Michelle-MacLean,-the-sugar-shift

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Small Change, Big Gain

One of my core philosophies when it comes to making dietary and lifestyle change, is to start with the baby steps.

It’s all about starting small. Implementing even the tiniest movement toward your goal can help you gain momentum, feel successful and have the desire to keep going. If you tried to tackle a huge action step first off, and you weren’t successful, you might feel frustrated, disappointed and eventually give up.

So start with the baby steps. Add some more dark leafy greens into your day. Switch from soda to sparkling water. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Eliminate one sugary item from your diet. Meditate for five minutes. Try a run/walk activity.

As you gain momentum over time, these small shifts will lead to bigger gains in your overall health and wellness. They truly are worth it.

I was recently asked to participate in an infographic produced by Elysium Health entitled, Small Change Big Gain. It aligns with my approach so I was happy to provide a comment to be included in the piece.

The infographic focusses on metabolism and identifies challenges and obstacles to a healthy metabolism and offers small suggestions for making improvements.

Check out the infographic below. And feel free to share on your social media pages.

 

 

New Dates for FREE 3-Day No-Sugar Challenge

I’m super excited to announce the fall dates for my FREE 3-Day No-Sugar Challenge – Sept 15-17

Read all about it and sign up here. 

If you’re anything like me you are winding down a summer of indulging, imbibing and totally enjoying yourself.

Which I am 100% in favour of! We have to take time to relax, chill out and let off a little steam. Summer vacation is all about getting out of our regular routines, staying up late, having new adventures, enjoying food and drink and spending time with family and friends. This is a normal part of life and the cycle of the year.

And then cycle continues, after times when you’ve fallen off track, with a desire to get back on.

Now is that time. Now is the time to get back on track with your healthy eating, exercising and sleeping routines. 

I’m so ready for this. Ready for a detox! Ready for clean eating, a little self care time, and a pick-me-up to get me back on track.

Are feeling the same way? Are you ready to bring the healthy back?

My FREE 3-Day No-Sugar Challenge is the perfect kick-start to get you back on track!

If you overindulged in sugar and refined processed foods over the summer, drank too much alcohol and ate out far too often, I invite you to join me for three days of no-sugar low-carb eating.

You can read all the about the No-Sugar Challenge here. 

From Friday September 15 to Sunday September 17 we’ll detox from the nasty sweet stuff, nourish our bodies with real whole foods, and come out the other side strong, healthy and energized.

You may know that I created The Blood Sugar Shift, an online group coaching program, well this 3-Day No-Sugar Challenge gives you a taste of my proven Sugar Shift health transformation process.

If you’ve been curious about how The Blood Sugar Shift program works, what you’d be eating and what it’s like to join a group with me, then this is a perfect opportunity to try it out without any financial obligation.

If you are ready to feel better, believe you can have more vitality and are hopeful about the future of your health, then I invite you to join me.

Click here to sign up for my FREE 3-Day No-Sugar Challenge.

With sweetness,

Our garden went mad while we were on vacation this summer. When we came back our veggie boxes were overflowing with three types of lettuce, bok choy, swiss chard, kale, and for the first time, zucchini.

It was so exciting to see so many big orange and yellow flowers decorating the tips of these perfectly formed green summer squashes. YAY!

To be honest, we haven’t been able to keep up with it all. Two people just can’t eat that many veggies! Of course we’ve given some away to friends and family, but what do we do with the rest of this zucchini?

Thus began the hunt for some new recipes and ideas to make use of this abundant harvest.

My search led me to three great summer zucchini recipes I share with you today.

Summer Zucchini Pesto Soup

This really tastes like a big bowl of fresh pesto. Very light and refreshing.

Ingredients:

1 large white onion, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds (700g) zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
4 cups fresh greens (swiss chard, spinach or kale)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 organic vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 cup raw cashews
5 cups water
Fresh juice from 1 lemon or to taste

Directions:

Add onion, garlic, zucchini, greens, salt, pepper and bouillon cube to a large pot and cover with water (about 5 cups). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. In a food processor or high-powered blender, blend the cashews, half of the basil and half of the soup, until smooth and creamy. Place this mixture into a separate bowl and add the rest of the soup and the rest of the basil to the blender. Blend until smooth. Return all the soup back to the pot. Add in the fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Zoodle Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Since going low-carb zucchini noodles have become my go-to replacement for pasta.

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
17 ounce can diced organic tomatoes
1/2 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (crushed with mortar and pestle)
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil
1 pound zucchini (4 medium sized zucchini)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Make the sauce first by adding the coconut oil to a high-sided fry pan and heat until melted. Add the ground beef, onion, garlic and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Scramble fry until the meat is mostly cooked and the onions and garlic are translucent. Add in the can of tomatoes and half the can of tomato paste. Stir together. Add in Italian seasoning and fennel seeds. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add in the fresh basil just before serving. Season with salt and pepper.

To make the noodles you can use either a simple vegetable peeler, julienne peeler or a spiralizer. A spiralizer can be purchased at your local kitchen supply store or through online sites like amazon.com for about $50. If using the veggie/julienne peeler simply make long ribbons/ noodles with the peeler going around and around on your zucchini. If using the spiralizer, attach your zucchini and start turning!

When I made this dish I simply had the noodles raw and added the hot sauce over top and it was great. If you like the noodles warmer and a bit more tender you can either add them directly to the sauce, cook them for no more that 3-5 minutes in a vegetable steamer, or can simply place them in a sauté pan with a little bit of olive oil and that them briefly on the stovetop. They really don’t need to be cooked, but it is nice to have them warm if you are having a heated dish. Also be aware that they give off quite a bit of water when cooked, so factor that into things.

To serve place your noodles on a plate and top with the sauce. Enjoy!

And the grand finale – Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

I’ve already made two batches of these and doubled the recipe the second time I made them. So good and really easy!

1/2 cup almond butter (or other favourite nut butter)
1 ripe medium-sized banana
1 large egg (or 2 small)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup cacao powder
2 tablespoons almond flour/meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup zucchini, grated (then squeeze excess liquid out as much as you can)
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F and prepare an 11 x 7 glass baking dish or similar sized square pan greasing it with coconut oil or butter, or parchment and set aside. Add all ingredients except for zucchini and chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until batter is smooth and creamy. Place mixture into a bowl and stir in the zucchini and 1/4 cup chocolate chips by hand. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips (optional). Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Place on cooling rack and allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes (if you can wait that long). They are actually better once cooled. To store, cover pan with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

Over to you. In the comments, let me know how these recipes turn out for you if you try them. And please share more of your favourite ways to use up all those beautiful summer zucchini squash!

5 Tips for coping with vacation temptations

I’m just back from an amazing summer vacation in New England with stops in Watch Hill, Rhode Island; Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard; and Cambridge, Boston.

I believe we should enjoy our vacations and all the delicious delights that come with them – the food, drinks, treats, people, places and activities.

With that mindset, I indulged, imbibed and embraced the pleasures of summer during my vacation.

But on my first day back when I stepped on the scale, I was honestly a little disappointed in myself. My immediate thoughts were of regret. Did I really need to indulge that much? Were those almond croissants necessary? Did I have a few too many cocktails? Maybe that ice cream wasn’t such a great idea.

Have you ever had similar thoughts, questions or regrets after a vacation, holiday or special occasion?

I’ve been talking to clients this summer about how they deal with similar temptations while travelling and emotions afterward. And as I reflect upon my vacation, I’m thinking more and more about the stress we put on ourselves around food and drinking and how emotionally challenging that can be. The stress can actually have a greater health impact than the food we eat!

To help minimize some of your stress around vacation indulgences so that you are able to be in the moment and enjoy your holiday, I offer these tips and suggestions for dealing with the temptations and coping with the emotional and physical aftermath:

Be realistic. One of my core beliefs is to be realistic about your healthy habits. It’s not realistic to think you’ll be able to stick to them 100% of the time. There will be times when you’re doing well, on track, eating cleanly and exercising regularly. And then there will be interruptions to this flow. Times when life gets in the way and you are unable to keep this focus. And vacations are one of these times. Vacations are all about relaxing, rewarding yourself for all that hard work and taking your foot off the gas pedal. It’s not realistic to think you’re going to stick to your healthy habits while on vacation. So ease that rigid thinking, cut yourself some slack and enjoy. This realistic attitude will help to ease some of that post-vacation regret.

Have a plan. With your realistic mindset in place, you may also want to have a plan or a strategy going into your vacation. Decide what foods, alcohol, treats you want to enjoy. Where is that happy point between restriction and debauchery that feels right for you? The place that allows for some indulgence but doesn’t completely blow all your hard work. For me it is usually allowing in some carbs and sweets which I don’t eat on a regular basis. You also want to think ahead. If you’re on a road trip why not pack a cooler of healthy food to eat instead of resorting to unhealthy fast foods at road stops. Bring a healthy dish to the potluck. Eat a healthy snack before you go to the barbecue. Opt for a lower carb beverage versus the sweet mixed alcoholic drinks. Check out the restaurant menu in advance. Having a plan in place and thinking ahead will help you make some more mindful decisions around food and drink while travelling.

Focus on the primary foods. Instead of focusing so much on the food you’re eating, while on vacation I invite you to shift your focus to the other things that nourish you. This is what I call primary food. The stuff that feeds your soul and nourishes you at a deep level. Things like spending time with the people who matter most. Seeing new places and having new experiences. Doing activities that thrill and excite you. Spending time in nature. Feeling connected to something greater. Taking time to rest, sleep, relax and decompress. Primary foods are the people, places, things and experiences that bring meaning and purpose into your life. Focus on these types of “foods” during vacation and I promise you’ll come back feeling well-fed, satisfied and deeply nourished.

Enjoy with gusto. This is one of my favourite food tips from Geneen Roth. She’s developed a list of seven guidelines to eating more consciously. The last one is “Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.” When you’ve made a decision on what you’re going to indulge in, she advises to fully enjoy the experience. Don’t beat yourself up, stress-out or feel guilty about it. Taste and savour every bite. Be fully present to the experience and embrace it with all of your senses. I employed this guideline a few (let’s be real, many) times on my vacation. One of the most memorable was an ice cream. When someone mentioned Dusty’s Dairy Bar in Rhode Island that had a peanut butter flavoured soft serve dip, I just knew I had to have it. So I did. I didn’t have the biggest one available. I had a small with no cone and enjoyed every single lick and drip. I was present for every spoonful. I didn’t go back for more. I allowed myself the treat, soothed the craving, ate it with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure and I moved on.

Get back on track. We’ve already established we all have times during the course of the year where we aren’t eating that well. Vacations, busy work times, stressful life events, loss and grief can all cause us to stray from our healthy eating habits. The success factor here is not about giving in to those times (because we know we will) the key to success is how quickly can we get back on track after them. These times will happen. This is life. We’ve agreed to be realistic about it, right? The question is, will you let these interruptions spiral out of control and lead you into weeks and months of binge eating and debauchery, or will you accept the meal, one or two days, or the vacation, and get back on track as soon as possible? As soon as life settles down, or vacation is over you get back on track. Once you get back to healthy eating, regular exercise and routine, and any repercussions from the vacation will be remedied pretty quickly. Those few extra pounds will drop, the cravings will cease and you’ll be back to your healthy self in no time.

I hope these 5 tips are helpful as you return to life after vacation or plan an upcoming one. And I’d love to hear from you in the comments…what are the strategies or tips you implement during vacation to deal with temptations, indulgences and post-vacation regret?

If you’re looking for some support and guidance before of after your summer vacation, my Summer Action Plan Package is still available. We’ll connect for 90 minutes to develop your action steps and accountabilities and then we’ll touch base two more times to check-in, tweak, refine and re-commit. Review the full package and register here.

Join my FREE 48-Hour Smoothie Challenge

In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we often choose convenience over nutrition. By making this compromise, many of us are challenged to get enough fruits and vegetables into our diets.

That’s why (I’m excited to announce) I’ve created a FREE 48-Hour Summer Smoothie Challenge.

The Smoothie Challenge is a great way to inject your system with fruits and veggies in a simple, nutritious and tasty way! You’ll get a high dose of vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals to rev up your system and protect it against illness.

And it’s 100% FREE to join. Click here to register. 

As we move into the summer months it’s a perfect time to lighten up your eating from the heavier foods we tend to gravitate toward during the winter months. And with more fresh fruits and veggies available there will be an abundance to choose from to keep things fun and interesting.

Think of the 48-hour Smoothie Challenge as a nutrient boost to your system. It’s not so much about taking things away or removing items from your diet (as a cleanse, detox or elimination diet would be), but to add in and increase your consumption of fruits and veggies. 

The Challenge is designed to incorporate more real, whole-food smoothies into your daily meal plan. You will still enjoy your regular meals (maybe with a few tweaks) and will simply add in up to a litre of smoothie each day.

As you flood your body with beneficial nutrient-dense foods, you may also start to release and clean out some of the toxic waste that has accumulated over the years. As a result, you may experience increased energy, weight loss, reduced cravings, better sleep, improved moods, less brain fog and reduced muscle and joint pain.

The Challenges runs for 2 days – Wednesday, July 5 and Thursday, July 6th. 

Click here to register. It is FREE to join. No hidden costs. No gimmicks. Just straight up delicious recipes, easy-to-follow guidelines, community support and a bit of experimental fun!

Looking forward to blending our way to health and vitality! Are you in?

Yes, I’m ready to take the 48-Hour Smoothie Challenge

Warmly,

 

 

P.S. Feel free to share with friends, family members or co-workers who might like a healthy boost this summer. Plus, taking challenges like this with a buddy is always more fun.

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

The warmer weather is coming, and for those of us living in more northern locations, that means we’ll be able to get some natural vitamin D. YES!

Among the vitamins, vitamin D is pretty special.

And because we get it primarily from the sun, many of us have a hard time getting enough and are deficient.

Today let’s talk about how much of this critical fat-soluble vitamin we need and how you can get enough.

Why is vitamin D important, and how much do we need?

Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium from our food and acts like a hormone to help us build strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D can also help with immune function, cellular growth and help to prevent mood imbalances such as depression and seasonal affective disorder.

  • Low vitamin D levels can lead to:
  • Loss of muscle mass and strength over time
  • Higher risk for certain cancers
  • Decreased immune function
  • Higher blood pressure
  • The development of neurological disorders, diabetes and bone diseases

Health Canada’s daily recommended intakes (RDAs) for vitamin D, updated in 2011, are 400 IU for infants, 600 IU for children aged one to adults aged 70, and 800 IU for adults over 70. Health Canada’s safe upper limit is 4,000 IU per day.

The three ways to get vitamin D are exposure to the sun, consuming vitamin D containing food, and through supplements.

How can I get enough vitamin D from the sun?

Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun; that’s why it’s referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” How much vitamin D your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing – all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin can produce from the sun. One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done without sunscreen, at least twice a week. Of course, we should always avoid sunburns and of course in some locations (and seasons of the year) it’s not easy to get sun exposure. So, how can we get enough vitamin D in other ways?

The other thing to know is that even if you are getting mega doses from the sun, once your levels reach a certain number, any excess is inactivated. Also you can store some reserves of vitamin D, but they’ll only last a few weeks.

How can I get enough vitamin D from food?

Vitamin D is naturally found in some foods like fatty fish, liver and egg yolks but in very small quantities. Some foods are “fortified” (which means “added to”) with vitamin D. These include milk, some orange juices, breakfast cereals and yogurt. It will say on the label how much vitamin D has been added per serving.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some fat (healthy fat, of course).Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D each day; this is why vitamin D supplements are quite popular.

Check out the salmon recipe below for an extra doe of vitamin D.

How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?

It’s easy enough to just “pop a pill” or take some cod liver oil (which also contains vitamin A). Either of these can ensure you get the minimum amount of vitamin D, plus a bit extra.

But before you take vitamin D containing supplements, make sure it won’t interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels and ask a healthcare professional for advice.

Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any vitamin D supplement, except under medical care.

As mentioned, the maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level) and this can affect your heart and kidneys.

If you’re concerned, the best thing to do is to ask your healthcare professional to do a blood test and then recommend if a supplement is right for you and how much to take.

Conclusion:

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which many people are deficient in. Low levels can lead to varying degrees of health implications.

There are three ways to get enough vitamin D: sun exposure, through certain foods, and in supplements. Many people require a combination of the three to get adequate amounts.

If you’re concerned, it’s best to request a blood test that tests your vitamin D levels to be sure what’s right for you. Always take supplements as directed.

Vitamin D Recipe – Lemony Dill Broiled Salmon

Serves 4

4 wild salmon fillets
1 bunch asparagus
8 round slices of fresh lemon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 black pepper
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried dill
4 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven broiler and raise the oven rack. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and place fish on top, skin-side down. Surround with a single layer of asparagus.

Sprinkle the fish and asparagus with sea salt, pepper, parsley and dill. Top each fillet with 2 slices of lemon and drizzle with olive oil.

Broil for 8-10 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Serve & enjoy with a seasonal salad.

Over to you. Have you ever had your vitamin D levels checked? How do you make sure you have enough? Please share your thoughts on vitamin D in the comments below.

References:

http://thewellnessbusinesshub.com/yes-nutrient-deficiencies-heres-proof-can/

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/reference/table/ref_vitam_tbl-eng.php

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-vitamin-d

https://authoritynutrition.com/vitamin-d-101/

http://neurotrition.ca/blog/brain-food-essentials-sardines

The words “weight-loss” and “snacks” often appear in the same sentence.

But what usually comes along with this combination are additional words like “tasteless,” “cardboard,” and “completely unsatisfying.”

Right?

Well it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have weight-loss friendly snacks that aren’t just nutritious but also delicious.

My rule of thumb for snacks is they have to be nutrient-dense whole foods where a little goes a long way; foods containing protein and/or fibre and some healthy fats (which just happens to be the perfect combination to keep you full, satisfied and balanced in the blood sugar department).

Here are my top 5 weight-loss friendly snacks:

1 – Nuts

It’s true – nuts contain calories and fat, but they are generally NOT fattening if eaten in small portions.

And of course I’m not talking about the “honey roasted” ones. Those are fattening mostly because of all the sugar they contain.

Studies show people who eat nuts tend to be healthier and leaner.

By the way, nuts also contain protein and fibre, which means a small amount can go pretty far in terms of filling you up. Not to mention the vitamins and minerals you can get from nuts.

Did you know that almonds have been shown to help with weight loss? At least 10% of the fat in them is not absorbed by the body and almonds can also help to boost your metabolism!

Tip: Put a handful of various unsalted/unsweetened nuts into a small container and throw it in your purse or bag to snack on between meals.

2 – Fresh Fruit

As with nuts, studies show people who eat more fruit, tend to be healthier. (I’m sure you’re not too surprised!)

Yes, fresh fruit contains sugar, but if you eat the whole fruit (I’m not talking juice or sweetened dried fruit) you’ll also get a fair bit of water and fibre; and they have high nutrient values with lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And fresh fruit is low in calories.

Fiber is something that not only helps to fill you up (known as the “satiety factor”) but also helps to slow the release of the fruit sugar into your bloodstream and reduce the notorious “blood sugar spike.”

Win-win!

Try a variety of seasonal fruit and pair them with a handful of nuts, some nut butter or sliced avocado (for that dose of healthy fat).

Tip: While fresh is best, keep your freezer stocked with different frozen fruits for smoothies, adding to baked goods, toppings and healthy ice cream recipes.

3 – Chia Seeds

Chia is not only high in fibre (I mean HIGH in fibre), but it also contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids (yes those healthy omega-3s). As well as antioxidants, calcium, and magnesium.

Can you see how awesome these tiny guys are?

They also absorb a lot of liquid, so by soaking them for a few minutes, they make a thick pudding (that is delicious and fills you up).

Tip: Put two tablespoons of chia seeds in a bowl with ½ cup of nut milk and wait a few minutes. Add in some berries, chopped fruit or nuts and/or cinnamon and enjoy! Make a chocolate version with a teaspoon of cacao powder.

4 – Boiled Eggs

Eggs are packed with nutrition and most of it is in the yolk.

They contain a lot of high-quality protein and a good amount of vitamins and minerals.

And recent research shows that the cholesterol in the yolks is NOT associated with high elevated cholesterol or heart disease risk.

Yup, you read that right! So go ahead and enjoy the whole egg.

Tip: Boil half-a-dozen eggs and keep them in your fridge for a super-quick (and nutritious) snack!

5 – Vegetables

I don’t need to tell you how great these are for you, but just maybe I need to sell you on the delicious “snackability” of these nutrition powerhouses.

Veggies contain fibre and water to help fill you up and I’m sure you know that are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, right?

Yes they take a bit of time to chop and slice, but many supermarkets have veggies pre-chopped and bags of organic baby carrots or cherry tomatoes ready to go in bit-sized pieces.

Tip: Jazz up your veggies with a bit of dip. Have you tried almond butter on celery? How about dipping your veggies in guacamole? The healthy fats from the avocado will help keep you satisfied and full. Keep a batch on hand for easy quick, nutrient-dense snacks. See my recipe below.

Conclusion:

Go ahead and try one, or more, of these healthy snacks. Prepare them the night before and have them ready to go for your busy day. They will not be “tasteless,” like “cardboard,” or “completely unsatisfying.” I promise, your tastebuds and waistline will love them.

Over to you. In the comments tell me what your favourite, healthy, waistline-friendly snacks are!

Garlicky Guacamole

Makes about 2 cups

2 ripe avocados
1 clove garlic
juice from 1/2 lime (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Peel and core the avocados and place in small bowl. Mash with fork or veggie masher. Add in remaining ingredients and stir/mash until well combined. Store in fridge with avocado pit in centre to avoid turing brown. Serve with sliced/chopped fresh veggies.

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/20-most-weight-loss-friendly-foods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/almonds/

https://authoritynutrition.com/is-fruit-good-or-bad-for-your-health/

https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/apples/

https://authoritynutrition.com/fresh-vs-frozen-fruit-and-vegetables/

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

5 tips for better sleep (and a recipe)

Have you said goodbye to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and a yummy recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.

I’ve been speaking to more and more of my clients these days about sleep. For many of them it’s the factor the makes the biggest difference in their overall health and well being. Even more impactful than food!

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Sleep has three main purposes:

  • To restore your body and mind. Your body repairs, grows and even “detoxifies” your brain while you sleep.
  • To improve your brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so you’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need? It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised the recommendation is for all adults to get 7 – 9 hours a night. For real!

And for those of you who think you can get a couple hours each night during the week and make up for it over the weekend – think again! Once you get yourself into a deficit you can’t make it up later. The damage is already done. You need to get this amount of sleep everyday.

Please if you skimp on anything – don’t make it your sleep!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with some actionable tips below.)

5 Tips for better sleep

  1. The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights eight hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  2. Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. Eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fibre). Choose the whole fruit instead of the juice. Make sure you’re getting some protein and healthy fat every time you eat.
  3. During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These activities tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  4. Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12 pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  5. Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

What’s your sleep situation like? How many of these tips can you start implementing today? Tell me in the comments.

Recipe Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

  • 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free) or other decaf chai tea bag
  • 1.5 cups of boiling water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
  • 1 tsp Xylitol (optional)

Cover the teabag with 1/2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes. Discard the tea bag and place tea, dairy-free milk, xylitol & almond butter into a blender. Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which one you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?

 

Want to be a health coach?

I get inquires on a weekly basis about my training as a healthy coach and the school I went to. If you are someone who is interested in a career shift, becoming an entrepreneur and having a rewarding career helping people live healthier lives, then please read on to learn about a special enrolment bonus my nutrition school, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, is offering.

But before we get to that, let me tell you about how I ended up there.

In my 20s and 30s I completed two university degrees and in 1995 joined the corporate world of Public Relations. I had a series of progressively increasing roles over the next 10 years and ended up in a management position, overseeing a corporate communications team for a government agency. I had a good salary, great benefits and had reached a mid-level management. Things were going pretty good.

During this time, my personal life fell into place when I met my life partner. We shared passions for yoga, spirituality and our health. We travelled, bought a house by the ocean and eventually got married.

While things were going great personally, I was struggling with some health issues that had developed in my 20s and was feeling uneasy about my work. I was successfully rising up the corporate ladder, so why was I wondering “is this really what I want to do for the rest of my life?”

I’d come home from work in tears, exhausted and stressed out. My digestive issues were getting worse, I was gaining weight, and had no energy. I’d sit on the couch watching mindless TV. It was taking a toll on my health and my relationship.

I did a lot of soul searching trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I read books, attended workshops, did a peer leadership program and went on retreats about finding your calling and coming into your own.

Through a colleague I met at one of the trainings, I learned about IIN. I checked out the school’s website and completely resonated with what I read. Hallelujah, this was it! I knew right away I had to enrol in IIN’s Health Coach Training Program. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever become a health coach, but I knew this was the right next step for me.

As the program start date drew nearer, I made plans to leave my job. In December 2011, I packed up my desk and haven’t looked back. I immersed myself in the program and learned everything I could about holistic health. I launched my health coaching practice in July of 2012, graduated in December 2012 and the Immersion Program in June 2013. I currently facilitate coaching circles with students attending IIN and have completed IIN’s Launch Your Dream Book course.

IIN is the world’s largest nutrition school, training students from all over the globe to become certified Health Coaches. It was IIN’s training program, incredible resources, and supportive community that enabled me to launch my career as a health coach and do this work over the last five years helping hundreds of people improve their health.

Here are a few more reasons why I love IIN:

  • It’s flexible: The online distance learning format makes it easy to work through the 40-module program from wherever you are, on your own schedule.
  • You’ll learn from the experts: You’ll learn over 100 of the top dietary theories and hear from many of the top experts in health and nutrition including Dr. Mark Hyman, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Marion Nestle, Gabrielle Bernstein and Geneen Roth.
  • Great business support: Not only are you educated on all things nutrition and health, but you’ll also learn how to market yourself, develop programs for clients and set up your own Health Coaching practice!
  • You’ll become part of a community of like-minded health professionals – each March 1,000 IIN students and graduates from all over the world gather in Manhattan for IIN’s annual conference. Hear world-renowned presenters, meet the founder and know you are part of something powerful, innovative and world-wide.
  • Many people attend IIN even if they don’t want a career in health coaching, but want to learn the latest in holistic health to help themselves and their families live healthier lives. Being part of this community and this exciting field has been priceless to me.

If you are interested in checking out IIN, here are the details of the latest IINcredible early enrollment bonus package open to everyone who enrolls in the Health Coach Training Program by this Friday, April 28th!

Here’s what’s included:

  • 30% off tuition when paid in full OR 30% off one of the flexible payment plans
  • Full tuition to the Launch Your Dream Book course ($1000 value)
  • Full tuition to the IIN Advanced Business course ($1000 value)
  • A special invitation to an intimate, live group call with IIN Founder & Primary Teacher Joshua Rosenthal (Priceless)
  • Guaranteed reserved seating at the next IIN Conference ($300 Value)
  • An invite to a VIP Mixer the weekend of the IIN Conference ($300 value)
  • AND a signed copy of Joshua’s book “Integrative Nutrition: Feed your Hunger for Health and Happiness”

This is over $2,500 worth of bonuses, plus huge savings on tuition! Remember, this is only available to students who enroll by this Friday, April 28th! Email me directly if you’d like to take advantage of this offer.

Click here to review IIN’s curriculum guide to decide if IIN is right for you. 

With sweetness

Get a sneak peek (doors closing soon)

Are you on the fence about signing up for my 7-Day Spring Cleanse?

You’re ready for a change, but perhaps it feels a bit scary to jump into something new when you don’t know what to expect?

And, if you’re like me and you’ve tried lots of different diets, you may be wondering if this is just “another” plan that will leave you feeling hungry and deprived…

That’s why I want to give you an inside peek at what’s on the menu of my brand new Release & Renew 7-Day Spring Cleanse.  

Here’s a sample day on the cleanse:

Breakfast: Pancakes with Rhubarb Compote
Lunch: Spinach & Blueberry Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
Snack: Smokey & Crispy Chickpeas
Dinner: Roasted Beet & Lentil Bowl with Avocado Cilantro Sauce
Treat: Chocolate Avocado Chia Pudding

Sounds more like a spa vacation than a cleanse, doesn’t it?

>>> Want to get these recipes plus 26 more? Register for the cleanse here. 

I’m a foodie, so it was important to me that the meals in this cleanse were not JUST healthy, but also DELICIOUS and SATISFYING.

For those of you have done my programs before, you know the recipes are always delicious.

Well these recipes were all created by a whole foods chef! They not only taste great, but they’re easy to make and nourish your bodies to reach your health goals.

Don’t have lots of time to cook? No problem. I’ll share time saving tips – as well as strategies for eating out while on the cleanse.

I’ll be here to guide you and support you every step of the way!

Ready to join us? We have a great community registered so far. We’d love to have you in the group.

>>> Register Now! (Registration closes tomorrow, Wednesday April 19th)

I look forward to seeing you in the cleanse.

Warmly,