Vitamin D- Why It’s So Important.

sunshinevitamin
Through the summer months when we are outside in the sunlight your skin should be absorbing enough Vitamin D for you to be healthy. Now that summer is over and the days are getting shorter and shorter people will start to spend more time inside. As fall and winter set in, I think it’s very important to consider what Vitamin D does for your body and why it’s important to supplement during the months you’re unable to be outside with your skin exposed to the sun.

What does it do? 

Vitamin D manages calcium in your blood, bones and gut and helps cells all over your body to communicate properly. Once your body absorbs the vitamin D, it then goes through a number of chemical processes to change it so that your body can use it.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Without enough vitamin D, one can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). This in turn leads to insufficient calcium absorption from the diet.
vitamin d

Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.

If your body doesn’t get enough vitamin D, you’re at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).

If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you should also supplement your baby with Vitamin D.

Research has also shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.

What does a vitamin D deficiency in adults look like?

  • tiredness, aches and pains, and a general sense of not feeling well
  • severe bone or muscle pain or weakness that may cause difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from the floor or a low chair, or cause you to walk with a waddling gait
  • stress fractures, especially in your legs, pelvis, and hips

vitamind deficiency

Where can I get it, other than the sun?

Some foods that provide vitamin D include:
  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

vitamin d foods

You can also buy Vitamin D3 Drops, this is what I use during the fall, winter and sometimes the spring months.

How much do I need?

The recommended IUs for vitamin D are:

Live longer, healthier and happier.
Alicia

6 Ways to Start Losing Weight Now!

bodysoul

Society as a whole has become so focused on the appearance of a persons physical being or “meat suit” as I like to call it and has gotten away from what truly matters. A persons heart and soul, this is what truly make a human beautiful.

With that said…these…ahem… “meat suits” are what carry our beautiful heart and souls around in this world and help us to stay here for as long as possible soo.. here are a few ways to get healthier and shed some of those extra pounds.

 

  1. Put the junk food down- I know, I know easier said then done but make small obtainable goals. If you’re a junk-aholic then take it day by day. Any improvement is a step in the right direction. For example if you eat a chocolate bar every day. Make your goal to not eat one today. Maybe you start by having one every second day, then have one every third then once a week on “cheat day“.  If you eat out every day for lunch, start packing a lunch on Wednesdays, then Mondays and Wednesdays, then you will start to add days as you get used to it. I promise it will get better and you will start to feel better.Assorted Junk Food
  2. Drink Green tea- Green tea is filled with antioxidants that help destroy free radicals and has been shown to have powerful medicinal qualities. If caffeine is an issue for you then choose a decaffeinated green tea, just keep in mind the process of removing the caffeine also removes about half the antioxidants. Teas can also be counted towards your daily water intake, which is also very important for weight loss and overall health.greeen tea
  3. Get mentally healthy- We all know when we are stressed we tend to go towards comfort foods rather then the healthy options. Why do we choose these sugar filled, high fatty foods? Stress releases a hormone called cortisol or frequently known as “the stress hormone”, when you have increased levels of the hormone it can cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. If you think this could be a part of your weight struggle or gain then talk to someone, start practicing yoga or meditation. You can find great guided meditations on youtube.meditation1
  4. Move your body- Go to yoga, the gym, throw your head phones in and go for a walk outside or on your treadmill. One way I’ve found to help couch potatoes get up and find movement is to have a compromise. Bring your treadmill in the living room and save your favorite show for the 30-60 minutes you are walking. ONLY allow yourself to watch your show when you are walking on your treadmill. You will be surprised to find out how simply making a deal like that with yourself will get you up and moving, plus I guarantee the time fly by!!!exercise
  5. Don’t allow yourself to get too hungry- Keep healthy snacks like raw nuts, apples or coconut chips in your briefcase or purse. When that super hunger urge hits you, it’s often really hard to wait to make or find healthy options. Another good idea is to make sure you are eating smaller portions more often. This will help to avoid the sudden crash of energy and the need to have food immediately. One last thing is to make sure you never, ever skip meals.hangry
  6. Show how much money it actually costs to eat out- Every time you make a better choice for foods or eating at home, put away the amount you would have spent on fast food or the stop at the convenience store. If you’re a junkaholic or even a part time offender, you will notice how fast this money adds up and since this money would have been spent, use it for something you normally wouldn’t spend money on.

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If you are struggling with your weight, there are many, many options out there for you. Don’t give up and don’t judge yourself when you slip up. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing is working then it could be an issue with one of your glands or a deficiency in an important vitamin or mineral that keeps your body working efficiently. I have a special this month on nutritional assessments that would help to determine any of these things and if you mention this article i’ll take an additional $10 off.  See my October monthly specials or contact me to book an appointment.

Live longer, healthier and happier

Alicia

 

Top 3 Foods to give up NOW to live longer, healthier and happier.

health

We all want to be healthy and live as long as possible but sometimes (most times) it can be very confusing to know what is actually healthy, one day it’s good for you and the next day it’s bad. One nutritionist says “do this” while another one says “never do that”. Part of the reason why is because research is ever evolving and because we are all so genetically unique.  What works fantastic for one person, may have the complete opposite effect on another.  My challenge for you is to give up one (or all) of the following items, even if you set a goal to do it just for a month.

In my opinion by avoiding the following three foods it could help you live longer, healthier and happier. I’ll include a few tips and tricks along the way.

Tip #1: Avoid Trendy fad diets, even if they work it’s will only be temporary and most are not set up to be done for a long period of time.

  1. Number one food to avoid is: Margarine

x margarine

First of all yuck! I’m conflicted on the title of this blog because items like Margarine are not even food, however they are being consumed in enormous amounts all over the world.

I’ve already written an article on how bad margarine is for you, but i’ll list a few of the highlights or click here to read the whole article.

There is nothing natural about it, It is loaded with artificial ingredients, and is usually made with industrial vegetable oils that have been hydrogenated to make them more solid. This increases their trans fat content significantly. Keep in mind that manufacturers are permitted to label their products with “no trans fat” as long as it contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, which is still a significant amount.

Soo….. eat butter instead. Butter contains many beneficial nutrients that actually protect us from heart disease. It contains Vitamin A, lecithin, it has a number of antioxidants, it’s rich in selenium. The saturated fats in butter have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Butter also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which provides excellent protection against cancer. Bottom line, butter is natural, wholesome and one of the healthiest fats in the world.

Tip # 2: Drink plenty of water daily

water

2. Up next to avoid: Sugary Drinks

It is possible that Pop aka soft drinks might stimulate the appetite for other sweet, high-carbohydrate foods especially if you are choosing the diet options. Doesn’t make sense does it!!! Studies have shown that aspartame has been linked to increased appetite and weight gain. In fact, a study from 2015 demonstrated that animals exposed to aspartame during the prenatal period presented a higher consumption of sweet foods during adulthood and a greater susceptibility to alterations in metabolic parameters.  Sugar or sugar free-  these sweet treats should be avoided and are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic (1).

Tip #3- Take time to just be. Meditate or do yoga. Even just sit for 5 minutes with no distractions (phone, tv, music) and breathe.

3. Last but not least- Fried Foods

fried food

Many cancer causing ingredients can be found in foods that are highly processed and heated with extremely high temperatures AKA deep fried foods.

One of those toxins is called acrylamide. Some of the leading international agencies that study toxins have named acrylamide a carcinogen. Cigarettes would be a widely known carcinogen just for reference.

Not only do deep fried foods fill your body with toxins, wasted calories and bad fats but they also displace the good fats that our bodies require called EFA’s (essential fatty acids). EFA’s are responsible for many, many important functions in your body and mind but i’ll list a few:

  • Formation of healthy cell membranes
  • Proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system
  • Proper thyroid and adrenal activity
  • Hormone production
  • Regulation of blood pressure, liver function, immune and inflammatory responses
  • Regulation of blood clotting: Omega-6 FAs encourage blood clot formation, whereas Omega-3 oil reduces clotting. The ideal is to achieve a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 FAs
  • Crucial for the transport and breakdown of cholesterol
  • Support healthy skin and hair
  • Weight loss

efas

So at the same time as you are filling up on garbage, your are also stripping your body of important nutrients that are clearly necessary to you health.

I could list and go into huge details about the many names of toxic ingredients found in deep fried food, we all know they aren’t good for us but none of them will mean anything until you hear those terrifying words come out of your doctors mouth “You have cancer”.
My goal is to help you avoid hearing this or at least reduce your chances of this happening. This is why I write these blogs, this is why I decided to go to school for nutrition. I’ve lost my father, cousin who was like a sister and most recently a very good friend of mine to cancer and although I know I can’t save everyone, even if my information helps one person, well I’m ok with that.
Have a happy and healthy day!
Xoxo
Alicia

 

 

 

What’s the Deal With Seeds?

seeds

Short answer: Tiny but powerful

Seeds come in a variety of flavors, shapes and colours and all have varying nutrient content but one they all have in common is that they are convenient and healthy. Due to the fact that there is so much information on each of these amazingly healing seeds, this will be a series of posts about seeds and their benefits.

Today we’ll talk about one very powerful and commonly known seed called Flax Seeds (Linseeds).

flax seed

Flax (Linum usitatissimum) is a plant native to the Mediterranean that has been used as a food for well over 5,000 years. It became widely known throughout Europe after C.E., Charlemagne considered it so important that he passed laws and regulations requiring it’s consumption. It eventually was introduced to Canada in the seventeenth century.

Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and protein, are high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. They are also a good source of minerals phosphorous, iron and copper. Hippocrates wrote about using flax for the relief of abdominal pains.

You might surprised to find out that flax oil  has nearly twice the level of omega- 3 fatty acid as compared to fish oils.

Flax contains ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, data derived from biopsies of breast tissue from women diagnosed with breast cancer compared to benign samples indicated that the women with breast cancer had a 64 percent lower ALA level. Another study concluded that the higher the ALA level in breast tissue, the less likely the cancer was to spread into the lymph nodes of the armpit.

Lowering cholesterol, weight loss, improving memory and brain health, reducing symptoms of Menopause and PMS are also a few of this tiny seeds capability.

brain health

What to buy and how to store Flax

Though you can eat them whole it’s much more nutritionally beneficial to grind them into a meal or powder.

I would recommend buying your flax whole if available in packaged form or bulk and preferably refrigerated. Just as you would with any other food if buying from bulk, make sure the bins are covered and that the store has a good turnover rate to ensure maximum freshness.

Look for evidence of any moisture and avoid if you see it.

Store your whole flax seeds in an airtight container in a dark, dry, and cool place, where they will keep fresh for several months.

You can choose to purchase ground flax seeds however, once ground they are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage. Whether you purchase ground flax or grind them your at home, once ground it’s important to store either in the fridge or in the freezer. Ground flax will keep in the fridge for about 6 months and in the freezer for about a year.

flaxgroundandoil

If flax seed oil is what you are looking for make sure to purchase only oils that are in a dark bottle and have been stored in the refrigerator. The oil should have a sweet, nutty flavour and you should never use flax seed oil in cooking but are able to add it to foods after they have been cooked.

 

How can I eat these wonderful seeds and what is a typical serving? 

Typical serving size for ground or whole flaxseeds is 1-2 tablespoons. Flax oil can vary, so read the bottle for more information.

Quick serving ideas:

  • Sprinkle ground flax onto your hot or cold cereal
  • Pump up volume of your smoothies or shakes by adding whole or ground flax
  • Use flax seed oil instead of other oils in salad dressings, bread dipping.
  • Drizzle oil or sprinkle whole or ground over vegetables, pasta or rice.

Is Flax safe for everyone?

Flaxseeds contain a moderate amount of oxalate. Individual with  history of oxalate containing kidney stones should avoid over consumption.

Here is list of other foods high in oxalates:

  • 100% pure cocoa
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Cashews

Thanks for reading everyone and remember if there is anything you would like to see a blog written about please email directly at alicia@completebodynutrition.ca

Live longer, healthier and happy

 

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Honey VS Sugar

honey

In this day and age everyone is looking for an easier way to eat healthy, or the quickest way to loose those extra couple pounds. Sometimes it’s not about the easiest or fastest way that gets you to your goals but eliminating refined sugar from your life could be one of those methods.

Try replacing your sugar with honey, not only are you eliminating something refined and void of any nutrients that is actually really bad for you but you are replacing it with something that will still give you that sweet tooth fix but is packed full of nutrients, good bacteria (that aids in digestion and that our body requires) and powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants help to get rid of the free radicals in your body that cause diseases and pre mature aging. Let me make that crystal clear. Honey helps fight wrinkles and keeps you healthy!! Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too!!

Try to find a unprocessed honey, possibly organic although no honey can truly be organic if it’s labeled the producer may have done their best to try and accomodate that.

Enjoy!!!

Top 11 Worst “Foods”

frank

I put the word “foods” in quotes in the title cause I’m not sure I would even consider some of the following items food. As in good for you, has vitamins and minerals or even that should ever be putting in your mouth! From artificial flavors and colors to words you’d need an advanced degree in chemistry to pronounce, there are thousands of ingredients making their way into your food that are simply not, strictly speaking, food.

As always, everything in moderation…or almost everything but the more informed you are about what you are actually eating the better equiped you are for ordering of the menu or choosing items at the grocery store.

crab stick

1. Crab Sticks

Sushi lovers beware!!

You may be thinking that you eat crab in crab sticks, but this name is misleading. Crab sticks are actually manufactured from a processed seafood made of finely cheap pulverized white fish flesh (called surimi), with different edible additions (crab extract, crab flavor, seasonings etc). Surimi is available in many shapes, forms and textures, and is often used to imitate the texture and color of the meat of lobster, crab, and other shellfish. In crab sticks it is shaped to resemble leg meat of a crab. It enables food manufacturers to take cheap fish and upgrade it to a taste of the most expensive fish meats such as crab or lobster. This could have been worse as fish is considered good for us, but still it’s not a crab and it’s still a highly processed product with many additives. The assortment of additives may include other fish products, but it is usually egg whites, oils, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and various starches and gums to create the expected texture.

echeese
2. Easy cheese

Easy Cheese is the trademark for a processed cheese product also referred to spray cheese or cheese in a can, and is a descendant of squeeze cheese packaged in a squeezable plastic tube. This product was created for people who like to eat cheese but can’t be bothered to get a knife and slice it for consumption. It comes packaged in a pressurized can, much like canned whipped cream and does not require refrigeration. Whereas cheese is made from handful of ingredients, Easy Cheese contains many additives such as whey protein concentrate, canola oil, milk protein concentrate, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, sodium alginate, apocarotenal, annatto, cheese culture and enzymes.

cheese whiz

3. “Cheez Whiz” cheese Dip

Cheez Whiz is a thick processed cheese sauce or spread, and many refer to it as ‘pseudo-cheese’. The yellow paste usually comes in a glass jar and is used as a topping for cheesesteaks, corn chips, hot dogs and other foods. The advantage of it is that it’s more spreadable and melts better then natural cheese. A single serving, which is defined as just two level tablespoons, contains nearly a third of a day’s recommended maximum of saturated fat as well as a third of the maximum sodium recommended for most of American adults. The problem is that if you sit in front of the TV and start dipping your crackers in it, it’s hard to stick to only 2 tablespoons. Also there are so many items listed in this product, starting with the watery by-product of milk called whey, canola oil, corn syrup, and an additive called milk protein concentrate, which manufacturers had begun importing from other countries as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive powdered milk produced by American dairies. So is it really a cheese, or perhaps more of a yellow-dyed paste?

tofurkey

4. Tofurky Italian vegan sausage

Tofurky is one of the leading vegetarian turkey replacement brands, and is made from a blend of wheat protein and organic tofu. You’ve probably heard that cutting back on meat (especially red meat) can help prevent heart disease and cancer in some cases, but replacing it with processed meat substitutes comes with its own price. Most meat substitutes are highly processed and full of artificial additives. Many are made from soy protein isolate, wheat gluten and other textured vegetable proteins, but also some questionable ingredients that help to mold them into meat-like shapes. So read the label on the package before buying. If the list of ingredients is long, it’s more likely there are additives and preservatives to stabilize the food, add flavor, or change its consistency. Some of these additives can include unhealthy amounts of extra salt, fat and sugar, as well as artificial additives. So why not just opt for tofu and green beans instead?

cnugg

5. Chicken nuggets

Usually chicken nuggets contain just 40-50% meat and have been battered and deep fried. The rest seems to belong more to an industrial factory but not to a food retailer. Chicken nuggets are sold in various portion sizes. We all know that white chicken meat is one of the best sources of lean protein, but what has happened is that some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather then low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it. Chicken nuggets tend to have a high fat content because they are breaded and fried, and are high in calories, salt and sugar. Eating them occasionally will not kill you, but since they taste good, are cheap and convenient and kids love them, it’s easier to eat them more often.

tang

6. Tang fruit drink

This is a fruit-flavored breakfast drink that has been a part of many Americans’ breakfast since its release in the late 1950s. It was used by some early NASA astronauts in their space flights and was marketed as an astronauts drink. But you’re mistaken if you thought Tang was in any way related to fruit juice. For example, there is very little orange in the citrus flavored drink. According to its label, Tang contains sugar, less then 2% of orange juice solids, artificial colors and many other additives. Actually most of Tang’s flavor comes not from orange juice but from “natural and artificial flavor”. It is a drink that is engineered to taste like orange. You’d better have an orange with your breakfast to serve your body better. Instead of drinking this fake juice, go for real smoothie !

wbread

7. White bread

It has been known for a long time that white bread and refined grains in general aren’t particularly nutritious with all the nutrients taken out. As you know, whole grains are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates and can also improve your digestive system’s health, but when the flour is refined, it loses many of its nutrients. Refined grains are no longer a complex carbohydrate and are no longer a slow release source of energy. They need little digestion and are absorbed rapidly so increase glucose levels in the body. During the refining process of wheat, the germ and the bran is removed and this means that the most nutritious part of the grain including fiber, vitamins and minerals is lost. It can be fortified, but sometimes with cheapest form of minerals and vitamins that are poorly absorbed by the body.

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8. Uncrustables – peanut butter and jelly sandwich

These are massed produced sealed crust-less sandwiches. If you are too busy to spend 30 seconds making a fresh sandwich, then this product is for you. But look at the long list of ingredients and how processed this product is. The only thing on this list that looks like food is strawberries, but there is very little of it, and the rest are artificial ingredients that you’d be better to avoid, such as high-fructose corn syrup and heart-damaging hydrogenated oils.

gusher

9. “Gushers” fruit snack

Fruit Gushers are fruit snacks made primarily from sugar and fruit juice with other ingredients. The ingredient list for the strawberry flavor is long and doesn’t even mention strawberry but sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors and many other additives. So don’t fool yourself that this fruit snack is “fruity”. This is not a healthful snack product when, in fact, the product contains unhealthy partially hydrogenated oil, large amounts of sugar and artificial colors.

maple

10. Maple flavored syrup

Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the sap of the maple tree, and many people love genuine 100% maple syrup, but the cheap, fake syrup that is a mix of water, high-fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring is not what you are looking for. In the United States, “maple syrup” must be made almost entirely from maple sap, although small amounts of substances such as salt may be added. On the other had “Maple-flavored” syrups include maple syrup but may contain additional ingredients. “Pancake syrup”, “waffle syrup”, “table syrup”, and similarly named syrups are substitutes which are cheaper then maple syrup, and in these syrups the primary ingredient is most often high fructose corn syrup and they have no genuine maple content.

donut

11. Top of the list for me would be donuts. With zero nutritional value, only trans fats, white flours, and waaay too much sugar. These in my opinion are by far the worst thing you can eat. Sure they may taste good but not worth it.

So choose real foods as much as possible and be more aware of what goes into your body. A treat now and again isn’t going to kill you but remember you either feed your body or feed disease with what you eat.