Pumpkin here, pumpkin there, pumpkin, pumpkin everywhere!!

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It’s the time of year when we start to see pumpkins everywhere, for me they represent fall, thanksgiving, cooler weather and warmer sweaters but what do we actually know about these plump, nutritious orange plants.

Is Pumpkin more then just something to carve cool designs into or filling for pie?

Yes!!

Pumpkin is a highly nutrient-dense food. It is rich in vitamins and minerals but low in calories. 

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Eating pumpkin is good for the heart. The fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin all support heart health. It contains a wealth of antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.

Pumpkin can protect immunity. Pumpkin pulp and seeds are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene. These offer a boost to the immune system using a powerful combination of nutrients.

 

Pumpkin seeds, leaves, and juices all pack a powerful nutritional punch.

pumpkin seeds

Click here to find out how to harvest, remove and roast pumpkin seeds.

There are many ways pumpkin can be incorporated into desserts, soups, salads, preserves, and even as a substitute for butter.

 

Nutritional breakdown 

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains: 

  • 1.76 g of protein
  • 2.7 g of fiber
  • 49 calories
  • 0.17 g of fat
  • 0 g of cholesterol
  • 12.01 g of carbohydrates

This amount of pumpkin also provides:

  • more than 200 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A
  • nineteen percent of the RDA of vitamin C
  • ten percent or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper and manganese
  • at least 5 percent of thiamin, B-6, folate pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium and phosphorus

pumpkin

Preparing fresh pumpkin at home will deliver the most benefits for your health, but canned pumpkin is also a great choice. Pumpkin retains many of its health benefits it the canning process.

Steer clear of canned pumpkin pie mix. This is usually placed next to the canned pumpkin in grocery stores, and is sold in a similar can. It contains added sugars and syrups.

Canned pumpkin should have only one ingredient: Pumpkin.

 

RECIPES
Here are some great recipes to start incorporating pumpkin into your diet ( some good for you nutritionally and some good for the soul).
Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce and Toasted Hazelnuts

Pumpkin Lasagna with Ricotta and Swiss Chard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Soup

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Pumpkin Tiramisu

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24 Thanksgiving Pumpkin dessert recipes

and last but not least, what would the fall season be without……………….

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

Live Longer, Healthier and Happier.

Alicia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Reiki and Why Everyone Needs It?

Reiki

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a universal life force healing energy that flows thorough all of us. The concept of a life force is found in most of the ancient cultures of the world. In India, it is called prana; in China, chi or Qi; in Japan, ki; for Native Americans, the Great Spirit. For all these cultures and others as well, the idea of life force is or was central to their forms of medicine and healing.

native smudge

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include stress relief,  relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well-being. Many have reported miraculous results.

A Reiki practitioner is trained to channel the universal life force energy, through them into their hands and into the person they are treating. There is no way to get or give too much Reiki energy. Any additonal gets passed onto our planet and we all know that needs as much healing as possible.

Click here for a link to some studies showing the positive effects of Reiki.

hands energy

What to expect during a reiki treatment?

Generally you will be laying on your back on a massage table, fully clothed. I have seen it where the Reiki practitioner has you sit in a chair and rarely even stand. (All my treatments are laying on a massage table).

Your only job during a reiki treatment is to just breathe.

The Reiki practitioner will usually start at your head working their way down each side of your body hovering their hands over your body using specific hand positions.

What does Reiki feel like?

easy pose

Everyone will feel Reiki a little different but some of the things I’ve heard consistently over my years of practice have been

  • Warm water running over their entire body or parts of their body
  • a gentle beating drum
  • vibration
  • a warm hug
  • peace
  • calmness

    Its possible to not feel anything at all. Even if you do not feel anything you are still getting a treatment. 

Some people drift off to sleep, some people may see their spirit animal or have a calming vision or experience.

Everyone leaves a Reiki treatment feeling less stressed, relaxed and generally good all over (body and mind).

reik treatment

What can Reiki Treat? 

Reiki has been shown to have a positive affect on all forms of illness and negative conditions. This includes minor things like head or stomach aches, bee stings, colds, flu, tension and anxiety as well as serious illness like heart disease, cancer, leukemia, etc. The side effects of regular medical treatments have also been reduced or eliminated. This includes the negative effects of chemotherapy, post operative pain and depression as well as improving the healing rate and reducing the time needed to stay in the hospital. Reiki always helps and in some cases people have experienced complete healings which have been confirmed by medical tests before and after the Reiki treatments. However, while some have experienced miracles, they cannot be guaranteed. Stress reduction with some improvement in ones physical and psychological condition are what most experience.

Here are some of the results I’ve personally seen.

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  • Feelings of deep relaxation
  • Stress and tension released
  • Anxiety and fear gone
  • General sense of well-being
  • Negative emotions or negative feelings gone
  • Reduced feelings of anger
  • Pain free or reduced pain

Is Reiki a Religion? 

 

Although Reiki energy is spiritual in nature, Reiki is not a religion. Practitioners and client are not asked to change any religious or spiritual beliefs they may have. They are free to continue believing anything they choose and are encouraged to make their own decisions concerning the nature of their religious practices.

Reiki in my opinion is life changing. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum; people start on their Reiki journey and blossom immensely spiritually and also I have clients who come weekly simply for the healing energy because it works for them but do not participate in the spiritual aspects of it.

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Reiki is for everyone and anyone regardless of age, condition, beliefs, etc.

For more information on Reiki treatments or trainings in your area click here.

Have a great day!!

 

 

 

Live longer, healthier and happier

Alicia xoxo

Water – How much should you drink daily?

waterbubbles

 

 

Water: How much should you drink every day?

Water is essential to good health, yet needs vary by individual. These guidelines can help ensure you get enough for your body.

How much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answers. Studies have produced varying recommendations over the years, but in truth, your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live.

Although no single formula fits everyone, knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Our Bodies necessity for water

Water is your body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.

h2o

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Think of a plant that desperately needs water, all wrinkled, discoloured and falling over as opposed to a healthy hydrated plant vibrant and full of colour.

urine chart

How much water do you need?

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine and bowel movements. For your body to function properly, you must replenish its water supply by consuming beverages and foods that contain water.

So how much fluid does the average, healthy adult living in a temperate climate need? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day.

Isn’t it 8 glasses a day?

Everyone has heard the advice, “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” Although the “8 by 8” rule isn’t supported by hard evidence, it remains popular because it’s easy to remember. Just keep in mind that the rule should be reworded as: “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day,” because all fluids count toward the daily total.

Somethings that might affect your requirements

You may need to modify your total fluid intake depending on how active you are, the climate you live in, your health status, and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Exercissweat cryinge. If you exercise or engage in any activity that makes you sweat, you need to drink extra water to compensate for the fluid loss. An extra 1.5 to 2.5 cups (400 to 600 milliliters) of water should suffice for short bouts of exercise, but intense exercise lasting more than an hour (for example, running a marathon) requires more fluid intake. How much additional fluid you need depends on how much you sweat during exercise, and the duration and type of exercise.
  • Intense exercise. During long bouts of intense exercise, it’s best to use a sports drink that contains sodium, as this will help replace sodium lost in sweat and reduce the chances of developing hyponatremia, which can be life-threatening. Also, continue to replace fluids after you’re finished exercising.
  • Environment. Hot or humid weather can make you sweat and requires additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during wintertime. Further, altitudes greater than 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves.beach
  • Illnesses or health conditions. When you have fever, vomiting or diarrhea, your body loses additional fluids. In these cases, you should drink more water. In some cases, your doctor may recommend oral re hydration solutions, such as a sports drink. Because of the aspartame and other chemicals generally found in sports drinks, i recommend a more natural electrolyte supplement like ultima or vega.
  •  You may also need increased fluid intake if you develop certain conditions, including bladder infections or urinary tract stones. On the other hand, some conditions, such as heart failure and some types of kidney, liver and adrenal diseases, may impair excretion of water and even require that you limit your fluid intake.
  • Pregnancy or breast-feeding. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are used especially when nursing. The Institute of Medicine recommends that pregnant women drink about 10 cups (2.3 liters) of fluids daily and women who breast-feed consume about 13 cups (3.1 liters ) of fluids a day.
pregnant

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water

You don’t need to rely only on what you drink to meet your fluid needs. What you eat also provides a significant portion of your fluid needs. On average, food provides about 20 percent of total water intake. For example, many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight.

In addition, beverages such as milk and juice are composed mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages — such as coffee, tea or soda — can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is still your best bet because it’s calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

Staying safely hydrated

Generally, if you drink enough fluid so that you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow — and measures about 6.3 cups (1.5 liters) or more a day if you were to keep track — your fluid intake is probably adequate. If you’re concerned about your fluid intake or have health issues, check with your doctor or a registered dietitian. He or she can help you determine the amount of water that’s right for you.

To ward off dehydration and make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s also a good idea to:

  • Drink a glass of water or other calorie-free or low-calorie beverage with each meal and between each meal
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise

Although uncommon, it is possible to drink too much water. When your kidneys are unable to excrete the excess water, the electrolyte (mineral) content of the blood is diluted, resulting in low sodium levels in the blood, a condition called hyponatremia. Endurance athletes, such as marathon runners who drink large amounts of water, are at higher risk of hyponatremia. In general, though, drinking too much water is rare in healthy adults who eat an average diet.

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

 

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.

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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.

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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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