It’s Time to Get Out of (Your Current) Shape

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET IN SHAPE? WHAT’S WITH YOUR SHAPE NOW?

“Getting in shape” is such a common phrase in the fitness world and it’s becoming more common in the world of nutrition. We’re now actively getting not only our diet in shape, but also our digestion, energy levels and hormones “in shape.” The real objective on getting in shape is actually to get out of the one we’re currently in.

The shape you’re in is the one that’s serving you for now. It depends on what you’re trying to do to change, but also what you’ve pretty much done your entire life. If we’re judging on what we’ve done, that would make most of us Sitting Ninjas who can order a meal with the tap of a few app keys, while still holding that Sitting Ninja posture. No wonder we want to “get in shape” (a better one than the one that looks like we’re sitting even when we’re standing!) Every day we have three opportunities to get our diet, digestion and energy in shape, and we should do the same to change our Sitting Ninja posture too.

GET IN SHAPE BY LOSING YOUR CURRENT SHAPE

A thin woman and an overwight woman lean back to back. We challenge you to get in shape by following these few tips to become a healthier person.Getting in shape really means getting out of the one we’re in currently. It takes change and it can be done fairly easily! By keeping your body’s best interest in mind, you will shape your diet, movement and mind into a more holistic and healthier one.
Here are a few things you can count on:
– you’ll remember to drink plenty of water because your body needs it to for proper digestion and to clear out toxins.
– You’ll choose fruits instead of synthetic beverages and sweets, in order to give your body the extra fiber it needs.
– You’ll eat your vegetables raw or lightly cooked, but not processed to make sure nothing gets lost between the farm and your hand. When it comes to food, nature is definitely wisest.
– You’ll squat intermittently throughout the day, walk wherever you can, stretch the places you know could use it whenever you’re waiting around (tops of your feet, calves, hammies and lats on most of us).

7 TIPS TO GET IN SHAPE AND STAY THAT WAY!

Getting in shape is where food and fitness collide. Each of us is different but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a number of common markers for people who consider themselves “in shape.”

 

  1. Make it easy for yourself to work out in the mornings. … And eat a good breakfast.
  2. Master the art of portion control… And movement over exercise.
  3. Get enough sleep.
  4. Don’t aim for perfection. Nothing is good or bad, just in or out of balance. Food and movement.
  5. Find a workout and meals you love — that way it doesn’t feel like a chore, and it’s something you’re excited to do.
  6. Try to do some form of movement once an hour. Or just set a goal to move more and create opportunities to do so. Combine movement with food choices, like walking to the produce store or farmers market.
  7. You’ve a set point. Acknowledge it. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where there body wants to remain. Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face. When expectations meet reality you can avoid dietary crashes. Eat healthy. Not just food that looks healthy. Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you. The most basic nutritional advice is: eat unprocessed food, more veggies, use meat as a side dish not a main course, dress and cook with different healthy fats and get your nutrition through variety.

You’re not out of shape; you’re in the exact shape of what it is you’ve been doing. The shape you’re in is the health you’re in. It’s not just something you think about one meal or workout at a time. It’s a lifestyle. And one you can enjoy!

How to Approach Transitioning to Clean Eating

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

A long time being marketed to by the food industry has a lot of us needing to carry a label when it comes to our eating habits. “Clean Eating” might seem like yet another label, but as far as a label goes, it doesn’t matter if you’re a vegetarian or you binge on carbs, we could all do better with our clean eating.

DEFINING CLEAN EATING

Put simply, clean eating means eating whole foods, as close to nature as possible. We aren’t eating processed foods. The point is to buy less foods in packages and more foods that you can find at a farmer’s market. In a nutshell, if you keep good food in your fridge you’ll eat good food.

Like the need to label, we also tend to associate ourselves with either being good or bad. We take eating clean further and make a “diet” out of it, or make it a very restrictive and expensive way to eat. But nothing is really good or bad, just in or out of balance and clean eating is simply shifting our focus to the quality of food we put on our plate.

There’s two ways of transitioning to clean eating. The first, is the right here, right now as quickly as possible approach. The other, is to really understand, getting to the nitty gritty and really giving your body what it needs to help itself. This is achieved by moving to an 80:20 lifestyle where 80% of the time your eat clean so that the other 20% your body can absorb any indiscretions. It’s called “living.” By helping your body help itself and moving to an 80:20 lifestyle, you’ll acheive a healthy balance in your diet and still be able to enjoy some of the “finer” things.

bistek_tagalog-02

THE TRANSITIONING TO CLEAN EATING RIGHT NOW APPROACH

Ok, so this is heavily borrowed from Michael Pollan:

Eat food.

Whole foods, as close to nature as possible. No processed foods, buy less foods in packages and be a peripheral (fresh produce) and farmer’s market shopper. Keep good food in your fridge to eat good food.

Mostly plants.

Of the 180 or so varieties of fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds most of us eat 5-6 a week, some every week. Green leafy veggies should be our number one priority for carbs and colored everything for antioxidants. Nutrition through variety is a great meme.

The right amount of enough.

Michael Pollan also warns against eating too much (you know if this is you). Eating too much means you’re not getting the right amount of each macronutrient; carbs, proteins, fats. Each meal you should strive for about a 40:30:30 ratio. Beginning with how you eat makes you feel and focus on satisfaction and enjoyment not fullness.

TRANSITIONING TO CLEAN EATING USING THE 80:20 APPROACH

I see transitioning as a process, something you’re always doing and working on. It’s not done and over, never to be thought about again because it’s how you’re going to do it from now on. Even the healthiest most balanced meal every day can behave much like sugar in your brain. We’re wired to seek difference, as much as we are to detect ripeness and spoilage. Ensuring our micronutrient needs in our bodies are met through our foods is important. So here’s a few things to keep in mind when transitioning to clean eating, over time.

  1. When we remove processed food from our diet, our health comes a long way. Foods our bodies were not made to use can cost more in energy than they provide. We also need more of them to get the same energy whole foods can easily provide us.
  2. Clean eating doesn’t have ingredients; it is ingredients.
  3. Forget the calories: chances are we’re nutrient not calorie deficient. If you’re gonna count something, count nutrients.
  4. There is no one size fits all diet. People prescribing ‘diets’ that have worked for them, without getting to know a person and what is happening in their body at a biochemical and cellular level are either misguided, selling something or both.
  5. Eat foods to enhance health from the level of the cell. This means getting to the root cause. Clean eating isn’t the opposite of dirty, it’s unprocessed.
  6. Digest optimally. Think about your food, don’t eat on the run, chew your food and de-stress. Stress is high blood sugar but also digestion needs a parasympathetic state to work properly and stress is sympathetic: it turns digestion off.
  7. Eating fat doesn’t make you fatSugar does. Sugar mobilizes insulin; fat does not. Macronutrient fat does not trigger the hormonal dance that creates body fat storage. When you eat something sweet, your blood sugar levels increase too quickly, and your pancreas secretes the hormone insulin to take the excess sugar out of your blood. Insulin is a fat storage hormone. It stores that extra sugar first as glycogen, and then as triglycerides (fat) once these glycogen stores are full.
  8. Eat more healthy fats because we need healthy fats to digest what we should be eating! The very bodily substance we need to digest fats, bile, is produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Ironically it’s made of the very fats it digests so low, no or weird trans-fats in your diet means that’s exactly what your bile is made of and probably why you’re body is not digesting fats! Good healthy fats mean good healthy (functioning) bile to digest more fats. And the secret to healthier bile and fats digestion? Beets! In fact you should probably drop some fresh beets daily. beet-root-salad
  9. Beware Franken-fats. The fact is you can’t make a processed food without heat. Turn over just about any box or bag in your kitchen and chances are one of those vegetable oils (along with some level of oxidation) is in there. Even less convenient is the fact that these refined, polyunsaturated oils are the most popular choice in most commercial kitchens because they’re cheap and have that high smoke point — so they can withstand high heats without making food taste burnt. But, there is hope! A growing number of packaged food brands and restaurants have started to make the switch, using more stable oils like coconut, avocado and animal fats for their house-made potato chips and French fries. And, rather than hiding from the world and only eating oil you’ve cold-pressed in your backyard, you can always ask that your meal be cooked in butter the next time you’re out to eat.
  10. Eating clean will help you re-realize what you need vs want. No one needs three coffees a day; no one needs a muffin: they’re just sugar and artificial ways of lifting our energy, which our body could be doing for itself, helping itself out in the process.
  11. When we eat clean, we can expect to feel energetic not need processed foods for a boost. It would seem our bodies really do know what to eat; our problem is we’ve forgotten how. We rush to eat, eat on the run and stress our way through our day to get more food in and hope blissful sleep will energize us to do it all again the next day. However, digestion turns off in all these occasions; so taking time is your number one transitioning goal. It needn’t be meditation before each mouthful, or copious amounts of hours cooking and preparing and serving up a ten-course degustation; the time you take is for you and that’s whatever you can.
  12. Removing the stressors – after we prioritize everything we need first and foremost on our plate, full of vegetables, good fats and high quality proteins at each meal, there’s little left for the “go to foods” we used to fill up on. When did being full start constituting a healthy meal by the way?!
  13. Strengthening the defenses – this is the next or at the same time, step. It starts with digestive strengthening. A lot of us share similar symptoms like rushing to eat and low stomach acid or poor fat digestion function from a low fat diet. Each of us is as different on the inside as out. There are going to be foods you reintroduce you can tolerate, some you can’t and others you can eat but maybe shouldn’t or should limit. It’s about listening to your body, which is always talking (as symptoms); we’ve just got to learn to listen.
  14. Transitioning steps: bad, good, better, best. While it’s so encouraging to see people consciously making better food choices, meal planning, grocery shopping, or even perusing your local farmer’s markets to know which foods are the “best” options it’s pretty daunting. Start by making family favorites in a healthy manner. Increase good fats by adding them to foods (such as butter on vegetables). Focus on their digestion through the inclusion of things like beets at each meal. Add more variety after you get used to healthier food ingredients. Increase the ratio of raw foods in your diet. And change gradually: Rome wasn’t built in a day!

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Do you spring out of bed each day? For most of us the answer is, no.

Most of us have started feeling the effects of age and disease and are wondering where the magic button is to reverse it is. We’re looking for more, and in doing so choosing foods with less – fat free, salt free, sugar free, gluten free. The truth is going ‘food-free’, namely gluten-free, is the answer we’re looking for which confirms the diagnosis: we’re gluten intolerant.

The truth is that we have a long history of vilifying certain foods. But what if the real culprit isn’t the food, like our difficulty digesting gluten, but that our digestion itself is compromised. The quality and strength of our digestion governs the ability of our body to properly absorb nutrients from the food we’re eating. Looking at the nutrition facts label listing what various vitamins and minerals are in the food we’re eating, it is tempting to think that you simply absorb it all when you consume that food. Without a healthy, well-functioning digestive tract even the best food choices will do you little good. Your body will struggle to process essential nutrients contained in the food you’re consuming. This can lead to unnecessary dis-ease because your body will not be getting the basics for proper function.

Using a very simple outline of how digestion works, we can also see how when it dysfunctions.

HOW DIGESTION WORKS

woman biting a red hot chili pepperDigestion begins in the mouth. Actually it’s before that: our cephalic response begins when we see, smell and think about food, releasing saliva and beginning pancreatic enzyme release further down. The act of chewing food mixes it with our saliva, which, rich in digestive enzymes, begins to break down the food even before it reaches our stomach. So, the first step in improving your digestive problems is tochew your foods thoroughly.

Once food is swallowed it enters the stomach, which then secretes hydrochloric acid and various enzymes to further digest and break down the food. A lot of us are lacking enough of this acidity, which is another article entirely, but we also eat and drink simultaneously. While a few sips of liquid with meals is harmless, larger amounts begin to dilute the concentration and effectiveness of the hydrochloric acid-enzyme mix causing food to enter the intestines without being properly broken down. We call this indigestion showing itself as gas and shooting pains, and sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies can result as the body struggles to release the vitamins and minerals still locked away.

As food leaves the stomach and enters the intestines, the pancreas enzymes, along with the beneficial bacteria and microorganisms in the bowels, break it down even further. These beneficial bacteria (also known as probiotics or intestinal flora) are in a delicate balance but are rather resilient if we eat well: aka little sugar, no unprocessed foods, and a good balance of each macronutrient, in turn abiding by the best digestive practices.

IS GLUTEN REALLY THE PROBLEM?

Gluten is particularly difficult to digest. In fact, like the grains it comes with, it’s made to germinate a new plant, not to be digested. The worse part is that gluten takes other nutrients we the body needs away. Properly preparing, soaking and activating processes can help with some of this.

Then gluten requires a strong stomach acid to process it. If not enough of this acid is produced or is diluted with too many liquids at mealtime, the gluten passes through to the small intestine, undigested. If eaten in excess, it can irritate the intestinal villi on the gut wall and affect our digestion and absorption.

Which brings us to coeliacs disease: only about one in 100 people give up gluten because they have Celiac disease. Celiacs are allergic to gliadin, one of the proteins in gluten. Upon exposure to this protein, their bodies initiate an auto-immune response which severely damages the intestinal villi. Inflammation, shortening and flattening of the villi result in less surface area available for absorption of nutrients, leading to malabsorption, malnourishment, weight-loss and fatigue.

WHAT IF THE WIDER PREVALENCE OF GLUTEN INTOLERANCE IS SLIGHTLY MORE COMPLICATED?bread basket

  • MODERN WHEAT.

Modern wheat is a cross-bred super high-yielding crop, which not only contains more gluten, the amino-acid chains within the glutenin and gliadin proteins have undergone significant changes, particularly relating to appetite stimulation. Research is also beginning to reveal that modern wheat’s biological code is wrecking havoc with the hormones related to obesity and diabetes. It seems that modern wheat is bad news for our health.

Remember that there are other glutinous grains, like spelt, which have remained virtually untouched by science and agriculturalists for hundreds of years. Spelt is much easier to digest than modern wheat and much better for you, if you can tolerate it.

  • PROCESSED FOOD.

Factories and major processed food companies start with a high-gluten, modern wheat frankin-grain, then food processors add more gluten to it when making breads, pastas and cereals – so it is easier to produce and a better looking product. On top of that, ‘hidden’ gluten is added to a vast array of other food products, totally topping out our gluten load.

If gluten affects you, you should also stop using these highly processed products and start eating real food home cooked meals or pre-made paleo meals again.

  • NOT ENOUGH DIVERSITY.

People eating a ‘normal’ modern western diet eat way too much deranged-wheat-based products and, therefore, too much gluten!

Gluten is found in food products made from grains naturally containing it but is also used as a protein additive to many products low in protein. Gluten is also used in products requiring its specific textural properties: imitation meats, beer, soy sauce, dressings, gravy, ketchup, canned soup, stock cubes, frozen or canned vegetables in sauce and even ice cream! Extra gluten is also generally added to commercially produced bread (it makes the dough rise and improves the uniformity, structure and texture of the bread). It is also found in a variety of cosmetics, hair and skin products.

We eat bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes and pizza all the time. This list of glutinous products are, more often than not, found in every single meal of the day, all year round. We’ve lost all genuine diversity in our diets! We were not designed to eat this much gluten, or this amount of the same food. We’re wired to seek difference in our foods to ensure our micronutrient diversity.

The bad guys are processed foods made from deranged modern wheat and processed foods with added gluten. We need to give THEM up as well as gluten.

Compromised digestion is probably the biggest reason we’re having difficulty digesting gluten. We’re not producing enough acid, or secreting the amount required to break down this protein. We’re also not chewing our foods, drinking too much liquid diluting it as we eat.

Simply, an inability to digest gluten is a sign of our digestion not working properly. If we’re not digesting gluten properly, we’re not digesting anything properly. But this doesn’t mean we have to give up gluten. We simply need to learn how to eat and live in ways that promote strong, balanced digestion and the appropriate elimination of toxins. Paleo real food values offer a great template for reclaiming our health through taking on our own health responsibility. Then we’re on our own. Scary, but maybe the diet we’re best suited for is the one we can digest.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

 

Looking after mom’s diet is more than simply prenatal vitamins and eating for two.

Put simply, the growth and development of your baby is directly affected by what you eat, especially through pregnancy and nursing. You are also effected what your baby eats because if you don’t provide your body with the ability to make the things his growing body needs, then your body will be taxed with making them for your milk. Finally, what your baby eats affects their behavior, learning, tantrums and frustrations. Here’s some things to definitely avoid while nursing, others that can enhance yours and his health as you nurse, and better than that, enhance both your health after nursing too.

 

WHAT’S NOT OK WHILE NURSING

breastfeeding

Hopefully it goes without saying that smoking and drinking too much alcohol while nursing are obviously not ok. But there are other definite things to avoid when nursing.

FOODS TO AVOID WHILE NURSING AND PREGNANT

  • Polluted Fish (like swordfish and shark)
  • Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated fats and oils
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • GMOs

 

SOY

Soy contains plant-based estrogens, which hormonally disrupt both mom and nursing baby. It also contains thyroid-blocking factors that can lead to metabolic problems and an underactive thyroid. Thyroid issues may lead to fatigue, cold extremities and failure to lose weight. Research suggests children born to moms with underactive thyroids have a below average IQ below too.

 

SUGAR

Hopefully we’re all pretty aware of the danger the amount of sugar in our current diet can have, but when it comes to young babies, sugar’s worst influence is on yeast. Any type of sugar feeds yeasts in your gut. In large amounts, yeasts cause vaginal yeast infections, sugar cravings and the breast infection mastitis. Mastitis is dangerous for mom and baby because it can cause thrush, diaper rash, food intolerance, food allergies and nutrient deficiencies.

Also, when yeast eats sugar, it puts out toxic byproducts that pass through your milk. In your baby’s stomach these byproducts reduce stomach acid. Sufficient stomach acid is required to ward off acid reflux, colic, food allergies and infection in babies. Therefore, it’s wise to avoid eating sugar as a nursing mom.

 

DRINKS

The most important advice for nursing moms is to stay hydrated to provide enough fluid to produce milk. It’s so important that a female’s body can and will trigger hormonal changes that cause the body to release chemicals telling the brain it’s incredibly thirsty during the first few minutes of breastfeeding. This built in mechanism is to ensure sufficient hydration. In addition to the amount, what you drink is also important for both you and your baby.

  • Caffeinated beverages (coffee, teas, chocolate and soda). Caffeine is a diuretic and can make you more prone to inadequate hydration possibly affecting milk supply. Also it will get into breast milk so watch for signs of caffeine sensitivity in your baby: wakefulness, hyperactivity, colicky behavior and shorter duration feedings.
  • Even some herbal teas according to the PDR for Herbal Medicines, herbal teas that contain alfalfa, burdock, cornflower, dandelion, dog rose, ginger, hibiscus, mint and spearmint, marshmallow, holly, horsetail, juniper, larkspur, calendula, corn silk, mate, meadowsweet, olive leaf, parsley, nettle, sweet clover, fennel, uva ursi or winter cherry may be diuretic.
  • Alcohol enters breast milk within 30-60 min, more than 1-2 social drinks can hinder ‘let down’ and it has been shown to create problems with your baby’s sleep cycle. Wait at least 2 hours after any drink to nurse. If you have any more, it’s wise to ‘pump and dump’. And personally while there’s no use crying over spilt milk, there’s most definitely every reason to cry here!

 

GMOS

Genetically modified organisms look and taste just like their counterparts, but their DNA is nothing like nature’s version. The company’s that make them force DNA from bacteria and viruses into recipient DNA to ‘engineer’ seeds to produce their own insecticides or survive being sprayed with massive quantities of pesticides. Consuming GMOs means you’re getting more toxic exposure from pesticides since those crops are sprayed much more – whether GMO are safe or not!

Mutated cells in GMO crops have been shown to spread to human cells when eaten and implicated in increased immune reactions. Further, today’s most popular vegetable oils are made from GMOs which is another reason to avoid them too.

 

WHAT’S OPTIMAL

Following Paleo real food values we can see just how optimal health is entirely possible from the right form of foods and nutrient density. None more so than a nursing mom with all the enzymes, nutrients, vitamins and minerals she needs for herself and her baby, some daily, others weekly, but like any diet, best adapted uniquely to her needs.

 

HERE ARE SOME SPECIFICS:

BUTTER – BETTER THAN YOU THOUGHT

Butter is a stick of big (healthy) fat nourishment and it makes food taste good. Grass-fed butter is an amazing healing food containing fat-soluble vitamin A, beta-carotene, conjugated linoleic acid (potent cancer fighter found exclusively in grass fed dairy and animal fat), omega 3s (especially DHA, crucial for building your baby’s brain), and vitamin E. Butter’s fatty acids provide these excellent nutrients but along with the fat to make sure your body can use them: perfect.

 

THE RIGHT FATS

Your breast milk is naturally high in healthy fats – almost 60% – both saturated fat and cholesterol especially important for your baby’s brain which is also about 60% fat. If you don’t provide your body with the ability to make these then it will be taxed with making them for your milk. Most of your healthy fats should come from clarified butter, eggs and meat; coconut fats (oil and milk) should contribute significantly due to their special medium chain triglycerides (fats that feed probiotics and spur metabolism). Fish, oily fish and nuts will round out your essential (your body cannot make these, so you need to ingest them) fatty acid needs.

 

WISE CARBS

Eat a variety of leafy greens, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits as your main source of carbohydrates. They pack great nutrition and fiber but don’t spike your blood sugar as much as the more commonly consumed carbs; refined grains and beans, which particularly are hardest to digest and can block the digestive tract.

 

In conclusion, the goal is for your diet to be as nutritious as possible with the least amount of toxins. Unfortunately, if you don’t provide your body with the ability to make the essentials for your growing baby, then they’ll be taken from you. This can mean a lifetime of problems for you both. Thankfully, optimal health is entirely possible with the right foods and nutrients.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go 

 

SHOULD WE ALLOW KIDS TO EAT FROM THE TYPICAL KID’S MENU?

Real kids shouldn’t eat from a kid’s menu; it’s not real food. The kid’s menu in almost every restaurant contains food for kids who seem to need foods that are easy to maneuver with tiny hands or what the American standard has agreed on as what they like. However, kids are real people and they deserve real food. Especially real food pertinent to what their little bodies need to develop and grow. In fact, they should be eating the ones opting for the DHA-rich salmon and pesto us parents so often order.

 

WHAT TYPE OF DIET SHOULD KIDS CONSUME?

A kid’s digestive system is definitely not that of an adult. They should be getting variety in their diet. Each meal should include a macronutrient (from a good source that’s minimally processed), healthy fats (rather than just some weird breaded fried imitation fishy or chicken looking meal) and veggies instead of the quickest soggiest pasta and cheese thing a restaurant can whip up. Let’s not indoctrinate our kids into adulterated food but keep them enjoying whole foods and relying on nature’s basics to supply a nourishing diet, even when we dine out.

 

TAKING A DEEPER LOOK AT THE “KIDS MENU”

french-fries-and-chicken-nuggetsStandard kids menus usually include meals like grilled cheese sandwiches, pasta dishes, breaded chicken (from grain-fed animals), processed hot dogs (again, from grain-fed animals), and French fries cooked in vegetable oil. Aside from nothing nourishing nor none of the balance we talked about previously, these foods are rich in omega-6 fatty acids and poor in omega-3 fatty acids. Not to mention, the immune and cognitive ability of your child depends on this balance. Within this balance, there are several types of omega-3 fatty acids, perhaps the most important is DHA. It has a crucial role in the proper growth of the central nervous system, is vital in development of the eyes, promotes cardiovascular health and affects mood and aggression. It’s necessary for all age groups, and is especially vital in developing children (like those who can feed themselves at restaurants). DHA is found in our diet: oily fish (e.g., herring, mackerel, salmon) and their roe; animals that are fed biologically appropriate foods (e.g., wild animals, cows that are fed grass, chickens that roam over pastures and eat green plants and insects) contain DHA. Algae are also a source, though they are not as rich in this essential fatty acid as animal foods. Wild animals and properly raised, domesticated animals are the best sources of DHA.

 

THE TRUTH ABOUT BAD EATING HABITS

Limiting kids’ food choices with a limited menu is harboring picky eating. If we don’t prejudge what our kids are eating when we give them the opportunity to eat junk, more often than not they’ll go for it. Small children pick up very quickly on the signals we give them. Tell them they won’t like something, and they won’t like it.

When you sit down to a meal at a restaurant let them pick off you or your partners plates. They’ll get to try new things and explore what they like and don’t like. So, the next time you go to a restaurant and sit down to a seafood dinner or grass-fed steak while your child gets something from the kids’ menu, realize that that meal is stunting the growth and development of their brain. Remember, your child should be eating the wild-caught salmon you’re ordering too. They are still developing and they need the DHA in their diet to form a healthy central nervous system. Without realizing, we are feeding our children large amounts of omega-6-rich foods. In turn, we’re setting them up for poor performance at an early age.

This post appeared here for Paleo on the Go

PORTION SIZE… HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?

How do you know how much to eat? Being satisfied with a meal has become synonymous with eating one plate highly piled, a sigh of relief when we’re full then making a little extra room for a something sweet after no matter what. However, eating this way we’re neglecting what we need. Getting in numerous calories and consuming above and beyond our nutrients needs is taking its toll.

We’ve outsourced our appetite. We watch people cook more than we cook ourselves. We can hunt and gather instantly with the movement of two fingers on a device much closer than our farmers markets or even the short walk to our fridge. We seek permission from food marketers and advertisers on how many carbs, proteins and fats to consume. Which ultimately leads to weight gain because we’ve eaten more energy than we’ve expended. Something is causing us to eat more food than we need. What has happened?

 

TAKE NUTRITION INTO YOUR OWN HANDS

Food isn’t optional. It’s our responsibility. There’s no advertiser or marketing department to give nutritional wisdom unique to each person to the medical curriculum. Doctors already have to go to school forever to be able to recognize an emergency, as well as the rarest of all pathologies, in all humans. It’s ridiculous to expect the medical community to also be responsible for learning math and physics in addition to biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and how to deal with humans in pain. It’s time to give them a break and take some personal responsibility.

Getting back to the basics, that’s exactly what we need: basics before processed foods, what we need before what we want, or even what we think we want because chances are we’re addicted to those foods. Portioning your foods in relation to each other and in variety could be the healthiest thing you could do for your longevity.

 

GETTING BACK TO THE FOOD BASICS

Since a lot of us are sugar detoxing, it’s safe to say we all pretty much know we’ve got a problem with sugar in our diet. Recent research and mainstream media have condemned it to be probably our biggest disease indicator. We all feel so much better when we finally get sugar balanced in our body! However, it’s not so much that we’ve consumed too much sugar in general. It’s also that we’ve consumed too many carbs, which has logically lead us to believe that we should cut all carbs. But we need carbohydrates. The problem is rather all the food that we eat that causes a blood sugar spike; processed foods, conventional dairy and food sensitivities as well as the stress in our lives all cause blood sugar spikes.

Grains are a big blood sugar spiker too, especially when they’re refined into flours. They’re taking the place of other foods and we’re missing the necessary diversity our brains are wired to seek for micronutrients needed to fuel our bodies optimally. For instance, for dinner you’re making a spaghetti bolognese. Instead of using processed wheat pasta, try zucchini ribbons to accommodate your veggie needs rather than fill your body with empty calories.

 

THE PROBLEM WITH PACKAGED AND PROCESSED FOODS

Convenience, packaged and processed food adds sugar and “franken-fats” or trans fats to our diet. So much of what’s wrong with the SAD (Standard American Diet) is that many of the foods our bodies weren’t ever meant to digest, so they’re just stored until a time they can be sorted out, which for many is never. This raises the question on what about healthy fats? The best advice in searching for them is that fats store toxins so it’s a good rule of thumb to choose the most pristine source you can; namely pastured, organic and grass fed.

Finally proteins, which like healthy fats, are only as good as their source. We are what we eat eats. So, make sure what you don’t consume meat being fed grains, processed, sugar laden and “franken-fat” shelf stable choices you yourself are avoiding.

 

THE PALEO RULE OF THUMB FOR FATS, CARBS AND PROTEINS

pretty brunette eating saladA great starting principle is 40:30:30 (carbs: fats: proteins) of your plate, where most of your carbs come from green leafy vegetables (and a few starches like sweet potatoes as sides now and then); your proteins from pasture raised and organic when possible; your healthy fats from the most pristine sources. However, this is just a start. You need to learn what your body likes and how food makes you feel. Try keeping a food diary for at least a week and track your feelings after eating: you know your body better than anyone.

 

  • Excess fats/ proteins – leave you feeling lethargic, ‘heavy’
and sleepy and with a dull mood
  • Excess carbohydrates – leave you feeling headache-y, jittery and jumpy in the mind or with brain fog, nervous/anxious and tired, and you seem to get hungry quickly

 

When we eat right for our unique needs, our energy is restored. It’s a good, lasting, sense of energy not a physical fullness accompanied with an inability to think clearly or quickly. Take control of your own plate and portion up your carbs, proteins and fats to your needs. If you eat the right balance and variety of a bit of everything, your body will tell you when it’s time to put down the knife and fork. And you’ll be a lot happier and healthier for it.

This post appeared here for Paleo on the Go

Ok so, unfortunately there’s not just one solution to solve all tantrums. But there’s one problem you can definitely cross off the list by using a simple solution: the typical toddler diet.

SOLVING TODDLER TANTRUMS WITH A PALEO DIET

 

When we look at the effects of typical toddler diets high in sugar, anti-nutrient containing foods, chemicals and GMOs, it’s no wonder kids have sky rocketing problems with learning, attention, anxiety, depression, sensory processing, emotion and mood.

Getting your toddler off the chemical and sugar roller coaster, or better yet, not starting them on it, can be one of the best parenting solutions for tantrums. Research shows some newborns are born with as many as 200 chemicals already in their little bodies. That’s a lot to start. Not to mention, the presence of arsenic and GMOs in a number of baby food products. The one thing parents have complete control over is the food our growing babies receive. Simply, here’s the straightforward relationship: food affects feelings and feelings affect behavior. Changing a child’s food can alter mood and attitude.

AVOID THESE FOODS TO AVOID TANTRUMS

Avoid refined flour and sweeteners as well as all carb meals and snacks. Regularly including protein and veggies can help a child focus, lower blood sugar levels, eliminate mood swings and defuse rage. The latter is especially important in young toddlers who can’t express their emotions well, which leads to tantrums.

TAKE THE SUGAR OUT, PUT THE PROTEIN AND FAT IN

Sugar isn’t just sugar. Commonly consumed carbs like refined grains and beans particularly, are hard to digest and can block the digestive tract, which stresses little bodies and causes blood sugar responses to the stress. Instead focusing on wise carbs: leafy greens, vegetables, seeds, nuts and fruits as your main source of carbohydrates as they pack great nutrition and fiber but don’t spike your blood sugar.

REGULAR MEALS AND MINI MEALS

Going too long without food can negatively affect hormones and brain chemicals. Though it’s best to avoid grazing constantly, children need meals more frequently. Children should have regular snack intervals, typically every three hours, to keep energy even and minds alert. Snacking reduces incidence of tantrums.

However, snacking doesn’t mean treats and processed foods, which are generally refined flour and processed sugar. Along with sodas and missed meals, they activate the worst of what sugar sensitivity sets up. The drop in blood sugar can lead to a meltdown. Mini meals are best made of animal protein, fat and wise carbs. Here’s a few examples:

  • Beef snack sticks. Pemmican (meat based power bar) and pepperoni. Source and processing is everything!
  • Pre soaked homemade nut butters and apples and celery
  • Raw cheese chunks
  • Raw cottage cheese and diced fruit or peas and diced chicken
  • Deviled eggs
  • Apple walnut chickens and avocado salad.
  • Juice is just an illusion of healthfulness; it’s basically liquid candy. Even organic juice is still mostly sugar, lacking fiber, enzymes and nutrients of whole fruits.

Part of your baby’s burgeoning independence is learning about himself, his personality, his likes and dislikes including food and things related to feeding. Instead, a diet based on Paleo real food values means your toddlers are more likely to have better dispositions and less likely to have excessive mood swings and behavioral outburst. You’ll fight tantrums by removing things he doesn’t need and instead give him things his body is thriving to explore so he can channel his independence in a different direction.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Most of us should eat less sugar, and that goes for kids too. We need to get balance back in everyone’s diets.

In a perfect world we’d try and avoid giving our baby a sweet tooth, yet we are born with a preference for sugar: breast milk is full of milk sugar. But sugar in its white, processed versions and genetically modified syrups, sweeteners and grains, wreak havoc, especially in little bodies. It creates inflammation, disrupting blood sugar levels, causing weight gain as well as mood and behavior changes.

We could probably all do with a Sugar Detox of some kind, but this should never be about quitting sugar good for you or your kids. Carbohydrates, sugar and starch in their natural forms; fruits and vegetables for example are vital for the function of our cells. Fructose and sucrose in the right balance are actually good for maintaining blood sugar levels. Sugar and starch are absolutely vital in replenishing glycogen after exercise, which hopefully your little ones are getting plenty of.

REMOVING SUGAR CAN BE DANGEROUS

Candy_in_Damascus

Removing entire food groups from anyone’s diet is dangerous. From vegetarians and vegans to low fat to protein only advocates; there’s no need to add low- to no- sugar and it’s impact to that list. There’s a scientific reason for this too; in the beginning after giving up “carbs” your body will use fat and protein as energy.  Once the excess is gone and your body thinks that there is a lack of something and that it might be starving, it will use adrenalin as its energy source. Then it will start taking energy by breaking down muscle and borrowing from other systems in the body. There is a huge amount of confusion for the hormonal, endocrine and adrenal systems, least of all these systems as they develop in your little ones. It’s all about the balance and we all need it back.

While parents should be trying to form healthy eating habits for their little ones as they introduce a variety of foods, what if outside influences have already made your kids little sugar addicts? There are surefire ways to get them off their blood sugar roller coaster.

HOW TO START BREAKING THE SUGAR ADDICTION

boy-358296_960_720Every meal should contain Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. Even snacks. These three macronutrients work together to give us energy, reacting off each other to break down into nutrients each cell can use. This is the point of food in the first place.

Ethical and sustainably farmed meats and their fats contain vital amino acids needed to create muscles, brain function and repair the breaking down of tissue and keep inflammation at a low. There is no plant food that contains all 9 amino acids, nor has there ever been a tribe or culture on the planet that did not consume animal products in some form. Healthy fats are a part of every cell in our body, each cell is surrounded by a lipid (fat) bilayer. Our brain is about 70% fat, and in a developing little brain that’s more than essential. Sugars and starches help replenish glycogen after vibrant toddler exercise and learning, enabling them to have energy and to repair broken down muscle tissue.
Some ways to start gradually ousting refined, and rebalancing whole sugars in your kids’ diet are:

  • Start with removing all added sugar.
  • Then reduce, with the aim to remove, processed foods from your kitchen. If you don’t offer it, they won’t eat. Use whole food sweeteners and even then sparingly. http://blog.paleoonthego.com/baby-led-paleo/
  • Encourage whole food mini meals and snacks ensuring little bodies don’t go too long in between meals. Avoid high-sugar snacks like rusks, biscuits and cakes; they’re sweet and low in nutrients and health (http://blog.paleoonthego.com/grains-arsenic-no-babies-dont-mix/). Try healthier finger foods, like berries with nut butters, avocado wedges, plantain chips you can easily roast crisp yourself.
  • Let them drink water not juice or soda. Flavor with a few strawberries or other fruit slices for color and taste.
  • Incorporate naturally sweet whole foods in main meals that are less deleterious to nutrition than processed refined sugars, like carrots, beets, parsnips, onions, fennel; experiment and let them tell you which is sweetest.
  • Add farmers markets to weekend adventuring. Show your kids where food comes from and that fresh is best; let them grow their own if you’ve the room or window ledge patience.
  • Cook meals from scratch and involve your kids in carefully cutting and preparing their own if they’re interested
  • Don’t cut out desserts completely, they’re still a treat and there are loads of alternatives (http://www.paleoonthego.com/chocolate-chip-cookies-2-cookies)
  • Keep trying; they will eventually learn to enjoy newer foods. Oh and the younger they are the quicker they learn to like less sugary tastes.

Remember: One kid’s food is another kid’s poison and change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens by building up habits. Especially in kids who are building new neural pathways in their brains faster than any time in their lives. That also means that every day we’re offering our kids real whole foods, we’re flexing their nutrient building little bodies better than ever before.

 

This post appeared here for Paleo on the Go

 

Day to day, a little ‘bad’ food won’t send most healthy people to the hospital. However, over time the more the body is taxed by external toxins, the more difficult it becomes to recover and function optimally. Your system just stops working as well as it should – fatigue sets in, hair and skin may look dull, sleep suffers and it becomes difficult to lose weight. Or the worse case scenario, you just seem to be putting it on despite your best efforts. You don’t feel or look your best. So, what gives?

WHERE DOES WEIGHT GO WHEN I LOSE IT?

First let’s consider where weight goes when we lose it. Trust me. It’s got a lot to do with why we gain weight! We talk a lot about dieting to restrict calories and “burning off” fat. However, converting fat into energy is a violation of the law of conservation of mass. People may even think, perhaps the fat is somehow excreted or even converted to muscle. Or perhaps we never lose our fat cells (adipose) once we gain them…they just shrink if you work it off? What’s truly the right answer (which matters because it’s the reason we gain weight!)?

The correct answer is that most of the mass is breathed out as carbon dioxide. Yup, it goes up in thin air. Excess carbs and proteins are converted into chemical compounds called triglycerides (which consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) and then stored in the lipid droplets of fat cells. To lose weight, you’re attempting to metabolize those triglycerides, and that means unlocking the carbon that’s stored in your fat cells. Losing 10 kilograms of human fat requires the inhalation of 29 kilograms of oxygen, producing 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water. That’s the metabolic fate of fat.

SO IT TURNS OUT THAT MAYBE BREATHING A LOT IS THE KEY!

Which brings us to what makes us gain weight? And yup, you know it’s going to be about breathing a lot, or rather, not enough, and all the way down to the level of the cell. The truth is, we gain weight because we’re cellularly sedentary: just like not exercising, we’re not letting our cells breath or be used as they should. Our weight then is not a problem, rather our body’s solution to something going amiss at the level of the cell, a lot of cells.

We are all organisms, made up of organ systems, composed of organs. Our organs are a collection of tissues combined from cells (who basic building block are the nutrients we eat). Nutrient deficiency leads to cellular inefficiency, which follows onto organ inefficiency. From here, our body’s natural, 24-hour detox is impaired (where our cells are so fatigued that repair and rebuilding capacity is reduced), further organ impairment results in an inability to repair and rebuild (degeneration), leading to organ/system dysfunction, subclinical (meaning without pain) symptoms and eventually disease ‘happens’. This is often all we see, as symptoms, and all we treat but as you can see it’s not even the tip of the iceberg of what’s really wrong. We are only as healthy as our cells, and their basic building blocks are the nutrients we feed them in the right proportions, specific to each individual body.

TWO THINGS THAT OFTEN CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN EXPLAINED:

fat and skinny woman in black bathing suitPost pregnancy – is all about hormones, but mainly oxytocin, the love hormone, and a flood of it. Hormones are great if they’re made well, used efficiently and removed after use. However, if the liver cannot get rid of excess used hormones, because it’s overloaded with excess sugar removal or one of the other 500 tasks it does, then those hormones, specialized cells, need to be stored somewhere until they can be and that’s usually as adipose tissue (fat).

Beer belly – beer is at its simplest, super refined sugar and wheat (or other grains). Both of these are pretty much toxins, requiring more nutrients to remove than they give our body for energy and can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut is a widening of the cells of the stomach wall allowing bigger undigested food particles thru to the blood causing an immune reaction. The reason the cell gap widens is that your body needs nutrition no matter what you give it and these hard to digest foods are simply pulled thru no matter the gap size! Inflammation, bloating and a host of other issues ensue, as well as weight gain.

TWO THINGS YOU COULD DO TO IMPROVE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS:

Digest optimally. We can have all the best intentions eating the very best food but unless you can digest it it’s just going to remain good, undigested intentions. But digestion is surely something that just happens right? The truth is that most of us eat on the run or stressed and digestion requires an unstressed state metabolically to function. Next most of us are chronically dehydrated and we need water for digestion, especially for the digestion of carbs.

Balance it. The truth is you know your body better than anyone and recognizing that food has immediate and lasting effects on your energy and mood is so important. It can help you make the best nutrition choices for your body. Nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance. We’re realizing more and more how much too much sugar for instance affects us, but likewise other toxins, and sugar, cost your body nutrients that should be going to other cells for health! Your choices in what and how you eat three times a day could well be the simplest key to your health (and weight maintenance) right the way to level of each cell getting the nutrients it needs to breath right and make energy.

WHAT’S THE ANSWER TO WEIGHT GAIN?

So what makes us gain weight? Well if anyone tells you there’s one diet or one reason they’re either misguided or selling something or both. Our weight is not a problem, rather our body’s solution, a highly individualized response by cells so fatigued that repair and rebuilding capacity is reduced to sluggishness and storage for later. You can see the answer is really highly individual: what and how we eat and digest and absorb to the level of the cell. The way to weight maintenance – loss or gain – is through balancing the foundation for your health from the inside, to the level of the cell. Honestly, that starts with food, with Paleo real food values.

This post appeared here for Paleo on the Go

GRAINS AND GUT HEALTH

You’ve probably heard that elimination of grains is a major step in reclaiming the health of your gut. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity diagnoses have risen at least four-fold since the 1950’s, and there is a growing body of research that suspects that gluten (and other grains) can cause harm even in individuals who don’t show signs of sensitivity. The truth is that all those “heart-healthy” grains are the hardest food for a human to digest. Grains can deplete nutrients, cause weight gain and infertility, and they do not have the nutritional profile they’ve promised. It makes much more sense to get your nutrients from foods like veggies, fruits, proteins and healthy fats, which offer nutrients without the drawbacks.

Since there is a potential for harm when eating gluten and grains, keeping grains out of our cooking makes food suitable not just for celiac patients but (of course) for everybody else. Food suitable for everyone has to be a winner right? However, eating the basics may seem a little boring if you’re not mixing it up. This is where dietary restrictions can become culinary opportunities. Add the necessary variety that may be missing using the following five guidelines.

5 GUIDELINES TO MAKING DIETARY RESTRICTIONS BECOME CULINARY OPPORTUNITIES

  • BASICS BEFORE THE SUPER FOODS

There are three macronutrients that should make up our diet; fats, proteins, and carbs, in that order. We should be sure to include each in every meal. Each macronutrient helps the other digest and assimilate the nutrients your body needs. Each one also has a role to play in building your body. Try planning your meals starting with the veggies you’ll have. Plan out the fats you’ll use to cook them in, like pastured butter (ghee) or coconut oil. Finally choose the protein you’ll add at the end. Choosing from the very best source (pastured, organic, hormone and GMO free) and process (not ultra heated, pressurized or shelf stable) for each of these goes without saying.

  • MIX IT UP WITH GRAIN-FREE FLOURS

View dietary requirements as an opportunity to get new ingredients in old favorites. As soon as we eliminate grains in our cooking, we tend to overdo things like almonds in flour (remember when nuts were bad). Everything in moderation sounds like trying to stop the good stuff, but the truth is, variety is key. Eliminating grains from your pantry could instead mean adding variety through the use of other flours like cassava, arrowroot, chestnut, coconut, lucuma powder, plantain flour, or sweet potato flour. So even your grain-free flours are free-able! Baking this way also means everything is sugar free, unless you add a natural sweetener. When you cook from scratch every ingredient matters.

  • TRANSFORMING YOUR VEGGIES

Of the hundreds of veggies available, the average person eats just 5-7 different vegetables, per week! How many do you eat a week? Keep a list going on the fridge and challenge yourself. Are your veggies boring? Transform them: grated carrots, zucchini ribbons, and radish swirls all add flavor-packed oomph to meals. Spiralizers or slicers are great tools for transforming your vegetables. However, if you’re not interested in purchasing new kitchen utensils, use a cheese grater on all kinds of root vegetables or turn your vegetable peeler into a “ribbon-izer.” Serve zucchini ribbons or shredded carrots under meatballs or toss them in pesto like pasta. It’s delicious and adds flare to your dishes.kale salad in wooden blowl

  • RAW GARNISHES

Gluten and grains add a lot of soft, chewy and crunchy textures to our food and in eliminating them we often eliminate textures that make our food more satisfying from a texture standpoint. Add texture, crunch and color using flowers, pickles, baby lettuces, lacto-ferment cucumber pickles made with lemon juice, dehydrate vegetables like fennel, cabbage, and lotus root as crunchy toppings.

  • EXPLORE

There are lots of great resources for grain-free eating out there on the web and in bookstores. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to mean cooking without a recipe: good ingredients to make great food doesn’t come cheap and waste is out of the question. Practice makes perfect so go with someone else’s tried and tested experiments. You can as also start by grain-freeing your favorite side, like cauliflower ‘rice’ or zucchini ‘pasta’.

CREATIVITY IS KEY WITH RESTRICTIVE FOOD GUIDELINES

The good news is that all your favorites are grain-free-able. And remember you’re doing more than replacing that indigestible stuff; you’re getting something far more nutrient-dense. There’s no need to feed your body something it can’t really use nor starve it of the nutrients it needs to grow, heal and let’s face it, age as gracefully as it can. The fridge is your oyster!