Fiber is crucial to your health. Learn why!

granola-787997_960_720Are you getting enough fiber? Most Canadians only get half the recommended daily amount. According to a survey by the Heart and Stroke foundation the average Canadian daily intake is about 14 grams instead of the recommended 25 to 38 grams.

Fiber does more than keep us regular, it helps to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy body weight, controls blood sugar, and lowers the risk of disease such as diabetes and heart disease. Recent studies are discovering the importance of fiber on gut microbiome. Research has found that when your gut lacks fiber the microbes are starved and start to feed on the protective mucus lining of the gut which can lead to inflammation and disease. You can read more about fiber and gut health here.HighFiberList

The article notes that you need to eat a high fiber diet consistently to maintain a healthy gut. If you currently aren’t eating enough fiber you will want to increase your intake slowly to prevent gas, bloating and discomfort. You will also need to drink more water to help move the fiber along.

There are 2 main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber becomes gel-like when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve and passes through largely intact. Some foods contain both types of fiber. It is important to eat a variety of fiber-rich foods to get the health benefits of both types.

Here are some tips to increase your fiber intake:

  • Always compare food label when grocery shopping and opt high fiber foods.
  • Eat plenty of whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds
  • Eat vegetables and fruits instead of drinking juice.
  • Add a small salad or vegetable soup to your lunch or dinner.
  • Add beans or lentils to soups and salads.
  • Snack on nuts, seeds and fruit.
  • Have some hummus and veggies as a snack.
  • Add ground flaxseeds, chia seeds and shredded coconut to oatmeal, smoothies, or yogurt
  • Download this list and keep it handy to make high-fiber choices.

By focusing on adding more fiber rich foods to your diet you will inevitably make better eating choices!

3 different uses for protein powder

Protein powder isn’t just for smoothies. You can boost your protein intake by adding it to foods or recipes. The added protein keeps you full longer and reduces cravings. Here are 3 ways to consume your protein powder other than drinking it.

  1. yogurt-1442034_640Power-up your breakfast!
    Add some protein powder to your oatmeal or yogurt. Try a small amount first such as a teaspoon in a bit of oatmeal to see if you like it.
  2. Summer Treat
    These protein ice pops make a great summer or post workout snack
  3. Healthy snacks like these energy bars

1 cup pitted dates
¼ cup dried apricots
1 scoop of VegaOne vanilla flavor or your favorite protein powder
¼ cup ground almond
¼ cup hemp seeds
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
½ cup quick oats
2 tbsp of cocoa nibs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak the dates and apricots in water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Drain the water from the dates and discard the water.
  4. Process the dates in a food processor or Bullet until they form a paste.
  5. Add dates to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  6. Place in a pan or roll into balls

NOTE: You can substitute the fruit, nuts and seeds with your favorites.

Choosing a protein powder can be challenging because there are so many on the market. My favourites brands are Vega and Sunwarrior because of their ingredients and taste. When shopping for your powder keep in mind it’s different uses so that you can choose a flavor that will compliment the recipes and whatever you plan on adding it into.

 

Be Sun Smart

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The best way for us to get vitamin D is from the sun but what are the best practices to do so safely? With so many sunscreen products available how do we know we are making a good choice?

A good place to start is to visit EWG’s Skin Deep Database to verify the safety rank of your sunscreen. Ratings of 3 or below are considered good, and zero is the best possible rating.

When shopping for sunscreen, you want to read the labels well and avoid conventional sunscreen which contain harmful ingredients such as: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, parabens and more.

Instead opt for a mineral base sunscreen. The two common minerals are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. A few brands use only Zinc Oxide which is preferred because it’s a critical mineral nutrient and covers the full spectrum of UV protection and doesn’t contribute as much to free radical development. Titanium Dioxide doesn’t offer full spectrum UV protection and is not as natural for the body.

What about nanoparticles vs non-nano particles and chemically coated zinc oxide vs uncoated?
For these answers head over to the Badger Balm site where they have it all explained in depth. Badger.jpg

My top pick for suncare is Badger Balm because of the ingredients. It uses only uncoated non-nano zinc oxide, as its main active ingredient and has a short list of natural non active ingredients. The only unfavorable attribute is that it leaves a bit of a white layer on the skin. I have used the Sport version that is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Remember to reply to prevent a burn!

Other sunscreens that use only Zinc as their main active ingredient and are fairly easy to find include: Boo Bamboo and derma e® but the list of non active ingredients is long and some ingredients are questionable. Raw elements USA has good ingredients but it’s harder to find in Canada. It is available on Amazon.

To recap, the ideal sunscreen:

  • Is mineral based, uncoated and non-nano
  • Offers broad spectrum protection
  • Contains natural inactive ingredients
  • Comes in a tube not a spray. You don’t want to inhale the product.
  • Has an SPFs no lower than 30 and no higher than 50.

In addition to mineral base sunscreen you can also practice being sun safe by:

  • Avoiding sun exposure at peak times (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Wearing a hat, sun glasses and UV sun protection clothing
  • Staying in the shade when possible

Enjoy the sun!