Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Key to Weight Loss

Ok, I have a huge confession to make. Well, maybe not so huge but it could make me huge if I let it. I am addicted to sugar. Big time. Intelligently, I know better - I have been schooled on all of the problems that sugar can cause in the body and I know that sugar, if not used for energy by the body, will turn to that three letter word - FAT.

When I was growing up, and even into my 20's, I was always thin. I could eat whatever I wanted and pretty much didn't gain weight. In high school, my doctor told me that I actually needed to gain weight (I wish I had that problem now!). A family member was the opposite and had what is so lovingly called "baby fat". Well, now we're both adults and she is the thin one and I'm the one who is always unhappy with how I look. Yes, this is coming from a Holistic Nutritionist who should know better and I'm working on it. I guess it comes down to the fact that this is not the body that I thought I would have at this age. I was so used to eating whatever I pleased and then it all hit me when I became pregnant with my first child.....

Coming back to my addiction with sugar. I do have a problem with this and sugar is indeed a drug. It gets to your brain and sucks you into its black hole of ups and downs. I have used it to fill empty gaps when I'm feeling down, lonely, etc. etc. The trouble is, once you get on a sugar kick its hard to get off of it. That's what I'm going through right now. I was off sugar for the most part before summer - I felt good, was losing weight, my Rheumatoid Arthritis wasn't bothering me too much and then summer came. I went on vacation to a family cottage, then went camping, and visited family and friends. The sugar made its way into my body insidiously and now its here. A couple of days ago I began my detox from sugar and it truly is a detox. Make no mistake about it - SUGAR IS A DRUG! And here is something else: often what we crave we are allergic too. I don't mean in the sense of anaphylatic shock allergic but allergic in other ways. I truly think that I'm allergic to sugar and it causes me to have stomach problems/pains, causes my joints to flare up and causes fatigue. Allergies/sensitivities to foods can cause a myriad of symptoms in the body and one is often left wondering why they feel this way.

So, my detox has begun. I'll tell you what to expect when your body is detoxifying - headaches, fatigues, aches and pains.... you may even feel angry or just not yourself. Some people say they feel "spacey" and out of it and you may experience cravings.

I will tell you a secret that really isn't or shouldn't be a secret - the biggest and BEST way to lose weight is to cut out sugar from your diet. Its THAT simple. But is it really that simple? To put it into practice requires some changes emotionally if you use sugar as a crutch (like I do). You will need to fill that gap somehow - maybe with walks, exercise, meditation, PRAYER, giving it to GOD. You also need to keep your blood sugar levels stable by eating 3 main meals per day plus a couple of snacks (one mid morning and one in the afternoon). Make sure that you have a high quality lean protein with each meal, i.e. chicken, fish, dairy, red meat (a portion size for meat protein is 4 oz., about the size of your palm). Snacks can include a slice of cheese, whole grain crackers, a piece of fruit, or a serving of nuts (again, a serving is about 1/4 cup or what fits in the cup of your hand). Drink lot's of water as well.

When I say sugar I am referring to processed sugars or pure sugar as well as all things white (exception being cauliflower). The sugar we find in whole fruit is great because this is how God intended it to be eaten. Whole fruit has fiber, sugars and lots of antioxidants and phytonutrients that create a perfect package! Stay away from fruit juices (no fiber), table sugar, processed sugar, cookies, cakes, etc. etc. etc. If you can do this, you will begin to see your body become the body that it was meant to be.

Diets do NOT work. I have never in my life been on a diet. Taking out sugar from your life DOES work. Its that simple (well kind of....). I'll let you know it goes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Much Weight Will I Lose??

Going through the supermarket today I went down a "middle" aisle. You know the one that has inviting signs, cool colors and any frozen concoction you can think of. The aisle of convenience. The aisle of BOXED FOODS.

I rarely enter this aisle and, for that matter, any middle aisle. Not that I'm afraid or anything, its just that there are not a whole lot of things there that I choose to buy. My favorite part of the store lies in its outer perimeter - the part that you can buy fresh, real food. Food that "remembers" where it comes from (that is, if food has any type of memory). More importantly, food that I can recognize as food and that I know basically where it came from.

As I entered this frozen food aisle I passed by the frozen, weight-loss dinners like Lean Cuisine, etc. I saw two women eyeing these meals and I thought to myself, "No! Don't do it! Don't succumb to the marketing and the promise of weight loss through these gimmicks." One lady paused, seemed to be contemplating in her mind whether or not it was all worth it and then sighed and continued on. I'm not sure about the other woman as she was still there, pondering which "dinner" she would have for her evening meal.

Anything that comes in a box, promising low calories, with lot's of ingredients that cannot be pronounced by a 5 year old should be banned. Really. I'm serious. First off, it may be appealing to those who would like to shed some pounds but at what cost? A box full of frozen food that was processed in who-knows-what factory, full of chemicals, preservatives, etc. is not nutritional. No matter how many vitamins they "spray" on it or add to it. It is not real food, it really isn't. For weight loss (and, I promise I will have many future blogs on this) we need to fill ourselves with nutritionally-packed foods. Powerhouse foods that will supply us with all our daily vitamin and mineral needs, as well as fiber, protein and good fats. There are way too many OVERWEIGHT people in North America who are literally STARVING both physically and emotionally. Sorry Lean Cuisine but you don't get my vote. In fact, I have often posted reviews of their products on their website which they do not post. Why? Is it because I denounce, in a very positive way mind you, their products?

It actually brought tears to my eyes when I saw that woman deciding which meal she would purchase. There are better ways to lose weight. Healthier ways that will stay with you through thick and thin (literally).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Running Around Half Naked???

I was sitting at my chiropractor's office the other day waiting for my monthly chiro/acupuncture adjustment when I overheard a couple of other patient's conversation. The one woman was discussing the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming so widespread. The other woman laughed and said, "Yes, but its not like I'm going to walk around half naked outside just to get some sun". I smiled to myself but on my drive home I wondered how many people have misconceptions about how much sun we truly need to get enough Vitamin D.

30 minutes of daily sun exposure is the best way to prevent Vit. D deficiency - and this doesn't mean you have to walk around in a tiny little bikini. You can get enough by just having your hands and face exposed. The problem is, nowadays so many people are afraid of the sun and skin cancer (a reasonable fear) that they lather every inch of their body in SPF 100 (OK, maybe not 100 but pretty darn close to it). I will get back to my thoughts on skin cancer in a bit. I want to discuss some of the uses that Vitamin D has in the body and the symptoms of deficiency.

The most severe effects of metabolic loss of Vitamin D are Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults. Dental caries, muscle cramps, nervousness and insomnia may also be linked to Vitamin D deficiency. For years, Rickets was a disease that was virtually unheard of in the Western world; however, it seems that it's making a comeback!

Some other possible signs of deficiency are muscle weakness; pain in the ribs, spine, legs; muscle cramps; nearsightedness; and burning in the mouth and throat.

Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine" vitamin because it is actually manufactured in the human skin when it contact with the ultraviolet light in the sun's rays. Wintertime, clouds, smog and darkly pigmented skin reduce the body's production of the "sunshine" vitamin. Vitamin D has two primary functions - it increases calcium absorption and phosphorus in the intestinal tract and regulates calcification and mineralization of the bones (that's why it's a good idea to take Vit. D with Calcium since it helps the body absorb the Calcium).

Well, the best way to get your Vitamin D (and the cheapest!) is by going outside. However, during the winter and for those who live in the Northern U.S. and in Canada it may be a good idea to supplement. During the winter I take a fish oil with Vitamin D (my recommendation would be to NOT exceed 1,000 IU of Vit. D per day. During the summer, I take a fish oil that doesn't have Vit. D added to it). Some food sources include cod lier oil, egg yolks, liver and fish.

Now, back to my thoughts about skin cancer (and this is just my opinion). Has anyone noticed that it seems to be increasing in prevalence these last few decades? I have two thoughts on this. First, check the ingredients in your suntan lotion - are there a lot of words that you can barely pronounce? Do some of them end in "paraben"? There are so many chemicals in many suntan lotions and I don't think that helps when it comes to preventing cancer. Of course, there are some GREAT natural suntan lotions out there too (which my family uses). Check the ingredients!

My second thought is this. The North American diet does not include many of the antioxidants (such as Vit. A, E, C, selenium, etc.) that help to protect the skin from burning in the first place. Did you know that a diet high in antioxidants is the best way to prevent sunburns in the first place? God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what He was doing when He created all of the great fruits and vegetables that are FULL of antioxidants.

Take care, enjoy your week and try to get enough Vitamin D!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Here We Go

Well, here it is. My very first blog post ever and I'm not quite sure where to begin. I guess I can start with introducing myself--I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist who is constantly learning new things in the field of nutrition. I absolutely love nutrition, keeping our earth and our bodies "clean", and helping people to take charge and achieve their personal best when it comes to their own health.

Each week I will be focusing on a different topic and please, if you have any questions or ideas that you would like me to address, just let me know.

Nutrition in general can be a confusing area for a lot of people. Each week, even daily, there are new ways to lose weight--get healthier--find instant relief, etc. etc. There are constantly new "studies" out, new super foods hitting the stores and advertisements for miracle juices. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist I would like to help debunk some of the myths and introduce you to some lifestyle changes that can really change your life.