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!

Be Sun Smart

beach-715603_1280

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!

 

5 ways to have more energy

energyDid you know that feeling exhausted is so common that it has its own acronym, TATT, which stands for “tired all the time”? If you regularly feel exhausted it’s a good idea to consult your health care professional to rule out any underlying health issues. Tiredness can also be the result of a busy lifestyle. If you find yourself struggling to stay alert throughout the day then you might want to try some of the following suggestion to boost your energy.

1 – Stay Hydrated with Water and Electrolytes

The human body is 55-75 percent water. All bodily systems depend on adequate water to sustain regular metabolic activity. Even mild dehydration can compromise function and lead to symptoms like thirst, dry skin, constipation, fatigue, headaches, and weakness.

How much water should you drink? Here is an easy formula to get you started:

Your weight (lbs) ÷ 16 = Daily intake (cups)

_______________ lbs ÷ 16 = _______________ cups

If you had an intense workout, try coconut water or water with lemon and honey to help replace the electrolytes your body sweated out.

2 – Limit or avoid caffeine

Caffeine and coffee simply fool your body into producing fake energy. Caffeine temporarily takes large amounts of adrenaline from your adrenal glands, resulting in a longer-term of energy levels and a greater dependence of caffeine for energy.

If you do consume caffeine have your last caffeinated drink before midday. It takes women 8 hours to metabolize caffeine.

Substitute your cup of coffee with Rooibos tea. Rooibos tea is made from South Africa’s red bush plant and is packed with antioxidants including aspalathin, which regulates the adrenal hormones, helping to reduce stress and maintain high energy levels.

3 – Natural light

Exposure to bright, natural light first thing in the morning is the best way to wake up your brain and to regulate your biological clock and keep it on track. Enjoy your breakfast in by a sunny window or better yet, get outside for a few minutes and enjoy the natural light and the fresh air which will also help you feel more energized.

4 – Daily Exercise

Incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day will not only give you more energy, it will make you healthier and happier. Exercise releases endorphins that will leave you feeling uplifted. Physical activity also sends oxygen and nutrients to your cells, helping your system work more efficiently. For an extra boost of energy exercise outdoors in the morning to get the benefits from the natural light.

5 – Eat Chia Seeds

Did you know that the ancient Mayans and Aztecs warriors used to eat Chia seeds for energy and alertness during war? Chia seeds have high amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 that help regulate glands, fight adrenal fatigue, and reduce inflammation. They are also high in protein and fiber, which keep blood sugar stable.

Stating your day with refined carbohydrate such as a bagel, muffin or high sugar cereal can disrupt blood sugar levels, causing a mid-morning crash. Adding chia seeds to your morning smoothie or oatmeal can help satisfy your hunger and avoid an energy crash.

Chia seed pudding is a delicious snack and it’s easy to make.

Chocolate chia pudding

  • 1 ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 4 pitted dates

Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Pour the pudding in glasses or small jars and refrigerate for a minimum of four hours.

Spring cleaning – Go green!

vinegar-768948_960_720Before you get ready to do some Spring cleaning take some time to re-evaluate your cleaners. Conventional cleaning products are full of chemicals that can be harmful to our health and the environment. Some chemicals do not break down at all and can pollute our food chain. In effort to make Spring cleaning as less toxic as possible I did some research for natural DIY cleansers and found some interesting blog posts which I am sharing below.

Did you know that if you place essential oils in a plastic container you can increase the chances that the plastic will leach chemicals? If you make DIY products find out how you can easily make your own glass spray bottle and natural all-purpose cleaner here.

Speaking of DIY cleaners… Did you know that there are some natural cleaning ingredients you should never mix? Head over to Brendid.com to find out more.

Cleaning wipes are convenient but they can be wasteful. Here is a post on how you can easily make your own with a few ingredients and an old shirt.

DIY isn’t you thing? For a list of safe cleaners and their ratings, visit Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

If buying your own products why not support your local stores?

Terra20
Herb and Spice
Rainbow Foods
Kardish
The Natural Food Pantry

Now you are ready for some Spring cleaning! You will save money, cut wasteful packaging, and keep everyone in your house (including your pets) safe from toxins.

Q&A with Dr. Lewis: Spring Detox Tips

Patient Q: I have heard of the importance of detox especially in the spring. What are a few things that I could be doing daily to help detoxify my body?

Dr. Lewis A: The body knows how to detox itself but sometimes it can need a little boost. Adding the following 3 suggestions to your daily routine will help boost your body’s natural abilities to cleanse.

lime-998903_960_720 1. Lemon Water
Lemon is alkalizing and helps to balance the pH of the body. The concentrated antioxidants in lemons flush out toxins and free radicals, and the vitamin C supports cell regeneration and boosts the immune system.

Start your day with lemon water. Squeeze 1/4 lemon into 250 ml warm water. Drink 15 minutes before breakfast to jump start your metabolism and support liver detoxification.

Variations: You can also add a pinch of cayenne pepper or half a tsp of apple cider vinegar to your lemon water.

2. Increase green leafy veggies
We all know that green leafy vegetables are healthy. They are a rich source of fiber, sulfur, carotenoids, vitamin B5, and iron. They are also full of chlorophyll, which helps to detoxify and purify the blood, expel toxins and maintains a healthy immune system.

An easy way to get more greens into your diet is by making a green juice or green smoothie. Follow his link for green drink recipes and to discover the difference and benefits between juicing and blending.

3. Contrast showers
Practice contrast showering. Simply switch your water temperature from hot to cold every 10-20 seconds, always ending with cold. This will stimulate metabolism and promote healthy circulation and lymphatic drainage.

Q&A with Dr. Lewis: Today’s Topic “Re-Setting” Eating Patterns After the Holidays

Patient Q: I overindulged over the holidays and want to get back on track. What is the best diet for me to start?

Dr. Lewis A:  The quick answer is none, simply put diets do not work! A mindful, balanced, whole food approach offers the most sustainable and effective nutritional strategy for ideal health.  Most of us (myself included) tend to consume more sugar and salt over the holidays and even a small amount of these substances can derail our system setting us up for increased cravings of these foods long after the holidays are over. Therefore step one to reestablishing our healthy habits is to balance blood sugars.  This is accomplished by increasing fibre in the diet, eating frequent meals with protein and fat throughout the day as well as increasing hydration.  A typical “re-set” food day would include:

On rising: 500 ml of room temp water

Within 1 hour of rising: Green Smoothie containing 1 cup of almond milk or coconut water, 1/2 banana, 1 small pear, 2-3 cups of kale, spinach and parsley, 1 tbsp of  coconut oil and 2 tbsp of hemp hearts

Snack (2-3 hours later): 1 hard boiled egg and 100% rye crackers with 1 tbsp almond butter

Lunch (2-3 hours later): Quinoa bowl containing 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, abundance of veggies like cucumber, carrots, beets, 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas, 1/4 avocado topped with lemon and olive oil

Snack (2-3 hours later): 1 piece fruit and 10 almonds

Dinner: 30z Salmon, 1/2 cup cooked brown rice and abundance of steamed broccoli

Throughout the day sip of green and herbal teas and at least 2L of water

I typically do not make health guarantees but in this case I am 100% confident that with 2-3 days of following these recommendations, you will be free of your sugar and salt cravings!