Stress causes are just about everywhere…

and our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. This response is designed to help us avoid injury or death in emergency situations and then return to normal after we have fought or flown. However with high and constant stress causes in our society, the going back to normal doesn’t happen as often, meaning this response is ongoing and then it becomes chronic.

You may have heard of the main stress hormone, named “cortisol.”  Your adrenal glands release cortisol as a response to stress. This hormone is also naturally higher in the mornings to perk you up and get you going, and then slowly fades away through the day so you can sleep. These are good and healthy processes.

However did you know that levels of cortisol, when higher than normal are associated with belly fat, brain fog, high blood pressure, poor sleep, high blood sugar, and even low immunity?

Can you relate with any of these? If so, keep reading as I’m sure you’ll find my list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle suggestions helpful in getting you to a place where you’re enjoying lower stress hormone responses naturally!

 

Food and Nutrition changes to lower cortisol

I’ll start with what you should really get into to help reduce cortisol and wrap up with the biggest no-nos for reducing cortisol.

Water
Dehydration increases cortisol, therefore be sure you are drinking more than enough water as it appears many fall short of this, because they don’t “feel” thirsty (that’s another discussion for another day).

Tea and Dark Chocolate
Real dark chocolate (really real – not the sugar and milk kind) and tea help lower cortisol and are great in little portions as you unwind.

Remember probiotics and prebiotics!
As I mentioned in a previous post on the brain and gut connection, there is so much new research about the digestive system and it’s connection to the brain. Creating a good digestion environment with your friendly gut microbes is key! Be sure to eat probiotic rich fermented foods and get healthy doses of prebiotic fiber.

Variety
Enjoy a variety of foods that are nutrient dense as this will always improve all aspects of your health, as well as lower cortisol levels.

Now reduce these to reduce cortisol-

Sugar
This is one of the biggest causes of cortisol increase. Reducing sugar intake whether by eating or drinking is a huge step toward better health and reduced cortisol levels.

Caffeine
Caffeine in high doses is also a cause of high cortisol levels, so if coffee has a jittery or “anxious feeling” effect on you, then cut back on your coffee. I’m actually one of those that can relate to the coffee jitters, so it’s a no for me.

 

Lifestyle strategies to lower cortisol

In addition to food, here are some lifestyle techniques that will directly help you lower cortisol levels

Mindfully reduce stress 
Studies show that renewing your mind (purposefully reducing stressful thoughts, worry, control, anxiety, offense etc) reduces cortisol, so it’s time to capture you thoughts and choose life giving thoughts.

Get good exercise (but don’t overdo it).
Mindful movement and exercise is a must for your health as your body was designed to move a lot and then rest intermitently. Although the intensity of some exercises can increase cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels; while certain types of exercise, like constant running can also increase cortisol. A variety of exercises, therefore will be of greater benefit to your health. Our clients, after working out well at the variety of classes in our studio love the pampering and restorative release of our Santu Stretch class. 

Get adequate sleep!
Getting enough sleep is seriously underrated in our modern societies, especially. Therefore, in addition to improving your health in many ways, sleep reduces cortisol levels – it’s as simple as that.

Have more fun and relax 
Getting out with nature; deep breathing; massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol, so how about a walk outdoors; earthing or grounding (barefoot walking on natural surfaces) etc

Curb loneliness and be social
It wouldn’t just be my personality type talking when I tell you there are actually health risks involved with isolation and loneliness. Seriously, there are studies shown to support it! Spending more time with friends and family you like and who support you (and vice versa); and maintaining healthy relationships is key in reducing stress and living a longer quality of life.

 

Summary
An overactive response of the stress hormone cortisol can have many negative impacts on your health. There are several helpful ways to reduce cortisol levels naturally.

Good diet changes for reducing cortisol levels include cutting sugar and caffeine, while taking in more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.

Lifestyle changes are effective when it comes to lowering cortisol, therefore, get proper exercise, more sleep, relax, have more fun and engage with friends and family.

So finally, will you try these suggestions? In the comments below, let me know your favourite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

RECIPE: De-stressing Chocolate pudding

 (Prebiotic and High in Fiber)

Serves 6
Ingredients:
3 ripe avocados
¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 dash salt

Instructions:
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

Serve and enjoy!

Tip:
Add a little bit of cinnamon to get a deeper flavor.


References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/ways-to-lower-cortisol/
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cortisol
https://authoritynutrition.com/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety/
https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/
http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response
Image by Photoduet/Freepik

 


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! You have the option to try 3 Classes for $33 or 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $49! We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

The Brain and Gut Connection; and Ways to Feed Your Brain

Have you heard it said before that your gut is your “second brain”? Well if you haven’t yet, you’re going to be riveted and liberated to learn a number of things about the connection between your brain and  gut; how it affects not just your weight-loss journey but your physical and mental health. So when you tune in to topics on “digestive health” this is actually it!

With new discoveries about the vagus nerve, the enteric nervous  system, and the major influence your gut microbes can have, it’s more obvious now that what you consume feeds not just your body but also  affects the brain. It’s pretty amazing, but really not so surprising.

So what is this “gut-brain connection” exactly?

It’s quite complex, and to be transparent, there’s still much to be learned about it. I mean Hippocrates (the “Father of Modern Medicine”) said over a couple of thousands of years ago,

“all disease begins in the gut.”

We’re really starting to realize how right he was. It appears there are multiple things working together, like:
•The Vagus nerve, which links the gastrointestinal system (the gut) to the brain.
•The Enteric Nervous System (also known as the “second brain”) which helps complex intricacies of the flow of digestion with little or no involvement from the brain itself.
•The huge amount of neurotransmitters produced by the actual gut.
•The great part of the immune system that is actually in the gut, which can also travel all through the body.
•The communication and interactions sent by gastrointestinal microbes.

It’s all rather complex, but still seriously incredible!
So I’ll do a quick overview on these areas and close off with a yummy recipe!

The Vagus nerve

This is the nerve that runs directly from the gut to the brain. And 90% of the direction of that gut brain transmission is, as you might have guessed by now, not from your brain to your gut (what we thought before), but rather, from your gut up to your brain!

The Enteric nervous system and neurotransmitters

Now you might have wondered earlier why the Enteric nervous system is also referred to as your second brain. Well it’s because, believe it or not, the gut has more nerves than your spinal cord – wow!

And when you really think of the complexity of the digestive process from nutrient absorption, blood flow, digestive enzymes and so on, it would really need to be executed by a “smart and brainy” system.
So how do all these nerves and communicate with each other as well as other cells? By these chemical messengers called “neurotransmitters”.
Interestingly enough, several of the neurotransmitters that strongly affect our mood come from the gut! As in your gut produces a whopping 95% of serotonin, as opposed to your brain!

The immune system of the gut

It should now make total sense that since what we eat and drink are a primary way for disease-causing organisms to get into the body, then much of our defense system would be located in the same gastrointestinal system that the foods and drinks pass through, right? That’s why 75% percent of our immune system is in our gut!
Now we’ve also gathered that these immune cells can move all through the body and then cause inflammation pretty much anywhere.
So if something present in the gut “triggers or activates” them, they could also wreak havoc in several places in the body – with potential to even cause inflammation in the brain.

Gastrointestinal microbes

Doing amazing things from helping you digest certain foods, produce certain vitamins,
and even help in the regulation of inflammation – These bacteria are your friendly gut residents. Still counting, you have billions of them happily living in your gut.
But increasing evidence is continuously showing that changes in your gut microbiota impacts your
mood, and even more seriously, your mental health.

How do these all work together for brain health then?

As I mentioned earlier everyone familiar and sharing on this topic should tell you that studies are continuing so we can learn more, as we really don’t know most of what there is to know yet.

I mean this area was completely dark for so long and what we know so far is already pretty incredible.

And this is becoming quite clear: A healthy gut goes hand-in-hand with a healthy brain!
So then, how should you feed your brain?
As with all building blocks of real food nutrition, a fun variety of nutrient-dense and minimally-processed foods including those that bring in the sour/fermented and bitter tastes are always necessary, as nutrients do not work in isolation.

Building on that, you may also consider two things: more fiber and omega-3 fats.
Fiber (found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds) help to feed your very useful gut microbes.
And Omega-3 fats (in fatty fish, walnuts, algae, and seeds like flax, chia, and hemp) are strong inflammation-lowering brain boosters. Additionally, these factors alone will also support and train your brain to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

Try out the yummy recipe below that includes some great fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids.

RECIPE: Blueberry Hemp Overnight Oats

 (Gut food fibre, Brain food omega-3)

Serves 2
Ingredients:
-1 cup, blueberries (fresh or frozen)
-1 cup, oats (gluten-free)
-1 cup, almond milk
-1 tablespoon, chia seeds
-2 tablespoons, hemp seeds
-½ teaspoon, cinnamon
-1 banana, sliced
-¼ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:
1. Blend blueberries in the food processor until smooth.
2. Mix blueberries, oats, almond milk, chia seeds, hemp seeds in a bowl with a lid.
Let set in fridge overnight.
3. Split into two bowls and top with cinnamon, banana, and walnuts.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip:
Your gut microbes love to eat the fiber in the blueberries, oats, seeds, and nuts. Meanwhile,
your brain loves the omega-3 fats in the seeds and nuts.


References:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry- your-brain- on-food- 201511168626
http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain- gut-connection
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about- probiotics
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fix-gut- fix-health
http://neurotrition.ca/blog/your-gut- bugs-what- they-eat- and-7- ways-feed- them
Image by Nicola Fawcett (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! You have the option to try 3 Classes for $33 or 2 weeks of unlimited classes for $49! We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

Weight loss myths (in the form of advice) are so common (and contentious) now!
And these opinions, which are constantly in competition with one another, are everywhere.
So let’s just forget about who is right, and focus on what is right. What gets you and I results is what we’re going to focus on in this post.

We respect you and your potential too much to make empty promises and sell you on things that simply don’t work.
And because there are quite a few weight loss myths out there, I’ll share just a few and simple to debunk theories that I’ve come across in my years of practice.

Myth: “Calories are the cause of weight gain, therefore fewer calories cause weight loss”

Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories do matter.

But, they are not the “end-all and be-all” of weight loss. They’re important, but they’re the symptom, not the cause. Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let’s focus on the causes.

People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they’re happy and celebrating.  And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake. Calories also have differing qualities and that too will influence our body’s response.

Myth: “Eat less, move more”

Well, then we must all in be in great shape, right? I mean people have been giving out this myth (in the form of advice) for years.

The premise of this is based on the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?). No.

Also, a very close relative of this myth is also the “It doesn’t matter what I eat as long as I just “work it off” myth. 
Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. The quality of the food. And not to mention our genetics; pre-existing health conditions; or our exposure to toxins and compounds that are “obesogenic.”

Myth: “A calorie is a calorie”

Can we just knock this one off already?

Research confirms that several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.

For instance, when you metabolize protein you basically burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.

Here’s another instance in which a calorie is not a calorie. Different fats are metabolized differently as well. Medium chain triglycerides (fatty acids/fat), that is, MCTs have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.
#acalorieisnotacalorie

Myth: “Buy this one and only magic supplement/tea/food/potion to lose weight”

There isn’t one magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick all by itself.

There are products that make these claims, and they’re full of garbage (or shall I say “marketing gold?”). The things you will lose are your money, maybe a little weight for a little time and possibly your health and hope. Please don’t buy into this myth. It insults your potential and self respect you gain from actually growing and applying long lasting principles. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.

So in Conclusion:
Weight loss can be difficult indeed! And there are so many trying to make it seem like they have the only solution or the latest and greatest. However, there are solutions that we’re here to support you with as you commit to a lifestyle plan.

Once again, don’t fall for these myths saying:

  • Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.
  • Eat less, move more.
  • A calorie is a calorie.
  • Buy this one “magic,” one and only supplement/tea/food/potion to lose weight.

Okay, now check out this magical “weight loss salad” recipe below (I know, I know – just kidding!)

RECIPE: Kale Cucumber Salad

Myth-free, nutritious and filling

Serves 2
Ingredients:
Salad:
4 Cups, Kale, divided
1 Cup, cooked beans of your choice (white beans, chickpeas, etc.)
1 Cup, cooked quinoa, divided
1 Cucumber, sliced and divided

Cucumber Dill Dressing:
½ Cup, Tahini
½ Lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp, Dill
½ Cup, Cucumber, chopped
1 Green Onion, chopped
½ Tsp, Maple syrup
2 Dashes, salt
2 Dashes, Black pepper
¼ Tsp, Garlic, minced

Instructions:
-Divide salad ingredients into two bowls.
-Add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy. You may need to add water to thin. Add it slowly, a tbsp at a time until desired thickness is reached.
-Add dressing to salads and gently toss.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip:
Any extra dressing can be stored in your fridge for a few days


References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-12-biggest-myths-about-weight-loss/
https://authoritynutrition.com/metabolism-boosting-foods/
https://authoritynutrition.com/5-chemicals-that-are-making-you-fat/


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

We know that a major factor in maintaining a healthy weight is your nutrition – but does it seem like you’re gaining more weight even though you haven’t changed anything in your diet?

As in you are completely certain that you haven’t given in to overeating or eating junky food, yet you’re still getting fatter?

How is that even possible, right? Oh it’s possible, but you’re not alone, and you’re certainly not losing your mind!

And there a a few reasons why:
We’re finally accepting that the concept of calories in vs calories out is way too simplistic when dealing with the issue of weight, and there’s more to the story of just the amount of food you’re eating versus what you’re working off.

What really comes into play here is that your metabolic rate is affected by things like your level of activity, food intake/quality history, body type/composition, and of course, what you eat.

So we’ll move ahead of the simplistic “eat less and exercise more” advice and learn more about underlying and powerfully subtle reasons why you may be gaining fat even though your eating habits are the same: aging process, hormones, sleep, stress.

Reason #1 The process of aging

I say “the process” because I don’t want you to “pick a number” and blame it. Obvious signs of aging can begin sooner or later depending on the support and investment into health and activity levels, right from our youth. So, interesting things can happen as we get older – energy levels may get lower than before, others may experience digestive discomfort, an increase in weight as well as here and there aches and pains.

This process can also result in changes in hormonal activity for both men and women – so all these could be a major cause of increased fat storage in and decrease in lean muscle mass. 

Understand that this happens a lot and there’s no need to feel blame or at fault at all! What’s important as we grow older is to recognize that it is an inevitable blessing (otherwise we would die young) and to focus on the several benefits of getting older as well and set your eyes on what you CAN actually do to support the aging process now.

Reason #2 Hormones

Since your thyroid is the key factor in controlling your metabolism, it can be a huge contributing factor to your gaining weight. And several things could affect it and throw it off balance.

If things get off balance with your hormones, causing it produce less, it affects your metabolism, causing it “slow down” in lay man’s terms. That of course, will cause you to gain weight even though you’re eating the same way you always have.

Expert Tip: Discuss getting your hormones tested with your doctor, and of course, try the thyroid-friendly recipe I included for you at the end of this scoop.

Reason #3 Sleep

Have you heard about all the research showing the effect sleep has on your metabolic rate? There is a lot of discoveries out there supporting this. The lack of sleep is connected with getting fatter!

And in general, getting a good nights sleep can become more difficult as we age so then we can see why one could gain weight as they get older and age.

Sleep needs differ from person to person, but  at the very least, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep every night is generally recommended to help avoid weight gain.

Did you ever think you could sleep off your weight?!

Expert Tip: Start with getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Implement a calming pre bedtime sleep routine to get you relaxed and prepared for quality sleep.

Reason #4 Stress

We’re all admitting it and it seems to be everywhere, but we’re not doing anything or enough about it! Stress is not to be messed around with and is not a cliche when it’s called a silent killer!

There are several things that can cause stress responses in your body – and in this context, stress hormones will not help you sustain a healthy weight or healthy habits.

Get rid of stressors (there are more areas that we can, but are sometimes afraid to, which is another stressor); and if you just can’t change your stressors you can change your response to them. And that in itself is the most powerful strategy.

Expert Tip: Try prayer and reflection. Even mindful eating and mindful activities will be helpful to stave off the overstimulation, multi tasking and mental disconnect we’ve become so used to in our society. Have you tried those adult coloring books I mentioned to you in my last post, that they’re all raving about now?

Summary:
Several factors affect your weight, even though you may have maintained the same eating habits. The process of aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other, which will contribute to weight gain in spite of having the same diet.

RECIPE: Sushi Inspired Seaweed Bowl

Thyroid-Friendly Food Based Iodine

Serves 2
Ingredients:
1 Cup, Cooked Rice
1 Avocado (thinly sliced)
½ Cucumber (diced)
½ Red Pepper (thinly sliced)
1 Green Onion (chopped)
2 Tablespoons Dried Seaweed (arame, wakame, or crumbled nori sheets)
2 Tablespoons, Sesame Seeds
3 Tablespoons, Rice Vinegar
3 Tablespoons, Gluten-Free Tamari Sauce
1 Tablespoon, Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon, Sesame Oil
½ Garlic Clove
A dash of Salt and pepper

Instructions:

-Split the first seven ingredients into two bowls.
-Mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the dressing.
-Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:
This is a great lunch to take on the go.  Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.


References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss
Image by Berthold Werner (Own work) CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

 

Menopausal women – enjoy these tips before you take those prescriptions

Menopause is a stage deserving celebration just like puberty and other cycles of life. Of course, like all stages, it may be accompanied by mild to extreme discomfort or symptoms. Sometimes, these extreme symptoms for menopausal women are caused moreso from built up dietary and lifestyle choices than the menopause in itself. But “Menopause” just takes the rap for it, unfortunately.

We know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms accompanying menopause. Not to mention how common it is for ladies to gain weight during this period. (Grr!)

We also know that eating better and moving more can help you stave off other issues like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. So we’re going to look at seven strong strategies that I recommend to help you eat better and improve the way you move; to help reduce menopausal symptoms and other issues:

So first, listen to what your body is saying. For some, you may need to get to know your body all over again.

And of course, listen to what your physician suggests.

Tip #1 Boost You Water Intake

Drink more water. Really. Wait, don’t scan so quickly. You might have heard it before and it’s on the list of what you “already know.” But have you practiced it enough to enjoy the benefits?

The general consensus is to drink 8-10 glasses per day, but mores half of your body weight in ounces. And, if you don’t feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty – hopefully you still experience the feeling of “thirst.”

I know that’s easy to say but really it’s also easy to do.

Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. Remember that a full glass is usually already two measured 8 ounce cups.

If you don’t like plain water, squeeze in some lemon, add a spoon of raw, organic apple cider vinegar; or add in some berries or chopped frozen fruit.

If prefer tea and herbs, that’s perfect! Simply steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favorite caffeine-free herbal teabag. This, unlike several other “beverages” counts towards hydration.

I suggest keeping a large bottle or mug with you all day wherever you work so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty. Sometimes I simply split my hydration moments into 3-4 times a day along with meals, working with fun cups and bottles (I have a thing for them) that are no less than 24 ounces so that I can be aware of when my bathroom breaks will come up.

Second – Increase intake of real plant foods

Things like (yes, you guessed it) green, leafy, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. And I mean increase in major quantities here. Include them in every meal and most of your snacks.

Would you like another major reason to eat more plants?

Plant-based diets and lifestyles are associated with fewer hot flashes. Bam!

You’ll enjoy the recipe below as an “excuse-free” solution to getting more vegetables everywhere you go.

Tip #3 – High-quality proteins too!

As you add in your green, leafy vegetables and other plant based foods, remember to include good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).

With animal based foods, aim for quality; so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised as much as you can.

Tip #4 Cut back on these

Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.

What you do every day always matters the most! So with these increases in water intake, real plant based foods, and quality protein, you just won’t have as much room or desire for alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods with added processed sodium and refined sugar. That will revolutionize the way you feel!

Tip #5 Get Moving

Have you heard the saying that the “best exercise” is the one you will actually do? If you’re not regularly moving already, it is crucially important that you start now. Moving at least 30 minutes a day will put you at just 3.5 hours a week and over time you can increase that to 7 hours a week. You will always look back and thank yourself!

To start moving include activities like daily walking (especially outdoors in the sun, if possible), cardio blasts, strength training and stretching.

Tip # 6 – Get more than enough Sleep: 

I say more than enough because what too many consider to be “enough” is simply “not enough” and it’s chipping away at their health and life span. Seriously, you need 7-9 hours each night!

And a times, menopause can introduce sleep problems. Or rather, you may simply need more sleep once you get into menopause.

A very important strategy is to create a daily routine where you’re relaxed away from visible screens (devices like televisions, tablets, computers, cell phones etc) before your bedtime. Screen devices emit strong blue light which could prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone. Try reading a book, some easy listening or soft white noise, or having a bath. It’s also important to have dim lights and preferably a completely dark room to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed. As regular indoor lighting is usually “blue light” using amber or red lights as you start to “set the mood for sleep” would be ideal. Hey you could even style some “blue-blocker” sunglasses.

Tip #7 Get into great stress relieving activities:

The choices are many, therefore do what floats your boat! Just be sure to do it regularly so that it is actually a significant measure to ward of built up stress.

Have you tried reflecting, deep breathing, or soaking yourself in a warm bath? And how about the curious new fad of painting and coloring?

Of course, you get extra credit and extra benefits when you use movement/working out as a form of stress relief.

Summary:

You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.

Now go ahead and make two of these mason jar salads to eliminate any excuse of not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.

RECIPE: Mason Jar Salad

Vegetables

Serves 2
Ingredients:
3 Tablespoons Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 Teaspoons Sesame oil
½ Granny Smith Apple (diced)
4 Radishes (sliced)
2 Celery stalks (diced)
4 Tablespoons of your favorite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
4-6 Cups of your favorite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)

Instructions:
-Add first four ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.
-Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.
-Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, and greens on top and seal.
-When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:
Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause
https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/
https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms
Image by By Peaksel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

I’d be one of the first to admit several years ago that I’ve probably chimed in on the Cholesterol hype several years ago even though I might not have really known what it all meant back then.

So before we put on our full on myth busting suits, let’s make sure we all at least understand what cholesterol actually is.

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a component of a compound which floats around your blood, and these compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.

So while cholesterol is understood as a molecule that floats through your blood, what it is bound to as it floats is more important than merely how much cholesterol there is overall. It can in fact have an opposite effect on the arteries and heart depending on what the cholesterol is combined with. Yes, quite the opposite!

These Lipoproteins are grouped into two main categories:
HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (also know as the “good” cholesterol) which “cleans up” some of those infamous arterial “plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (also known as the “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence making them “bad”).

But it gets a little more complex: Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats. Not to mention the fact that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver. It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat. Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)? Because that’s where it’s made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces. After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn’t need to make as much.

Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that actually serve you well.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

First, don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

That being said – while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

But guess what does (as I do my sing-song motion)?

Nutrition and exercise! Seriously, follow me beyond the cliché and “hear it all before” feeling. Tap into this POWERFUL lifestyle secret and reap the benefits for decades.

A very impactful way to lower your cholesterol through nutrition is be eating a lot of fruits and vegetables – especially vegetable. An I mean a lot, as in 10 servings every single day.

Not to worry- the fun recipe below will help you add another enjoyable, delicious salad to to you daily servings.

Additionally, do exercise, do lose weight, stop smoking, and eat (more and) better quality fats. That means fatty fish, avocados and extra virgin olive oil. Completely ditch the over-processed hydrogenated “trans” and man made fats.

Summary: 

Cholesterol, heart health and the science behind all that is seemingly complicated and we are learning more every day as there is more to learn. However, you shouldn’t need to be afraid of it as much as there are a lot of things you can do proactively from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve and support your cholesterol health.

 

 

RECIPE: Orange Hemp Seed Dressing

Dressing for you Salad

Makes about ¾ cup
Ingredients:
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup orange juice
1 clove of garlic, peeled
dash salt and/or pepper

Instructions:
Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!

Tip:
Store extra in airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.

 


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol
http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol
https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/
Image by JPS68 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

There’s something your waist measurement knows that your scale doesn’t.

Maybe you’d like to completely ditch your scale.

And perhaps you and your “weight” even have a strained relationship.

Because certainly, it doesn’t define you (hopefully you know that).

And what you weigh does matter, but only to a certain extent.

Because what matters is more is central to your waistline’s circumference (pun intended). Let’s take a closer, maybe awkward, but totally relatable look at our bellies.

Belly Fat:

Remember the body form description named after fruit like apples and pears? The apple is more round right around the middle (do the beer belly appearances ring a bell?) and the pear is more round around the hips and highs.

Well guess which shape is most frequently associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar problems (e.g. insulin resistance and diabetes) and heart problems (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases)?

The apple!
Not so much because of the subcutaneous (under the skin) fat that you may have heard referred to as a “muffin top”.  The risk to our health is actually due to the fat inside the abdomen covering organs like the the liver, intestines and others.

The internal fat is known as “visceral fat” and that’s where a lot of the problem is. In this “un-pinchable” fat that you can’t actually grab.

The reason visceral fat poses a health problem is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that could negatively affect blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

Those with more of an apple-shape tend to have a lot more hidden visceral fat than those that are pear-shaped.

So of course, while excess fat storage is a key issue, where your excess fat is stored is even more important that your weight.

 

An apple or a pear – which one am I?

It’s simple to figure out if you fall into the higher risk category or not. The easiest way being to simply measure your waist line with a measuring tape to determine the circumference. Do this right now if you can.

As a marker in general, women, if your waist is 35 inches or more you may be said to have “abdominal obesity” which could place you in the higher risk category. Keep in mind that expecting mothers are exempt, of course.

For men in general that number is 40 inches.

Now this is not by any means a diagnostic tool, as there are a lot of other risk factors for chronic diseases and the waist line is just one.

If you have concerns, please do see your doctor.

 

Tips for helping reduce some belly fat:

Eat more fiber. Fiber can help reduce belly fat in a few ways.  First of all it helps you feel full and also helps to reduce the amount of calories you absorb from your food.  Some examples of high-fiber foods are brussel sprouts, flax and chia seeds, avocado, and blackberries.

Add more protein to your day. Protein reduces your appetite and makes you feel fuller longer.  It also has a high TEF (thermic effect of food) compared with fats and carbs and ensures you have enough of the amino acid building blocks for your muscles.

Cut out the added sugars. This means I’m encouraging you to ditch the processed sweetened foods especially those sweet drinks (even 100% pure juice).

Get into the joy of movement. Dance, climb, lift some weight (your body weight or other resistance); walk often and take the stairs; get some interval cardio/aerobic exercise. It all adds up.

Now seriously… stress less!  Elevated levels in the stress hormone, Cortisol have been shown to increase appetite, cravings, drive abdominal fat up and increase appearance of AGING!

Sleep more. Make this a priority and see how much better you will feel (and look, by the way).

RECIPE (High Fiber Side Dish):

Lemon Garlic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Serves 4
Ingredients:
-1 lb Brussels Sprouts (washed, ends removed, halved)
-2 to 3 Cloves of Garlic (minced)
-2 Tablespoons, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-2 Teaspoons, Fresh Lemon Juice
-A Dash of Salt and Pepper

Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 400F.
-Toss Brussel Sprouts in a bowl with garlic, oil, and lemon juice. Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.
-Bake for about 15 minutes, then toss.
-Bake for another 10 minutes.
-Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:
Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving Vitamin K. Eat them more often 😉


References:
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/research-abdominal-fat-and-risk
http://www.precisionnutrition.com/visceral-fat-location
http://www.drsharma.ca/inspiring-my-interest-in-visceral-fat
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-definition/abdominal-obesity/
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/weights-poids/guide-ld-adult/qa-qr-pub-eng.php#a4
https://authoritynutrition.com/6-proven-ways-to-lose-belly-fat/
https://authoritynutrition.com/20-tips-to-lose-belly-fat/
Image by Vegan Feast Catering (Skewered Brussels & Shiitakes) [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We match attendance points with donations to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve!
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

Holiday parties, and family feasts are simply amazing!

Not only in the abundance of yummy food, but the ambience, beloved people, decorations and just the festivities of the season. So because of this it’s pretty common to indulge during these periods, and you know what I say to that, health permitting!

BUT then it doesn’t end there. At times we not only indulge, but over indulge on “regular” days, meals, like all the time!

So if you DON’T want to worry about overeating, I can help you put an end to your worries now, with these easy common sense tips. Remember, I’m not interested in stopping you from eating- just from over-eating and over-eating food group proportions 😉

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.

(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

 

Tip #1: Start with some water 

With your tummy already growling and then you smell simply the simply delightful aroma of food, it’s super easy to fill your plate or even start grazing (bare hand sampling). But like I’ve shared with you before, do you know it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger? I mean sure, if you haven’t eaten in a while, of course you’re hungry, but you’re also thirsty. So your stomach may also be desperate for some water than a huge meal.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this easy and simple tip may even help with weight loss (almost “duh”, right?).

Water will not only start to fill you up before you get to the table, leaving less room for the food, but drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism! Nice!

 

Tip #2: Try eating “mindfully”

You’re probably familiar with mindfulness, but do you apply that to your eating habits?

This will help you overcome overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion. How?

The same way that being mindful when you reflect and rest helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps you focus your attention on your meal to break it down properly and give your digestive system and healthier process to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste.

You achieve this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe.

This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less.

When you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full.

So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites.

 

Tip #3: Start with the salad

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish.

But wait. Really. Start with the salad.
(Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water.

Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller.  They’re “satiating”.

And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

Summary:

Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Recipe (Infused Water):


Tasty (and beautiful) Pre-Meal Water Ideas
If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses, here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:
Slices of Strawberries & Orange
Slices of Lemon & Ginger
Blueberries & Raspberries
Slices of apple & a Cinnamon Stick
Chopped Pineapple & Mango

Tip:
Also, buy a bag/several bags of frozen chopped fruit and put those in your cup, or super cool bottle or jar at the beginning of your day. They”ve already been washed and cut, and will help keep your water colder for longer period of time.


References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/
http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $33. We’ll donate a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

 

The Scoop on Your Metabolism

This word, “metabolism,” is thrown around quite a whole lot nowadays. And you understand that if yours is too “slow” it will cause you to gain weight or keep you from losing weight, but what is metabolism, exactly?

To answer that question easily – “metabolism” is simply defined as all the biochemical reactions in your body that help to maintain physical life. It is the way your intake of all nutrients and oxygen is used to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

-Process activities you can control (e.g. physical activities.

-Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. your heart beat, healing of wounds, nutrient processing and toxins, etc.).

-Process the storage of unused/excess energy for later.

When you put these processes all together into your metabolism you can imagine that they can can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right… Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

The Bottomline? A whole lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

Summary:

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism, but hopefully you’ve learned how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate. Pick a few things out of what you can control, and see a great help to the process.

Try this recipe below to help boost your metabolism and of course, your taste buds!

 

RECIPE (Lean Protein):

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

2 Lemons, sliced
1 Tablespoon, Rosemary
1 Tablespoon, Thyme
2 Cloves of Garlic, thinly sliced
4 Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless)
A dash of salt & pepper
1 Tablespoon, Extra Virgin Olive oil

Cooking Instructions:
-Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
-Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.
-Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

Image by J3D3 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


B.T.Dubs. If you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you! Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $30. We’ll donate a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre 😉

You might have heard this before- good, real food based nutrition, plus a reasonable and consistent fitness plan is perhaps the best thing you can do for your hormones and overall health. But you might not have truly internalized this for yourself. Or you just don’t know how it applies to you in a practical way and for your body type and phase in life. With older adults, especially, taking charge in this area will give you a new outlook on life and overall better health- but the sooner, the better. With or without knowing it, a number of women develop hormone imbalances which throw a wrench in the kind of results they see even after committing to a healthy lifestyle and regimen. These can be caused by a number of chemical toxins from stress, food, medication, birth control pills, sugar, pregnancy, etc.

A hormone balancing diet and lifestyle will help improve your health, help control cravings, sugar peaks and lows; encourage better sleep, reduce inflammation and even improve the look and feel of your skin.

Just a side note on those controlling cravings… Regardless of what you’ve heard, they are NOT normal and they could be a sign of hormonal and blood sugar imbalances. When you crave, crave, and crave (you know, sweets, chips, cheese, salt, bread, alcohol or meat) it means that your blood sugar levels have dropped. And then you try to eat the right foods, but your willpower loses often because it’s not a match! Your hormones and physiology must be fed by your thought process to even support your thought process. The best thing your mind can do then is strategize before your feelings, hormones and physiology play out whatever they’ve been fed. Therefore the only way to stop a craving is to prevent it from happening, and this is actually easier to do than you might think. Here is one delicious way:

HORMONE BALANCING SNACKS

You know when they say “eat about 6 meals throughout the day” and you’re thinking “What? I don’t have time for that, it’s too tedious.” If you’re like I was, you’re thinking of every meal as a plate, and if you’re taking advise from a fitness or nutrition coach, you assume they also mean a meal plate you cooked and prepared yourself! So 6 of them in a day just sounds impossible!” Here’s the probability though- You’re probably already doing more than 3 square meals a day through your snacking habits (yes including the late night ones) and it’s time to harness them to your advantage. We often tell you that your snack is a meal, so I’ll say it again. Your snack counts as a meal.

I for one lived life mostly as an intermittent faster (a huge meal in one sitting a couple of times a day during my most active hours, followed by a longer period of not eating). It wasn’t a targeted “diet,” it was just the way I had learned to eat. My metabolism is great, I built muscle and burned through calories pretty well, and you know what, it worked for me, it worked for my body type, I barely snacked, and I had energy. I preferred proteins and meats to sweets and I joked that I ate like a man… Until my hormones shifted… for good reason 😉 And then I really learnt why Intermittent Fasting is not usually recommended for women for a long period of time when used as a weight loss diet. Because chances are, most women will experience their hormones shifting and this is not a bad thing. Hormones shift through cycles for different purposes. It’s when they get out of whack and aren’t supported that problems arise. So here’s something I stress to my ladies- if you’re struggling with imbalances, or adrenal fatigue, or whatever, you should not go long periods without food; and you must start your day with food (especially a good dose of protein and healthy fat). So while you hope your possibly unruly snacks don’t count against your caloric intake because they’re so small (sorry but they do count… sometimes even more than your healthy meals), use them to your advantage. Turn them into your power tools. Take your 2-3 square meals, factor in a couple of “snacks” inbetween and you’re already at 4-5 meals.

So here’s what I want you to do: plan on having Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, as usual. Then simply snack in-between. A purposeful small meal, that is. If you’re not that great at getting breakfast going yet, then at least start by treating it like a “snack”. Start with my suggestions below so that you can get that fuel your body. You have to start somewhere.

Studies have shown that snacks are the biggest area where most people have trouble controlling their diet. But if you add purpose to your snack, you can basically snack all day, making all your meals small but packed with nutrition. This will trigger the right signals for your body and boost your energy through the day, plus increase your ability to burn off fat and lose weight properly. To help support your hormone balancing diet we have compiled a few superfood, healing food based yummy snacks that are simple to prepare and keep on hand. Again. this should make it easy for you to balance hormones and enjoy the benefits of your active lifestyle.

Krispy Garlic-flavored Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 2-large bundles of kale, washed and dried completely
  • 1/2 -tsp garlic sea salt
  • Grapeseed Oil

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl tear kale leaves into medium chip-sized pieces. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt and drizzle Grapeseed Oil evenly on all pieces. Single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake ten to twelve minutes turning once. Krispy kale chips may be kept in an airtight container for up to two days.

Healthy Five-Minute Hummus (perfect for dipping the Kale chips)

Ingredients:

  • 2-TBS sesame seed paste ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • ¼-teaspoon paprika 2-TBS fresh lemon juice
  • Dash of salt 1-fifteen ounce can chickpeas (rinsed)
  • 1-tsp ground cumin 1-clove garlic

Preparation:
Using a food processor, puree all ingredients except the paprika and a small amount of olive oil until smooth. If necessary add water for desired consistency. Transfer to serving container and drizzle the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Chicken Breast Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2-medium chicken breasts
  • 1-small red onion
  • 1 1/2 TBS Grapeseed Oil
  • 3-medium vine ripe tomatoes
  • ½-tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 6-washed spinach leaves,
  • sea salt, pepper, garlic powder

Preparation:
Heat Grapeseed Oil on medium heat. Wash, pat dry and cut chicken breast in small cubes. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Sauté chicken until completely cooked. While chicken is cooking cut vine ripened tomatoes in half and remove all seeds and core. Finely chop 2 TBS of red onions. Tear each spinach leaf in half and place one in the bottom of each tomato. Divide red onions and sprinkle evenly over spinach leaves. Remove chicken from heat and add cilantro. Divide mixture evenly among tomato cups. Sprinkle walnuts on top.

Other Snacks on The Go

If I don’t even have an extra minute to prepare cool snacks you can still find in my purse (yes, purse) a boiled egg, a piece of fruit, or nuts and seeds. And who can forget my favorite quick snack- Kefir with coconut flakes, chia and blueberries? It’s important to have your real protein (please!), healthy fats (pretty please!) and carbs with you. I burn excess fat and lose weight with this Ketogenic approach than anything else and that means more healthy fats in the diet, ladies! So for ultra-quick treats keep walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, kefir, goat cheese, and coconut milk handy; and alternate with vegetables and munch on some raw cauliflower, celery, etc. With these yummy snacks, staying healthy, balancing hormones and supplying your energy regularly is easy and the benefits are amazing. Really, it can be that simple.

 


P.S. If it’s been too long or you haven’t had a chance to try our Passion Barre classes yet, we’d love to host you. Freedom and the sweet after burn has been spreading like a wildfire since we introduced Rancho Cucamonga to the barre! Your first trial class is only $15, or you have the option to try 3 Classes for $30 – and we’ll be donating a portion of that to our partners who rescue women and children from human trafficking, so click here to reserve.
In Southern California, we serve Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Fontana, Ontario, Claremont, Montclair, Corona, Eastvale, Mira Loma, Riverside, Pomona and other surrounding cities. See you at the Barre.