Registered Dietitian

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics posted an article, “Top 10 Reasons to Visit an RD,” and it inspired me to repost similar content but outline why a Paleo Registered Dietitian can suit your needs.

A trusted health care professional can serve as an integral liaison in helping you make change for a healthy lifestyle. See how consulting with a Paleo RD can benefit you.

  1. Diabetes: You have prediabetes or any other form of diabetes – T1, T2, Gestational and you want to gain control. A Paleo RD can change your life and your relationship with food by teaching you holistic, real-food approaches in eating a nutrient-dense diet, low to moderate carbohydrates and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods to help you best control your blood sugars.
  2. Community: Your community has high levels of obesity. A Paleo RD can work with local leaders, including doing presentations to schools, teachers and parents, to create wellness programs that promote healthy eating, sourcing high quality food locally and physical, natural movement for everyone.
  3. Media: You are a marketing manager for a food company/restaurant and know consumers’ preference for good-tasting food that is healthy. A Paleo RD can make the connection and work with your media campaign to develop new messages that will be successful in the marketplace.
  4. Performance: You want to improve your performance in sports. A Paleo RD can transition you to be fat-adapted, enhancing your ability to perform longer and better. Whether you’re running a marathon, skiing or jogging with your dog, you deserve to properly fuel your body with the right foods at the right amounts.
  5. Special Diets: More than 15 million people in the US have a food allergy and this does not even address food sensitivities  A Paleo RD dietitian will work with you to develop an eating plan for your new needs and even help uncover food sensitivities.
  6. Family Nutrition: A Paleo RD an help you take care of your family, from parents growing older and at risk for Alzheimer’s  dementia,  etc, to newborns and eventually starting on solids. A Paleo RD who has special culinary skills can teach you how to cook in a simple, convenient way as well as educate you on what foods to choose.
  7. Food Relationships: Perhaps you or your teenager has issues with food and eating healthfully. A Paleo RD can address the impact certain anti-nutrients have on our mental health. Please note if a condition such as anorexia, etc, can be addressed by a Paleo RD, yet, a RD who specializes in eating disorders should be your first attempt. I will plug the book Primal Body, Primal Mind as a go-to resource as well.
  8. Locavore: Your community wants more local foods to be available. A Paleo RD can inform you of some great options in how to connect with a nearby farmer, as well as, provide advice on how to grow your own produce or herbs.
  9. Time: You and your husband/wife have just started a family, perhaps you have moved, started a new job or hobby and time is just not there. A Paleo RD can help you get through and not put your health in the back burner
  10. Supplements: While all health professionals can agree, food first is the best approach in getting your needed nutrient intake, however, a Paleo RD can help you source the best needed supplements or food substitutes. Perhaps liver and onions are a thing of the past, but the nutritional bang for your buck you can get with this ancestral meal or a homemade bone broth may need to be revisited.
Regardless of the niche a health professional has, everyone needs some sort of coaching. From a personal trainer, to a running coach, a business mentor, to a Registered Dietitian. Treat yourself and see what a coach can offer you.
Cheers to you and good health,
Kelly

References

Sildorf SM, er al. Remission without insulin therapy on gluten-free diet in a 6-year old boy with type 1 diabetes mellitus. BMJ Case Rep. June 21, 2012.

Jonsson, T, et al. Beneficial effects os a Paleolithic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: a randomized cross-over pilot study. Cardiovasc. Diabetol. 2009; 8: 35.

Cordain L. The Nutritional Characteristics of a Contemporary Diet Based Upon Paleolithic Food GroupsJANA. 2002; 5(3): 15-24.

Wolf, R. The Paleo Solution – The Original Human Diet. 2010.

Rosebud O. Robertsa, Lewis A. Roberts, Yonas E. Geda, Ruth H. Cha, V. Shane Pankratz, Helen M. O’Connor, David S. Knopman and Ronald C. Petersen, Relative Intake of Macronutrients Impacts Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment or Dementia, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2012 

Wangen W. Healthier Without Wheat – A New Understanding of Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. 2009.

What Does Paleo Infused Nutrition Mean?

Paleo: Paleo comes from the word paleolithic, which in brief means ancestral and prehistoric.

Infused: Infused means to cause to be permeated with something (as a principle or quality) that alters usually for the better.

NutritionNutrition is the bounty of our health and describes the entity of Paleo Infused Nutrition. 

Paleo Infused Nutrition:

Put it all together and therein lies the foundation of my company – educating clients on how to achieve optimal health based on eating in accordance with historical human nutrition (reprogramming our epigenetics) and overcoming today’s social pressures and the food industry (conventional wisdom) and reaching personal health goals. We have a rich cuisine, as this is great within itself, but we are out of touch of our roots. With conflicting health and nutrition advice in the media and in varying health professionals, I ensure to simplify my counseling so it makes complete sense and it hard to forget.

Paleo Infused Nutrition is focused on helping others, including the average person looking for improved health and those who have been diagnosed with a medical condition, to change their lifestyle, leading to a long and positive quality of life, season after season.

There are two main guidelines to my Paleo Infused Nutrition lifestyle:

  1. eat whole, nutrient-dense food
  2. reduce/avoid processed, refined foods – grains (including “whole grains”), legumes, pasteurized dairy and sugar.

Usually the biggest red flag in the above guidelines are the avoidance of grains. While I do not intend to strip all grains from one’s diet, I will help my clients understand a new perspective on these industrialized foods. And with grain’s modest nutrition profile, their propensity to trigger food intolerances (gluten and grains), carbohydrate cravings, addictions, binges and their limited serving of fiber, it is hard for me to suggest grains to be part of someone’s every meal or snack.

While the above guidelines are simple in script, they take adjustments to apply. That is what I am here for – to help coach you, educate you, empower you to be your best, eat your best and feel your best.

Cheers to you and good health. – Kel

Vitamin D – And I Thought I Knew It All

Upon my return to the USA, I was flabbergasted (in a good way) by something called “Meet-ups.” Two years go by and a whole new social community has developed with these interest group gatherings. Happily I am in numerous Meet-up groups catered to Entrepreneurs, to a Walking group (yes!!!), Paleo’ers and more. So as you can tell, I jumped on Meetup.com joined some Meet-ups that suit my interest and bang, I started attending some meetings.

Today’s post addresses a Paleo Meet-up held in Columbus, Ohio, where Dr Oliver hosted a lecture on vitamin D. After working as a dietitian on the Got Milk campaign, a few years back, I thought I was well-versed in vitamin D research. However, Dr Oliver showed me otherwise. Some information I noted includes the following:

  • It is estimate that up to 90% of people in the Midwest could have insufficient levels vitamin D
  • Everyone should consider testing to see where their levels are – you can go to your GP or order one online at http://www.grassrootshealth.net and http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/.
  • The amount of Vitamin D to supplement is unique to each person and the amount of vitamin D needed to increase one’s level varies. Personally, I take about 3,000-5,000IU of D3 (AnabolicLabs) a day. My last lab showed my levels at  54 nmol/L.
  • The best source of vitamin D is the sun. Besides fatty fish, free range eggs, cod liver oil there are few foods to offer substantial levels.  Ideally spending 15 minutes in the sun at peak times can offer 50,000 IU of vitamin D, according to Dr Oliver. So the question begs to ask, “What are you doing on your lunch break?”
  • When supplementing you want to consider D3 (as well as K2). Indeed a lot of pharmaceutical companies sell D2, yet, D3 is relatively cheap and a lot of the research on vitamin D supplementation has been done on D3.
  • If a woman is breastfeeding or lactating her vitamin D needs will increase to 7,000 IU a day. This is above the RDA, yet, in my opinion as a RD and Dr Oliver agreeing, this 7,000 IU is optimal and perhaps not enough.
  • The RDA for children increased a few years ago and it is now 400 IU, however, there are studies suggesting the needs are much higher. For toddlers the RDA is 600 IU, however, a suggested amount from this meeting would be 1,000-2,000 IU.
  • Overall vitamin D absorption varies – regardless if it is from the sun or a supplement. People with darker skin need to spend more time in the sun to get equal amounts of vitamin D as someone with fairer skin.
  • If capable get your vitamin D levels checked during the winter months. If your levels are low, check again in 3 months to see if you are supplementing enough.
  • Vitamin D supplementing is a very easy thing to do – and people will reap the health benefits even without diet change. However, absorption is better when individuals remove grains from their diet, as seen in Dr Oliver’s patient population.
  • Vitamin D is crucial for bone health – calcium supplementing is not necessary and can even be harmful. The USA is the country with the highest osteoporosis and the highest to supplement with calcium. Please discard calcium chews and the likes if you have them in your cabinet.
  • There are populations who are contraindicated to supplement with vitamin D and this includes individuals who have hyperparathyroidism, hypercalcaemia, granular disease in the lungs, fungal infections in the lungs, cancer/lymphoma and people who have a feeling of being unwell when they are in the sun.
  • Adequate amounts of vitamin D can help those who are experiencing joint pain. Often patients will see a doctor for back pain, etc, and vitamin D may be the solution, not steroids.

As a dietitian, I surely always recommend food first for health, however, there are some key supplements I advise most people to consider taking. Vitamin D is one of them, as is magnesium, a concentrated fish oil, and probiotics, as long as they are no medical or pharmaceutical contraindications to taking these. These recommended supplements help reduce chronic inflammation.

If you want more advice or information on finding high quality supplements as well as dietary advice, please feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Also, come November 20th (Tuesday) I will be hosting the Paleo Living Columbus gathering. Hopefully you can make it if you are in the area. More information here.

Additional Supporting Vitamin D Research:

When/What to Buy Organic

It’s been a fair bit of time since I last posted information on the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 and over the years, the information does change as you can see in this list I posted 2-3 years ago.

For those of you who have not heard of these terms simply put the Dirty Dozen includes produce you always want to aim to buy organic and the Clean 15 includes produce that is okay to buy not organic, hence the pesticide content in the non-organically grown produce is not rationally different to the organic version. See below for the lists.

Dirty Dozen

  1. Apple
  2. Celery
  3. Sweet bell peppers
  4. Peaches
  5. Strawberries
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes
  8. Spinach
  9. Lettuce
  10. Cucumbers
  11. Blueberries – domestic
  12. Potatoes

Clean 15

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Cabbage
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Asparagus
  8. Mangoes
  9. Eggplant
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cantelope
  12. Sweet potato
  13. Grapefruit
  14. Watermelon
  15. Mushrooms

 

Source EWG.org

See You Later Hypertension

Last fortnight I was asked to participate in an online interview (article originally published on: http://www.bloodpressurecharts.net/kelly-o-connell-interview.html) about natural ways to manage high blood pressure. Not only was this request interesting but it is a topic that needs more coverage. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. I hate to be so blunt but there is no way around it – one in four adults (US data) have hypertension. Untreated hypertension can get ugly causing kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, dementia and more. However, with most things related to health, you can turn it around for the better. If hypertension is something you deal with personally, consider the below to incorporate with your daily routine. As always, if you need some help, feel free to contact me.

  • What supplements/foods do you recommend people with high blood pressure try, to help lower their blood pressure?

Before advising someone on what to eat and what to supplement with, I first need to understand if there is anything else going on with their health, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. I also want to know what medication they are taking.

Generally speaking though, I advise eating a moderately high protein and fat diet, with moderately low (less than 150 grams per day) carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be mainly sourced from vegetables, legumes/lentils, tubers and fruit.

Important foods to consider are those rich in potassium (bananas, avocado, herbs, cocoa, nuts, and tomatoes), magnesium (pumpkin, squash, cocoa, nuts, fish), vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, celery) and vitamin E (almonds, herbs, olives), omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon or sardines) and flavonols (red wine, grapes, cocoa). Do you see a trend? I am a believer in dark chocolate/cocoa nibs and consume cocoa in one shape or another daily.

However, more important than knowing what to eat is knowing foods to cut back on, including foods high in fructose and processed foods (chips, deli meat, bread, pastries, cookies, desserts, etc).

Fructose, simply put, is a type of sugar. It is under a lot of scrutiny causing detrimental things to our health including hypertension. While the jury is still out, there is a true consensus that fructose does more harm than good. The important take away is to know what foods are high in fructose i.e. candies/lollies, cold breakfast cereals, desserts such as ice cream, cake, muffins, salad dressing, breads, pizza,crackers, canned fruit and juices with added sweeteners and more.

My recommended supplements include high-quality fish oil, a strong probiotic, magnesium twice a day, Himalayan sea salt and CoQ10. Food always comes first.

  • What are your thoughts on salt and high blood pressure? Should we be limiting salt intake or is the salt thing all blown out of proportion?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not stress salt restrictions. Processed foods should certainly get more vigilance in this space. I think overall sodium claims are blown out of proportion and certainly, I strongly advise the use of Himalayan sea salt. Overall, individuals need to self-assess how salt makes them feel. If the consumption of salt makes someone retain fluid or make their heart palpitate/speed up, then a reduced salt intake should be implemented. However, I think there are far more important actions to take than demonizing salt. Focus should zero in on stress levels, adequate sleep, exercise, eating whole foods (this does not include whole grains) and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Not necessarily specific to high blood pressure, but what are your top 5 healthiest foods we should all be trying to eat more of, and why?

Grassfed/free range meat – protein is essential and free range meat, ideally, beef, has an optimal fatty acid ratio, up to 6 times more omega 3’s compared to the grocery store variety. Certainly, omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in every cell and system in our bodies. Beyond the nutrient profile grassfed/free range beef offers, it is a great tool for optimal health. It is satiating, protective against cancer and cardiovascular disease, has low insulinogenic properties and more.

Coconut – whether it is coconut oil, flour, cream or milk, I welcome it all. I consume this functional food daily, reaping one of the thousands of benefits it offers. In traditional medicine, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is so versatile to use. I make pancakes from coconut flour and milk, I cook with coconut oil, especially with eggs and coconut cream is delicious with berries.

Pumpkin – is loaded with healthy starches and it is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin is nutrient-rich, easy to make and can satisfy a sweet or savory craving. I have learned to cook pumpkin in a variety of fashions from pumpkin soup (with coconut milk and cinnamon), roasted pumpkin salad (with pine nuts, spinach, feta and homemade balsamic dressing) to pumpkin porridge (mixing puree pumpkin with eggs, nuts, and raisins).  Pumpkin can also serve as a dessert by garnishing it with spices and honey.

Free range eggs – they are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and are far superior to caged eggs when it comes to nutrient content. They are rich in vitamin A and E and omega 3 fatty acids, among many other important vitamins and minerals.

Fermented foods – I am all about gut health and a happy gut, makes a good immune system. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc provide probiotics to our intestines. There are plenty of benefits to adding probiotics to our bodies, including protection from colon cancerrelief from lactose intolerance and diarrheareduction in cavities, and more. Improved digestion means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed, making you an overall healthier being.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel
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