nutriton

Water: My #1 Nutrition Tip

Recently someone asked me what my number one nutrition tip is. You might be surprised to know that my response was to ensure that you are drinking plenty of pure, filtered water. It is super simple and this one change can provide huge benefits to you and your families.

 Believe it or not, water (hydration) is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S. today. Dehydration is a chronic problem today and many common ailments and health issues may just be your body’s way of telling you that you need to drink more! Signs that you are dehydrated may include: fatigue, anxiety, irritability, cravings, cramps, and headaches. Water plays a hugely important role in our body and how it functions – it is the primary substance and leading agent in the routine events that occur constantly in the human body and most of us do not get nearly the amount that we need to sustain proper functioning and a healthy environment.

Here are some of the roles that water plays in the body:

  • Improves oxygen delivery to cells

  • Transports nutrients throughout the body

  • Enables cellular hydration

  • Moistens oxygen for easier breathing

  • Cushions our bones and joints

  • Absorbs shock to joints and organs

  • Regulates our body temperature

  • Removes wastes

  • Flushes toxins

  • Lubricates joints

  • Empowers the body’s natural healing process

A good general baseline is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For EACH diuretic you consume (i.e. coffee, juice, teas – including herbal teas, alcohol etc.) you should add 8 – 12 ounces of water per beverage consumed.

Water Blog Post

Here are some strategies that can help you to incorporate more water into your diet:

  1. Drink an eight ounce glass of filtered water first thing in the morning and another eight ounces right before bed. Don’t incorporate more water around meals as this can hinder digestion.

  2. Add a pinch of sea salt or a squeeze or two of lemon to your water a few times per day for better assimilation of the water into your body’s cells.

  3. Get a nice looking, high quality, reusable water bottle to drink out of between meals and sip out of it all day long.

  4. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables that have a high water content. Some examples include: green leafy vegetables, cucumbers, zucchini, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and cabbage, melon, berries, and citrus fruits.

It is super important to drink water that is pure and clean. Tap water can contain contaminants such as heavy metals (like lead), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. All of these are extremely harmful to human health and can have adverse effects, especially when we consume it regularly over time. The containments in tap water have been linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems and hormone disruption. Bottled water can sometimes have fewer contaminants, but can leech estrogens and other toxins from the plastic. Bottled water also comes at a higher cost to our wallet and also to the environment. 

One would think that our federal and state agencies that regulate municipal water would be safe for human consumption and it’s true that the majority of the nation's drinking water supplies get a passing grade. However, while many of the 250-plus contaminants detected through water sampling and testing are at levels that are perfectly legal under the Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulations, they are also above levels authoritative scientific studies have found to pose health risks. In addition, much like the personal care products industry, the criteria to be considered safe is quite outdated. The Environmental Protection Agency hasn't added any new contaminants to the list of regulated drinking water pollutants in more than 20 years. Basically there are no legal limits for the more than 160 unregulated contaminants found in tap water throughout the U.S.

To learn about the quality of the tap water you are drinking, I recommend that you research your municipality’s tap water. It can be expensive up front, but purchasing a filtration system for both your kitchen sink and your showers or even a whole-house filter is an investment in your household’s health. The health benefits from drinking pure, clean water and the potential for lower medical expenses, will more than make up for the cost of your system. At minimum, look for a filter that has been certified by the independent testing group NSF.

 Aim for at least one of the following as any filter is better than no filter:

  • Pitcher: Removes some contaminants but usually not heavy metals or chlorine

  • Faucet-mounted: Can remove most major contaminants

  • Counter top:  Can remove most major contaminates

  • Under the sink: These are usually reverse osmosis filter-based and typically remove the most contaminants. They can often remove the good minerals found in water, but some of them actually ADD minerals back in.

  • Shower/bath: Our skin absorbs contaminants too and these contaminants are even more volatile in hot, steamy environments. These types of filters are usually pretty affordable and easy to install.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!

Sources/products to check out:

Give Your Body An Oil Change

Using the right oils for cooking and consumption is one of the easiest way to improve your overall health. Oils and fats are not all created equal. Some are natural and nutrient dense.  Others are man made and toxic to our bodies. Some are robust and can stand up to high heat, others are fragile and breakdown easily, causing them to lose all of their nutritional properties.

In the U.S., butter, lard and tallow were the primary cooking fats for generations. In the early twentieth century, this all changed when artificial trans fats were invented for mass-production and the convenience market. One hundred years later, when trans fats were finally deemed unsafe, industrially processed seed oils (also known as vegetable oils) took their place in processed foods given their mass-production appeal. These oils are even worse for us than their predecessors.

These man made oils, including canola (or rapeseed), soybean, sunflower safflower, corn and cottonseed do not easily convert to an oil form. They come from tough seeds and legumes that were originally grown for industrial use. Their consumable form is only achieved through an incredible amount of processing, often times using harsh, petroleum-based chemicals to bring them to a consumable form and to extend their shelf life. They are toxic and inflammatory to the human body, especially when heated, as they degrade and release volatile toxic compounds into the air and our food. Consumption of these compounds has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, digestive distress, kidney and liver issues, cancer, neurological problems and more.

Olive Oil.jpg

As a society, we are consuming so many of these oils (which are higher in omega-6 fatty acids) that our ratios of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids are out of balance. While both sources are important for optimal health, most of us don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids. These are the fats which promote healthy cells and hormones, are anti-inflammatory and decrease risk of stroke and heart attack. Although we do need omega-6 fatty acids to maintain cell wall integrity, for brain function, muscle growth and hormone production, too much omega-6 fatty acids over omega-3 can increase inflammation in the body.

By reducing your reliance of processed foods you will automatically avoid many of these oils and help to bring your omega-3 / omega-6 ratio closer to balance. I know this is easier said than done given they are in countless processed and packaged foods and even in freshly prepared foods at the most high end grocery stores and restaurants. Almost all brands of bottled salad dressings and jarred mayonnaise contain at least one of these notorious oils as do chips, crackers, breads, baked goods and beyond. At home, try making your own vinaigrette or look for the Primal Kitchen brand or others that contain only olive or avocado oil listed in the ingredient list. 

What else can you do?  Cooking at home is the best way to control the oils you are consuming. Check out my Fats & Oils Cheat Sheet here (link coming soon). If you eat out regularly, it will be a bit more challenging to reduce your exposure to industrial seed oils, but it is not impossible. Avoid fast food restaurants, and especially fried foods as often as possible and don’t be shy about inquiring about how things are cooked or prepped. You can always ask to have your meal prepared without cooking oils or with olive oil or butter instead. I often times will bring along a small (travel sized) bottle of high quality olive oil with me and ask for vinegar or lemons to dress salads. Depending on where you live, you may find that more restaurants are cooking with better quality oils as people become more educated about this topic. Do some research and find some go to healthy spots in your neighborhood or town or a place that you are travelling to. Your body will thank you.  

 

Sources:

 

 

 

All About Nutritional Therapy

What Is Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional Therapy is a holistic approach to wellness.  It is a practice rooted in the philosophy that many of the health problems plaguing us today is a direct result of weaknesses in our body’s physiological foundations brought on by poor nutrition.

Nutritional Therapists study at the Nutritional Therapy Association, a school dedicated to helping individuals and healthcare professionals understand and reverse the tragic and unsuspected effects of the modern diet on our families, patients, and clients.

We are unique in that we are trained to identify dysfunction in the body and address the root cause of imbalances through nutrition and lifestyle changes, while respecting the bio-individuality of each person. To be clear, we do not diagnose or treat disease or illness. We do look at the body as a whole, using qualitative and quantitative tools as well as a hands-on assessment to identify and help correct nutritional imbalances in five foundations of health: hydration, digestion, blood sugar balance, fatty acids, and mineral balance. Through whole food nutrition in addition to herbs and supplements (if needed), we aim to support the foundations of health and assist your body’s natural healing process to help you achieve optimal long-term health.  Your nutritional therapy plan will be unique to you and your needs.

Who Should See A Nutritional Therapist?

Nutritional therapy is appropriate for anyone who wants to feel their best or live a healthier life but it can also be useful for people needing healing from or experiencing:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fertility
  • Prenatal and postpartum
  • Adrenal health
  • Digestion & gut healing
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Pre-diabetes and diabetes
  • Skin conditions
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Children and family health
Photo: Madeline May Photography

Photo: Madeline May Photography

What Can You Expect?

We ask you to complete a food-and-mood journal to evaluate your current diet and to help you to be more mindful about the foods you are eating and the connection to how they make you feel. You will also fill out a questionnaire that goes deep into determining how body is functioning. We then perform a functional evaluation (if seeing you in person) to help assess how well specific systems and organs are functioning, and where there may be dysfunction (i.e. adrenals, parts of digestion, thyroid).

The functional evaluation is a hands-on process helping us to identify organs or systems under stress. We palpate a series of points correlating to specific organs or systems in the body. You rate these points on a tenderness scale. Each client’s baseline is different and custom to their own body, but allows us to connect directly with the body’s innate response to help determine your best nutritional therapy protocol.

We then use lingual-neuro testing, a valuable biofeedback tool that enables us to determine what (if any) therapeutic supplementation your body may need. It taps into the body’s ability to discriminate between what it needs, and what it doesn't, in order to correct a specific problem or imbalance, for example, a weak organ or a nutritional deficiency. This simple and effective technique helps provide you with a personalized nutritional therapy and supplement plan to support your health journey.

Why Nutritional Therapy?

Nutritional therapy needs to be a priority. Chronic disease is a growing public health crisis and is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. today. It is hurting our quality of life and the lives of our children and it is only going to get worse if we don’t do something about it. Most of these illnesses can be avoided altogether by simple diet and lifestyle changes. Nutritional Therapists like me can help you to bring your body into a state of balance so that you can live a long, healthy life. What are YOU waiting for?    

Break Up With Diet Culture

Diet culture is something that is all around us yet most of us don’t think about it specifically or even know what it is. It feels normal to us even though it is anything but.  Diet culture exists because our society values the number on the scale over health and longevity. It sends the message that restrictive eating through calorie deficits and the elimination of food groups, or whatever fad diet is in favor will help us to lose weight and therefore make us happier and healthier. It also tells us that the more we work out and the harder we work out, the more likely we are to have six pack abs. It reinforces the belief that if you are thin and or appear fit that you are a happier person. Diet culture is black and white – putting foods into buckets labeled good or bad with the aim of creating shame in our minds so that we continue purchase products and services that will give us that “bikini body”, help us get our body back after having a baby, or give us the energy of our youth.

This culture wants us to be in the cycle of wanting to lose weight and trying to keep it off, hating our bodies and shaming ourselves, it wants us to feel like a failure or worthless when a “diet” isn’t working. They want us to spend more money on the next diet, supplement or workout program. We can choose not to engage in this cycle, but it is dificult because it is so engrained in our society today. We deserve better.

Diet Culture

 

Here are some strategies to help you reframe your thoughts and allow you to take charge of your mindset around health, while allowing you to stop feeding into, and thereby supporting diet culture: 

1. Instead of labeling foods as good or bad or eliminating certain foods just because you believe they are too high in fat, carbs or calories, try to think about all foods as neutral and really pay attention to how they make you feel.  Are these foods working for you, nourishing you and making you feel good? Stop reading labels for recommendations on how much you should be eating and eat what feels right to you, when it feels right and the amount that will nourish and sustain you. Aim to push out the guilt and anxiety associated with former “bad” foods. So long as the bulk of your meals are based on whole foods with lots of organic greens and vegetables (fiber), high quality proteins and healthy fats and you are feeling well generally, you can still enjoy some of the foods that our diet culture associates with guilt, shame or whatever else they have come up with to manipulate our thinking.

2. Stop exercising for punishment or to negate something that you ate and consider how exercise makes you feel. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t negate something you ate with running ten miles or taking two hours of spin class.  We have very little control over our actual metabolic rate. While our food intake accounts for 100 percent of the energy that we take into our bodies, exercise burns off only somewhere between ten and thirty percent depending on a variety of factors at that time. It is pretty hard to erase your diet with hours on the treadmill and it isn’t worth the time or the hardship to your body. More exercise isn’t always better.  In fact, most of the time it introduces more stress to your body. Over time the behavior of using exercise as punishment for poor dietary decisions can be extremely detrimental to your heath and your mindset.  Exercise should be something that brings you joy and should be used as a tool to make you feel strong in your body, have more energy and confidence and add to your health and well being. So seek out the forms of exercise that you enjoy and do them because you care about your body

3. Let go of the idea that the number on the scale or your clothing size determines your worth, capabilities, health or happiness. Diet culture will tell you time and time again to follow a specific plan and you will lose weight and therefore be a happier person. There are unhappy people at all sizes and your worth and capabilities in any capacity are not tied to your weight or how you look in a bathing suit.  This is a big one, especially with postpartum women. As new moms we often feel like we have to get our bodies back and in short order. Why?  Because in diet culture, we are made to feel that we are not ourselves until we can successfully fit into our old clothes and have the same body that we had before having children.  When you really think about it, is that even rational? Pregnant or not, our bodies change over time depending on our lifestyles, stress levels and seasons of life. A mother’s body should be celebrated for having the strength and amazing ability to carry a life, give birth and nourish that life. It is normal to not look the same afterwards because let’s face it, we are not the same afterwards.  Your body never goes away it just changes with your experience, just like it does with other life experiences.

When you stop spending so much time stressing about your weight and focus on living your life – spending time with your children, nourishing yourself with foods that make you feel good, move your body as we are designed to, and do things for yourself that bring you joy and peace, you may just find that you are happier.  You may never again fall into the trap of dieting and over-exercising only to fail and feel bad enough about yourself to do it again and again.

There are so many other ways that diet culture infiltrates the messaging we see all around us.  I could go on about this forever so I picked a few of the common themes I see. I hope this post helps you to think about how diet culture has influenced you over the years, what you can do minimize its harmful effects and move forward in a more positive way that can help your own health and mindset.  Hopefully over time the power that diet culture has over our society will diminish or even go away completely.

Let’s make it happen!