Tagged with 'Healthy eating'

What is Emotional Eating and How to Stop It

Emotional Eating
Sometimes our emotions get the best of us; it happens, we’re only human. Though we each have our unique way of dealing with our feelings, as a dietitian, there’s a common strategy I see with many of my clients: reaching for food. If you find yourself eating when you’re sad, bored, or stressed, you’re not alone. Everyone engages in emotional eating at some point in their lives. We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect and never use food for comfort; however, regular emotional eating can become an issue. It often leads to overeating, and “comfort” foods also tend to be high in refined sugar, salt, and saturated fats. Too much unhealthy eating increases our risk of developing chronic health conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you have a pre-existing condition, overeating for comfort can end up leading to the opposite result. For example, emotional eating can trigger symptoms if you have gut issues. This habit can also worsen hormonal problems such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For those who don’t have any health issues, emotional eating can still leave you feeling uncomfortably full and lethargic for the rest of your day. So, what’s an emotional being to do? Though we can’t expect ourselves to eat healthy 100 percent of the time, there are concrete strategies you can use to decrease how often your emotions lead you to eat. What Is Emotional Eating?  The first step to decreasing any kind of negative behaviour is to gain an understanding of it. Emotional eating is when you engage in eating in response to your emotions. Notice how broad this definition is; we’re not just talking about eating a tub of ice cream after a breakup. Emotional eating also includes grabbing a chocolate bar after a frustrating day at work, munching on a bag of chips because you’re bored, or digging into some cake after an argument with a friend. Whenever we let feelings dictate our eating decisions that’s emotional eating. It’s important to understand this definition because sometimes, we confuse emotional eating with physical hunger.  If you are experiencing physical hunger but don’t realize it, this can cause major problems. I have seen clients beat themselves up over their “emotional eating,” when really their body is simply trying to tell them it’s hungry. They interpret their high appetite and overeating as personal flaws and feel guilty. A lot of people respond to this guilt by getting extra strict with their diet; however, this just makes their hunger and cravings more intense, ultimately making them feel like they’re out of control around food. We can prevent this vicious cycle by recognizing and satisfying our physical hunger. Though you might think it would be obvious to you when you are physically hungry, there are a few factors that blur the line between physical hunger and emotional eating. If any of these factors are present in your life, spend some time working on them. You might notice that what you thought was an emotional eating problem goes away. Lack of Sleep  We all feel drowsy when we don’t get enough shut-eye, but did you know that your appetite is also affected? Lack of sleep causes an increase in the hormones cortisol and ghrelin. Cortisol is a stress hormone that affects our metabolism, and ghrelin stimulates our appetite. When these hormones are high, we feel hungrier and crave carb-dense foods like sweets and savoury treats.1 Do you reach for a pastry for breakfast when you have an early start to your day? Do you reach for chips in the evening when you’re feeling burnt out? It’s likely because you’re tired. Decreasing your cravings and overeating often boils down to getting enough sleep. At a minimum, adults need seven hours of quality sleep each night do what you can to make sleep a priority in your life! Undernourishment Your struggles with food might be caused by plain ol’ hunger. If you don’t eat enough, or you have imbalanced meals, this can cause your appetite and cravings to intensify. Many of us skip one or more meals throughout the day because we’re either too busy or we’re trying to lose weight. Regardless of the reason, if we’re not giving our body enough nourishment, it’s going to send us signals so it can get what it needs. These signals feel like ravenous carb cravings and feeling like a bottomless pit when we finally sit down to eat. We can prevent our bodies from getting to that state of desperation by feeding ourselves properly. I suggest eating within two to three hours of waking up, then eating every three to four hours after that. This will prevent you from going too long without eating and provides a game plan so you don’t mindlessly graze throughout the day. Also, make sure your meals are balanced and contain a source of carbs, fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats.  Prevention Strategies  Now that we’ve separated emotional eating from unsatis ...

The Family Table: Summer Tasty Treats

Summer Snacks Recipe
Honeybee Granola This bee-inspired granola recipe made from wildflower honey and bee pollen is an ode to summer’s favorite picnic visitor. It is sweet and satisfying thanks to healthy fats from almonds and protein-rich hemp seeds. Be sure to use sustainably harvested honey and bee pollen sources to protect the bees and support local beekeepers. Serve with honey-sweetened, lemony vanilla Greek yogurt. Ingredients » 2 c old fashioned rolled oats » 1 c raw slivered almonds (or other nuts) » 1 tsp fine grain sea salt » ¼ tsp cinnamon » ½ c melted coconut oil » ½ c wildflower honey » 1 tsp vanilla bean paste » ¼ c bee pollen Instructions 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well. 3. Gently stir in the melted oil, honey, and vanilla until well combined. 4. Turn the mixed granola out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread it in an even layer. 5. Bake for 20–25 minutes, stirring halfway until lightly golden. Mix bee pollen into the hot granola and let set. 6. Cool for 10 minutes, then serve on top of homemade yogurt with more bee pollen and wildflower honey. Lemony Vanilla Greek Yogurt Use this yogurt as the base for your bee-inspired granola parfait, or pair it with grilled pineapple kebabs (on page 58) as a high-protein dipping sauce for your dessert your Greek yogurt just got a little more interesting! Ingredients » 1 c unsweetened Greek yogurt » 2 Tbsp wildflower honey » 1 Tbsp lemon zest » Juice from 1 lemon » 2 tsp vanilla bean paste Instructions Mix everything together and store in the fridge for up to 10 days. Rosemary Pineapple Kebabs An easy low-sugar dessert that doesn’t require the oven on a hot summer day. Fruit-based desserts provide tons of antioxidants and fibre, and the grilling of marinated pineapple brings out its natural sweetness no need for refined sugar in this recipe! Ingredients » 1 large ripe pineapple, cored and chopped into 1-inch pieces » 1 sprig fresh rosemary » 2 Tbsp honey or organic cane sugar » 2 Tbsp high-heat-safe cooking oil (coconut or avocado) » Juice and zest from 1 lime Instructions 1. Remove rosemary leaves from stem and finely chop. 2. Mix all your marinade in a large bowl and add the chopped pineapple. Toss to coat and let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. 3. Place pineapple pieces onto wood or metal kebab skewers and cook over medium heat on the grill, flipping halfway through so both sides have nice grill marks (approximately 3–5 minutes on each side). Rice Noodle Bowl This no-bake, family-friendly dinner recipe is interactive and customizable, making it a great option for picky eaters. You can prepare all the ingredients ahead of time for a quick and simple weekday dinner; swap vegetables, proteins, and herbs based on what you have fresh at home, or whatever looks great at the farmers’ market. Ingredients » 1 c natural creamy peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini » Juice of 2 limes and zest of 1 lime » 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger » 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce or sweet soy sauce » 2 Tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos » 1 tsp maple syrup or honey » 2 tsp hot sauce (optional) » ¹ / ³ c hot water » 1 package rice noodles » Protein of choice: 1 package of firm tofu, 1 package of wild shrimp, 6 chicken thighs, or 2 chicken breasts » 1 c chopped herbs of choice: mint, basil, Thai basil, cilantro » A minimum of 2 vegetables: lettuce, peppers, carrots, mung bean sprouts, bok choy, zucchini, cucumbers, cabbage » ½ c roasted salted nuts of choice: cashew, peanuts, slivered almonds Instructions 1. Prepare your sauce by mixing the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl to create a smooth and creamy consistency. 2. Set the sauce aside while you prepare your proteins and vegetables. Prepare proteins first so they have a little bit of time to marinate. Leave shrimp whole if using, otherwise cut your proteins into bite-sized pieces. 3. Pour ½ the sauce over your protein and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Set the remaining sauce aside. 4. Chop your veggies into long strips, excluding mung beans (if chosen) since they’re already in the perfect shape. Set aside. 5. Cook your proteins on the BBQ or stovetop until cooked through. Prepare the noodles according to package directions, then strain and mix with the remaining creamy sauce until well incorporated. 6. Serve noodles in a bowl and let everyone at the table add their own protein, vegetables, herbs, and roasted salted nuts to finish. Serve with more lime.

Healthy Eating Tips For Veggie Haters

Healthy Eating Tips
During my years in practice, I’ve realized that for many people, visiting a dietitian does not sound like fun. Unfortunately, some of my sisters and brothers in dietetics have established a bad reputation for themselves. I’ll never forget one of my first appointments as a newly-fledged dietitian with a client who was not interested in being there. “What are you going to do—write down everything I say and then tell me what I’m doing wrong?” she asked. Cue the eye roll. But I get it. If you’re already struggling with eating healthy, the last thing you need is someone telling you you’re doing everything wrong and that you need to completely overhaul your diet. The advice given by health and wellness experts is not always relatable either; I’ve seen plenty of examples of this. I follow a fitness instructor on social media who recently suggested that people with a sweet tooth should munch on cherry tomatoes when they have a craving since they have a slightly sweet flavour. “Healthy eating tips” like that frustrate me because I know that for most people, they will actually have the opposite effect. Expecting to never eat sweets and only eat vegetables will just set a person up for intense cravings, followed by immense guilt when they give in to those cravings. I’d rather see health professionals be honest and realistic with their clients. It’s a lot easier to eat healthy when you know you’re allowed to be human. You don’t have to turn into a complete veggie lover to improve your diet. I’m proof of that. I am not a fan of the taste of raw vegetables. Hand to my heart, it’s the honest truth. I have my reasons for being “frenemies” with raw veggies—maybe you can relate to some of them. First, there’s the taste. I’ve never liked bitter flavours, and veggies like broccoli and kale taste so bitter to me when they’re raw. Then, there are the potential unpleasant stomach issues that arise after eating large amounts of uncooked vegetables—the bloating, gas, and loose bowel movements are not so fun. Lastly, I don’t find that vegetables satisfy my hunger. If I eat a salad for lunch, it won’t hold me over until dinnertime.  If you can relate to any of these veggie-related problems, don’t worry. Despite these issues, I’ve figured out how to include vegetables in my daily diet while keeping my tastebuds and body happy. Don’t Like The Taste? Try This . . .  The key to adding more veggies to your diet when you don’t like the taste is to go on a flavour exploration. The easiest way to do this is to try out a variety of cuisines. Check out the restaurants in your area, or go online to find recipes for dishes from different cultures. Exploring cuisines will help you determine what makes a dish taste good to you, which you can then apply to your own cooking. This will help to improve the taste and appeal of vegetables for you. For example, when trying Indian dishes, you might discover that you prefer your veggies to be cooked with hot, spicy flavours; you might enjoy the tangy salads from Mediterranean cultures; or perhaps you like the umami flavour of a Thai stir fry.  “If you don’t know how to make veggies taste good, you aren’t going to eat them.”  While you’re taking note of the flavours you like, also pay attention to textures and colours. Do you like your veggies to be crunchy or soft? Do you prefer to eat veggies on their own or incorporate them in a mixed dish? Are brightly coloured vegetables appealing to you, or do you prefer dark greens? These may seem like rudimentary questions, but they are important to answer. If you don’t know how to make veggies taste good, you aren’t going to eat them. So, give a lot of thought to what you enjoy and apply those concepts to your grocery shopping and cooking at home. Stomach Issues . . .  The discomfort that happens in your stomach after eating a bunch of raw veggies is the result of a fibre overload. When we’re not used to eating a lot of fibre, the microbes in the colon have a heyday with the influx of insoluble fibre found in veggies. These microbes ferment the insoluble fibre that our body’s cells can’t break down, causing it to produce large amounts of gas and organic acids—the culprits behind bloating and loose stools. However, there are a few things you can do to prevent these unpleasant side effects. Whenever you’re introducing something new to your diet, be sure to start slow and gradual, and build from there. If you’re not used to eating veggies regularly and suddenly start eating them at every meal, you’re definitely in for some gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. I suggest adding vegetables to your diet one serving at a time. If you aren’t in the habit of eating them, begin by having one serving of veggies each day. Give yourself a solid two weeks to adjust to this change. If your gut is feeling happy, introduce another serving of vegetables to your d ...

Senna: An FDA-Approved, Non-Prescription Laxative

Senna Leaves
Senna is an herb – also known as Senna alexandrina, that is a popular laxative available OTC without any sort of prescription required.  Herbal extracts of the leaves and flowers of senna have been traditionally used as a laxative and stimulant. Senna derives its benefits from “glucosides” – called senna glycosides or sennosides.  How Does Senna Work? These sennosides are not absorbed in the intestine but rather utilized by bacteria to release active compounds (rhein, rhein-anthrone, moieties). These compounds function as irritants within the colon, which promotes evacuation and thus, the ‘laxative’ effect people have come to know senna for.  Usually, senna is very poorly absorbed itself – rather, it increases the water/moisture content of stool by preventing water and electrolyte absorption and increasing secretion via the colon.  What are Sennosides and Glucosides?  A “glucoside” is a glycoside derived from glucose within plants, herbal extracts, and foods. Different glycosides from different plants can have certain immune-modulating effects on the body, or display antioxidant properties.  Sennosides are just a type of glucoside. Sennosides are sometimes given by themselves as a medication to help treat constipation. They can also be used in medical settings to clear the intestinal system prior to a bowel exam or surgery.  Other metabolites present in senna, like “rhein,” can also exert protective and beneficial effects – anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective, and antimicrobial. Rhein “suppresses the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like interleukin-1 and interleukin-6.”  Is Senna Safe – How Long Can I Take It? Often, senna will be included as an active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) laxative medication – with the typical dose being 15 mg-30 mg sennosides two times daily. Senna, like other laxatives, is only a short-term recommendation. They should not be used for prolonged periods of time as they can cause a severe electrolyte imbalance. Long-term use can lead to diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal pain.  When senna is used at the recommended dosage for a limited period of time, there are few reported side effects. Most of these side effects are completely mild and are related to the product as a laxative herb — diarrhea, namely. In very rare cases of prolonged overuse, liver injury was reported. In these individuals, it was always mild and resolved immediately with discontinuation of the senna. This was after 4-5 months of prolonged, daily use.  Senna has been known to interact with certain medications, such as birth control pills. Senna can actually decrease how much estradiol is absorbed from each pill. Senna may also interact with blood thinners like warfarin or diuretic drugs.  When taking senna, you always want to ensure you have adequate electrolyte balance and are consuming enough potassium. Senna should never be used if you are dehydrated or already having diarrhea/loose stool.  We always recommend consulting with a health care practitioner prior to use when it comes to senna or any other herbal laxative. 

Marshmallow Root – A Potent Digestive Aid for Better Gut Health

Marshmallow Root
A cursory Google search will prompt plenty of results associating marshmallow root with better digestive health, and “healing” the integrity of the gut for better health. But how exactly does it do this, and does it really work? First, let us touch on what marshmallow root is – before we approach it as a potent digestive aid for better gut health.  Marshmallow root is “Althaea Officinalis,” a perennial herb that is most commonly native to Europe, West Africa, and West Asia.  As an ancient ‘folk remedy,’ with widespread use across Middle Eastern countries, it has been consumed for thousands of years for relief of digestive and respiratory ailments.  Most commonly, it is consumed in capsule, powdered, or tea form – occasionally, you will see alcohol or glycerin-based tinctures. Marshmallow root is also typically added to many ‘natural’ cosmetics and personal care items.  How Marshmallow Root Protects the Lining of the Gut and can Help Restore Optimal Digestive Health In one study from 2011, an extract of marshmallow root was shown to help protect against gastric ulcers, platelet aggregation (clotting), and digestive inflammation. The extract also raised HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) while having no adverse impact on the liver or other health markers.  When ingested, marshmallow root tends to bulk up, and form a gel-like consistency. This extract can help coat the stomach lining.  Both marshmallow root and marshmallow tea – and by extension, supplements that are sold as “marshmallow extract” act as “mucilage.” This means that it sort of swells up when it comes into contact with water, and functions as a kind of fiber.  Naturally, marshmallow root will contain various bioactive compounds, all of which seem to contribute toward beneficiary effects on digestive health: flavonoids, polyphenols, polysaccharides, and phenolic acids.  Various studies proclaim an immediate effect by protecting “inflamed mucosa” or intestinal membrane. This is also seen in the respiratory tract.  Marshmallow Root Dosage and Safety Profile Marshmallow root seems to have a high safety profile, and no negative side effects have been reported in people taking the supplement for colds, flu, cough, sore throat, respiratory issues, digestive issues, or IBD. Generally, the only concern is for those who may have diabetes, as it has been demonstrated to lower blood sugar levels. Otherwise, marshmallow root does not appear to impact any other health markers negatively.  Marshmallow root comes in powders, capsules, tinctures, and tea forms. If you are taking marshmallow root specifically for digestive distress/disorders, your best option is to go for a capsule, alcohol-based tincture, or raw powder/tea. With tinctures, you’ll get the most concentrated dose, and with capsules, you’ll have the most possible control over the among you’re taking compared to teas or powders.  Always stick to the recommended dosage as outlined on the product/bottle itself. The concentration may differ between brands, but the guideline for those with Crohn’s / UC or IBD is around ~6g daily, split into 2-3 daily doses.  If you’re using a powdered form or raw tea, you’ll want to ensure you consume enough water as it can form a more gelatinous substance. As always, you should consult with a healthcare professional prior to use if you have any sort of pre-existing medical condition. We’d also advise taking it a couple of hours before or after other medications.

All about Magnesium – Which Form Works Best?

The ever-popular mineral, magnesium, is needed in over 300 of our daily metabolic reactions. Our bodies rely on magnesium to regulate muscle and nerve function, keep blood sugar levels balanced, make up strong bones and ensure proper liver detoxification. On the other hand, when magnesium stores are low, the risk for high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and migraines increases. Why do We need Magnesium Supplements? Magnesium is primarily found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. This is because magnesium occurs naturally in garden soil. Today, these foods are grown in soil that is no longer the same as it was decades ago. Conventional agriculture practices include heavy use of imbalanced crop fertilization and potassium addition, which decrease magnesium levels. Heavy rainfall and aluminum runoff can also decrease magnesium stores. The suboptimal growing environment of crops leads to lower magnesium content in crops – even when we eat magnesium-rich greens and grains, it may not be enough. Plus, it is estimated that 34% of Canadian adults do not consume enough magnesium in their diets. The combination of both these factors results in a large portion of the population being magnesium deficient. The Benefits of Magnesium Supplements Because most of us are deficient, magnesium is one of the safest minerals to supplement. The advantage of supplementing with magnesium lies in its many forms – it is easy to choose the perfect one depending on your individual needs! Magnesium Citrate (magnesium + citric acid) One of the most common and cheapest forms of magnesium, this form is often taken to relieve constipation. Magnesium citrate can relax the bowels and pull water into the intestines so that the stool bulks up and is easier to pass. It’s a gentle laxative that will not cause dependency, unlike some herbs. Options: Natural Factors Tropical Fruit 250g, Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon 16 oz. Magnesium Malate (magnesium + malate) Is there anything that magnesium can’t do? This amazing mineral can help improve energy and metabolism on a cellular level. If you are chronically fatigued or have aching muscles, magnesium malate is a great option. Those with high inflammation will also benefit from this form. Options: AOR Mag Malate Renew 240 cap, CanPrev Magnesium Malate 120 cap Magnesium Taurine (magnesium + taurine) To improve your overall cardiovascular health, magnesium taurine is the best choice. Both magnesium and the amino acid taurine can improve blood pressure levels and keep heart contractility normal. It protects the heart from calcification and heart attacks.   Options: AOR Mag + Taurine 180 cap, CanPrev Magnesium + Taurine 120 cap Magnesium Glycinate (magnesium + glycine) As one of the most popular forms of magnesium, this form can work wonders for many people. Magnesium glycinate (or bis-glycinate) is highly absorbable without causing laxative effects. It is safe to take at high doses and is commonly used for muscle tension, cramps, migraines, and to improve sleep quality. When taken before bed, it helps to calm the mind and body to ensure a good night’s rest. Options: Pure Encapsulations Magnesium Glycinate 180 cap, CanPrev Bis-Glycinate 240 cap Are Magnesium Supplements Suitable for Anyone? Though magnesium supplements are relatively safe for most people, it is possible to take too much. If you experience stomach pain or diarrhea after increasing your dose, it may be a sign your body has already absorbed sufficient amounts. In this case, you may need to decrease your dose. If you are taking prescription medications, make sure to consult with your healthcare practitioner before proceeding. Author Grace Tien is dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Healthy Ways to Detox (Hint: it’s not through dieting!)

Body Detox Food
It’s that time of the year again! A new year can be a great time to reconsider or adopt new goals to prioritize your health. Motivation is at an all-time high during January, making it great time to start new healthy habits. How many times have you made New Year’s resolutions about weight loss? Fad diets or cutting out all junk foods may sound exciting, but as you probably know, it is neither sustainable nor realistic. What about detoxing after the holiday indulgences? Let’s say you drank more alcohol and ate more desserts than usual. It detoxing necessary? The word “detox” might make you think of diet pills, food restrictions or even detox drinks. Our bodies can deal with a moderate amount of harmful chemicals and sugary foods. But due to the large amount of toxins we absorb on a regular basis – pollution, processed foods, heavy metals, pesticides, preservatives, emulsifiers – helping the body detox and reducing the liver’s burden can make a huge difference. When you detox in a healthy way, you are doing so much more than losing weight. Detoxing also helps the body get rid of toxins, keeps your energy high, lower inflammation and supports a healthy immune system. So instead of using one-time fixes like pills or restrictive diets, consider adding these healthy habits first. Drink Dandelion Tea Dandelion root is a natural diuretic that helps your liver eliminate toxins more quickly. The liver is your primary organ for detoxification, and this powerful herbal tea is well-known for protecting the liver to make sure it is working effectively. Traditional Medicinals offers a high quality, organic dandelion root tea that is specifically created to support everyday detox. Plus, it is delicious!  Use a Dry Brush Before Showering Did you know that your skin is another detoxing organ? We don’t typically think of the skin as detox pathway, but many everyday toxins can be excreted through the skin’s pores. Dry brushing involves using a long brush with natural bristles to brush your skin, in the direction of your heart. This daily process removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and stimulates the lymphatic system, helping your body remove waste more efficiently. Dry brushing is similar to massage – but way cheaper! All you need is a long body brush and you are good to go. Try brushing before you shower so you can wash off the dead skin cells after! Relax with a Castor oil pack Castor oil is an old remedy used for a variety of health conditions. It contains therapeutic fatty acids that provide many health benefits. When used in a castor oil pack, it can stimulate the lymphatic system, help the liver detoxify naturally and reduce inflammation. Castor oil packs are simple to do at home. You will need a high-quality, hexane-free castor oil. Pour just enough oil to soak a dye-free cotton flannel, wrap it around your liver area (right side of abdomen), then wrap another old towel over it to prevent the castor oil from staining. Then cover it with a heating pad or hot water bottle for 30 minutes. This should be a time of relaxation – lying down or sitting on the couch is ideal. Note: Do not use castor packs during menstruation as it can make your bleeding heavier. Everyday Detox Can be Easy Remember, health is a culmination of what you do every day. There are so many ways to improve your physical and mental health, without restriction and rigidity. Detoxing the right way is one of best ways you can help your body function at its best. Give these healthy habits and you will see just how easy it is! Author Grace Tien is a dietetics and holistic nutrition grad. She creates sustainable, delicious meal plans to help clients with their health goals. Grace specializes in nutrition for healthy periods, you can find out more at @gracetien.ca on Instagram.

Avoiding the Afternoon Slump: Maca, the Caffeine-Free Alternative.

The mid-afternoon slump. It can hit you when you least expect it. It often sets in when you still have a long way to go on your work and home “to do” lists for the day. In those moments, it’s so tempting to reach for that second (or third) cup of coffee to give you the energy you crave. What if you could find a caffeine-free alternative to increase vitality and optimize your natural energy levels?* Look no further than the high Andes mountains of Peru, where you’ll find Maca growing more than 12,000 feet above sea level. Fortunately, you don’t have toactually travel to South America to be able to enjoy the benefits of the highest altitude crop in the world! Maca has been consumed for 3000 years, and is an adaptable plant that demonstrates an amazing ability to adjust to extreme climates.* Interestingly, when Maca root is ingested by humans, we actually refer to it as an “adaptogen”, meaning it helps with our adaptability to the demands of stress*. In the world of botanical medicine, we often see this direct parallel between a plant’s growing strategies in the nature, and its beneficial qualities in humans. MegaFood has created two unique formulations where Maca plays a starring role. In Daily Maca Plus for Women Over 40, Maca teams up with other botanicals, including Ashwagandha, a renowned Ayurvedic plant that helps promote a healthy stress response.* Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen, and is an excellent herb for supporting balanced energy levels when taken on a daily basis.* The addition of Chaste Tree Berry and Black Cohosh in this women’s blend help to maintain a healthy hormonal balance.* Daily Maca Plus for Men Over 40 features different botanicals that complement Maca to promote strength and vitality for men.* Saw Palmetto and Nettle Root support healthy prostate and urinary tract function.* Reishi mushroom, also referred to as the “Mushroom of Immortality” in traditional Chinese Medicine, is best known for its role in promoting healthy aging.* With these two MegaFood Nutrient Booster Powder blends, you can bring gender-specific energy and stress support directly into your daily routine.* Please note:  while these blends are designed for the Over 40 Crowd, younger adults can still enjoy them, too! Each one offers a caffeine-free daily boost, and just might help you wave good-bye to the afternoon slump.* Simply add a scoop to your favorite smoothie, or try one of the following delicious recipes! This article is provided to you by Mega food blog. 

Mocha Protein Smoothie & Hot Coffee Variation

Blended coffee beverages (hot and cold) are easily found in local coffee shops, corner stores, or Pinterest. However, they are often laden with refined sugars, and dairy milk, which can be difficult to digest and inflammatory. This version is made with only clean plant-based ingredients. While it does contain caffeine, a stimulant to the nervous system, it also contains nutrient dense ingredients (such as coconut oil, maca root extract, and a minimally processed multisource protein blend) to nourish the body and stabilize blood sugar spikes (and jitters) commonly associated with sugary coffee drinks. Serve the BonkProof Coffee either hot or cold depending on the season and count it as your new breakfast or post-workout staple! Variations for Hot or Cold Version: Add-Ins for Cold Version 1 cup chilled coffee ¼ cup coconut or almond milk ½ cup ice or 1 frozen banana Add-Ins for Hot Version 1 cup warm coffee ¼ cup coconut or almond milk Reduce Vega Sport Performance Protein to 1 Tbsp Ingredients 1 serving Mocha Vega Sport Performance Protein 2-3 tsp coconut oil 1 tsp Vega Maca Preparation Add all ingredients to the blender at once (liquids first). Blend until smooth. If making a heated version, serve in a glass or ceramic mug (not plastic). To browse sport performance protein in healthy planet please click here. This recipe has been provided to you by vega.

9 Natural Options for Heartburn Relief

Heartburn is a common symptom that is often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is essentially the medical term for "stomach acid improperly rising into the esophagus", which ultimately causes a burning sensation. This uncomfortable feeling of heartburn is one of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor. In fact, approximately 30% of those in the United States reported experiencing heartburn on either a weekly or monthly basis and this number increases to over 50% in pregnancy. There are many reasons to account for heartburn being so commonplace in North America, almost all of which are diet and lifestyle related. Major risk factors for GERD include: obesity, smoking, high intake of fatty foods, low intake of fruits and vegetables, lack of exercise and chronic stress. In other words, the same things that make you sick, tired, overweight and at higher risk for disease also give you heartburn!With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that diet and lifestyle modifications are often the most important treatment considerations for heartburn. Try these suggestions:- Eat small frequent meals instead of few large meals- Do not lie down after eating for at least 3 hours- Fully chew your food before swallowing (minimum 20-30 chews per bite)- Avoid known food sensitivities or consider a trial of reduced/eliminated wheat and dairy- Avoid known food triggers, with the most common being: coffee, alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes, mint, onions, spicy foods and citrus foods- Sleep on your left side to prevent positioning the stomach into an acid-reflux promoting position- Avoid straining on the toilet or lifting heavy items as these can cause or aggravate hiatal hernias (which leads to heartburn)Most of these aforementioned suggestions help to maintain proper esophageal sphincter function. This is important because the esophageal sphincter is responsible for closing the connection between stomach and esophagus, thereby preventing reflux of stomach contents upward! Despite popular belief, heartburn is not exclusively caused by excess stomach acid. You may have too much or too little acid, but in each case, it is finding its way into your esophagus where it shouldn't be. You need to heal the stomach, the esophagus and the sphincter.It is also worth mentioning that certain drugs can irritate the esophagus and/or weaken your esophageal sphincter. Among these include blood pressure medications (beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers), pain medications (aspirin and tylenol) and asthma medications (bronchodilators). While these medications may be necessary for your optimal health, aggravation of heartburn might be a reason to speak with doctor about potential alternatives.What about natural health ingredients? There are multiple natural health ingredients that can promote the healing of the stomach and esophagus (see Dr Hrkals latest article: Natural Ways to Heal your Digestive Tract). Many people have heard of Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL) or similar herbs to aid with heartburn, but less are familiar with the healing action of melatonin.Although many think of melatonin as a sleep aid, it is also found in high amounts in the digestive tract and it is quite useful in healing damaged gastrointestional tissue. Melatonin has been shown to stimulate gastrin secretion, which is important for signaling the esophageal sphincter to close. One study compared 3mg of melatonin, omeprazole (a proton pump inhibitor drug used to treat GERD) and placebo. While omeprazole was most effective at reducing symptoms, melatonin was still more effective vs. placebo. Moreover, the melatonin group had improvements in esophageal sphincter function while the omeprazole did not! This is important because it implies that the root cause of heartburn is being addressed via melatonin.Speak with your Integrative Healthcare Practitioner if you are interested in using melatonin for any reason to ensure its safe and effective use. You can browes Melatonin product in healthy planet by clicking here.  This article has been provided to you by AOR.