Education

kale vs. candy

Kale vs. Candy

Can you be healthy simply by limiting calories? Or does the type of food you eat matter? In a kale vs. candy debate, Dr. Mark Hyman, founder and director of the UltraWellness Center, discusses how calories from refined carbohydrates react differently in your body that calories from nutrient dense food. Here is his view.

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

If managing weight were as simple as calories in and calories out, we’d all be at our ideal weight.

But it’s clear that’s not the case, since nearly 40% of our population is obese, and  2 out of 3 adults in the US is either overweight or obese. That’s because food is more than just calories. Food is information that our cells need to function. You metabolism uses that information to either run efficiently or sluggishly trudge along.

One of the biggest food lies of all time is that all calories are created equal. Even a child could tell you that the calories you get from kale are going to have a completely different impact on your body than calories from candy.

Let’s look at what those calories from candy actually do to your body:

How Candy Impacts Your Body

When you eat candy, processed and refined carbs (such as bread or cereal) or even fruit juices, your gut quickly absorbs the fiber-free sugars, fructose, and glucose. These spike your blood sugar. Now, your body starts a cascade of hormonal responses that kick bad biochemistry into gear. The first hormone to go askew is insulin, which rockets in response to high blood sugar. Did you know that high insulin increases storage of belly fat, increases inflammation, and raises triglycerides. Not only that, it also lowers HDL, raises blood pressure, lowers testosterone in men, and contributes to infertility in women.

Insulin increases your appetite because it changes your brain chemistry. It blocks your appetite-control hormone leptin. So, the brain never gets the “I’m full” signal. Instead, it thinks you are starving. Since sugar triggers your pleasure-based reward center,  you consume even more sugar, fueling your sugar addiction.

There’s another issue when we examine kale vs. candy. Today, many processed foods are might not only with sugar, but also with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose just makes matters worse. It goes right to your liver, where it starts manufacturing fat. These fat stores in the liver make it insulin resistant, triggering even higher blood insulin levels. Then, chronically high insulin drives your body to store everything you eat as even more belly fat. You also get a fatty liver, which generates more inflammation. Chronic inflammation causes still more weight gain and diabetes/obesity.

Another problem with fructose is that it doesn’t send feedback to the brain to signal that a load of calories just hit the body. Nor does it reduce ghrelin, the appetite hormone that is usually reduced when you eat real food, like kale.

How Kale Works In Your Body

Kale is rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates and sugar. You have to eat a buckets of leafy greens to reach the same amount of calories that just one small bag of candy provides. Thanks to kale’s fiber, you get full long before that ever happens.

When you eat a nice hearty helping of kale, there is no blood sugar spike, and no insulin rush. That means there is no fatty liver, and no hormonal chaos. The fiber causes your stomach to distend, sending signals to your brain that you are full. Kale does not trigger the addiction reward center in the brain. It helps optimize metabolism, lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammation, and boosts detoxification from all the phytonutrients it offers.

Quality Matters in Kale vs. Candy

Remember that in the kale vs. candy debate, eating well isn’t just about calories. Quality matters, too. Real foods like colorful vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, healthy fats (like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, etc.), gluten-free whole grains, legumes, and responsibly sourced animals proteins and seafood give your cells the information they need to function at their very best.

So choose kale vs. candy; focus on quality more than quantity. It will change your relationship to food. Your health will thank you.

Wishing you health and happiness,

Dr. Mark Hyman, MD

Pre-diabetes, like an iceberg, holds dangerous risk

Dangerous Risk

An iceberg is a dangerous risk because of what you don’t see. Likewise with pre-diabetes. Today, more than 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but most of them don’t know it.

Are You Pre-Diabetic?

You can take a one-minute quiz to find out if you have certain risk factors for pre-diabetes. But, the biggest factor – the one not in any assessment – is eating a Standard American Diet.

Setting risk aside, here are some actual symptoms of pre-diabetes:

  • a waist that bulges over your belt a little
  • difficulty losing weight
  • rising triglyceride levels
  • a high blood pressure reading
  • inability to free yourself from sugar or carb cravings
  • chronic tiredness, especially after meals
  • facial hair or gestational diabetes (female) or low testosterone (male)
  • irritability, especially if meals are delayed
  • memory issues

You only have to experience one of two of these symptoms to be pre-diabetic.

Why is Pre-Diabetes a Dangerous Risk?

Pre-Diabetes heightens your risk for heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, that is not the biggest concern. “Pre-diabetes is not ‘pre’ anything,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution. “It is a deadly disease.” This disease causes organ damage every second it goes untreated, including injury to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

How to Escape This Dangerous Risk

You may hear this advice from a doctor or dietician: first, eat right; second, exercise; and third, lose weight. That sounds great! However, eating the highly-touted low-fat diet in many cases increases triglyceride levels even more. Further, you have difficulty losing weight and are too tired to exercise because you’re pre-diabetic (see symptoms above). Like the Titanic, you seem to be sinking hopelessly.

Luckily, Nutritional Therapy Practitioners work from the inside out. Our focus is to reverse, not just treat, the condition. We make sure you can absorb the nutrients from your food and that you have high quality nutrients available to you. This foundational work gives you energy to exercise. Our therapy also balances your body so that it sheds its excess pounds naturally, even effortlessly.

If you are ready to change your life, I am ready to work with you!

feeling foggy, fatigued and inflamed

Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed

Are you feeling foggy, fatigued, and inflamed? This cluster of symptoms is common in many conditions from blood sugar imbalance to infection. But, autoimmunity is perhaps the least recognized of these conditions. So, learn to reverse and prevent autoimmunity by knowing more about brain fog, chronic fatigue, and inflammation.

Do I Have Autoimmunity if I am Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed?

Having these 3 symptoms does not mean you have an autoimmunity. For example, you can experience brain fog when your blood sugars are too high or too low. Further, you can feel fatigued because of insomnia, stress, or nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause inflammation, but only the latter is an autoimmune condition.

Although autoimmunity is difficult to diagnose, it usually causes other symptoms besides brain fog, fatigue, and inflammation. Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • forgetfulness
  • racing or fluttering heart
  • depression
  • digestive issues

In addition, many who suffer from autoimmune conditions complain of:

  • swollen glands
  • chemical sensitivities
  • food allergies
  • headaches

Why Feeling Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed is Dangerous

First, you may be oxygen-deprived if you can’t think clearly and are excessively tired. Second, your fatigue may be a sign that your immune system is not keeping up with clearing toxins from the body. Third, when your inflammation causes water retention, puffiness and pain, it suggests that you might have  gut dysfunction.  Like the tip of the iceberg, fog, fatigue, and inflammation are not the problem themselves. Together, they are the indicator that you have a bigger, deeper issue.

Clearing Your Fog, Fatigue and Inflammation

Briefly, you have to remove your triggers AND strengthen your barriers. Triggers can be:

  • Things to avoid (food and airborne allergens or emotional stressors).
  • Substances to detoxify (heavy metals).
  • Nutrients that are deficient (essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals).

Because these are so tricky to identify, you may want to work with a health practitioner to identify them.

You strengthen your barriers when you heal your gut. Start by removing the most-damaging elements: sugar, stress and environmental toxins. Then, add these Super Six Gut Enhancers:

  1. Water: Staying hydrated helps you make gastric juices and purge waste and toxins. Water aids digestion of soluble fiber, which in turn feeds your healthy gut bacteria.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients: Omega 3 Fish and Krill oils turn on anti-inflammatory processes. You might consider a high-quality fermented cod liver oil. Also, turmeric and enzymes such as bromelain and papain help turn off inflammation.
  3. Probiotics: You enhance your gut and immune system both with probiotic supplements and probiotic foods.
  4. Bone Broth: Glutamine, glycine, and cysteine are all amino acids that help rebuild your gut lining. Bone broth contains all these amino acids.
  5. Vitamin D: This essential immune-boosting vitamin has a positive effect on the good bacteria in your gut. It works best when you take it with magnesium, which may help relieve anxiety.
  6. Minerals: Zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum assist the enzymes that help you digest, detoxify, build up the gut lining, and squelch inflammation. Putting trace minerals in your drinking water helps your body absorb what it needs.
Skin tags are a sign of insulin resistance.

Insulin Grows “Funny Things”

“First you grow up, then you grow out, then you grow funny things!” That’s what my sister said to me when I observed an odd bump on her skin below her chin. She pretended to be a toad, and we all laughed. Now, I am haunted. If only we had recognized the weight gain and the skin tags as signs of insulin resistance.

I wish we had known that what heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases have in common is insulin resistance. What hope it would have given us to understand that insulin resistance can be reversed. My sister might have taken a second look at her diet. She might have made changes before the doctor found leukemia. She might have lived past 65.

It’s easy to think that diet choices don’t make a big difference in our health. One Pepsi, or one more cookie don’t matter that much. So, one pop becomes a pattern and one cookie becomes a chronic splurge. The frog is swimming in the proverbial pot and the water is hot. He is getting cooked, but he doesn’t even know it.

You cannot eat modern foods and avoid modern disease!

The first step back to better health is awareness. Please wake up to the fact that insulin resistance is the most common disorder worldwide. Roughly half of the adults in the United States are insulin resistant! You are most likely insulin resistant if you have two or more of these symptoms:

  • a waist that bulges over your belt a little
  • difficulty losing weight
  • rising triglyceride levels
  • a high blood pressure reading
  • inability to free yourself from sugar cravings
  • chronic tiredness, especially after meals
  • facial hair or gestational diabetes (female) or low testosterone (male)

Why do these symptoms matter?

According to Dr. Ronald Rosedale, a forerunner in insulin research, insulin initiates the aging process. The higher your insulin, the more susceptible you are to diseases of aging. Your quality of life is at stake. You become a candidate for migraines, early Alzheimer’s, stroke, dementia, fatty liver disease, and even osteo arthritis. The symptoms of fatigue and weight gain are only markers for serious health issues.

How can you reverse insulin resistance?

To prevent or to reverse insulin resistance, you must avoid repeated spikes of insulin throughout the day. What triggers a rush of insulin? Rising blood sugars.

So, ask yourself what increases your blood sugars. If you answered food and stress, you’re right, but let’s qualify which foods cause blood sugars to rise.

Carbs get a bad rap, but not all carbohydrates are villains. If a carbohydrate converts to glucose more slowly, it will have less impact on blood glucose levels. Therefore, eat fibrous, nutrient dense options moderated with fat or protein – such as asparagus with butter. Avoid “quick” carbs, such as white flour and white sugar products. Certainly, don’t drink your calories. Beverages are one of the top causes of high insulin. Eat whole foods, as close to nature as possible. Real food rarely comes with a bar code.

Be proactive about managing your stress, too. Did you know that just one anxiety-causing incident can raise blood sugars 200-300 mg/dl? Gary Scheiner, author of Think Like a Pancreas, details how this happened to him not only with a flat tire on his way to work, but also with a thriller movie. So, take the time to decompress. I detail 50 ways you can do this in just a minute or two in my Stress Hacks course.

Be conscientious about sufficient sleep and regular exercise as well.  Weight training and interval training are both effective ways to improve insulin sensitivity.

5-Star Breakfast with protein, fat, fiber, and antioxidants.

Do You Eat a 5-Star Breakfast?

You stay in luxury hotels, pick dentists and restaurants according to their reviews, and buy name-brand clothing. Your coffee is imported and your boots are made in America. But is your first meal of the day on par? Take this true/false quiz to find out if you eat a 5-star breakfast.

What I eat is as important as when I eat.

Breakfast isn’t just about preventing the embarrassing growls and gurgles during your team meeting. Breakfast sets your metabolism for the day and provides nutrients to keep your thinking sharp through every stressful encounter. If you grab only a muffin, cereal, or coffee, you will tank before 10 a.m. The rest of the day, you’ll be on a roller coaster. You’ll stuff quick carbs into your mouth to retrieve some energy, then hit a wall as those carbs burn out like tinder. It would almost be better to skip breakfast than to have sugar-spiking waffles and syrup. It is vital to break your fast with whole, unprocessed food.

My breakfast includes ample fiber, natural fat, amino acids and antioxidants.

You know the importance of real, nutrient-dense foods when you’re fixing a family dinner. Why should breakfast be any different? In fact, start your day with the nutrients you need for your active life, rather than fueling just before bed. Include vegetables and fruits, meat, nuts and seeds, and whole grain in your 5-star breakfast. At a loss for what to eat besides donuts? Try leftovers, or check out traditional recipes from other cultures.

I avoid anything artificial at all costs.

If you put premium gasoline in your vehicle, why do you put artificial foods, trans-fats, colors and preservatives into your menu? You cannot eat modern foods and avoid modern diseases. If you want pristine health, you must consume pristine foods. A bowl of neon-colored ground corn and partially hydrogenated oil floating in cocoa-flavored milk product with high fructose corn syrup just does not compare to blueberries, coconut, almonds, and buckwheat with an egg sunny side up.

Smoothies and oatmeal are dessert.

Yes, you put fruit and leafy greens in your smoothies. Certainly, you grab oats because they are high fiber. But have you considered that these constitute an all-carbohydrate meal, not moderated with a balance of fats and proteins? Therefore, they cause a blood sugar surge. Further, smoothies often contain several fruits, not just one, contributing to a greater blood sugar burden. When you blend them, you absorb them even more quickly. To top it off, you may sweeten your oats with various forms of sugar and fruit. While I don’t think you need to forego carbs, they don’t constitute a balanced meal!

I am free of cravings, hunger, brain fog, energy slumps, and irritability for four hours after eating.

When you feel “hangry,” experience mood swings, or run out of steam, your body is telling you it needs more nutrients. Use these cues to evaluate your meal. Did you eat a 5-star breakfast or was it only 2 stars? You can make gradual improvements by listening to your body’s signals.

How did you score?

Give yourself a star for each one of the statements you marked true. If there’s room for improvement, remember you are on a meal continuum, not a meal plan. Know that you are worth that 5-star breakfast!

Do you need some ideas on how to implement changes to your morning meal? Contact me for mentoring.

 

 

Did You Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat, and Depressed?

There is a deadly epidemic in America, and odds are that either you or your buddy has it. It is making you fat and sick, but there’s a 90% likelihood that you don’t have any idea it’s there.

I’m talking about insulin resistance, a totally reversible condition that is the single most important phenomenon leading to premature aging, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and cancer. In its early stages, it triggers weight gain, inflammation and oxidative stress, high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids, anxiety, and depression.

How Do You Know You Have It?

Key indicators of insulin resistance are:

  • difficulty losing weight
  • belly fat
  • fatigue
  • hunger
  • carb cravings
  • hormone issues
  • irritability when you don’t eat
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • water retention
  • facial hair if you are female, erectile dysfunction if you are male

If too many of these symptoms are familiar, you will want to ask your doctor for a fasting insulin blood test. If your results are double digits, you are on the path to diabesity – those metabolic issues that create diabetes and obesity, along with other chronic diseases mentioned.

In Case You Don’t Want to Be Sick, Tired, Fat and Depressed

The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible! But you need to be dedicated to all five pillars of diet and lifestyle:

  1. Choose good food. There are no if’s, but’s, or and’s about it. Sugar is out if you’re serious about getting your body’s metabolism back to healthy. Refined foods and products made with flour get the boot, too. Fill your plate half full with vegetables. The other half of your plate should be divided between good quality, lean protein and slow-burning, high fiber carbohydrates, such as berries, black or red rice, quinoa, green plantains, or cassava root. Use natural, unprocessed fats for cooking and dressing your meals. Foods that don’t require labels are best!
  2. Get plenty of sleep. Even one night of poor sleep can increase insulin resistance. You are much more prone to overeat and to have sugar cravings when you are tired, so getting 8 hours of shut-eye per night has to be a priority.
  3. Take appropriate supplements. As much as I support properly-prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food, your body may be so out of balance that it cannot heal itself without the assistance of some high-grade nutrients. It is common for individuals with insulin resistance to be deficient in vitamin D, Omega 3’s, chromium, B vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. But taking supplements is only part of the story; absorbing them is the rest. For that reason, it is critical to work with a practitioner to make sure you are getting what your body needs.
  4. Get moving. Aside from diet, exercise is probably the single best medication for insulin resistance. Start with walking for 30 minutes a day. Add in 10 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and resistance training with weights or bands as you are able. Spending hours is not important. What matters is that you work vigorously, getting your heart rate up to 70-80% of its maximum.
  5. Take time to relax! In the face of chronic stress, insulin output increases, driving insulin resistance even higher and creating even greater inflammation in your body. Passive downtime watching movies or surfing the internet is not enough. You must actively connect your body and brain to each other and to the present, through sensory stimulation, through breathing, and through mindfulness and gratitude activities. If you need some help, check out my stress hacks that can be performed in two minutes or less, anywhere, anytime!

Together, we can upset the odds. Let’s take your 50% chance of having insulin resistance down to zero!

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

A little indulgence now and then isn’t a bad thing, is it? After all, moderation is a virtue. What’s the harm in having a treat occasionally? Well, that depends on your definition of moderation.

What is Moderation?

To one person, having only 32 ounces of pop per day might sound reasonable, if they’re cutting back from consuming a 6-pack. To another person, having a dessert after dinner might seem excessive if they rarely finish any meal with a treat.

Historically, our use of sugar has climbed almost exponentially from around a few pounds per person annually 200 years ago to nearly 200 pounds per person per year today! So is moderation eating only 100 pounds in a year – a quarter of a pound per day – instead of the  half a pound we’re consuming daily? It seemed excessive  to the rest of the world when the lords and ladies of upper society were putting sugar in their tea at a rate of less than 10 pounds per year during the height of the British Empire.

No, moderation is not the answer to knowing how much sugar to eat because it is such a relative term. Perhaps it would be better to determine your use of sweeteners by whether they are damaging to your health.

Is Sugar Causing Symptoms?

There are times, I’m sure, when you know you’ve had too much sugar, because you feel wired and can’t sleep, or you have a stomach ache, or your acne flares up. But what about those symptoms you can’t see? What if the damage to your body goes undetected for 20 or 30 years? Over-consumption of sweets contributes to the following conditions that take years – sometimes decades – to manifest:

  • Food cravings, addictions, and then, sadly, intolerances.
  • Advanced Glycation End Products, often called AGE’s, which are sticky, cross-linked proteins that create brittle tissues when they are used in the formation of skin, eyes, arteries, and other body parts.
  • Insulin Resistance, an insidious disease that has been implicated in the development of obesity, heart disease, cancer, mineral deficiencies, autoimmunities, hypothyroidism, and other chronic illnesses. You can read more about Insulin Resistance here.

But if you’re eating so much now that it might be causing disease to manifest down the road, you can’t really know in the present.  Therefore, symptoms are not a good gauge of sugar consumption, either!

What If You Just Cut Back a Little?

If you suspect that your sweet tooth has grown too large, you could curtail it a bit. That’s no guarantee that the damage to your body will stop, though. Sugar acts like a drug. How much of an addictive substance can you use without affecting your physiology? There’s also the insulin resistance problem: If a mother has insulin resistance during her pregnancy, she can pass it on to her child, and if that child is female, her eggs are predisposed to insulin resistance, too! So does your cutting back a little reverse the impact of generations?

If you simply didn’t ever eat refined sugar or artificial sweeteners, you obviously wouldn’t need to ask whether you were getting too much. But would you miss it? Well, if a person never takes up gambling, smoking, or drinking, does he feel deprived of addictive behaviors? Of course not! So it is with sweets. Living life without them can be fully satisfying. But you can’t know what it’s actually like unless you do it.

The Real Question

Instead of asking, “How much sugar is too much?” isn’t it better to ask, “How little can I eat?” I challenge you to find out how good life can feel without added sugar.

Free Yourself from Fatigue with a Glucose Meter

Glucose meters aren’t just for diabetics. If your youthful energy has evaporated, and you want to feel free and easy again, you may want to monitor your blood sugars throughout the day to find out if you are suffering from insulin resistance.

How Does Insulin Resistance Cause Fatigue?

Insulin is a carrier. It transports glucose from the bloodstream to the cells to be used for energy. When insulin levels have been chronically high for extended periods of time, cells in the body “stop listening” to this messenger. There can literally be a flood of glucose in your blood, but not enough in your cells to meet all your energy demands. You feel tired, especially after meals. This causes you to want something sweet for quick energy following a meal. You feel you need dessert.

How Can a Glucose Meter Help You Identify Insulin Resistance?

When you start eating, blood sugar levels begin to rise. They peak, on average, about 60 minutes after the start of a meal. A healthy reading one hour “post-prandial” (post-meal) would ideally be no higher than 140. Diabetics are encouraged to keep this number under 180 because that’s where organ damage begins. If your post-meal reading is high, you likely have either:
  • eaten a meal that is too high in quick-absorbing carbohydrates, or
  • have insulin resistance that is keeping the glucose from leaving he bloodstream.
By two hours after a meal, blood sugar levels should be dropping, and glucose levels should should not exceed 120 at this point. The slower your readings are to drop below 100, the greater your likelihood of insulin resistance. In fact, if they don’t drop below 100 ever, then insulin resistance will most assuredly affect your health.
On the other hand, your reading can be too low. Blood sugars are generally their lowest four hours after the start of the last meal, right before the next meal. You don’t want to see anything lower than 70, as this would indicate a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) response.
You might think of hypoglycemia as a result of eating a low-carbohydrate meal. On the contrary, it is often a reaction to eating too many carbs, triggering a surge of insulin. When you eat a high-carb meal and blood sugars rise above 140, the pancreas over-compensates with a burst of insulin,  which subsequently drops the blood sugars below healthy ranges. Some individuals may experience hypoglycemia for years before insulin resistance sets in.

Use a Glucose Meter to Reverse Insulin Resistance

To avoid the damaging insulin rush, you will need to change the “glycemic load” of your meals. Basically, you have to eat foods that do not readily and rapidly convert to glucose. You can do this by adding more fiber, fat, and protein to your meal, and by switching carbs to ones with a lower glycemic load. For example, you could swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes, quinoa or brown rice for white rice, beans for pasta, fruit for soda, and oats for crackers. You can also reduce the serving size of your carbs. Fill your plate with vegetables instead of foods made from flour and processed ingredients.
You will know you have succeeded in preventing an insulin burst when your post-meal readings are within normal ranges, as noted above.

Do You Have Cellular Fatigue?

Everybody’s tired these days. It seems our memories and our nights are getting shorter and shorter. Meanwhile, our stress and our irritability are growing. As a nation, we purchase energy drinks and take adrenal supplements. We can’t get out of bed in the morning, and we hit a wall before the work day is finished.

Do we sprint so much that we out distance our reserves, or is there an energy crisis at the cellular level?

Energy is Produced in the Mitochondria

You’ll recall from your high school physics class that the mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells. One particularly unique feature about them is their double membrane.

Image result for mitochondria

This twin layer makes them doubly vulnerable to damage. See, all cell membranes are made of phospholipids, a special class of fats that allow a two-way exchange of materials in and out of the cell. That way nutrients can enter and wastes can exit. But because they are lipids, they are subject to oxidation – a type of damage that occurs in fats. And because these membranes also contain proteins, they are subject to glycation – literally, sugar-coating that makes them sticky and cross-linked so that they cannot send or receive signals properly.

The bottom line is that diets high in processed fats and sugars dam the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes and stop the creation and dissemination of energy.

Interrupt The “Kryptonite”

The first step to overcoming fatigue is to halt the acceleration of glycation and oxidation. That means:

  • Eat only natural, unrefined fats, not processed and refined fats. Stay away from the Big Five: cottonseed, corn, canola, soy, and sunflower. Instead, use olive, avocado, coconut, and grass-fed butter.
  • Stop eating refined flours and sugars. Eat nutrient-dense whole foods, mostly from plants (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and grains in limited amounts) with high-quality animal products for protein requirements.

Power Up Your Powerhouses

  • Eat anti-oxidant foods. That means lots of colors! Make half your plate vegetables. Eat your fruit, don’t drink it. Swap white carbs like rice, potatoes and pasta for colored ones like wild rice, yams, and squashes.
  • Work with a health practitioner to supplement your diet with the necessary vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that may be missing in your diet.

Diet is the biggest factor you have control over to regain your energy. If your thinking is foggy, your memory is impaired, or you suffer from mood disorders, focus on cellular nutrition to feel happy, healthy, focused, and sharp once again.

Why Does Stress Make Me Crave?

Stress. Even the word itself sounds, er, uh…stressful! You immediately conjure images of family quarrels, financial problems, road emergencies, sleep deprivation, a difficult boss, or life-sucking disease. But no matter the source, stress is a voracious monster that has a lust for only one victim: Energy. To mobilize…to escape… to ward off danger…to survive.

And whose job is it to supply the sacrificial lamb to this beast? The adrenals, those tiny glands atop the kidneys, best known for their production of adrenaline and cortisol. Instantly, they send out their fleet-footed messengers to recruit fuel for the energy factories in the body – those tiny mitochondria inside each cell. They sound the alarm for oxygen and food to be delivered promptly.

The bronchioles in the lungs dilate, the pulse quickens, all the better to ferry the goods to their destination. Digestion, reproduction, and other “non-essential” functions grind to a halt. All attention must be focused on responding to the demon’s demand.

The couriers dash to the liver to scrape up all the glycogen stores that can be converted to glucose – the quickest food that can be lapped up in such an emergency. They race to the muscle tissue to coax fatty acid and amino acid conversion into glucose. But inevitably, they sprint to the brain, where the commander-in-chief demands that rations be confiscated from outside the camp.  You receive an unquestionable order: Eat! Eat now! Eat quick!

No long-burning logs will stoke the fire soon enough. You need kindling! Intuitively, you seek carbohydrates that can be transformed into glucose rapidly. A fiber-ful bundle of buttered asparagus doesn’t quite pass muster. But ice cream – now, that sounds fine!

Two Keys to Kill Your Cravings

Outwitting your cravings will require clever strategy. Implement these assertive tactics:

  • Fight the stress itself! Instead of letting urgent bids take your attention, re-focus on the moment. Ascertain that you are actually okay – you are alive and functioning – then reprogram your breathing, your mindset, and your sensory input through deliberate, mindful exercises. (Check out our Stress Hacks class.) You can choose to respond from a place of peace.
  • Fuel up before the energy crisis. Having adequate amino acids from healthy protein, and plentiful fatty acids from natural, unrefined fats will guard against energy deficits. Make sure, especially, that your first meal of the day will meet your metabolic needs. It has been suggested that no less than 20 grams of protein are needed in the morning to establish your metabolism for the day. So if you want waffles or cereal, save them for dinner. Instead, try some Fisherman’s Eggs for breakfast! Rich in Omega 3’s, this dish is protective of those energy factories, your mitochondria.

Fisherman’s Eggs

2 Tb. coconut oil or unrefined red palm oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 package of frozen vegetables, optional (or any fresh ones, such as bell peppers, artichoke hearts, or asparagus)

1 can wild-caught sardines packed in olive oil

2 pastured eggs

Preheat oven to 350°. Using an oven-proof skillet, saute the onion, garlic and optional vegetables over medium heat in oil until soft. Add sardines to the pan. Gently crack the eggs over the mixture. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook until the eggs are soft-set, approximately 10 minutes.