Personalized Nutrition: Startling Stats on Sugar

We don’t know what we don’t know. But when we learn how certain ingredients affect us, we can create motivation to change. We all know sugar isn’t good for us, but what does the evidence show as to why it’s so bad?

Does Sugar Impair Mental Health?

Yes. And this is an area where it’s beyond counterintuitive to use treats as a reward, especially in school. Not only will that reward cause inattention, but it will throw off brain chemicals, creating anxiety and depression.

In fact, a Yale study done on healthy kids without ADHD were divided into 2 groups, a sugar drinking group (equivalent to drinking a 12-oz Coca-Cola) and a non-sugar drink. The researchers evaluated and measured blood glucose levels, a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters before and after the boys drank the beverage.

Four hours after drinking the beverage, the boys who drank the sugary drink had 5x the amount of anxiety (adrenaline levels) as the non-sugar drinking boys. When this occurred, the children felt panicky, shaky and weak with a pounding heart.

Additionally, a group of scientists at the University of Colorado suggests that eating sugar on a regular basis may cause long-term problems for the brain that can’t be corrected simply by removing sugar from the diet in short-term studies.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Sugar can exacerbate mood swings, irritability, asthma, gallstones, endocrine disorders, and much more. High blood sugar and both added sugar to foods, depletes B vitamins. This is one reason why I advise most of my clients with diabetes supplement with a methylated B vitamin. Being B vitamin deficiency can cause all the symptoms above plus cravings, insomnia, restlessness, indigestion, to name a few.

As well, it’s no coincidence that the flu peaks around holidays when treats, candy, cookies are abundant. Sugar itself zaps the immune system.

Refined Sugar Is Linked to Ill Health:

  • Insomnia
  • Allergies
  • Dizziness
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Low Blood Sugar
  • Cancer
  • Hair Loss
  • ADHD/ADD
  • Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 diabetes

Is Sugar Addicting?

There is no doubt it’s addicting. Sugar releases an opiate-like substance that activates the brain’s reward system.

Suddenly removing the sugar from your diet can cause withdrawal systems including depression, fatigue, aching joints.

How To Break Up With Sugar?

  • Focus on blood sugar control overall.
  • Create a mealtime routine where you eat 4 or fewer times a day, but around the same hours.
  • Observe where it exists and be savvier with what you put in your grocery cart.
  • When you eat your first meal, choose something that is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein, fiber, and fat. A good example would be a low sugar smoothie, a vegetable omelet, cauliflower porridge, and many more low carb ideas.
  • Cut ties with liquid calories, including fancy coffee drinks.
  • Aim to have at least 20 grams of protein at each meal.
  • Opt for something bitter or sour in your meals, like kimchi, green apples, pickled veggies.
  • Avoid naked carbs ( an apple alone would be a naked carb, an apple with peanut butter will help slow the digestion and allow for better blood sugar control).
  • Make sure you are nurturing a bedtime and getting adequate sleep. Cue into not only the quantity of your sleep but also how to enhance the quality of your sleep. 

How does sugar impact your life? Can you related to any of the information mentioned here?

Related Topics: This is part of a 4-part series on “Personalized Nutrition.” Be sure to click through all the topics on this subject, which I’ve hyperlinked below.

 

Low Sugar Smoothies

It’s officially the holiday season and a great time to start each day in November with a healthy bolus of a meal, a green smoothie. Join me this month for a daily smoothie challenge!

Spinach Berry

Blend the above in a good blender such as a Ninja, a good Kitchen Aid blender (I use the Kitchen Aid option and it does just fine) and/or a Vitamix.

Creamy Avocado Berry:

Blend the above in a good blender such as a Ninja, a good Kitchen Aid blender.

Apple Pumpkin

  • 1/3 cup puree pumpkin
  • 1.5 cup raw spinach
  • 1.5 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon clove
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1/3 or ½ of a small frozen banana (I peel multiple bananas, wrap them in foil and then freeze them)
  • ½ cup of cooled apple cinnamon herbal tea (I brew a small amount of water the night before and leave it on the counter for the morning)
  • 1 scoop of vegan protein powder
  • 1 tbsp of gelatin/collagen blend

Blend the above in a good blender.

Green Machine

  • 2 large handfuls spinach leaves (2-3 cups)
  • 3-4 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 peeled banana, you can even use frozen to make the drink even colder
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 cup purified water, almond milk, coconut water or coconut milk
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 2 tbsp of gelatin/collagen blend

Blend the above in a good blender.

Tip: The ingredient measurements in green smoothies are flexible, add more or less of any ingredients to your taste. Also, check out this guide to continue building the perfect green drink.

Berry Bliss

  • 1 cup organic mixed berries, frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons Chia seeds (optimize the nutrition by soaking the chia seeds overnight in water)
  • 1.5 cups water (substitute with almond/coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp spirulina or vital greens
  • 1 scoop of vegan protein powder
  • 1 tbsp of gelatin/collagen blend

Blend the above in a good blender.

Choco-blueberry

Blend the above in a good blender.

Additional Smoothie Tips: 

If you want the smoothie to be sweeter, feel free to add more banana or vanilla extract. As well, with the flu season upon us, I more often than not, tear open 2 green tea sachets and add the ingredients in with the smoothie for an extra immune system booster. Last but not least – I often combine many of the ingredients the night before so breakfast can be whipped together effortlessly. Need more smoothie ideas? Click here. 

 

Back-To-School Breakfast Ideas

Summer is nearly gone at the advent of school starting next week. I keep thinking of this phrase as I will be sending my oldest off to kindergarten (tear) on Thursday.

“I’ve learned that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.”

Funny, right? But silly stupid true. Where did summer go?

Speaking of time, this week I’m highlighting ways to save time in the kitchen in the morning.

  1. Make waffles from Birch Blenders mixes in bulk and store them in a Ziplock freezer bag until they are ready to be toasted/eaten. Bonus tip, add a few scoops of collagen peptides to the batter (+ a tbsp of avocado oil) to increase the protein content, satiety and brain-boosting amino acids for learning.
  2. Banana Pancakes: mash 1 small banana with 2 eggs and make a pancake or 2 in a skillet like you would traditional batter.
  3. Chia Seed Pudding: mixing 1 part chia seeds with 4 parts liquid. Example: 1/4 cup chia seeds with 1 cup of coconut milk. Add spices and sweetener to your liking. Make multiple of these ahead in mini mason jars.

Egg-Free, Low-Carb Breakfast Ideas

Hot Seed “Porridge”

  • 1/4 cup chia, 
  • 1/4 cup flax meal, 
  • 2T cinnamon,
  • Sea salt to taste
  • (Optional) something crunchy like cocoa nibs
  • 3/4 c boiling water 

Mix ingredients together vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Top with berries and nuts if you desire.

Cauliflower (Cauli) “Porridge”

Add 2 cups of cauli rice in a saucepan, add in 1 tbsp of coconut oil, a touch of water to help the cauli cook down + spices (cinnamon, sea salt), stir consistently. Add in stevia drops (a few more than a smoothie as it will cut the bitterness out of the cauli) + stir in collagen or protein powder. Stir the above consistently for 4 minutes. Add in an egg and stir for a final 4 minutes. Expect to cook for 8 minutes in total.

Keto Smoothies

Vegan Pancakes

Flax Waffles – (vegan option)

Grain-Less Granola – this is great solo or you can mix in some coconut-based yogurt

 

 

 

For More Inspiration: review this post as well, Breakfast Ideas Beyond Eggs

Real Food Breakfast Ideas Beyond Eggs

It’s easy to quickly come up with dozens of paleo, real food breakfast ideas, but when asked to list 10 clean breakfast options sans eggs, it can take some thought. Indeed I got creative hence I want to suggest meals that are higher in protein, which is my bottom-line recommendation for anyone to start off their day.

  1. Smoothie – maybe I am cheating because this is an no-brainer for an eggless breakfast, but how appetizing does a metabolism spice boosting cocoa recipe sound? Blend 1 cup coconut milk (from a carton), 6 ice cubes, 1 scoop (vegan) chocolate protein powder, 2 tablespoons of collagen/gelatin blend, 1 tablespoon of cocao, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 cups spinach, 1/2 frozen banana. More smoothie recipes here. 
  2. Homemade sausage patties with roasted vegetables and guacamole. I urge you to simplify this meal by roasting your vegetables ahead of time and if need be, resort to Wholey Guacamole packs or Costco’s pre-made guacamole. The easier you make the process, the more likely it is to stick to a real food meal. This is a great freezer recipe for sausage patties.
  3. Spaghetti squash with ground beef. You can prep the ground beef ahead of time as well. The beef can be cooked in a skillet with bacon and/or spices such as sea salt, pepper, garlic and some smoked paprika. Add an onion to the mix for extra nutrition, love for your liver and more.
  4. Smoked salmon, lemon and avocado wrapped in nori.
  5. Pumpkin Pudding
  6. Fruit, pumpkin, nut butter bowl – super easy. Portion out some canned organic pumpkin, spice it with cinnamon, ginger, the likes, and top with a spoonful of nut butter and sprinkle on some berries.
  7. Grilled ham and fruit – you can even cook it all in the same skillet. I do this often with Canadian bacon and strawberries with sliced banana. Sometimes I crave an all around warm meal to start the day.
  8. Soup – the options are endless as it’s simple to make a soup based on real food. Some ideas can include chicken vegetable, pumpkin ginger soup, chili, and paleo ham soup.
  9. Salad – top some greens with last night’s protein leftovers.
  10. Bacon and veggies – I find it most enjoyable and easier to roast a large batch of veggies to kick-off the week.

In closing you may be wondering why I emphasize protein at breakfast? There are many reasons, but a few of the import points to highlight include:

  • A high protein breakfast has shown to optimize gastrointestinal hormones, which signal the brain to adjust appetite and satiety. (1)
  • High protein breakfast eaters trend to make better food choices throughout the day. (2)
  • Can lend to weight loss and feeling more energized.
  • Help regulate blood sugar (3)

1. Gut hormones and appetite control: a focus on PYY and GLP-1 as therapeutic targets in obesity. De Silva A, Bloom SR. Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Hammersmith Campus, Imperial College London, London, UK. Gut and Liver. 2012 January;6(1):10-20.

2. http://www.arthritistoday.org/what-you-can-do/eating-well/benefits-of-eating-well/benefits-of-breakfast.php

3. Consuming High-Protein Breakfasts Helps Women Maintain Glucose Control – http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2014/0429-consuming-high-protein-breakfasts-helps-women-maintain-glucose-control-mu-study-finds/

 

Recipe/Meal Idea: Christmas Brunch

I love cooking and my family loves it too. This year, I am in charge on brunch Christmas morning. What do I have up my sleeve? A meal that is savory, protein and nutrient-rich and satisfying. Happy Holidays!

Sun Dried Tomato, Mushroom, Spinach Basil Crustless Quiche 

Ingredients

  • 12 organic eggs (pasture-raised preferred)
  • 2 small cartons of cage free egg whites (I do this to optimize the macro-nutrient ratio of the meal)
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced mushroom
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bushel of fresh basil
  • 1 package of sundried tomatoes
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • coconut oil

Method

Grease a Pyrex 9×13 (size of cake pan) with coconut oil. I do this by using a sandwich bag as a “glove” and scooping the oil out of the jar.

Preheat oven at 375F.

Layer the sliced mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and basil in the pan.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, egg whites, baking soda, salt and pepper and vegetable stock.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until there is no liquid in the center. I usually test the “doneness” by poking a toothpick in the middle.

*If you want the quiche to be more moist, I recommend adding 1/4-1/2 cup of organic heavy cream and/or some shredded cheese.

BaconUS Wellness Meats has awesome sugar free bacon. If you can’t get their bacon in time, I recommend pasture-raised pork bacon and/or bacon that is sulfite free and organic.

Gluten free Oatmeal – A side of oatmeal helps round out this meal, especially to those who are not used to eating a more strict paleo diet. Gluten free oats are less inflammatory than those cross-contaminated with wheat, and I prefer to boil the oats for a creamier texture. Mix in warm spices and a little sea salt.

Drinks

  • Coffee with cinnamon (my blood sugar loves this; I add about 1/2-1 tsp of cinnamon to each cup)
  • Moscato
  • Tea

Recipe: Sweet Potato & Asparagus Eggbake

Since I had Declan I have embraced the challenge of eating a healthy, protein-rich breakfast while trying to mend a waking, hungry baby. What’s my solution? I make some sort of vegetable-based eggbake on the weekend so I am ready to slice, reheat and eat each weekday.

Use this recipe for inspiration – I change up the ingredients each time.

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Ingredients

  • 12 organic eggs (pasture-raised preferred)
  • 1 small carton of cage free egg whites (I do this to optimize the macro-nutrient ratio of the meal)
  • 2 small sweet potatoes, sliced in cylinders
  • 1 bushel of asparagus, chopped in 2 inch pieces (trim the ends)
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 bushel of fresh parsley
  • salt/pepper
  • coconut oil**

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Method

Grease a Pyrex 9×13 (size of cake pan) with coconut oil. I do this by using a sandwich bag as a “glove” and scooping the oil out of the jar.

Preheat oven at 375F.

Layer the sliced sweet potato in the pan, then top the sweet potato w/ chopped asparagus, mushrooms and then spinach.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, egg whites, baking soda, salt and pepper, fresh parsley and vegetable stock.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until there is no liquid in the center. I usually test the “doneness” by poking a toothpick in the middle.

*If you want it to be more moist, I recommend adding 1/4-1/2 cup of organic heavy cream and/or some shredded cheddar cheese.

**Science-based information on the perks of coconut oil.

Snack Idea – Soaked Chia Seeds

Oh the many ways to enjoy this nutritious food. Have you ever tried them? If so, how?

Lately, I have been soaking 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/3-1/2 cup of almond milk, coconut milk or water (certainly make more if you want this to be your sole snack or meal, as I usually use it as a partial snack or condiment). Combine the seeds and liquid of choice and stir for a minute, 5 minutes later stir again and let soak overnight. Come morning I will then mix in either some cinnamon, maybe some sliced strawberries or banana or both and/or some protein powder.

I have even put soaked chia seeds over my banana pancakes (2 eggs, 1/2 banana, mashed and cooked into 2 pancakes). All so satisfying.

If you can’t be bothered to make soaked chia seeds, they sell Chia Pods at some grocery stores. Give them a whirl.

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Check out these chia seed recipes too. 

Smoothies!

If you have never tried a green smoothie, this recipe will be a good one to start with. Enjoy the flavor and more so, enjoy the health benefits.

Use organic ingredients whenever possible.

  • 2 large handfuls spinach leaves (2-3 cups)
  • 3-4 large romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2-1/3 peeled banana, you can even use frozen to make the drink even colder (use less or more, depending on your carb needs)
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds or soaked chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup purified water, almond milk, coconut water or coconut milk
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1 scoop Raw Protein powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder

Directions:

Wash all produce thoroughly and prepare it for the blender. Blend all ingredients until smooth; 30-60 seconds depending on your blender. Add more liquid if needed to blend. Best if served immediately (nutritionally and for taste).

Tip: The ingredient measurements in green smoothies are flexible, add more or less of any ingredients to your taste.

Similar articles:

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Mini Detox To Rev Up Your Metabolism

Heavy Metal Detox Juice (Good for PCOS clients or hypothyroid clients)

Surprising Things a 10 Day Juice Detox Taught Me

Also, check out this guide to continue building the perfect green drink.

Nutrient-Dense, High Protein Breakfast Options

We all know plain scrambled eggs can do the job, but they get old. Here are a few thought starters to changing things up with your morning routine:

Cupcakes

Starting with my personal favorite – protein cupcakes. And don’t let the wording confuse you. These cupcakes are not sweet, nor would you find them at a trendy bakery. These bad boys will keep you full till lunch and they are portable if you are short on time. Depending on your activity level have 2-3 Paleo Infused breakfast Muffins for breakfast and if you find you are still hungry pair them with some steamed vegetables or avocado. Check out the Paleo Infused Breakfast muffin recipe here. 

Pancakes

Super easy recipe, yet, I often find myself making these on the weekend. Details: 2 eggs, 1 small banana or 1/2 of a banana. Add spices if desired i.e. ginger, cinnamon. Mix ingredients thoroughly and cook 2 pancakes as normal.

Breakfast Tacos

Ground chorizo meat, fresh tomatoes and lettuce (butter lettuce) cups. if you want more specific here is another breakfast taco recipe.

Sweet Blueberry Sweet Potato

If you are an AM workout guru, some nice carbohydrates will help properly replenish your glycogen stores and help you feel good and recover for tomorrow’s sweat. This is an interesting breakfast idea, check out the recipe.

Fruit’n Eggs

Who says fruit only goes with parfaits or waffles? Not this girl. Throw some diced apple or sliced strawberries in your egg scramble. Perfect for times when you are craving something more sweet. If you really want to get creative, add some spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger, etc. Dried herb and spices are packed with antioxidants and nutrients, rounding our the meal with even more nutrition.

Breakfast Pizza

Keeping in theme of America’s favorite meal items, lets reform pizza to something that can fuel us properly and allow us to thrive. This is a great Meatza recipe.

Frittata

Frittatas are making a comeback and they are perfect for those who want to make something in advance and have an easy re-heatable meal for mornings. These recipes look scrumptious: Egg and Sausage Frittata, Southwestern FrittataBrussels Spouts and Spinach Frittata

Homemade Trail Mix

Trail mix can be the perfect solution for a nutrient-dense meal in the morning, especially if you don’t have a problem over-consuming nuts. Here are 2 lovely recipes that use healthy oils and heating techniques, retaining the nutrition we need for optimal health. Sweet and Salty Trail Mix and Paleo Trail Mix.

Smoothies

So many options here and I find clients like to have smoothies as a structured meal, helping them to stay on tract. While there is some debate for protein powders, if I were to put one forward, I like the fermented goat protein from Tropical Traditions. That said, you judge what is best for you, some people may not need the protein powder and instead just use hemp seeds for protein and fat.

Creamy Chocolate 

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup of almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 2 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado

Cinnamon Banana Delight

  • 1 cup of coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of ice

Cocoa Coffee

  • 1 cup of coffee (cooled)
  • 1/2 small frozen banana
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk or almond milk
  • Ice (3 cubes)

Berry Protein Blend

  • 2 scoops of protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of berries (your choice)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 c of frozen or fresh spinach (alter serving size to less if frozen)
  • 3/4 cup of water