Types Of IBS Causes And Your Best Solutions

types of IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, has become the go-to, catch-all diagnosis for any digestive complaints that don’t have an obvious cause/solution. However, the types of IBS causes and solutions vary from patient to patient.

Common IBS Symptoms Include:

To put it simply, IBS refers to a dysfunctional digestive tract. So, if you or your child have been given this diagnosis, it is likely that you were told the same generalized advice;

“It is stress related and to resolve it you need to better manage your stress.”

Sadly, this is very common response and often doesn’t fully help the problem. Now, I agree that stress is absolutely a big factor in IBS, however it is not the ONLY factor. In fact there are 3 which we need to consider to accurately treat IBS.

3 Major Contributing Factors To IBS

  1. Stress
  2. Unbalanced Microbiomes
  3. Food Sensitivities

Stress Versus Rest And Digest

To understand IBS, we need to understand the basics of digestion which is;

digestion occurs when we are at a RESTED state

To be more specific, it occurs when we activate our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) a.k.a. rest and digest. This is our recovery mode where we nourish and repair our systems.

The PNS sends cues to activate proper digestion such as:

  • Producing stomach acid
  • Releasing digestive enzymes
  • Activating intestinal movement

These are all essential to break down food properly. The PNS is in direct opposition to our sympathetic nervous system (SNS). Or in other words, fight or flight.

Our SNS is activated when we are under stress. Biologically, our stress response was designed to respond to physical threats (i.e. running from or fighting off predators). Therefore, our SNS directs all energy to our:

  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Muscles

And slows down “non-essential” functions such as digestion and reproductive function, which of coarse makes sense. Think about it, if you are running from a bear, you don’t need to be digesting your last meal at the same time?

However, the issue is that our current stressors usually are not physical in nature. Therefore, this response is no longer well- adapted. For example, if you get stressed at your morning meeting, you will likely not able to digest your lunch properly.

Why?  Well, when we are chronically stressed and chronically activating our SNS, we lose proper cues to the digestive system. Therefore it is unable to function optimally. In other words, we aren’t able to break down our food properly and end up with:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Balanced Microbes

You cannot have a conversation about IBS without talking about the microbiome. The microbiome are the trillions of bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms that live in our body. Especially our digestive tract. They play crucial role in active digestion as well as being involved in mood regulation signalling.

When it comes to our microbiome, we are mostly concerned about maintaining proper balance. The ratio of different microbes in our gut directly influences our digestive functioning.

Therefore, too much or too little of specific microbes, will throw off proper functioning. So, if the digestive system is not functioning optimally, undigested foods will be consumed by our microbiome producing excessive amounts of gas (i.e. bloating).

Balancing the microbiome is key for effective treatment of most types of IBS symptoms. This might include anti-microbial treatments, probiotics, and specific diets.

To learn more, click here to check out my previous article, What’s The Big Deal About Probiotics?

Food Sensitivities

Our food choices are crucial when it comes to our health. This is especially true when it comes to digestion. When you are dealing with a dysfunctional digestive tract, there are certain foods that are more difficult to digest and thus cause further issues. People with IBS are also more sensitive to certain foods.

Now, food sensitivities are very different from food allergies. However, they are both immune reactions.

Food allergies cause big inflammation throughout the body such as hives, itching, and anaphylaxis. Where as food sensitivities cause small amounts of inflammation specifically in the digestive tract. This irritates our intestinal lining which can cause constipation, diarrhea, and discomfort.

The Most Common Food Sensitivities In Most Types Of IBS

  1. Gluten
  2. Dairy (especially milk, cream, and soft cheeses)
  3. Foods high in preservatives (i.e. prepackaged granola bars, crackers, yogurt)
  4. Foods high in FODMAPs or Fructose

Eliminating these foods on a trial basis while providing support to eliminate the inflammation and damaged caused, is a key step in treating IBS. Quite often you can significantly reduce the number of food sensitivities you have through this temporary elimination when it come to these types of IBS symptoms.

What I Eat in a Day for IBS + Bloating | Elimination Diets 101

Final Thoughts

IBS is both chronic and complex. There is no quick solution thus several different treatment approaches are available. However, with the proper guidance and support, it is possible to live without daily gas, bloating, and pain.

A functional treatment approach to IBS should always include:

  1. Lowering stress and activating the parasympathetic nervous system
  2. Restoring microbiome diversity
  3. Eliminating food sensitivities.

If you’re looking for start taking action today, download my free guide to Beat Bloating in 7 Steps. These are my foundational steps to start re-training your digestive tract and gain control over your IBS.

Become A BBQ Guru And Prepare A Tastier, Healthier BBQ In Just 10 minutes!

bbq guru

It’s officially summer!  The most wonderful time of the year. Especially if you’re a BBQ guru or connoisseur!  There’s something raw and desirable about cooking your food over a hot burning fire.  Everything about it gives me joy.  The stimulation of the senses, the grill marks, and unique flavours all add to the cooking experience of BBQ food.

However, back in the day I didn’t know any better and didn’t think about all the toxicity associated with your typical BBQ.  In fact, I can remember pouring a number of charcoal lumps, dousing them with toxic and dangerous lighting fluid and when they were hot enough, cooking some grub over the fire.

But wait!  The fire suddenly went out due to the elements!  That’s ok, throw some MORE fluid on the fire.  Ah the “good ole’ days.

Or, if you were more inclined to use a gas BBQ, you would continually burn propane to keep the fire going until you cooked your food.  For me, the idea of lighting a gas BBQ was terrifying!  All thanks to one sunny afternoon at my grandparent’s house when I scorched the hair off my arms.

As I got older and graduated from Chiropractic school, preparing healthier food became more important to me. That’s when I decided I’d had enough! I needed a better, safer, and healthier option when it came to barbecuing.

So, I Googled it.  This led me on an online search adventure that eventually landed me on a YouTube video about how to burn wood without lighting fluid in less than 10 minutes.

Here is what I learned from my journey.

best way to bbq

How To Become A BBQ Guru!

First, you will need to purchase 4–5 items from your local BBQ store.

1. A charcoal BBQ if you don’t have one (I use a Spiedini Grill)
2. Natural Fire Starter (non-toxic lighting cubes or compressed wood starter)
3. Charcoal Chimney Starter
4. Source of Fire (a match or lighter)
5. Hardwood (charred for fast lighting)

Playing With Wood Fire in Your Backyard

Step 1:

Find a non-flammable surface to start the process of burning the hardwood.  Be smart. Don’t place it on surfaces that will burn like wood or grass.  Make sure that you are doing this in an open area that is far away from your house or flammable objects.  Ask your local fire department if you are unsure but really some common sense goes a long way.

Step 2:

Take your chimney starter, which is a metallic cylinder with a heat-safe handle and dump enough hardwood into it that it reaches the top.  You don’t need to overfill the chimney as it may be a fire hazard.  If your BBQ is large, consider purchasing a couple of chimneys (I have 3 even though I’ve never used more than 2 at the same time).

Step 3:

Place 1–2 natural fire starters on a fire-proof surface or right on your grill.  Again, ensure it is in a well-ventilated area away from your house and anything flammable.  Then light the cubes or wood fire-starter using a match or lighter.

Step 4:

Place the chimney on top of the lighting cubes and wait approximately 10 minutes or until the wood is red hot.  The cubes will burn out but the chimney will keep the fire going in a blazing inferno.  Make sure you don’t leave it unattended for too long.

Step 5:

When your wood is red hot and ready, pick the chimney up safely with the handle wearing fire-resistant gloves and pour the wood into your BBQ.  Place the grill on top and let it get really hot before placing your food items on top.  To save time marinate, cut, season and prepare your grilling food items ahead of time.  Then place them on the BBQ and watch them sizzle.

Click here to read, What meat do you eat?

When the food is cooked to your liking, remove them and get ready to enjoy a succulent meal that would make any BBQ guru proud.  Above all, no more toxic lighter fluid.  No more briquettes (that may contain chemical additives for quicker lighting).  Just a little bit of nature and a couple of items from the hardware store.

For some great grilling recipes, click here to read, Victoria Day BBQ Recipes.

are naturopaths real doctors

Did You Know?

Grilled vegetables retain more of their vitamins and minerals. Also, meat cooked over an open flame actually preserves more riboflavin and thiamine. All these important vitamins and nutrients play a vital role in a healthy diet.

Olive Leaf Extract – Nature’s Solution For Boosting Immunity

olive leaf extract

New superfoods and health trends seem to be constantly coming and going.  Knowing which sources to trust to maintain a healthy body can be stressful.  However, one extract making news for all the right reasons is d-Lenolate. This all-natural olive leaf extract supplement has been carefully researched over the past 20 years. Feedback consistently suggests positive results with no apparent side effects.

Natural Healing

The healing properties of olives have long been known and utilized by ancient Romans and others along the Mediterranean Sea.  However, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the healing benefits of olive extract became a serious topic among professionals.

D-Lenolate extracted from the Olea europaea species of the olive tree, has been shown in numerous articles and peer-reviewed studies. Backed by over 20 years of production, this extract has been deemed extremely potent for uses related to:

This is significant because this is an all-natural, safe-for-any-age, drug-free solution to many ailments. Helping people who are suffering from the flu to diabetes to herpes.  With its ability to strengthen the immune system and fight infectious diseases, d-Lenolate may be the most important underrated extract on the market.

For diabetics, d-Lenolate® may be the answer that changes their lives and reduces reliance on expensive medicines. In fact,  studies suggest d-Lenolate alone can reduce blood sugar levels by 105 percent with no apparent side effects. Now, compare that to the typical warnings on the side of an insulin bottle and the choice is clear.

d-Lenolate: Natures Antibiotic

The Multiple Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extract

Research performed at the LSU Division of Biotechnology and Molecular Medicine showed that d-Lenolate significantly outperforms competitors Abreva and PBS at effectively treating the herpes virus and symptoms related to healing sores and blisters.

Furthermore, it worked faster than leading products on the market and was also shown to prevent herpes sores from forming without any apparent side effects.

Many people ranging from healthy to those with various health conditions have reported experiencing positive benefits as a result of taking olive leaf extract.  From promoting a high-functioning immune system to providing relief from various chronic ailments.  D-Lenolate was consistent in helping people.

Even illnesses that appear to have a more physical component to them, such as arthritis, have been shown to be impacted positively by olive leaf extract. This is because of its ability to ease pain and reduce inflammation.

As the research continues to pile up, it may be worth it to experience the benefits of a d-Lenolate® for yourself.

For further reading, click here to read how This One Thing Has Been Linked To Almost All Diseases!

Turmeric for Inflammation and Fibromyalgia

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The opioid crisis is responsible for approximately 115 deaths a DAY in America alone. These are very frightening statistics! Therefore let’s discuss a safer solution, natural pain relief in the form of turmeric.

Fibromyalgia is believed to be a chronic disorder. It’s known to cause widespread tenderness and pain throughout the body. The condition is believed to be inflammatory and autoimmune; affecting the muscular and nervous system.

At this time, there is no conclusive laboratory test to confirm the diagnosis. The pain can be caused by over-stimulation of nerve cells. Increased levels of anxiety which is associated with fibromyalgia; will signal chemical stimulation from the brain. In time, the muscles become oversensitive to these signals.

In addition to pain and tenderness, fibromyalgia can cause:

  • Fatigue
  • Morning stiffness
  • Numbness
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

These symptoms may limit one’s ability to perform daily activities. This in turn can affect their quality of life. While the causes of this condition aren’t clear, it is believed that stress, trauma, and genetics may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia.

Many people have turned to anti-depressants and pain relievers with the hope of easing their fatigue and pain, and relaxing their muscles. However, today let’s look at a natural approach that can help people with fibromyalgia.  Let’s talk about Turmeric!

turmeric for inflammation

What Is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is found in curry-spice blends. It is closely related to ginger and is primarily found in cuisines such as:

  • Indian
  • Moroccan
  • Thai

Furthermore, turmeric has long been used in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine.

The health benefits of turmeric have been well documented. Much of it is due to its main compound and key active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin has proven to possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective healing properties.

So, here are some of the advantages of using turmeric for patients who have fibromyalgia.

1. Natural Pain Relief

Fibromyalgia sufferers can experience severe pain in their muscles. In fact for some, it can affect their muscle function. Therefore, in many instances, people turn to a variety of medications which are harmful in the long run. (1)(2)(3)

For example, over-the-counter pain medications can cause toxicity in the liver. (4) Therefore, a safer alternative to pain medications is turmeric for natural pain relief.

Turmeric is believed to have a strong analgesic effect on the body. This is due to the presence of curcumin; a compound that is known to help relieve pain. (5)  It is also believed to be more effective than other antioxidants when it comes to relieving pain.

Fibromyalgia pain occurs as a result of neural stimulation, which isn’t easy to treat. Activation of BDNF increases pain signals throughout the body. Thus, increasing pain sensitivity in the muscles. Research indicates that curcumin is successful in alleviating neuropathic pain. (6)

natural anti-depressant

2. Turmeric Is An Excellent Anti-depressant

Depression and anxiety are some of the common symptoms of Fibromyalgia. In many cases, anti-depressants are prescribed. However, many people do not have the desired response to them. Another concern is that they pose a health risk.  This has led to a growing number of people looking for a natural alternative in turmeric.

Turmeric is considered one of the safest and efficient ways to help depression-related illness. Additionally, it’s believed to relieve depression arising from neurological disturbances. The presence of monoamine oxidase in the brain is responsible for most neurological disorders. Turmeric shows anti-depressant effects that inhibit the function of this protein in the brain. (7)

naturally improve your memory

3. Helps In Improving Memory And Cognitive Functions

Patients who have Fibromyalgia often experience “fibro frog” (8), decreased concentration, cognitive function, and poor memory. The active ingredient in turmeric is neuroprotective; thus it’s believed to enhance memory and cognitive abilities. It can also improve brain function by restoring or reversing impaired cognition. (9)

turmeric benefits

Natural Remedies Found In Your Own Backyard

natural remedies

Since my childhood days of watching my grandmother in her garden, I’ve always been excited by the idea of ‘backyard medicine’.  What do I mean by ‘backyard medicine’?  I mean walking into a backyard garden full of medicinal herbs for any ailment.  Thus a garden full of natural remedies.

I particularly enjoy my naturopathic practice in the summer when gardens are abundant.  This is when I can actually quite often practice ‘backyard medicine’.  If you want to learn more about living naturally, click here to read Clean Living Basics And DIY Cleaning Solutions.

Natural Remedies

Garden season is coming!  So, to get you as excited as I am, here are four herbs that are easy to grow.  Even in a container garden for those without yards.  All in which have wonderful health benefits as natural remedies.

fresh mint
Fresh Mint

Mint

Mint is very easy to grow.  It comes back every year, and can even start to take over the garden if you’re not careful.  It also happily grows in a container or planter.  There are two types or species of mint that I commonly use in my practice: peppermint (Mentha piperita) and Spearmint (Mentha spicata).

I will often use peppermint for digestive concerns.  It’s especially great for bloating and constipation, plus has a refreshing, cooling taste that most people enjoy.  This cooling aspect of peppermint also makes it good for soothing inflammation. Personally, I use spearmint more for its role in hormone regulation, especially in women.

It has actually been shown to have anti-androgenic effects in women with PCOS.  Meaning, it can help to decrease testosterone levels that may be causing issues such as unwanted hair growth or acne.

Oregano
Oregano

Oregano

I come from an Italian family so oregano is a staple our kitchen and garden.  It’s another hardy herb.  Like mint, I planted it once, and it comes back every year.  Oregano is great to have on hand for cooking since it adds delicious flavour (especially in tomato sauce!) and nutrients to your meal.

I most often use this one in practice as an essential oil.  Oil of oregano is traditionally used for its antimicrobial effects.  It appears that the phenolic compound Carvacrol found in oregano is a key contributor to these effects.

In the clinic, I have seen it work well taken orally to help clear viral infections like colds and flus as well as topically (on the skin) to help clear fungal infections like athlete’s foot or even viral infections like planters warts.  I usually combine it with other antimicrobial herbs like garlic for optimal efficacy.

Calendula Flowers and Oil
Calendula Flowers and Oil

Marigold

Take note!  There are two types of marigold that often get confused.  They are: French Marigold (Tagetes patula) and Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis).  Both produce beautiful, bright, cheery flowers and have their own benefits.

The one I will be talking about here is Calendula officinalis.  I often use Calendula for skin concerns.  It is quite effective at helping to heal broken or damaged skin, making it a great herb for sunburns in the summer or dry skin in the winter.  I love making oil infusions and skin salves with this little healing flower.  Don’t just take my word for it, there’s even research to show Calendula’s efficacy in wound healing.

It has been studied in the treatment of skin conditions from diaper rash to palliative care and cancer treatment. One of Calendula’s lesser known uses is in treating inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.  I will often prescribe it topically as an oil or cream for hemorrhoids or even as a tea or in a soup for inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis.

catnip
Catnip

Catnip

You’ve likely seen the effect that catnip has on cats but did you know it actually has a calming effect on humans?  I love cats.  So, if I’m being completely honest, part of the reason I planted catnip in my garden was to attract all the neighbourhood cats.

Really though, catnip is quite useful.  As a tea or tincture, it has calming effects, making it great for soothing anxiety or helping with sleep.  It can also be used to repel unwanted insects all summer.  As an essential oil, it may even be more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET and even seems to repel cockroaches!  Who wouldn’t want catnip around?

And there you have it, four great herbs to start off your garden for use as natural remedies!  Click here for tips on How to Grow an Organic Garden.  

Herbs can be used in so many ways.  Teas, tinctures, oil infusions, essential oils, herb baths, even in cooking!  If you’re interested in learning more, send me an email to find out more about my herbal learning workshops in Burlington.  Interested in growing your own natural remedies garden but don’t have the outdoor space?  Don’t worry we have you covered!  Click here to read, ’10 Tips For A Successful Indoor Herb Garden’.

Sources

Grant, Paul. “Spearmint Herbal Tea Has Significant Anti-Androgen Effects in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Phytotherapy Research, 2009, doi:10.1002/ptr.2900.Sakkas, Hercules, and Chrissanthy Papadopoulou.

“Antimicrobial Activity of Basil, Oregano, and Thyme Essential Oils.” Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 27, no. 3, 2017, pp. 429–438., doi:10.4014/jmb.1608.08024.Carvalho, Alexsander R., et al.

“Use of Some Asteraceae Plants for the Treatment of Wounds: From Ethnopharmacological Studies to Scientific Evidences.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 9, 2018, doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00784.Sharifi-Heris, Zahra, et al.

“Comparison the Effects of Topical Application of Olive and Calendula Ointments on Children’s Diaper Dermatitis: A Triple-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial.

” Dermatologic Therapy, vol. 31, no. 6, 2018, doi:10.1111/dth.12731.Cruceriu, Daniel, et al.

“Calendula Officinalis: Potential Roles in Cancer Treatment and Palliative Care.” Integrative Cancer Therapies, vol. 17, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1068–1078., doi:10.1177/1534735418803766.American Chemical Society.

“Catnip Repels Mosquitoes More Effectively Than DEET.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010828075659.htm>.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits, What Researchers Are Now Saying

chaga mushroom benefits

Alternative medicine and therapies are growing in popularity. As more research findings emerge, there is growing proof that natural remedies are an effective means of disease prevention and reversal. For a great example, let’s take a look at how the Chaga mushroom benefits your health.

Chaga Mushroom Benefits:

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Chaga mushrooms are known for their ability to act as an adaptogen in the body. An adaptogen is a substance which assists the body’s ability to combat the effects of stress and disease.

Furthermore, it can promote healthy sleep cycles. Chaga can also aid in strengthening the immune system, improve mental clarity, and regulate various other cycles in the body.

Reports indicate that medicinal mushrooms including chaga are a source of anti-oxidants and contain compounds which are:

  • Anti-cancer
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-diabetic

Chaga has been found to have positive anti-cancer effects on breast and colorectal cancer cells, and aids in the protection of DNA damage.

Chaga mushroom health benefits - Health, Stress adaption, Healing, Renewal, Life Extension

What Is Chaga?

Chaga mushrooms are one of those alternative therapies that are proving to be effective and are starting to get some much deserved attention in the world of alternative therapies.

Chaga mushrooms are medicinal mushrooms native to the forests of Finland, Siberia, and North America and thrives in cold climates.

Although it grows most commonly on birch trees, it may also be found growing on:

  • Ash trees
  • Beech trees
  • Elm trees
  • Ironwood trees
  • Maple trees

In fact, you may have even seen it growing in the forest but didn’t recognize it. It has a rough looking outer surface that appears to be burnt and dark in colour with a yellow-orange core.

what is chaga

Enhanced Immune System

An enhanced immune system is better equipped to efficiently deal with:

  • Cancer cells
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Inflammation

Greater still, it provides the human body with a better opportunity to prevent disease formation.

chaga mushroom benefits

Chaga And Cancer

Chaga has been used to treat cancer for centuries in Russia and Baltic countries. It has been found that chaga mushroom extract can induce apoptosis of human colon cancer cells. These findings have since been confirmed in controlled lab experiments.

It’s believed that one of the main active ingredients in Chaga is a potent antioxidant called superoxide dismutase.

Superoxide dismutase is known as a liver cleanser, a cell membrane protector and a longevity enzyme. Furthermore, antioxidants are well known for their importance in disease prevention, and chaga is no exception.

How To Take Chaga

Due to chaga’s growing popularity, it can now be easily found at your local health food store and can be sold as:

  • Dried powder
  • Tincture form
  • Capsule

Dried chaga can be consumed in various ways including:

  • Steeping it as a tea
  • Grinding it to consume as food
  • Ingesting it as a tincture

Although, chaga tea is the easiest way to introduce into your diet.

chaga tea

Chaga Tea

  1. To make a chaga tea, first place small chunks of chaga, or ground chaga in a pot with cold spring water.
  2. Next, let the chaga sit in the water for up to one hour to begin the extraction process.
  3. Begin to heat the water, being caution that the water doesn’t reach a full boil.
  4. Lastly, let the chaga simmer for one hour before enjoying.

The mixture can then be strained and consumed hot or cold. Ideally, the tea should be consumed on an empty stomach before meals. Three to eight cups of chaga tea can be safely consumed daily.  Also, chaga tincture can be added to a small amount of water and swallowed.

Important Note

A known contraindication of chaga is that it can also act as a blood thinner. Therefore, if you are on blood thinners, chat with your natural health practitioner to be sure it is safe for you.

Kale Benefits One And All

kale benefits

Kale, sometimes called ‘the king of greens’, is considered as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s packed with various nutrients that support healthy hair, skin, and bones. But kale benefits so much more than just that!

Kale benefits cardiovascular health and enhances digestion as it’s a great source of fiber. Furthermore, this leafy winter vegetable is also packed with:

  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin K
  • Chlorophyll
  • Calcium

How To Love Kale?

Whether you like, love or detest vegetables, I bet there is one or another forms of eating kale that you will enjoy such as:

super food

All Hail Kale!

Put Kale in the ring with spinach and broccoli and you have a good fight! However, if we’re taking bets, I’d put my money on kale for its nutrient density! Not sure where you stand? Check out the top 7 health benefits of kale and let’s see who you decide to cheer on!

Eating Kale Everyday Will Do This To Your Body

Top 7 Health Benefits Of Kale

Kale Contains Vitamin K

Vitamin K1 is known as the coagulation vitamin, since it helps the body’s blood clotting mechanism. Clotting is important because it helps prevent your body from bleeding too much when you are injured.

Also, Kale contains vitamin K2, which is known to activate over 17 proteins. For instance, vitamin K2 activates osteocalcin that is required for bone formation. Therefore, vitamin K improves bone strength

Kale Helps Keep Inflammation At Bay

Although known for its potent source of anti-inflammatory properties, kale also contains a variety of antioxidants which help protect our bodies against cellular damage.

Inflammation is a trigger for diseases and premature aging. However, antioxidants help in counter acting our inevitable daily exposure to oxidative stress.

naturally lower blood pressure

Kale Is Nutrient Dense And Detoxifying

First off, it’s no surprise many people have favored this vegetable as one of the top diseases-fighting food. Afterall, kale protects the heart and lowers blood pressure. In fact, studies have indicated that eating kale can lower cholesterol.

Furthermore, the high values of calcium, potassium, and magnesium in kale also help lower blood pressure as the presence of these chemicals helps counter balance the notorious effects of sodium present in the body which can often lead to high blood pressure.

how to protect your vision

Kale Protects Against Vision Loss

The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin in kale help protect the eye lens and retina. Research also indicates that it also helps in fighting the two common eye diseases; cataracts and macular degeneration.

Additionally, it contains beta-carotene that helps shield the ocular eye tissues from harmful ultraviolet light damage.

improve digestion

Kale Helps With Digestion

This leafy veggie is made from fibrous material. Hence, like other leafy greens, is excellent in aiding digestion. However, if you want to get maximum benefits from kale, it is recommended that you also eat the stems which contain a high quantity of prebiotics.

The stem might be appearing rough when taken raw. However, when sautéed in olive oil, it is delicious and can help you in fighting indigestion in addition to acting as a treat to your health.

how to achieve healthy hair and skin

Kale Helps Maintain Healthy Hair And Skin

Kale is known to be high in beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted by the body into vitamin A, which is required by the body. The nutrients available in kale enables all body tissues to grow including the hair and skin. Moreover, it’s also essential for the production of sebum; an oil which keeps the skin moisturized.

Human eyesight, immune, and reproductive functions rely on vitamin A which is present in kale. Cooked kale provides 53.3 milligrams of vitamin C which is required to build and maintain collagen. Collagen is a crucial protein which provides structure for our hair, bones, and skin.

how to cook kale

Kale Can Be Served In A Multitude Of Ways

Kale is a vegetable that you can have a lot of fun with. It can simply be:

  • Chopped up and served in a salad
  • Baked
  • Made into kale chips with the flavor of your choice
  • Steamed
  • Fried
  • Stacked in a sandwich
  • Tossed into soup

Including kale in your diet is one healthy and fun way to stack up on nutrients!

Intermittent Fasting 101

intermittent fasting 101

Welcome to intermittent fasting 101. Here I will explain everything you need to know about intermittent fasting (IF) including health benefits of IF, the different methods/options and how to determine which IF method is best for you.

Not All Diets Are Created Equal

It never fails: I open my laptop in the morning while I sip coffee and check social media. My feed overflows with friends latching on to new, trendy diets.

These diets tend to be challenging to adhere to, and they aren’t meant to last forever. Often, once you stop the diet, the pounds that melted away come right back.

Luckily, not all diets end this way. Allow me to introduce you to “Intermittent Fasting!”

what is intermittent fasting

What Is Intermittent Fasting? 

To understand Intermittent Fasting, you must understand the 2 states your body enters. These are the fed state and fasting state. 

When you think of fasting, you might think of disciplined monks who fast religiously. But everyone enters a fasting state regularly. Fasting can be anywhere from a few hours to days. We usually enter the fasting state a few hours after dinner up until “breakfast” when we break our fast. 

Once we eat, we enter the fed state. In this state, our bodies create insulin, which prompts the storage of glucose in your liver. When glucose is available, it’s used as the primary energy source. Excess glucose is stored in fat cells, which isn’t as simple to burn away. 

When you extend your fasting state, your body turns to the glucose stored away in those fat cells for energy. This way, you burn off stubborn fat rather than just glucose from your meals. 

Intermittent fasting allows a condensed window of time to consume your daily calories. Several methods exist to fit different schedules or time preferences. For example, the 16:8 ratio, or “Leangains Method,” allows an 8-hour window for eating. You fast during the remaining 16 hours. 

But, what sets intermittent fasting apart from other diets?

health benefits of intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting 101 – Benefits

Ease of Adherence

Many people who struggle with typical diets find success with intermittent fasting. The methods are customizable and allow for flexibility. It eliminates the drastic calorie restrictions that set many diets up for failure. It doesn’t limit your options or exclude any food items.

It also pairs well with any dietary restrictions or plans you use. If you want to enhance your Keto diet, intermittent fasting is perfect! If you’re paleo, vegan, gluten-free, no problem!

 If you’re not using a specific plan, here are some excellent tips!

How To Maximize Your Fasting Benefits
  1. Determine your goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Gain muscle? Cutting or bulking?
  2. Use a calorie calculator that factors in your goal to find your daily caloric needs.
  3. Calculating your macros can help establish specific nutrition goals. Adjusting your intake of protein, fat, and carbs can boost your results.

Weight Loss & Improved Body Composition

Triggering your body to burn fat cells can be a powerful weight-loss tool. As a bonus, it trims the unwanted weight while maintaining your muscle mass. This makes it popular among casual gym goers and professional athletes alike.

Fasting also promotes the release of the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This hormone stimulates lean muscle development.

What Really Happens When We Fast?

Potential Health Benefits

Intermittent fasting has shown promising potential for some health conditions. 

People with insulin resistance have a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Studies show that fasting may fight insulin resistance to reduce diabetes risks. If you have insulin resistance or diabetes, consult your doctor before starting a new diet! Since fasting can trigger ketosis, diabetics must be cautious.

It may also promote heart health. Insulin resistance, inflammation, and “bad cholesterol” levels are risk factors for heart diseases. Fasting may reduce these risk factors and keep your ticker ticking.

Plus, fasting nourishes cell health and regeneration. This can lead to anti-aging and longevity benefits!

How To Start Intermittent Fasting 

As I mentioned before, it’s good to start with a clear goal in mind. This goal will help you choose which fasting method to use and how many calories you’ll need. 

It is always best to speak with your doctor before making significant dietary or workout changes. This is especially true if you have medical conditions or take daily medications.

intermittent fasting

Choosing Your Method

Most intermittent fasting routines resemble the Leangains by creating a daily ratio of fasting to fed hours. 

-16:8 (Leangains). This method is great for beginners who need to adjust to fasting. As the name implies, plans like this support lean muscle mass with a healthy rate of fat loss. 

-20:4 (The Warrior Diet). In this method, you spend 20 hours fasting with a 4-hour window for eating. The extended fasting hours boost your fat loss but can be a challenge. 

-One Meal A Day (OMAD). Rather than spreading out meals over a time frame, some prefer to get their calories all at once. Generally, this is paired with a small calorie deficit or by eating only the calories you burn that day. 

5:2 Method. This method goes by days instead of hours. For 2 days of the week (non-consecutive), you only consume 500-600 calories. During the other 5 days, you eat only the calories you burned. 

-24+ hour fasts. These fasts achieve significant results, but they’re not for everyone. The hunger can cause discomfort or foil your weight loss plans if you’re unable to stick with it.

review on intermittent fasting

Intermittent Fasting 101 Recap And Key Points

  1. Be realistic! If you expect crazy, miraculous results, you will sabotage yourself. Losing weight too fast can harm your health. And, if you choose an extreme method, the drastic changes can lead you to give up.
  2. Give it time. Follow your chosen method for at least a month to assess if it is working. Start at a less advanced method, then move to a different method after the month is over if necessary.
  3. Your overall health and nutrition still matter. Changing the time that you eat won’t fix much if you still eat junk, get poor sleep, or don’t exercise.
  4. Safety is the top priority. Communicate with your doctor and stop fasting if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Check out an in-depth guide of intermittent fasting 101 if you need more information!

Food For Thought

food for thought

Here is some food for thought, an honest conversation about food and weight loss.

I Want To Lose Weight, What Should I Eat?

Well, my answer is a question to your question. What do you want to eat? If your answer is pizza, chocolate and McDonald’s, we need to dig a little deeper into why you want to eat those things.

Many people say that they are comfort foods. That they crave them and these foods make them feel good. But do they really make you feel that good?

I’m sure within an hour of eating at McDonald’s, your stomach is cramping and you’re not really sure what’s going on in there. Also depending on how many Reese’s pieces you ate, you may be feeling quite nauseous. Later on, do you think to yourself, “oh man, why did I eat that?” And feel bad about yourself for doing that?

If so, this comfort food isn’t really as comforting as you may think. So, let’s take some time to reframe the way we think about food and the comforts it provides.

comfort foods

Food For Thought

If you are regularly consuming food that you know isn’t good for you, it’s time to consider why you’re eating them. Maybe these foods are being used as a form of self disrespect or self sabotage? Perhaps you have become so addicted to the foods that you thought of as comfort food that you can’t seem to walk away from them now? You desperately want to stop wanting them, but their chemicalized mixture is meant to keep drawing you back in.

Click here to read, Finally Quit Your Sugar Addiction With These Top Tips.

What’s Your Relationship with Food?

Transform The Way You Think About Food

A major issue with food is that many of us have grown up in a society of abundant food sources. Where we can go to the grocery store and choose any item we’d like!! Then we bring it home and use food as a way of celebrating with family and friends. It’s also a way to pass the time if we are bored. Furthermore, it can be used to keep us company if we are lonely and even to distract us from the stressful times in our lives.

Because of all of these roles that food has taken on, it’s almost as though food has become a friend. However, it’s important to note that just like in life, we must choose our friends wisely.

Begin by looking at food in two ways:
  1. As a friend
  2. As fuel for your body
what is your relationship with food

Food – Friend Or Foe?

Food can be looked at as a friend ONLY if you think of it as though you are choosing the best friends possible to have close to you in your life.

Therefore we cut out McDonald’s because she has such a toxic personality! We cut out pizza because he’s a gossip. Furthermore, we cut out chips, chocolate and candy because they have a bad attitude. We also cut out ice cream because she never could keep a secret.

So if you’re keeping only the best possible ‘friends’ (food) in your life, make sure you include abundant amounts of:

If you choose to eat meat products, make sure they are:

  • Free range
  • Grass fed
  • Wild caught
  • Antibiotic free

In addition to making sure to include as many organic options as you can.

Click here to read, Do I Always Need To Buy Organic?

fuel for your body

Fuel Your Body Right

Secondly, you can decide that food only has one purpose: to fuel your body. Food is only fuel. That’s it. We only NEED food for its nutrients, vitamins and minerals. You can begin to stop relating food with comfort, loneliness, boredom and celebration. Rather, appreciate it for what it is ~ the fuel your body needs to survive!

What Is Arrowroot? Nutrition, Benefits And Uses

what is arrowroot

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about some health issues I was having. After my quick rant they asked me if I had tried arrowroot. “Arrowroot??” I said.  “What is arrowroot?”

Here is what I found out and why I believe it should become a household staple!

what is arrowroot

What Is Arrowroot?

The Arrowroot plant іѕ nаtіvе tо Cеntrаl аnd Sоuth Amеrіса аnd thе Caribbean.  However, it саn аlѕо bе fоund in other tropical regions of the wоrld ѕuсh аѕ Southeast Asia, South Afrіса, Auѕtrаlіа, аnd іn Flоrіdа.

Thе arrowroot рlаnt can grow as tall аѕ six fееt and can be used in a variety of forms.  As a powder іt is:

  • Odorless
  • Glutеn-frее
  • Lоw-рrоtеіn
  • Whіtе coloured starch

Thе herb іѕ еxtrасtеd from thе flеѕhу roots (rhіzоmеѕ) оf the arrowroot рlаnt.  This is done through a соmрlеx process оf wаѕhіng, рееlіng, soaking, then drуіng in thе sun.  Thе rеѕult is a fine, white powder wіth the ѕаmе tеxturе аnd арреаrаnсе аѕ соrnѕtаrсh.

how to use arrowroot powder

What Is Arrowroot Powder Used For?

Arrоwrооt іѕ рrіmаrіlу uѕеd for іtѕ soothing bеnеfіt and its effect іn dеаlіng with diarrhea as it rеlіеvеѕ:

  • Excessive асіdіtу
  • Nausea
  • Indіgеѕtіоn
  • Cоlіс

In addition to a a mіld lаxаtіvе. Furthermore it can be used tо trеаt аthlеtе’ѕ foot. Nоt bесаuѕе іt is antifungal but bесаuѕе thе starchy роwdеr rеmоvеѕ moisture whеn ѕрrіnklеd іn ѕосkѕ.

Arrowroot соntаіnѕ саlсіum, саrbоhуdrаtеѕ, аnd оthеr nutrіеntѕ and іѕ еаѕіlу digested. Therefore it’s a great source оf nutrіtіоn fоr іnfаntѕ, реорlе rесоvеrіng frоm іllnеѕѕеѕ (еѕресіаllу those оf thе bоwеl), аnd those оn restricted dіеtѕ.

Thе herb іѕ considered by some tо bе еаѕіеr оn the stomach thаn other fоrmѕ of ѕtаrсh. Thоugh mоrе еxреnѕіvе than соrnѕtаrсh, аrrоwrооt іѕ also used іn thе kitchen to thicken soups, ѕаuсеѕ, оr соnfесtіоnѕ.  Vegetarians uѕе іt іnѕtеаd оf еggѕ іn breads аnd deserts.

Everyday Magical Things ~ Arrowroot

How Arrоwrооt Powder Imрrоvеѕ Hеаlth

Thе hеаlth bеnеfіtѕ оf аrrоwrооt flour vаrу wіdеlу.  When соnѕumеd, it contributes tо a healthy dіgеѕtіvе system, аѕ thе ѕtаrсh wоrkѕ аѕ a laxative.  Also, dосtоrѕ оftеn rесоmmеnd arrowroot fоr реорlе who are nаuѕеаѕ or vоmіtіng, аѕ іt іѕ natural and рrоvеn tо reduce nаuѕеа. It іѕ also high іn саlсіum аѕh, whісh assists wіth stabilizing the acid levels іn thе bоdу, mаіntаіnіng a healthy іmmunе ѕуѕtеm.

weight managment

Weight Management Miracle

Mаnу people utilize аrrоwrооt flоur as a wеіght-lоѕѕ ѕubѕtаnсе. Mainly because the роwdеr thickens mеаlѕ when incorporated, but also because it hаѕ a vеrу low fаt content аnd nеxt tо nо саlоrіеѕ.  Bу adding the роwdеr іn during сооkіng, it еxраndѕ the аmоunt of food, without multірlуіng thе саlоrіеѕ.

Click here for a vanilla pudding cake recipe using arrowroot!

potassium health benefits

Power of Potassium

The arrowroot plant also contains potassium.  Pоtаѕѕіum works tо соntrоl thе heart rate and ѕtаbіlіzе blood рrеѕѕurе.  Heart and blood-related problems саn lead tо a plethora of ѕеrіоuѕ оf dіѕеаѕеѕ. Thus, so mаnу people choose tо іnсоrроrаtе аrrоwrооt іntо their diets tо avoid thіѕ.

Arrowroot is аlѕо a mаіn іngrеdіеnt іn bаbу роwdеrѕ, bесаuѕе оf іtѕ ѕmооth аnd ѕооthіng рrореrtіеѕ.  It іѕ bеnеfісіаl in аnу ѕkіn роwdеr оr lotion, as іt calms irritation аnd assists with the healing оf аnу rаѕhеѕ оr impurities.

precautions of arrowroot

Arrowroot In Summanry AND Precautions

  1. Arrowroot hаѕ аntі-іnflаmmаtоrу and antiseptic рrореrtіеѕ аnd may be аррlіеd as аn оіntmеnt оr роultісе.
  2. Arrоwrооt роwdеr, which is bаѕісаllу flavorless, іѕ оftеn mіxеd with juice оr оthеr bеvеrаgеѕ bеfоrе ingestion. However, be саrеful tо mіx аrrоwrооt wіth соld water first bеfоrе putting in аnуthіng hоt оr it wіll bе сlumру lіkе ѕmаll dumрlіngѕ.

Arrоwrооt should bе uѕеd wіth саutіоn fоr сhіldrеn, wоmеn who are рrеgnаnt оr brеаѕt-fееdіng, and people wіth liver оr kіdnеу disease.  There аrе no ѕіgnіfісаnt ѕіdе еffесtѕ whеn uѕеd іn thе recommended dоѕаgе and is nоt known to interact аdvеrѕеlу with any drug or dіеtаrу ѕuррlеmеnt.

Tо аvоіd соnѕtіраtіоn, соnѕumеrѕ should nоt tаkе аrrоwrооt wіth other medications оr dіеtаrу supplements uѕеd tо аllеvіаtе dіаrrhеа. It hаѕ bееn ѕuссеѕѕfullу соmbіnеd wіth mіlk, lеmоn аnd оthеr fruit juісеѕ, оr ѕugаrѕ wіthоut apparent hаrm.

There аrе mаnу ways уоu саn enjoy thе benefits of аrrоwrооt. Thе important thіng is tо mаkе sure thе form іn whісh уоu соnѕumе it will gіvе уоu all thе benefits іt offers.