Berry Balancing Smoothie: Healing Hormone Imbalance

A while back I gave you 5 reasons to love coconut. In case you missed that post you can read it here.

As the weather warms up ( I am in NYC this week and it’s hot and humid!) here is a quick recipe you can use to get more coconut and tame hormone imbalance. Plus it’s a great way to start the day.

Berry Balancing Smoothie for fighting hormone imbalance

  • 1/2 cup organic frozen berries ( I use blackberries and raspberries).
  • 1/4 teaspoon Maca powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I like to use 1/2 cup coconut milk, half cup coconut cream to make it extra rich and yummy. I like to use the a brand that is organic uses BPA free cans)
  • 1 scoop chocolate flavored protein powder. I like to use a brand that does not have whey or Soy  – but does not taste grainy and blends really smooth.
  • Handful of ice cubes

Throw into a strong blender like a Vitamix and enjoy! 

recipe for healing hormone imbalance

  • Berries are a low glycemic fruit, that won’t spike your blood sugar in the AM but they have a ton of antioxidants. Keeping you insulin levels low also helps with pcos and belly fat.
  • Maca contains adaptogen which is a great remedy for reproductive hormone imbalance (estrogen in women AND testosterone in men) and boosting energy levels. I like to use one that is gelatinized with clients – because there is less starch, making it easier to digest and absorb.
  • Coconut balances your endocrine system in addition to all the great benefits (healing hormone imbalance, making your skin glow).  It also is also a great way to stop curb sugar cravings naturally.
  • Protein balances blood sugar

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Curb Sugar Cravings Naturally with Coconut

One of the best ways to refresh yourself after time outside is with coconut water. Once relegated to hot yoga studios, coconut water is now the “go to” choice for smart, natural hydration. It’s filled with natural sugars and electrolytes that give curb sugar cravings naturally, and give you energy after sweating, time in the sun, or time in the studio.

But there are many reasons to love coconut and here are 5 of them….

curb sugar cravings naturally
1)It’s high in lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain that converts to monolaurin in the body, which is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-protozoa properties.

2) It contributes to weight loss. Even though coconut oil contains saturated fat, 48% of its saturated fat is made up of a medium-chain fatty acid. Medium-chain fatty acids stimulate your body’s metabolism, which can lead to weight loss.

3) It acts like a carbohydrate—without messing with your blood sugar. Because medium-chain fatty acids are delivered directly to your liver to be processed, they provide quick energy, without the insulin spike you get when eating carbohydrates. People who fast in the am often use some coconut oil in their coffee to power through the morning. There is a reason why…

4) It stands up to higher heat cooking. Unlike other liquid oils that turn rancid and become oxidized when cooked at high temperatures, coconut oil remains stable, making it the ideal oil for baking and cooking.

5) It conditions your skin. When applied topically, coconut oil can help protect your skin from the elements that speed up aging and heal conditions such as psoriasis and eczema due to its anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. For the same reason, when it comes to oral hygiene, a spoonful of coconut oil can clean your mouth more thoroughly than brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

The whole “avoid coconut because it’s saturated” is so yesterday. Whether you use the oil, cream, milk, or pulp…it’s time to get more coconut into your life. (note: Almond Joys don’t count!) Sprinkle my favorite organic shredded coconut on your morning cereal, carry coconut water with you to the gym and add coconut milk to your favorite smoothie recipe
(Note: Be sure that the label says “unsweetened coconut” because you don’t want to be adding a bunch of refined sugar to your body – you want the low glycemic properties of natural coconut sugar)
 

Curb sugar cravings naturally, heal hormone imbalance, and look and feel great with one ingredient! 

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How To Deal With Hormone Imbalances

Did you know that April was National Stress Awareness Month?

I didn’t know such a thing existed, but given what an impact stress has on our health. I am excited to hear it.

One of my previous articles, key things we can do to for hormone imbalances, is a topic I am passionate about, and given all of your great feedback, it is clearly a topic close to you as well! If you missed it you can catch it here.

You can deal with hormone imbalances by using essential oils for stress reduction, something I have been doing more often lately.

A favorite essential oil of mine is Clarity Sage. Don’t confuse this with regular Sage, which has it’s own great uses. But this one is a floral herb that balances both the nervous and the endocrine systems.
hormone imbalances

Time to Get Clear and Centered: How to Deal with Hormone Imbalances 

Clarity Sage is very aptly named. There are many benefits, but here are some key ones:

1) Helps you feel more calm during times of stress, and acts as both a subtle sedative and natural anti-depressant.

2) Balances estrogen levels in the body – so it’s great for PMS and menopause

3) Acts as both a uterine tonic and emmenagogue (stimulates blood flow) and can be used to help induce a delayed period/child birth and for pain caused by menstrual cramps or child birth.

4) Helps overall with hormone imbalances in the body 

 I actually put this stuff in a rollerball and rub it on on my wrist and forehead before bed and when sitting in traffic. It’s made a huge difference in helping to make me feel more balanced all month long.

For my essential oils I use DoTerra oils. They are pricey but they are the best you can get and are certified theraputic grade – meaning you can ingest them, inhale them, and put them on your skin. Like supplements – unless you invest in high quality stuff don’t even bother.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the dangers of multi-tasking on our body, mind, and cookies. But this is multi-tasking in all the right ways!

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7 Ways to Nourish Your Skin With Food: An Acne Diet

I often talk about nourishing the body – but what about nourishing the skinWhen it comes to your skin, what you eat is as important—if not more so—than what you put on it. Expensive creams are not going to undo poor lifestyle or diet. A natural cure is an acne diet. 

acne diet

 

 

 

 

 

Controlling Free Radicals and Acne


Antioxidant-rich foods can seek out and destroy free radicals, which are unstable molecules that make their way through the body, stealing from our healthy cells in an effort to become complete.

While they are naturally occurring in the body to some extent, environmental factors such as radiation, diet, stress, smoke, and herbicides can also spawn free radicals. Unfortunately we have a lot of these in our lives.
 
Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if your diet is lacking antioxidants or free radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Free radical damage accumulates with age and is a major contributor to wrinkles and acne. By making sure your diet is chock full of the following nutrients, you can provide optimal support for healthy, glowing skin.
 

Here are some  important vitamins in any acne diet. 

1) Vitamin A —  Vitamin A is abundant in dark leafy vegetables and dark orange vegetables. Dark leafy greens are also high in fiber, which slows blood sugar production.
 
2) Vitamin C — Vitamin C is found in papaya, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, and of course, oranges and grapefruit.
 
3) Vitamin E — Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, dark leafy greens, papaya, asparagus, and bell peppers.
 
4) Selenium — Critical in the production of a glutathione, a substance that combats free radicals, you can find selenium in tuna, cod, halibut, shrimp, salmon, and turkey, barley, and lamb.
 
5) Antioxidant-Rich Foods— You can’t go wrong by loading up on berries, green tea, and such purple and deep red foods as acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, black grapes, and beets. The latter contain anthocyanins, which help promote blood flow to the skin.
 
6) Fiber — Fiber help combat blood sugar rises and inflammatory responses in your body that can trigger a breakout.
 
7) Zinc — Found in oysters, crab, lean meats, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds, zinc helps reduce I often talk about nourishing the body – but what about nourishing the skin? When it comes to your skin, what you eat is as important—if not more so—than what you put on it. Expensive creams are not going to undo poor lifestyle or diet.

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7 Tips to Maximize Hormone Health

Hormones are often the basis for many of our woes, including weight gain. But outside of puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, many people don’t give hormones much thought or realize how they are affected by diets, exercise choices, and lifestyle.

Today, our hormones are more out of whack than ever due to stress and disruptors such as xenoestrogens in our food and environment. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help keep your hormone health in order.

Here are 7 of them:

1) Maintain healthy weight. Excessive fat tissue (called adipose tissue) can act as an endocrine organ, producing more estrogen in your body. By maintaining a healthy weight, your body is not stimulated to overproduce certain hormones.

2) Eat thyroid supportive foods. Foods that are rich in iodine such as kelp, Himalayan salt, seafood, organic strawberries can help with this. Try to drink filtered water, as the fluoride in our tap water binds to iodine and prevents our body from using it effectively.

3) Eat healthy saturated fat (such as coconut oil). Cholesterol is needed for the formation of healthy cell membranes and is a precursor to steroid hormones (progesterone, estrogen, FSH, etc.). You cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats.

4) Avoid refined grains, sugar, and processed foods. These interfere with the hormone leptin, which helps regulate appetite and metabolism. When leptin resistance sets in, you suffer from cravings and your metabolism slows down.

5) Avoid Bispheonol-A and phthalates. Commonly found in plastics and can liners, these endocrine disruptors mimic actual hormones, replacing the benefits with a toxic phony that provides nothing of value to the body.

6) Support your adrenal glands. The adrenals regulate the “stress hormone,” cortisol. To keep them in top shape, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine, and commit to getting to bed by 10 pm. Your body creates growth hormones while you sleep, so prioritizing bedtime is an important step in staying balanced.

7) Keep stress in check. Take time to breathe fully and relax for a few minutes each day.  This is a big one these days. You can try yoga, meditation, essential oils, fun, laughter, massage, time in nature, journaling, downtime. Whatever works for you!


 

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Walk Like an Egyptian and other stress cures

Do you know what today is? It is the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox. For those of you on the East Coast, I know you have been patiently waiting for this day for many months!

Today is a day when “day equals night”. There will be 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime all over the world. The Great Sphinx are believed to have been built specifically to face the East at the point where the sun rises today.

All this means is today is an important day…and it has been for a very long time! These days Spring Equinox signals a time to buy new clothes and spend more time outside… but it is important to remember that it is also a symbolic day of balance and renewal. Balance and vacation are important stress cures!

There is a reason we like to “Spring Clean”. It is a time of year we are naturally looking to shed old stuff, lose old habits, and find new ways of working.

stress cures

Time To Get Rid of Stuff

What does this have to with nutrition and health? Well, lots of things. Even in health, before we can make room for new habits, we have get rid of old ones. This is one of many underrated stress cures. Today is a great day to start.

Take a few minutes today to:  

• Mentally let go of one thing from your past that will make room for something new to come into your life.

• Commit to making a big decision you have been putting off.

• Challenge one limiting belief about yourself and about how things should be.

At 12:57pm EST the sun will shine directly over the earth’s equator, covering the earth’s northern and southern hemispheres in nearly an equal amount of sunlight. This will be a great time to do it (try to be outside and get some Vitamin D in the process!)

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Omega-3s For Dealing With Hormonal Imbalance

hormonal imbalanceOmega 3 fatty acids fight inflammation in the body. Inflammation is behind many of our “hormone” challenges – such as low moods, cramping, depression, and fatigue.

Omega-3 fatty acids also promote healthy and flexible cell membranes, ensuring hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and prolactin to reach and attach to the right places. This way it reduces the chances of hormonal imbalance. It also helps with issues such as PCOS and PMS.

Sources Of Omega-3 Fatty acids

Good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are eggs and fatty wild caught fish such as salmon and black cod. There are vegetarian sources as well such as walnuts, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.

I recommend animal sources of Omega-3 to my clients, because your body can get EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) directly. Vegetarian sources contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which your body has to convert into EPA. It’s less efficient. Also the rate of conversion goes down as you get older.

If you are vegetarian or can’t eat wild caught fish 2-3 times a week – try a fish oil supplement. Make sure you are reading labels. Many fish oils that are cheaper are lower in EPA (and contain higher amounts of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)). EPA is the stuff you care about- when it comes to balancing hormones and fighting inflammation.

Here is a fish oil I use and recommend. It is high quality and has a higher percentage of EPA’s compared to other similar priced fish oils.

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Trying to Quit? good questions to ask a nutritionist

good questions to ask a nutritionist I often have clients ask me about coffee. “Should I quit? I am quitting!” Makes sense. This is one of many good questions to ask a nutritionist.

My answer is… it really depends. As with everything in food and health, get informed and explore what  works best for you.

Here is my quick summary:

Caffeine is a stimulant, and as such has a powerful effect on our body.

Stress — Caffeine stimulates creation of stress hormones (such as cortisol), which produces increased levels of anxiety, muscle tension, indigestion, insomnia—and decreased immunity. This also affects how you respond to normal daily stress.

Adrenal Fatigue — The adrenal glands are sensitive to caffeine and can become exhausted with excess consumption. When your adrenals burn out you are more susceptible to health disorders related to inflammation and fatigue. Your immune function goes down and you are more susceptible to getting sick.

Imbalanced Blood Sugar —Caffeine can stimulate a blood sugar roller coaster. It can also cause weight gain since a surge of insulin will signal your body to store excess sugar as fat.

To sum it all up:

Caffeine in small quantities is not necessarily bad for you! But it is important to understand how it affects you.

I love starting my day with a warm chai. That’s an Indian tea. I wouldn’t want to start the day any other way.

However for me -I find then when I start my day with coffee -I am more prone to anxiety and less able to deal with stress. My sleep also suffers. As someone who is prone to adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance – coffee doesn’t serve me well.

Tea has lower amounts of caffeine and chai contains ginger, a warming spice that soothes the adrenals glands, and helps to balance the cortisol effects of caffeine.

One of many good questions to ask a nutritionist is – how should I consumer caffeine? Here are my Quick Tips:

Don’t eat caffeine on an empty stomach. Consume with proteins and fats to reduce the cortisol and limit blood sugar effects.

Test alternative caffeinated beverages such as Tulsi (holy basil), Chai, Green Tea, etc to see how your mood, cravings, weight, skin and sleep are affected.

Here is a post with more information about the effects of caffeine.  I also talk about DandyBlend, and some additional alternative coffee beverages that are not only caffeine free, they are also great for detoxifying the liver.

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Stress and Weight Gain: The Slow Down Diet Part 2

stress and weight gain In Part I of the Slow Down Diet – I talked about your stomach brain, stress and weight gain, and how being mindful when you eat can have a huge impact on your weight and your health. In short  – boost metabolism when you have less stress.

In Part 2 I get a little more specific, touching upon the cephalic phase digestive response (CPDR) and how our hormones come into play.

As many of you have experienced, when you are really hungry and smell something savory, your stomach starts rumbling, or your mouth starts salivating. Digestion actually starts to happen when you are just thinking about food.

This is what CPDR is – the part of digestion that happens in our head. In fact scientists are realizing that a whopping 30-40% of our total digestive response is related to head digestion.

If we are not paying attention when we eat, the CPDR won’t kick in. As a result there will be decreased blood flow and oxygen to the digestive organs, and this translates to a slower metabolism. If we want to boost metabolism, we need to be paying attention.

The brain needs time to know you are full. It actually needs 20 minutes after you have eaten to fully process the intake.

And here is the final goodie.

When you stomach brain feel tension, it raises your cortisol levels. Stress and weight gain! As we mentioned before, cortisol levels can be good in small amounts, but they are bad for your waistline. When you body think it’s in stress response it holds on to calories thinking you will need the energy. It will also crave quick sugars and starchy carbs.

Even worse – your body holds on to the weight mostly in your stomach (stomach fat cells are more sensitive to cortisol). Think about how much belly weight you are holding onto by just eating fast!

So just to recap:
When you eat too fast or without mindfulness
• Your stomach brain registers stress and shuts down digestion and nutrient assimilation (causing you to feel hungry and crave food later)
• Your CPDR does not fully kick in, metabolism is slowed, and you eat more food than you actually need
• Your stress hormone is increased – telling your body to store whatever you are eating as fat

So how do you use this information in real life? Here are 3 quick ways.

1) Be More Mindful when you eat. Taste, smell, savor as much as you can. Notice the textures, aromas, and colors. Really take the meal in with all of your senses.

2) Try not to invite distractions when you eat. I know this can often be hard in real life…when we are working and often have to eat food at our desks or in a meeting. As much as you can – try to make this the exception and not a daily occurrence. Maybe even 1 day a week try to eat a non-distracted lunch. Put down your iPhone and just eat. See if you can notice a difference in how you feel.

3) Take 5 deep belly breaths before you eat. Get into your body. Allow oxygen to flow to your stomach and prepare for digestion. This will improve your metabolism and force you to slow down at the same time. This will prevent stress and weight gain.

Give it a try. Post in the comments below or on Facebook and tell me how it goes. You might be surprised what a difference it makes!

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Why Crave Sugar? Green Juice To Get Your Fix

why crave sugar Who doesn’t love starting the day with a green juice? 

Whether you are looking to fit more veggies into your day or are trying to eat a cleaner for a bit a green juice can be the perfect compliment to a healthy diet.

For many of us the issue is time.

Even with fancy juicers and planned pre-chopping, some mornings are just too rushed. Frankly I find the process really tiresome after a while.

Here is my go to alternative. It provides loads of pure Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium, Fiber (missing in pure juices and needed to keep you feeling satiated – why crave sugar?), full spectrum Vitamin B, and anti-inflammatory hormone balancing goodness.

Plus the acidity from the lemon helps to break up the oxalic acid in the spinach, making the nutrients more bioavailable. The coconut water makes you feel refreshed, curbs sugar cravings (why crave sugar?) , helps you stay hydrated and provides a touch of natural sugar to give you energy for your day. It will wake you up (and relax you at the same time..weird), boost your immune system, and get your digestive system “moving” in a way that is more gentle than coffee. All you need is 2 minutes and a blender (A Vitamix is great but not necessary).

  • 1 lemon chopped into quarters (seeds removed). Dont forget the peel! It has loads of calcium, potassium, fiber and bio-flavanoids ( anti-oxidants) 
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach (I just throw in bagged organic spinach – what could be easier?)
  • A “hunk” of ginger (to desired spiciness)
  • 3/4-1 cup of coconut water (to desired consistency)
  • A few springs of fresh mint

That’s it! Throw in a the Vitamix and blend till smooth. Ginger is such an amazing spice and can be used in so many ways. Here is some more info on the benefits of ginger.

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