7 Ways to Reduce Bloat After the Holidays
By Georgina Hendsbee
Drinking a cup of warm water and fresh lemon juice. The acids in the lemon combined with warm water will kickstart your digestive system ensuring ideal production of digestive enzymes and HCL. This can be done half an hour prior to every meal to assist in digestion and assimilation of ingested foods. You can also have a warm green tea or ginger tea and lemon to also add in other beneficial factors. Ginger will calm upset stomach and enforce enzyme production. Green tea will add antioxidants to reduce free radical damage caused by disbiosis and an acidic environment.
Skip the sugar and also “sugar free” products – sugar lowers metabolism and disturbs the immune system. Sugar alcohols not quite the same as some of the zero calorie sweetners out there but it has a lower calories per gram. On food labels sugar alcohol looks like Xylitol, Erythritol, Sorbitol, and Mannitol, these are known to cause stomach upset and acid reflux. Artificial sweeteners like sucrose, sucralose, and aspartame in particular have been associated with mood changes, diarrhea, painful gas and bloating, inflammation, and exacerbate IBS symptoms.
Reduce dairy and simple carbs – cheese, milk, yogurt, breads, and pastas, as these processed foods have many additives and fillers. Dairy and wheat are the two most common foods people in western society are intolerant for. Dairy is an inflammatory food causing systemic inflammation throughout the body even in people who are able to tolerate it. Wheat naturally has a chemical in it called zonulin which opens the tight junctions within the intestinal tract letting undigested proteins into the blood stream. Once an undigested protein comes across our bodies immune system it tends to create an antibody to fight that particular external protein. The next time that protein gets past the tight junctions and the antibody is activated our body sends out little chemical messengers called which initiate a physical reaction. Some of these messengers will create a physical reaction where the allergen makes contact the second time this can look like a rash, swelling, inflammation, redness, pain or itching. Internally this can cause gas, bloating, acidic environment, diarrhea, constipation, bacteria overgrowth, chronic infection, weight gain or if it is significant enough it can become anaphylactic. The Government of Canada recognizes the most common food allergens as: peanuts, tree nuts, seafood (fish, shellfish, crustaceans), egg, milk, sesame, soy, mustard, and wheat. Sulphite, an additive, is also recognized by the Government of Canada
Make the basis of your diet dark leafy greens and vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and other complex carbohydrates. Vegetables will be full of vitamins and minerals to promote good health, good fats are important for your brain function and structure of all your cells, protein from plants and animals both carry vital amino acids required for cell growth and repair. You are what you eat may just be a saying but it is right on the dot. If you have goals for 2019 that include growth and health, take a look at your food. When you are choosing your meals think further than… “will this taste good?”. Look at the make up of each piece of food, think about what it took that plant to grow, animal to flourish and how that growth will improve your health. This is called ‘The Food Story’. It’s the energy, time, location, and the people who where involved in creating that product and how they all affect the final story.
Don’t believe me? Look up food energetics. It is the study of how the energy put on the food effects the energy we take in as we consume it then how that energy effects how we assimilate that piece of food. Sooo cool.
Reduce added salts and processed foods. Processed foods not only are loaded with chemicals and fillers, they are full of salt. These added salts can create an imbalance of electrolytes causing your body to retain water, raising your blood pressure. When your body has high blood pressure for an extended amount of time if puts strain on your heart and arteries. When your heart and muscles are working harder they then to build muscle. In the case of your arms and leg getting larger muscles may be a good thing but with the cardiovascular system the heart muscles getting bigger reduces space for blood. This increases the change of heart attack, stroke, dementia and kidney disease.
Take a probiotic supplement – humans carry about 5-10lbs of bacteria in our football field size intestinal tract. A diet high in sugars, rancid fats (canola & palm oils in cooking oil & processed foods), and alcohol paired with overeating and stress makes for the perfect environment for disbiosis (bad bacteria). The thing with good intestinal bacteria is that is passes through us easily and quickly, which is why it is so important that we create the best environment for the good bacteria to flourish. We have already discussed the importance of vegetables and they have more of a benefit than being the carrier for vitamins and minerals. Vegetables also act as prebiotics. A prebiotic is a food that is high in insoluble fibre, fibre that doesn’t get digested by stomach acids. These fibres feed good bacteria which improve our digestion and our immune system.
Make time to move – take a fitness class or get a yoga membership, the benefits of movement are endless and equally important as nutrition to achieve optimal health. With no bad side effects exercise lowers blood pressure, controls blood sugar, helps control weight, improves balance, lowers cholesterol, relieves pain and stress, and improves sex life. There are no negatives to movement, at all.
Even the smallest changes can make a difference
With Christmas around the corner, desserts and treats are at every event, but you do not have to fret, cacao is here to save the day.
Now you must be wondering what is the difference between cocoa and cacao? Yes there is, it’s because of the way it is processed. When cocoa is heated and refined for confessional hot chocolate powder or into chocolate bars the benefits seem to be processed out.
The benefits of raw beans being cold pressed are immense as the act of cold pressing preserves the vitamins, minerals, compounds as well as the fibre.
This wonderful bean which grows in the amazon in giant, funny looking pods is a miracle. Inside inhabits a bitter nugget of life that can taste incredible and support the growth of love and positivity. What a food to be blessed with.
I am sure you have heard before about how chocolate is a gift of love, this idea comes from more than the hallmark holiday we all know as valentines. Cacao is an aphrodisiac, influencing the feelings of attraction, and excitement. These feelings are not due to the fact that most of us loving chocolate, but because raw cacao contains chemicals that influence the bodies production of neurotransmitters.
The love chemical – an essential amino acid phenylalanine acts as a precursor to tyramine, dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This combination of neurotransmitters acts as a powerful antidepressant and stimulant.
The bliss chemical is another thing that boosts our love of chocolate, it is the natural chemical Anandamide. It is the natural pleasure molecule also responsible for the “workout high”. It fits into cannabinoid receptor sites giving a calm emotion. Studies show that anandamide can assist in regulating memory, balance appetite, improve pain and inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. Ladies if this isn’t enough of a reason to switch from processed chocolate to raw cacao I don’t know what is
That being said here are some more reasons…
We know now that raw cacao is a love drug but can you imagine that it is also supportive of the actual health of the heart itself. Specific antioxidants in cacao have been clinically proven to dissolve plaque built up in arteries. While your artery health is being improved so is your whole circulatory system. Theobromine is a bitter alkali of the plant, which causes vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) which can act to increase absorption of nutrients. Theobromine is also the content in chocolate which animals and humans can have an overdose reaction to. As it acts as a broncodialator (lung opener) and vasodilator, certian people with medical issues should be cautious on the amount of raw cacao consumed.
The only food in the whole world that is known to have Anandamide is raw cacao!
Do you have restless leg syndrome or have troubles unwinding at the end of a night have a hot cuppa cacao to help relax your mind, your muscles and help you sleep
As an alkali forming food high in magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and phosphorus cacao is also supportive of muscle, bone, hair, nail and tooth health. It is the highest source of magnesium from a food source studied so far.
Yet another reason which will be my last for this post
Women needling to boost iron go no further raw cacao contains the highest amount of plant-based source of non-heme iron in foods. This can be a great way for women to their monthly cycle. Non-heme iron can be difficult to absorb in our digestive system so eating your chocolate with something high in vitamin C can hep bioavailability.
By now I am hoping I have shared enough about the wonderful benefits of this incredible superfood that you will be trying new ways to incorporate it into your diet. That’s right ladies, I said add it to your diet and no I don’t mean conventional chocolate but real smooth raw organic cacao. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
What is Meditation?
It is a beneficial practice of intentionally clearing your mind to create a deeper awareness of the body and soul. Meditation can be a strange place to be especially for someone just starting out, it brings forward emotions from throughout your life and allows them to pass. Many people use meditation as a tool for self reflection and discovery, as well as stress relief. Other relaxation techniques such as; deep breathing, visualization, and sequenced movement can be integrated into your meditation practice to allow you to experience different parts yourself.
Deep breathing and focused breathing allows the mind to settle on something specific to help it clear of daily worries and reduce stress levels. Your breath will also be stimulating the Vagus Nerves on either side of the body, sending electric impulses from your abdomen through to the brain stem inducing a calming effect. When deep breathing is combined with other techniques it becomes a very powerful and effective tool for stress reduction. This stimulation is being studied to for treating hard-to-treat depression that is unresponsive to medications.
It is also being looked at for treating headaches, anxiety, pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s.
These techniques have been commonly used when someone has a particular intention they want to accomplish. This can be anything from using a colour to focus on or a specific scenario you are trying to work out. Many situations in life require a visualization as it can be very beneficial.One of the most well-known and used types of visualization is ideokinesis, or imaginary movement visualization. Where you imagine what you are trying to achieve while practicing the movements or scene in your mind, this works to reduce anxiety and improve performance.
My intention this week was to focus on my posture, while sitting and working on content for my social media and my blog I catch myself falling into a weird curved spine feet up on chair position that ends up really kinking my back and hips. During my practice I use visualization by putting intention into engaging my core, straightening my back, keeping my shoulders pulled back and down. During my yoga practice bringing my self back to that moment making sure every movement is protecting and strengthening my spine and core. While I am sitting and writing I subconsciously end up going back to those moments, checking in on how I am feeling and I once again I engage with that intention.
Meditation as a stress reduction technique has gain significant following over the years in western society but in many other societies has been practiced for a millennia. Mindfulness Meditation has found its place in many hearts as it is such a powerful practice. During mindfulness meditation you would find a comfortable position either sitting or laying down, closing your eyes and bring yourself to that moment, focusing on breathing and sensations within your body it is easier to stay present. During this practice when thoughts come to the surface, do not ignore them but allowing yourself to feel that emotion and then letting it pass. By allowing thoughts to flow in and then to flow out without being distracted from breath, it acts like a workout for the brain. The practice of letting thoughts go becomes easier the more often you do it, when you apply this strategy to everyday life you can consciously assess find yourself able to release.
I challenge you to meditate! 10 days in a row for a 5 minutes a day and see if you feel the difference in yourself.
Diagnosed with PCOS? Took long enough, Now what!?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the most common disorder due to a hormonal imbalance. In Canada this disorder affects between 6 and 10% of women with symptoms starting as young as 12 years old, sometimes not appearing until the woman is well into her 20’s or 30’s. As per Stats Canada there are 17.2 million women living on Canadian soil, that is approximately 172,000 women suffering from PCOS. I myself have been dealing with a variety of these symptoms since I was young. In my own experience now that I am better with my diet and lifestyle I only have a breakout of cysts when I am eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates. Sourdoughs and baked goods are my weakness.
What is happening on the inside?
What we know about PCOS is that it is caused by excess androgens in the body. Androgens are the “male” hormones present in both males and females, primarily testosterone and androstenedione. In females having high numbers of androgens can cause disruptions in ovum (egg) production. Where the egg usually exists, little sacs called cysts can grow, these are generally full of liquid and sometimes also an egg as well. When most females go through a 28 day cycle, women with PCOS may not be able to ovulate. If there is no ovulation the woman will miss her bleed and the cysts continue to enlarge.
These growths can leave the women with multiple symptoms including pain, bleeding, and nausea. This symptoms come along side other symptoms experienced due to excessive androgens.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
– Infrequent periods
– Non existant periods (amenorrhea)
– Heavy bleeding during periods (polymenorrhea)
– Skin Tags
– Thinning of hair
– Weight Gain & Obesity
– Anxiety & depression
– Infertility (not 100% should still practice protective sex if a pregnancy isn’t wanted)
– Excess Hair all over the body (hirsutism)
– Increased blood sugar / insulin resistance
– Discolouring of the skin near where skin folds most commonly the neck, armpits and groin
Is there a cause to PCOS?
At this point even with so many women suffering from these horrible symptoms there is no known cause for PCOS. Research points to ongoing high levels of insulin which is known to influence the release of androgens into the blood. There seems to also be a connection with genetic
Where do I find a cure?
Even with so many women dealing with the symptoms of PCOS there is no medical cure. Many doctors prescribe birth control pills and other behind the counter medications to reduce symptoms. These drugs may mask symptoms and give the appearance that the condition has been“cured”. These drugs may slow hair growth, increase chance of fertility, and reduce acne but they do not get to the source of the issue. There are also many holistic ways to reduce symptoms and assist your body balance hormones without the use of drugs. These holistic practices will never “cure” you but assist your body to work on its own balance to reduce symptoms. Unless you work hard to correct your imbalance there will only be temporary relief.
How to relieve symptoms:
Lifestyle changes are very important for reducing symptoms of PCOS. Stress levels can put strain on the body causing symptoms to worsen. Stress management should be paired up with a movement plan. Exercise for stress management can include but is not limited to qi qong, yoga, pilates, cardio, weight lifting, swimming, horseback, and kickboxing. To keep involved with your stress levels and movement using a journal outlining daily, weekly and monthly goals spiritually, personally, for your career and hobbies. Journaling food consumed can be timely and picky but is very eye opening and a great way to learn about yourself. Another very important key influencer is water consumption, Making sure the body is not dehydrated will improve digestion, toxin removal, and balances pH and electrolytes.
Since we do know that insulin and blood sugar levels directly impact your hormone health it is very important to work on balancing blood sugars. Eating smaller meals high in fat, and has equal complex carbohydrates and protein will keep your body able to find an equilibrium. With practice and more intention you will be able to listen to what your body needs, it’s a feeling that will change your life. With health on your side you will be able to be more yourself and support those around you whole heartedly.
Foods to cut out:
Dairy – Milk, Cheese, Yogurts
Pop & Juice
Gourmet Hot Drinks
What foods to increase:
Dark Leafy Greens
Nuts & Seeds
Small Wild Fish
Avocado & Other healthy Fats
Beans & Lentils
Whole Grains – Buckwheat, Bulgur, Millet
Foods to limit:
Processed Soy Products
High Sugar Vegetables – Potatoes, Carrots