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Food, tips & recipes

Let's Face: Life Can Be Stressful

But what exactly does that have to do with functional nutrition?

When you're stressed, insulin secretion wanes. Your food does not get where it needs to go. The digestive process is constrained. Simple food molecules, like glucose, are left to freely wander the bloodstream without being delivered to the cells.

Meanwhile, your stress hormones are pumped up to take the blood supply that they need for you to fight or flee. And not surprisingly, several doctors and researchers have found stress to be the major reason for digestive disturbances from heartburn to gas to irritable bowel syndromes.

Don't stress out! You're going to be OK.

There's something we can do to help this and I think you know the answer.

It's the same for all of us ~ RELAX

Easier said than done, we know! Yet there's a reason why the counterpart to fight-or-flight is called rest-and-digest.

A few tips on how to set yourself up for success when it comes to relaxation for digestion.

* Sit down to eat. (This may sound funny to some of you, but I know there are other standers out there.)

* Take a few deep breaths to relax and calm the body before eating.

* Don't forget to chew your food well.

* If you are excessively wound up when sitting down to eat, focus your mind on a healing word, phrase, or sound of your choosing before taking a bite.

* Try invoking some attitude of passivity where distressing thoughts at mealtime are acknowledged, but not engaged.

It may take time to implement these tips. But if it'll help your food get where it needs to go, it'll be worth it.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SLEEP

  • Sleep is a non-negotiable. If you're not sleeping, you aren't ready to move forward with other treatments, recommendations, or interventions. THAT'S JUST A FACT. 

  • A good night's sleep supports immune, neurological and hormonal function.

  • It helps balance the microbial diversity in the gastrointestinal tract and is one of our most critical (and natural) forms of detoxification.

  • If you aren't getting a proper amount of sleep to meet your body's unique needs, you're likely to show some of these symptoms: 

  1. detoxification challenges

  2. constipation

  3. impaired immune function

  4. hunger

  5. moodiness

  6. addictive behaviors

  • Sleep disorders are one of the most common, yet also most frequently overlooked health problems.​

  • Getting a good night's sleep isn't always as easy as getting your body into bed at the proper time.

Veganuary 

Veganuary has also launched its 2024 campaign PSA encouraging everyone to ‘Vote for Veggies’ in the new year. The new video, voiced by Ryan Eggold of New Amsterdam and The Blacklist, urges people to choose veggies as a way to reduce emissions, improve health, lower food bills, protect animals, and promote healthier ecosystems. The PSA reveals that a “Vote for Veggies” is a vote to address all of these issues and more and invites viewers to create a happier, healthier, and sustainable future by trying vegan this January. 

A healthy diet must include putting plants at the center of our meals, though this does not mean we have to sacrifice pleasure or flavor. And if we choose fruit, vegetable, legumes, nuts, fruits, spices, herbs, and some of the 20,000 edible plants that exist in the world, we can experience an incredible improvement in our health while enjoying some wonderful flavors.

Whole30 

Since April 2009, millions of people have successfully completed the Whole30® program with stunning, life-changing results. 

The Whole30 Program is laid out in two phases: 30 days of elimination, and 10 days of reintroduction. For the first 30 days, you’ll be eating meat, seafood, and eggs; lots of vegetables and fruit; and natural, healthy fats. This program eliminates gluten, grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and alcohol for 30 days to see how your body responds to those ingredients as you slowly re-introduce them back into your routine. Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to help you eat healthier and eliminate your personal trigger foods—these could be foods that cause an inflammatory or autoimmune response in your body, or simply foods that cause you to lose all self-control.

WHAT EXACTLY IS WHOLE30?

Whole30 is a nutritional program designed to help you eat healthier and eliminate your personal trigger foods—these could be foods that cause an inflammatory or autoimmune response in your body, or simply foods that cause you to lose all self-control.

For 30 days, you will cut out all grains, legumes, soy, dairy, alcohol, added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods containing any of these ingredients; and load up on all sorts of vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats.

The idea is that, after a month, you will rid yourself of sugar and carb cravings and start to really notice the positive effects of adopting a whole foods-based diet—whether that’s sleeping better, thinking more clearly, feeling less bloated, or having more of a pep in your step.

After the first 30 days are up, you’re encouraged to slowly reintroduce certain foods one at a time to identify specific items that may be causing unwanted side effects—and thus, what foods you probably want to ditch for good.

WHY SHOULD YOU DO A WHOLE30?

In a nutshell, because it totally revamps your relationship with food. Whole30 is not a diet in the traditional sense. You are not allowed to weigh yourself, and counting calories and measuring out portions are not encouraged either.

The true goal is to eliminate foods that are pro-inflammatory and potential allergens, to recalibrate your taste buds so you naturally crave fewer sweets and carbohydrates, and to break the emotional ties you may have with certain “comfort” foods that have derailed your eating habits (and overall vitality) in the past.

WHAT YOU CAN (AND CAN’T) EAT ON WHOLE30

First, let’s start off with what you can not eat. Per the official program rules, you must eliminate all of the following for 30 days, no exceptions:

  • Added sugar, real or artificial. This includes (but is not limited to) maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, coconut sugar, date syrup, stevia, monk fruit, Splenda, Equal, NutraSweet, and xylitol.

  • Alcohol. Any form of alcohol is a no go, even for cooking.

  • Grains. All grains are off limits (even gluten-free grains!), including wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, millet, bulgur, sorghum, sprouted grains, quinoa, and buckwheat.

  • Legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, and peanut butter. This also includes all forms of soy—soy sauce, miso, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and lecithin.

  • Dairy. Milk, cream, cheese, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt.

  • Certain additives. Carrageenan, MSG, and sulfites are all a no go.

  • Baked goods, junk foods, or even treats with “approved” ingredients

 

So, what can you eat? Pretty much anything that’s left over, with a few exceptions. Basically, this includes vegetables, fruits, eggs, quality meats and fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. To make your lives easier, download Whole30 shopping list for loads of specific compliant foods broken down by food group.  And always stock up on Whole30 snacks for grab and go, or make your own Whole30 snack recipes

 

5 MORE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR WHOLE30 SUCCESSFUL

Beyond simply knowing what to eat and what to skip, here are a few more suggestions for making your Whole30 experience way more enjoyable.

  1. Prep ahead: First, print out Whole30 grocery list so you know the ins and outs of the program; then, find some Whole30-approved recipes that you’ll look forward to eating; lastly, set aside a few hours on Sunday to meal prep so you’re less likely to cave to mid-week cravings.  

  2. Remove temptation: Toss any non-compliant foods, or at least keep them out of sight, for the entirety of the program. There is really something to the old “out of sight, out of mind” saying.

  3. Think big picture: Whole30 is going to feel impossible if you are fighting yourself the entire way. So before you begin, make sure this is something you are truly willing to commit to. One strategy to keep motivated is jotting down non-weight loss goals for doing Whole30 (e.g. mental clarity, pain reduction, clearer skin) and what these things will help me do.

  4. Drink lots of tea: Whenever I find myself itching for a snack and I know I’m not actually hungry, I brew up some herbal or green tea. I personally love a good cup of matcha, which is packed with antioxidants and may help boost cognitive function and aid in weight loss.

  5. Do it with a friend: Don’t underestimate the power of an accountability partner! There will be moments during your Whole30 that are really tough, so having someone to commiserate with can honestly be pretty helpful. Sharing words of encouragement and tasty recipes is great too.

~ 3 FACTS ABOUT LEMON'S LIFE-LENGTHENING LEGACY ~ 

1. Lemons are a superfood. We tend to think of foods like goji berries and acai as superfoods, but don't forget about the lemon!

2. A compound in lemons called Limonoid has been shown to aid in the prevention of cancers in the mouth, skin, lung, breast, and colon.

3. Lemons seem to have antibiotic effects and has been shown to have a significant role in protecting against specific bacteria-borne illness.

 

Chai Matcha Latte 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tsp matcha green tea powder

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk

  • 6 whole cardamom pods

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 8 whole black peppercorns

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 cups just-boiling water

  • 2 dashes ground cinnamon

  • 1 pinch allspice

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 8-10 drops liquid stevia or 1 tsp raw honey or maple syrup 

PREPARATION:

  • Place the whole herbs in a jar or glass measuring cup. Pour just-boiling water over the herbs and let it steep for a minimum of five minutes and up to overnight.

  • Pour milk of your choice into a blender or into another glass jar where you can whisk the ingredients together.

  • Add the matcha green tea powder, ground cinnamon, allspice and sea salt and blend or whisk until well combined.

  • Pour the steeped water through a strainer and into the matcha-milk slurry.

  • Add choice of sweetener. Blend or whisk again and taste for desired sweetness.

  • Bonus: If you'd like your latte hotter, pour ingredients into a small pot and gently heat before drinking to your health!

 Ideas

https://detoxinista.com/baby-its-cold-outside/

https://downshiftology.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/

https://downshiftology.com/holiday-recipes/

https://downshiftology.com/thanksgiving-game-plan-timeline-tips/

https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/cooking-tips-tutorials/a95361/20-ways-to-use-leftover-cranberry-sauce/

https://downshiftology.com/diet/whole-30-recipes/

https://nationaltoday.com/gluten-free-diet-awareness-month/

https://nationaltoday.com/national-staying-healthy-month/

https://nationaltoday.com/national-nutrition-month/

https://downshiftology.com/holiday-recipes/easter-recipes/

Green Tea

You probably know green tea is good for your health. Let's look at the WHYs and HOWs of some of the green tea's goodness. 

GREEN TEA AND YOUR METABOLISM

Green tea has thermogenic properties, meaning it helps to produce some heat in your body to burn fat and keep you warm. The antioxidants in green tea have been found to extend the release of the neurochemical norepinephrine in the bloodstream and keep it circulating for longer than other caffeine drinks. 

GREEN TEA'S ANTIOXIDANT POWER

Green tea's powers come from polyphenols that provide antioxidants to neutralize free radicals in your body. Inside your body, you're constantly manufacturing unstable molecules. It's these unstable molecules that can lead to internal inflammation and cancer growth. Those unstable molecules are called free radicals, and they cause harm to other cells in your body. Antioxidants, like those in your green tea, cruise through your body, looking for those free radicals. The antioxidants can not only annul the free radicals but may even lead some repair to the damage they've already caused.

GREEN TEA AND YOUR BRAIN

One of our favorite forms of green tea is matcha green tea, which comes in a fine powder made from baby tea leaves. The young green tea leave, which includes those used for making matcha powder, contains one of your most ZEN amino acids, the L-theanine. The L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation and calms about 30 minutes after ingestion. It stimulates the same alpha waves you activate during meditation. These effects can help counter the jitters that many experiences when consuming caffeine. At the same time, those great antioxidants, which are called EGCG, help protect brain cells, keeping them alive and alert and in less danger of cell death.

So power up and drink up when stressed out! The benefits of green tea go on and on! For now let's digest these nuggets and start experimenting with some green tea for health, happiness, and hormonal harmony.

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