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

 

 

 

Your First yoga class

yoga

 

Here you are, you’ve found a studio that you would like to try, signed up for their special of the month or intro month and now you’re home getting ready to venture out for your very first yoga class.

You find yourself staring in the mirror in your brand new yoga pants and shirt that you’ve purchased especially for this day, you’re dissecting every part of your body and attempting to convince yourself not go to this class.

You tell yourself that you’re not flexible enough to do yoga or you start to imagine that all the other students in the class will be 6 Foot tall models, with 0% body fat, who live a gluten free, vegan lifestyle, who never get mad, never swear and can levitate without even trying. You tell yourself you’re too busy, or picture yourself falling over in class.

Say no. hand isolated on white background
NONE OF THIS IS TRUE….

If you’re not flexible, that’s OK, yoga will actually help improve your flexibility and strength in a safe and gentle way.

I’ve been practicing yoga for a very long time and I’m 5 feet tall, have body fat (and that’s ok), I do try to eat gluten free but I eat meat and I love salt and vinegar chips. I’m a human just like you. All Yogis are human just like you. I get mad sometimes, I cry sometimes and I certainly cannot levitate (although that would be pretty cool).

The busier you are the more you need yoga in your life and if you fall over no one will even notice and if they do, they don’t care. There is no ego in the yoga room. Everyone is there for different reasons and no one is there to judge or compare themselves to you or anyone else in the room.

easy pose

Let’s talk about what to actually expect and extra tips you may want to know to make you feel more prepared about your first class.

Items to bring:

  1. Yoga mat- although no big deal if you don’t have one, most studios have them for rent- usually around $2.
  2. Water bottle
  3. For hot yoga bring a yoga mat towel and if you’re thinking WTF is that, then just bring a beach towel or rent a yoga mat towel at the studio.
  4. Towel if you want to shower after, some people shower at the studio and some go home to shower.
  5. Change for parking ( so you can’t do two loops on the street and decide you can’t find parking but you tried so you’re going to reward yourself by going for ice cream instead).

ohm

Here are some more realistic things to expect during your first yoga class: 

  1. When you arrive, go to the main desk and say your name if you’ve already purchased a class pass, an intro month or one of the monthly specials. If you haven’t ask the kind person behind the desk to help you pick which option is best for you and your schedule. Don’t be afraid, you’ll be surprised at how super friendly everyone is. Mention any injuries you might have.
  2. They will show you or tell you where the change rooms are.
    • Leave all your stuff in the change room (including socks in case you were wondering). Take your mat, water and towel if necessary, items like keys and phones only distract you and the others in the room. Your items will be safe.
  3. Fill your water and make your way to the yoga studio.
    • Most studios observe silence meaning once you walk through the doors no more talking.
    • Some people will be laying on there backs on the mat looking like their dead, don’t worry they are not. This is called Savassana or Corpse pose. A lot of people will just relax in this pose until the teacher comes in. You may see some people doing a workout quietly on their mat, or sitting with their eyes closed just chilling out. DO WHAT YOU WANT. Doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, as long as you’re not being loud then do what you want.
    • One thing to avoid is whipping your mat open and letting it fall to the floor, this is super loud. Gently roll your mat out and place your towel on it. You’ll understand better when it happens.

      You’ve maybe decided to do the looking like your dead pose and lay down. Now you wait……………HOLD ON! ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HEAR SOMETHING…… WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT NOISE…..

That noise is Ujjayi or yoga breathe. This breathe is found by inhaling in through the nose and exhaling out through the nose. There is a slight restriction at the back of your throat that allows your breathe to become audible.

Try this little exercise to find this breathing style.

Take the palm of your hand in front of your mouth. Picture the palm of your hand as being a mirror, Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Fog up the mirror. Do this a couple times and notice how it feels in your throat and how it sounds. Now, try it with your mouth closed and exhales coming out of your nose but keep that same feeling or sound in your throat. Keep practising and eventually it will become second nature when you start your yoga practice.

Why Ujjayi breathe?

meditation

Ujjayi breathe is the ancient yogic breathing and has been used for thousands of years to enhance yoga practices.

Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
  • Builds internal body heat
  • Relieves tension
  • Encourages free flow of prana
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
  • Builds energy
  • Detoxifies mind and body
  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

Ujjayi breathe is something to practice towards and not expect to master the breathing technique on your first try or first yoga class.

Once the teacher comes in, they will guide you through a series of poses and depending on which type of yoga you’ve chosen it may be very gentle (like a yin) or vigourous like a flow class. I suggest starting with a gentle version of yoga (yin or moksha) and working your way up to a flow class.

There it is. You know what to expect. You’re ready!!!

Yoga is my favorite thing to do. It’s my passion and I’d like to share it with anyone who would like to try. I wrote this article to encourage people to get out and try it. I promise and know forsure that you will get something out of it. However, if after reading this, you’re still not convinced then try a couple private one on one sessions to get some understanding and knowledge of the poses to expect. When booking quote “first yoga class” to receive $25 off your first private class.

Namaste

namaste

 

 

 

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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