Yesterday, The Real Food Guide’s Pinterest board was featured on The Dr. Oz show in their National Healthy Pinterest Page survey. (Ironically, I’m actually not from the US, so it was great to be included anyway!)
If you’re in Canada and want to see the clip from yesterday’s Dr. Oz Show where my Pinterest page was featured, skip on to the last 3 minutes of the episode called “New Rules to Declutter Your Life and Transform Your Health”, you can view it for the next week on CTV.ca. (Fair warning: you’ll be subjected to many many commercials before finally getting to the clip).
Thanks to everyone who voted for my Pinterest page!
Arguably, refined sugar is the single worst food on the planet.
It offers zero nutritional value and contributes to a whole host of health hazards from diabetes to heart disease, obesity to depression.
Unfortunately, sugar is also one of most addictive foods on the planet and, as a result, is intentionally used by almost every major food producer to make their products more attractive and irresistible to consumers.
It’s added to ketchup, salad dressing, pasta sauce, sandwich bread and canned vegetables. Heck, it’s even added to table salt!
Avoiding sugar is no small feat, but it’s a battle worth waging.
Here are three reasons to stop eating sugar today:
1. Eating Sugar is a Blood Sugar Roller Coaster Ride
We all know how this one works. You feel tired and a little sad. You need to wake up —Â there’s work to do! You grab a donut or a cookie or even an “it-looks-really-healthy-on-the-box” granola bar. You eat it and up the rollercoaster track you go.
It feels great! It’s a rush! Look how tiny everyone looks from here!
But what goes up, must come down and an hour later you’re plummeting down that coaster track, the ground hurtling towards you. You feel grumpy, tired, and a little sad again.
Up and down, up and down. This condition, also known as “dysglycemia,” not only plays havoc on your energy levels and mood, it can make you anxious, shaky and nervous. It can cause headaches and make it seem impossible to lose that 10lbs you’ve been trying to shed.
Even worse, over time it can lead to diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It’s no joke.
2. Eating Sugar Causes Inflammation
When you eat large amounts of sugar your body needs to pump out a large amount of insulin to try to move all that extra sugar in your blood into your cells where it can convert it into a usable form of energy.
Your body can quickly become overwhelmed by these large amounts of sugar, and unable to produce enough insulin to move all that sugar into the cells.
This means that the sugar sits in your blood for much longer than it should and actually causes damage to the blood vessels and other tissues. As with any other damage it finds, the body responds with an inflammatory reaction to try to heal itself.
And, as we are now learning more and more, where we have inflammation, we have all kinds of chronic disease and illness such as arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, allergies and even heart disease.
3. Eating Sugar Throws Your Hormones Out of Whack
If you’re struggling with PMS, infertility, low libido, acne or any other condition commonly linked to hormonal imbalance, the best thing you can do is ditch the sugar.
Chronically unstable blood sugar (i.e., years of riding the roller coaster described above) takes a heavy toll on your adrenal glands, thyroid and liver; all important players in your hormonal (endocrine) system.
These guys already have enough work to do. If you want them to keep your body luscious and humming, don’t make their jobs any harder!
So there you go, three solid reasons to break up with sugar…today (it’s not me, it’s you).
While quitting the white stuff might be one of the toughest things you ever do (check out my own sugar detox story), in the long run you’re going to feel great, look amazing and get back the energy you had when you were a kid. I promise you, it’s worth it.
“Eat Butter – Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong.” This cover is in stark contrast to the one that scared many people off butter in the first place, from 30 years ago.
If you’re not a Time subscriber, don’t have time to read the article or just want to get quickly up to speedon why margarine is bad and butter is good, watch this clip from the documentary Fat Head, below. Or better yet, go watch the whole Fat Head documentary, or find some time to read Gary Taubes’ book, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.
Much of the standard American diet consists of varied forms of wheat, soy and corn. Same, low-nutrient, processed garbage that has lots of refined sugar, artificial flavoring and coloring added to it. So many people are willing to eat the same, repackaged “foods” and yet, there’s a food source alternative that used to be eaten in many cultures, is 50-80% protein, high in good fat, fiber, and micronutrients & no one is eating it. In addition, this versatile food source can be eaten savory (sautéed in butter and garlic), or sweet (chocolate coating helps it go down), and is more economical and ecologically easier to raise than meat. Any guesses as to what this food is?
Would you be willing to try? Let me know in the comments.
“I despise noodles”, said nobody ever. From toddlers to teens to retirement homes, people love pasta. Some love it with marinara, some love it with butter, some love it plain. Anyway you boil it, noodles are a favorite. Now what happens when pasta begins to make you sick? Game. Over. There is just no replacement for those little loves — or is there?
Spiralizing vegetables has become a rather popular way of taking away overprocessed nutrient-void junk and replacing it with highly nourishing, vitamin-packed goodness. Think its too time consuming to make your own “noodles”? Think again – these can be made in mere minutes and will leave your body feeling the love you are feeding it.
Nothing to it! these “noodles” can be ready in 5 minutes, maybe less if you have super human spiralizing powers. Want to use your powers for good, instead of evil? Check these recipes out too.
Like this recipe? Click here to download a Free eBook that includes all the recipes listed on this site!
Print Easy zucchini noodles INGREDIENTS
1-2 large zucchini squash 2 tbsp olive oil Finely chopped garlic to taste (1-2 cloves) sea salt to taste INSTRUCTIONS
Spiralize zucchini, according to the directions of your spiralizer. In a saucepan, preheat olive oil on medium heat. Place “noodles” into heated olive oil and season. Continue to toss until heated through. Serve as a side, or top with your favorite pasta sauce and serve as a veggie-rich pasta dish!
It used to be that I’d read fiction books over summer vacation: trashy novels for the beach, science-fiction or fantasy for road trips or the latest mystery/thriller before bed. The problem for me though, is that once I pick up a novel, I want to read it to the very end – think Netflix, but with books. Now non-fiction books on the other hand, I’m able to pace myself better, and I’m looking forward to devouring some health & wellness and nutritional books this summer.
I’ve got a few books on my summer reading list, including some of the books mentioned below, but one that isn’t there is Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, who discusses how government and the food industry have led us all astray by changing the eating habits of the developed world. For friends & clients, one of my favorite recommendations is a textbook from my Natural Nutrition studies, Allergies: Disease in Disguise by Carolee-Bateson Koch, who discusses how food sensitivities are the source of many of common symptoms. If you have kids, I highly recommend What’s Eating Your Child by Kelly Dorfman. This book has helped a lot of parent-friends ‘get’ why food choices for kids are so important.
I asked around to fellow nutritionists and other health & wellness bloggers to see which books they recommended, which books they read that really got them into eating better as a way of improving health, or which books they recommend most often to readers or clients. Here’s what they had to say:
Maranda of Propel Wellness: “I frequently recommend Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk. It has some great general information on the role nutrition plays in your health, with easy to understand steps you can take to reduce inflammation and improve your health. It also has recipes to get you started, which makes adopting new habits a lot more attainable. It’s a great all-in-one book for anyone dealing with chronic health issues.”
Lauren of Mindful Meals: “Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole guided me away from a calorie counting, rigid view of nutrition to one where I can listen to my body’s natural cues.”
Vanessa of True North AIP: “The Paleo Approach – Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body by Sarah Ballantyne, PhD. This approach got me started on addressing my own health issues which eventually launched me into CSNN to become a holistic nutritionist, after learning just how powerful healing foods can be. It’s not about being ‘Paleo’ as much as it is figuring out how to eliminate foods that might be causing your problems and allowing your body to heal.”
Andrea of It Takes Time: “Why Isn’t My Brain Working? by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, encompasses the role of gut health and nutritional support to keep your brain healthy as well as recover loss of brain function. (I lost quite a bit of memory function.) He offers quite a bit of data regarding the impact of gluten on inflammation and overall health. I think many people feel “crazy” when they try to recover their health, follow a diet, etc and don’t get as far as they would like. Or they notice decreased brain function and chalk it up to getting older. This book is not a “fix all” rather a tribute to the uniqueness of each individual and the opportunity to make life a bit better. For the true beginner, I would vote for Deep Nutrition by Cate Shanahan. She explains in such an understandable way the impact food choice makes on health.”
Venus of Ravenous Venus: “Deep Nutrition by Cate and Luke Shanahan, and The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Deep Nutrition was the first book that opened me up to the importance of animal-derived nutrients and it gave examples of many cultures that thrive off diets that emphasize the importance of animal nutrients. Since I was a vegetarian at that time, that and The Vegetarian Myth totally tipped me over. The Vegetarian Myth is great because it discusses how vegetarianism/veganism isn’t morally, politically, or healthfully beneficial in any way- all from the perspective of a woman who used to be a vegan for 20 years! She covers every possible argument about the topic, there’s no way you could believe that our bodies were made for plant-based diets after reading her book. Truly fascinating.”
Sara of If Your Body Could Talk: “The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates because it give a fabulous overview of how our gut health affects everything else and provides a very do-able plan to start healing the gut and optimizing digestion.”
Ashley of Prairie Holistics: “Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I read it a few times before deciding to become a Nutritionist, and it was somewhat of the catalyst actually. Lots of great info, and an action plan to start out.”
Lisa of Breathe Wellness: “Where to begin, there is a LOT of information out there, and it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad. The Spectrum, by Dr. Dean Ornish, is one book that I would recommend. It’s full of great facts, and advice, tells it like it is and makes the reader want to implement changes for the better.”
Monica of My Fit Body Coach: “Most of my personal training clients know very little about even the basics of nutrition, so for these clients I like to use this resource. It’s perfect for newbies learning to navigate “clean eating” practices: Tosca Reno’s Just the Rules.”
Jaime of Gutsy By Nature: “Mine is an evolution. Despite having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 19, I never put much thought into the connection between the food I ate and my health. The first book that got me to think about food in a new way was The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, but that was more about the environmental impact. Then I read Nina Planck’s Real Food and started thinking about the health implications of diet. It took me several more years before I got serious about it though and that was when I read Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. That lead me to paleo and the book that really made it all click was actually Practical Paleo; Diane Sanfilippo just explained everything in such a way that made sense, her recipes were tasty and easy, and the meal plan for specific health conditions (for me the autoimmune protocol) was just the program I needed at that moment. That all said, if I was to suggest a single book to someone with Crohn’s disease or another autoimmune disease today it would be Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach. If it is someone who wants to just improve their health or lose weight, I’d direct them to Practical Paleo, Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code, the Hartwigs’ It Starts With Food, or the Jaminets’ Perfect Health Diet.”
Jessica from Delicious Obsessions: “Ummm, how can I pick just one? Since I have to, it was Nina Planck’s Real Food. It was well-written and easy to read. I grew up on a super healthy, real food diet, but when I moved out, I rebelled and ate everything junky that I could. Nina’s book was a good reminder why real food is best and inspired me to get back on track.”
Lydia of Divine Health from the Inside Out: “Primal Body, Primal Mind, The Fat Flush, Nourishing Traditions, Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas – probably others. There is a lot in [the Haas book] that I don’t agree with now – I started reading it when I was 19, so a long time ago… but there is so much info. that is good too. Take the good, ditch the bad.” Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American diet can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!
Erin from Pure & Simple Nourishment: “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A Price – This book provides solid scientific evidence of the negative impact that the modern American diet can have and opened my eyes to a more ancestral way of eating. Focusing on traditionally raised meats and produce has since become a priority for me and I have seen amazing improvements in my health!
Caroline from Colorful Eats: “Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis—It inspired me to radically change my diet removing all grains and refined sugars and eventually being able to get off insulin!”
Arsy from Rubies & Radishes: “Dr. Frank Lipman’s book, Revive. It was the first time I made a connection between my extremely low energy and my diet. I followed his protocol and felt so much better immediately. I now recommend Chris Kresser’s Your Personal Paleo Code to my blog readers. It takes the most comprehensive and easy to follow approach to improving your health.”
Nazanin from Cinnamon Eats: “I sort of did things backwards and began my journey into a paleo lifestyle by first doing a Whole30 and then finding paleo. The first book I read after doing the whole30 was The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf. Reading that book solidified for me that the path I had chosen was the one that would lead to health and I never want to go back to eating a Standard Diet again.”
Susan from Weight Loss Laboratory: “The Art & Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Phinney and Volek. After losing my Father to a stroke, I was looking to take my health and fitness to another level and was inspired by the the two authors to try a ketogenic approach. It’s highly science and research based, which is my thing, and proves you don’t need carbs to fuel physical activity. Rather, your body functions amazingly well on and prefers to run on fat.”
Now keep in mind that some of these reads are more involved than others! But one interesting thing is that no matter what the specific approach is in the book, they all have the underlying message of eating more real food!
There are now over 7 billion of us on the planet, with over 7 billion mouths to feed, and there are many who argue that in order to feed those many mouths, and all the new ones there will be by 2050, we’ll need to: 1) Encourage small, family farmers to 2) Double our food production in order to feed the earth’s growing population by 3) Employing ‘efficient’ industrial farming practices such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory farming), the use of industrial pesticides and herbicides, and genetically engineered crops. Is it true? Do we really need industrial farming to feed the world? After all, this means big money for companies, if they can get everyone behind “America’s Farmers“(that link is actually to a wholesome-sounding PR campaign by Monsanto).
n my last article, 6 Ways to Help Manage ADHD … in Your Kitchen, I grazed the topic of some subtle food changes that should be made to help relieve some ADHD symptoms. These, by no means, will “cure” ADHD but it will certainly help and is a great starting point.
ADHD is diverse and by this I mean that it is not a simple disorder that has a one pronged therapy. ADHD is a multi-faceted disorder that requires a multi-faceted approach. One of the main areas is through natural remedies for ADHD; specifically, improved nutrition and the use of supplements.
Minerals & vitamins for ADHD
Vitamins: we all need them for various issues but, for the most part, our overall health and wellness. If you have a well-balanced diet, then you shouldn’t really need to take extra vitamins (or minerals), right? Well, for the most part, that is correct, but there are numerous circumstances where this is not the case; ADHD being one of them.
The effect that vitamins and minerals can have on the human body is almost similar to that of a medication, if taken properly. They should be taken every day at roughly the same time each day (morning preferred) and in either liquid or pill (or gel cap) form. The gummy variety should not be an option ever as they are usually loaded with food dyes, additives and sugar and a very minimal amount of vitamin. Please check with your doctor first before starting a new supplement regime just to be on the safe side. Many nutrients work synergistically with one another, and you won’t really know if it’s effective for at least two weeks so give it some time to let your body (or your child’s body) metabolize it and absorb it effectively.
Below is a list of the most effective (and successful) supplements and what they are generally used for. More specific information on supplement recommendations and dosages can be found in my book, ADHD is Not a Four Letter Word: Drug Free Strategies for Managing the Gift that is ADHD.
To help get you started right away, I’ve included food sources, as a good starting point to get more of these specific nutrients through diet.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1):
Helps improve behavior.
Niacin (Vitamin B3):
Helpful for symptoms of hyperactivity, weakening school performance, and helps maintain social relationships.
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6):
Highly effective in treating hyperactivity.
B-vitamins are usually naturally found together in food, and if you’re supplementing, they work best taken as a B-complex, rather than individually isolated B-vitamins. B vitamins are naturally found together in foods such as: organ meat, fish, meat, nuts, sunflower seeds, brewer’s yeast, eggs, leafy greens and more. Keep in mind that B12 is a B-vitamin that is only found in animal foods.
Relieves excessive fidgeting, anxiety and restlessness.
Aids with hyperactivity. (Just as an aside, when used with magnesium in the evening, it has a relaxing effect that aids in relieving anxiety and troubled sleep. A much better alternative than melatonin.)
Magnesium and calcium need to balance each other out, ideally in about a 1:1 ratio. Dairy products, while high in calcium, are low in magnesium and generally, most people are more deficient in magnesium than calcium. Good sources of calcium and magnesium are nuts, seeds, sardines and salmon with bones, and leafy green vegetables.
Assists in reducing hyperactivity, impulsivity and helping irritability.
Find zinc in foods such as oysters, red meat, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and eggs.
Aids with irritability, attentiveness and memory.
Be cautious in supplementing iron, as it is generally not recommended unless absolutely necessary. Your healthcare professional can help determine if low iron is due to a deficiency or poor absorption. Eating vitamin C-rich foods can help improve iron absorption and you can find iron in foods such as organ meats, red meat, egg yolks, nuts, beans. Cooking with cast iron can also help increase your iron intake as some iron does get transferred to food.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Helps with focus, temper tantrums, sleep problems and improvement in mood and memory. This one, in my opinion, is the most important out of all of them when trying to improve ADHD symptoms. Many children have strong aversions to taking Omega 3 but there are many ways of taking it so you don’t get that fishy smell or “fish burps.” If you do happen to take the flax variety as opposed to the fish variety, the potency will not be as high so you will need to take much more flax oil than fish oil to get the equivalent amount of Omega-3.
Aside from coldwater fish such as salmon and halibut, choose organically-farmed, pasture-raised meats which have more Omega-3 than their conventionally-raised counterparts.
One of the keys of ADHD is education for everyone involved – the parents, the teacher, the coach, the ADHDer and anyone else who plays an important role in their life. I will never tell a parent to not medicate their child but what I will do is provide them with every single possible resource available to them and, if all else fails, then they can do what they need to do. So, my final words? Educate before you medicate!
In the US and Canada, there is no way of knowing if you’re eating GMOs (short for “genetically modified organisms”) in your food. There are plenty of reasons why you may want to avoid GMOs, and there are ways that you can avoid GMOs. But, without the labeling of food products as having GMOs, you can’t know for sure.
I debated whether or not to post about this video, because Kevin O’Leary irritates me so much with his condescending attitude. However, Rachel Parent of Kids’ Right to Know is so composed and she answers O’Leary’s arguments so well, that it’s worth sharing. I love how Rachel keeps having to re-iterate her point: We as consumers deserve to know what is in our food.
Do your family members know to stay away from you at a certain time of month? About a week before your period do you feel moody, depressed or irritable? Or have tender breasts, fatigue and rampant cravings for sugar or chocolate? If that’s you, then you’re one of the 85% of all women who have experienced PMS (premenstrual syndrome) at some point in your reproductive life. However, just because something is common, doesn’t mean that it’s normal. If you’re in optimal health, than you shouldn’t really experience anything out of the norm before you have your period. Does that sound too good to be true for you?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani explains PMS and its connection with blood sugar.
Diet and lifestyle is key to managing premenstrual syndrome – specifically, diet and lifestyle modifications that help to regulate blood sugar. Progesterone is the key hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle, and part of its function is to help regulate blood sugar. Blood sugar management is more important to your body’s overall function than whether or not you’re feeling bloated, moody and irritable, so if you do what you can to even out your blood sugar, than you should see an improvement in PMS. Watch the video and learn: