The confusion over cholesterol is high these days. What should we be eating and doing to keep our cholesterol numbers in check? What numbers should we really be paying attention to?
While cholesterol is an actual molecule, what it is bound to while it's floating through your blood is what's more important than just how much of it there is overall. In fact depending on what it's combined with can have an opposite effect on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite!
Myth #1: Cholesterol is just "cholesterol"
Cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.
They're grouped into two main categories:
"Cholesterol” isn't simply cholesterol. Because of the different components of cholesterol, 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. It acts as a "healing agent" for damage that may be occurring in your arteries. Not to mention that it's incorporated into the membranes of your cells for flexibility.
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)? 'Cause that's where it's made!
What you eat can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces. After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn't need to make as much. Your body has a beautiful way of balancing things, especially when you eat whole (non-processed) foods.
Find out why the "Diet" mentality can reek havoc on your body's natural balance of cholesterol.
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 are going to 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.
And remember what I stated earlier, cholesterol is needed for the production of our sex hormones and vitamin D.
Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance
Please don't start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.
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.
Guess what does? Nutrition and exercise!
One of the most powerful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables (which happen to contain plenty of natural plant sterols). I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day. Every day.
I help my clients to incorporate vegetables into their diet with each meal and snacks too!)
Don't worry the recipe below should help you add at least another salad to your day.
You can also exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats. That means fatty fish, avocados and olive oil. Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.
Incorporating more exercise into your day is not as easy as it seems. One has to develop a system for changing up routine habits that are not enlisting healthier habits to ensue.
The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we're learning more every day. You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are. And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.
The Restart Program can help show you the way!
Recipe (Dressing to go with your salad): Orange Hemp Seed Dressing
Makes about ¾ cup
½ cup hemp seeds
½ cup orange juice
1 clove of garlic, peeled
dash salt and/or pepper
Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!
Tip: Store extra in airtight container in the fridge. Will keep for about a week.
Let's face it most of us know why the weight creeps on! We know that with less physical movement, more stress, a reliance on convenience foods, a propensity to mindlessly eat, less time to truly take care of ourselves, combined with our emotional connection to food due to our past, and the body's ability to store excess energy as fat, we're in for a challenging journey when we set out to lose weight. We also know from reading and actually experiencing it, "dieting" doesn't really work.
Let’s face it...the term “diet” really means:
I have developed individualized programs that can help set you on the right path toward creating a healthy body and a healthy mindset.
They allows for flexibility, growth and fun! They gets behind the scenes of the mental games that come into play when we are trying to loss weight, and improves your skill set to discover just HOW to do it!
It's time to transform your relationship with food!
Embrace food purely as a nurturing force and take in all it's healing modalities that can enable you to be at your best weight! The ideal weight that will help you feel young, sexy and confident again!
Most weight loss plans hit just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to regaining your healthy, slim and sexy self-back. Eat whole foods, not too much and exercise. Excellent advice, but can you say Tip Of The Iceberg?
What about all the other stuff like…
Have more questions? Send me a text at 585-704-3844.
Have a great day and stay well nourished :)!
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the evils of sugar consumption. Sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods including bread and salad dressing. Add to that our love for things like cookies and ice cream and it’s no wonder our sugar consumption is skyrocketing. Unfortunately, all this added sugar is doing a lot of damage to our health and it’s making us gain weight in record numbers. It’s time to cut added sugar from our diet. Here are five reasons why you should do a sugar detox and do what you can to avoid consuming sugar as much as possible.
Consuming Sugar Spikes Your Insulin (the "Diet" sugars do as well). As soon as your body starts to digest sugar, your insulin spikes up. Insulin is the hormone that is in charge of keeping blood sugar levels from rising too high and converting extra sugar into fat for storage. It’s a delicate process and consuming sugar in large quantities will cause your insulin to spike and deal with more than it is designed to handle. Over time it becomes less and less effective this is when things start to negatively affect your health.
Consuming Sugar Makes You Gain Weight. Because of the insulin and because sugar adds a lot of calories to food, it can make you gain weight and you don’t have to be eating a lot of candy and cakes for that to happen. Since the late seventies, when health authorities advised consumers to watch and lower their fat intake, the food industry has provided us with all sorts of low fat and fat free food options. To make these low fat foods taste ok, they had to add a lot of sugar. Take a look at regular and low fat or fat free salad dressing. The lower fat options have a lot more carbs and in particular, sugar. You may not taste it, but it’s there. Since sugar is much more quickly digested than fat, you’re hungry sooner after consuming a low fat meal and you eat again. The end result is weight gain.
Consuming Sugar Increases Your Risk For Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome With all that increased sugar and weight gain comes a higher risk for diabetes and a condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms and behaviors that put you at a much higher risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes. Thankfully both conditions are reversible and the first step toward better health is to cut out the sugar.
Sugar Doesn’t Have A Lot of Nutritional Value And It Makes You Hungrier Last but not least, it's important to remember that aside from a little boost of energy, sugar doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value to your body (It actually steals nutrients from your body). If you want something sweet, you’re much better off grabbing a piece of fruit than a cookie. At least with a piece of fruit you’re getting some vitamins and fiber with your sugar fix.
If you want or need to lose weight, the first thing you should do is cut out is sugar. It causes spikes in your blood sugar, that then make your body produce a large amount of insulin to pull the sugar out of your system (and convert it to body fat). The sad little side effect of that process, is that your blood sugar goes on a roller coaster ride that will leave you hungry and craving more sugary treats.
My programs can help you get off the roller coaster.
If you care to learn ways to eliminate sugar please check out The RESTART Program. It's a great program to get the encouragement from others, and to learn the easiest and fastest way to GET OFF SUGAR!
We could all use a little more joy in our lives! Why not use the power of food to enhance our level of happiness. Good mental and physical health are a must when it comes to being happy! We all know that stress, anxieties and worries can affect our level of happiness, but did you know that what you choose to eat on a daily basis can affect your happiness as well?
Good Foods = Good Moods!
Here are a few foods that have been shown to increase mood and happiness. Incorporating them into your diet regularly can have a positive effect over time.
Fruits and Vegetables: We know that fresh fruits and vegetables are good for our health. But did you know that they can also greatly enhance your mood? They absolutely do and for a variety of reasons. The first is that they include plenty of vitamin C. Fresh fruits and veggies are our main source of this crucial vitamin. Not only does it give your immune system a boost, it's also an important building block for making dopamine, the happiness compound in our body. Of course it isn't the only part of fruits and veggies that help. Many of the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients we'll talk about in the rest of this chapter can be found in various fruits and veggies. They are also full of antioxidants, which plays an important role in reducing inflammation in the body. That has a powerful effect on your overall well-being and mode. Eating about 8 servings of fruits and veggies a day will have a noticeable effect on your mood.
Nuts and Seeds, walnuts in particular include high levels of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Low levels of ALA have been associated with low moods and even depression. This is in part caused by the fact that low levels of ALA decreases the levels of dopamine in your system. Additionally low levels of ALA tend to increase inflammation throughout your body which has also been shown to aid depression. Incorporate walnuts, flax, and other nuts and seeds high in ALA in your diet and see if it makes a difference. Since it can take a little while for inflammation to go down, you can't expect immediate results. Give it a few weeks and see how you feel.
Clams and Oysters: Clams have very high levels of B12 which is another precursor for dopamine in the body. Low levels of B12 have been shown to cause depression. Oysters on the other hand are a great source of zinc. Low levels of zinc can cause anxiety, while high levels of zinc can help with depression. In other words, now may be a great time to increase your seafood intake and watch the effect it has on your mood. Coffee Coffee is amazing. It is one of the main sources of anti-oxidants in the typical western diet. We already talked about this. Additionally it has plenty of caffeine which will help get you motivated to get out and do stuff. Taking action and getting outside can both have great positive effects on your levels of happiness.
Coffee: Coffee will also increase dopamine and serotonin transmission within a few minutes of consumption, helping you feel better right away. The next time you feel low and blue, brew yourself a strong cup of coffee and watch your mood improve.
Chocolate: Chocolate is interesting. It includes polyphenols – mood bosting chemicals that will instantly make you feel calmer and happier. The darker the chocolate the better the effect. Of course the anti-oxidants from the cocoa beans and the amazing flavor of quality dark chocolate don't hurt either.
Yogurt and Kefir: Yogurt and Kefir are an interesting food group. They work by improving our gut bacteria which in turn has a big impact on inflammation, digestion, and the immune system. Incorporating them into your diet regularly can have a very positive effect on your mood. Make sure you consume yogurt with live cultures and the less sugar in the yogurt or kefir, the better.
In addition, certain vitamins and minerals are particularly good at enhancing mood. If you feel like there's a lack of these in your system, it may be a good idea to supplement with them and see if it helps your mood.If you're deficient in magnesium for example, it can take a while to replenish this through diet alone. Taking a high-quality magnesium supplement can help you improve your mood faster.
Vitamins B6 & B12: Both of these B vitamins will make you feel better and feel more energized. They are important for the production of dopamine in your system and help in converting food into useable energy for your body. A good complex B vitamin supplement can be a great addition to your diet. Try it and see if you don't start to feel more energized and happier right away.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important building block for dopamine as well and it gives your immune system a boost. Supplement, particularly in the winter time when it's harder to maintain adequate levels of vitamin C in the body. Of course eating plenty of fresh fruits and veggies will help as well.
Magnesium: The soils, particularly in the US are depleted of magnesium, meaning we'll get less and less of this essential mineral in the foods we eat. Magnesium is an important mineral that can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help you sleep better. I don't have to tell you how much of an impact good sleep alone can have on your overall mood and wellbeing. Supplement with quality magnesium and see if you don't start to notice a positive difference.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: There are two types of omega fatty acids. Omega-3 and Omega-6. In a happy, healthy body, the levels of these two fatty acids will be in balance. Sadly in the western world, we tend to consume way too much omega-6 in processed foods. This imbalance has been shown to directly increase the risk and severity of depression. Boosting your omega-3 fatty acids through a supplement or by eating lots of nuts and seeds can reverse this effect and return you to your regular happy self.
Of course it isn't just about the foods and supplements you should consume. Cutting out foods that can dampen your mood is another good idea. Gluten or wheat and sugar are two substances that have been shown to increase inflammation. As already mentioned, inflammation has been shown to lower our mood and increase our chances of getting depressed. In addition most processed foods include these two ingredients along with the omega-6 fatty acids and various other chemicals and ingredients that aren't great for our health. One of the best things you can do for your mood is to cut out as much processed food as possible, replacing it with plenty of real food including fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts, fermented dairy, and seafood. Eat healthy and you'll improve both your physical and emotional health and well-being.
At first glance, it may seem that eating certain foods like lots of fresh vegetables, fresh seafood and high-quality chocolate are things that well-to-do people buy in larger numbers. You may thus be tempted to conclude that these foods are more of an indication that the people eating them lead better and happier lives because they have the disposable income to purchase these items. You may also believe that the food choices are an indication of that instead of a cause for the increased happiness. As it turns out, studies and analysis have been done to ensure that this isn't the case and that there is an actual causal relationship between certain foods and happiness.
Here's to more joy from eating the foods that truly do nourish our bodies!!
Bone broth is the liquid you get from boiling bones in water for several hours. It has a lot of nutritional value, is full of minerals and is said to help boost your immune system. It’s also very tasty and makes a wonderful base for all sorts of soups and stews.
The easiest way to make your first batch of bone broth is to start with a cooked chicken. Pull the cooked meat of the chicken and serve it for dinner. Store any leftover meat in the fridge to use later on to make chicken and noodle or chicken and rice soup with the bone broth you’re about to make.
Put everything that’s left – all the bones and any remaining bits and pieces of meat – into a large pot that has a lid. I love using my crock pot for this. Fill it with plenty of cold water. The more water you add, the more broth you’ll get in the end. Don’t fill it all the way to the top or you risk the liquid bubbling over.
Next, add a good splash of apple cider vinegar to the pot. This step is optional. If you don’t have the vinegar in your pantry don’t fret it. You can add a splash of red wine or white vinegar if you’d like. The vinegar helps get all the minerals out of the bones and into the broth. But again, don’t worry if you don’t have it. Your broth will be just as tasty and almost as good for you without it.
I then add some carrots, celery, onions and a bay leaf.
Cover the pot with the lid and crank up the heat until everything comes to a full boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook your bone broth for a minimum of 6 hours. Of course you don’t want to simmer the broth while you’re out of the house or sleeping. This is why I love using my crock pot.
The broth will be tasty after a few hours of simmering but will get better with time. After it has cooked for at least 6 hours you can start to use it. Just replace the liquid you’re taking out with more water to stretch the broth.
Pour some of the finished bone broth into a smaller pot, add the shredded chicken along with some rice or noodles and leftover veggies to make some soup. Or just drink the broth. It’s delicious.
The rest you can place in your refrigerator for about three to four days or freeze the rest. Make sure it has cooled down before putting in the freezer and leave room for expansion.
I am not an expert on obesity, however I do know, that when it comes to losing weight, we are as unique as our thumbprints.
We are consistently bombarded with the "eat this, not that" mentality to losing weight, which does have merit, however there is a huge component missing.
That component is the ability to change habits. If we want lasting results, we have to change our habits.
Once we are given the "right" information for how we should eat to lose weight, how do we make the changes to actually make it a regular occurring habit?
I have come up with two thought provoking ideas to help you initiate some healthy changes into your daily routine so the path to losing weight becomes a little easier.
My ideas have to do with longing and discontent.
It can be extremely helpful to get a really clear picture of what you long for and what you are discontented with, as it pertains to your health.
So my recommendation to you is to make a list and to use that list as a road map to help you to stay focused on your desired destination.
Your first list should consist of all that you long for (as it pertains to your health).
My desires for my health are…..
You're going to want to get real specific here. You may want to answer things like, how do you want to feel each morning when you first wake up, or how many pounds do you want to lose by next month, or do you want to lose those relentless cravings, etc.?
Your second list can consist of all the things that bring you a feeling of discontent (as it pertains to your health).
My frustrations with my health are…
Get specific here as well. Are you feeling really tired throughout the day? Has your weight gone up and down for the last year and a half? Do you find that you don't have anytime to cook healthy meals?
These lists can act as a compass charting your path of actions throughout your day.
You can ask yourself, what can I do to further my desired state of health and what can I do to avoid "feeding" the discontent that I have regarding my health?
Pick one or two things to work on for at least two weeks.
Keep an eye on the prize...what you long for. Plan action steps to make it happen, all the while focusing on the end result.
Keeping this list handy can remind you of the necessary habit changes that you must instill in order for you to get to where you long to be.
Do you want something sweet and savory? Then this yummy salad might do the trick.
This recipe comes from "The World's Healthiest Foods" cookbook by George Mateljan. It's super easy and more than likely you'll have the ingredients on hand.
Combine 3 stalks of sliced celery, 1 medium cubed pear (or apple), 2 TBS chopped walnuts, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 TBS Parmesan cheese, 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great side dish for any kind of meal or all by itself.
Interesting note: Celery helps to lower blood pressure through a pytochemical called phthalides. (clevelandclinic.org)
Let's talk about forming new habits. We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves. This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk. Or it could be work related, or spiritual, or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a "good" habit can be a little more challenging.
Let's break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we've internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To DoThe first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Don't just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like "I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day". Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you're going to do it, is half the battle.
Remind Yourself To Get It DoneThe next few days should be smooth sailing. You're motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn't an issue. But a few days in you'll notice that it's easy to slip back into old habits.
Maybe it's raining and you don't really want to go out and walk. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it's important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while.
Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A HabitWhich brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine, or change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack.
Congratulations! Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it's second nature and you'll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.
Get support to make healthy living a way of life!
It's hard to keep up willpower for any length of time. Yes, we can stick to a no sugar diet for a week or two, but eventually our willpower fades. And yes, we can do exercise we hate for a while... until we run out of willpower.
But what about getting up to take the kids to school every morning, brushing our teeth or going to work every day. Those may not be our favorite things to do either, but we do them daily without the risk of running out of willpower. That's because they have become habits. They are so ingrained in what we do and who we are that we do them without even considering skipping a day or a week. We don't have to make a conscious decision each day to shower or drive to work. It's just what we do – a habit.
When you start to think about it, there is an inverse relationship between habits and will power. When you first want to build a new habit, it takes a lot of will power to get it done day in and day out. As you start to establish that habit, it becomes easier and easier to do until you don't even have to think about it anymore.
Just being aware of this process helps us stick it out. We know we don't always have to make such a big effort to go work out or skip the donut for breakfast. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We know eventually it will become habit to go out for a run first thing in the morning and grab some fruit or fix some eggs for breakfast.
While we're in that transition from willpower to habit, we can use tools to make it easier. Use a to-do list or set a reminder to help stay on track. Find an accountability partner so the two of you can motivate each other and help bolster that willpower when it starts to fade after the first enthusiasm wears off. Even something as simple as laying out your running clothes the night before and keeping your sneakers by the door will make it a little easier to go out for that run.
Do what you can to help your willpower along until you have made the new behavior a true habit. After that it'll be easy and automatic and you've created a new lifelong habit.
Do you need support? Contact Ann today for your free 1 hour coaching session.
How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit?
It's a blog...
I am a fanatic when it comes to uncovering the truths and the falsities to sound nutrition and good health. When we use a little common sense we can back up anything, yet there is always room for debate.