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How To Balance Blood Sugar

Oh, the words “blood sugar.”

Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

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Work Smarter For Weight Loss

Inflammation, hormone imbalance and blood sugar imbalance are all driving your weight gain or preventing weight loss.

Eating less and exercising more will not correct those imbalances no matter how hard you work.

If you want to be successful (and that means to lose weight AND keeping it off long-term) then you’ve got to work SMARTER. Kick-start your success by joining me for my free 5 day challenge to curb carb cravings, starting January 5th 2019.

By joining me for this gentle detox (no pills, shakes or juicing) you’ll no longer be a slave to your cravings and that makes weight loss so much easier…

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How To Avoid Piling On The Pounds At Christmas

Christmas.

The number 1 thing I look forward to at Christmas is spending time with my loved ones.

Spending time playing games and eating.

The work and club Christmas meals, Christmas dinner, advent calendars, selection boxes, mince pies, Christmas pudding, brandy butter, spiced cookies, baileys, mulled wine, bucks fizz and on and on the feast goes!

It’s relentless!

It’s a time when your months of hard work can be undone in just a few days. But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can still enjoy your favourite Christmas treats if you’re savvy!


Tip #1: Avoid Grazing

One of the big problems at Christmas is the grazing. Every time something sweet, carb-based (mince pies, biscuits, crackers, peanuts) or a sweetened drink passes your lips, your blood sugar will significantly increase and you’ll go into fat storage mode. At Christmas, we graze AND we have our main meals. You’ll be in fat storage mode A LOT!

You can still eat your normal meals but try to keep the nibbles and drinks to immediately after your main meals. This gives your body more time between meals to allow your blood sugar to come back down.


Tip #2: Fasting

Something I get lots of my clients doing is fasting because it flips the switch from fat storage to fat burning. This can take many forms and the most popular option is to skip or delay breakfast. By doing this you have a long overnight fast, which allows your blood sugar and insulin to decrease.

To feel good whilst fasting:

  1. Drink plenty of water (you lose more when you fast)
  2. Break your fast with a protein-rich meal. This could be eggs, protein pancakes or a fry-up (skip the fried bread) for example.

Tip #3: This or that

Another client tip that’s useful at Christmas is to either have carbs with your main or have a dessert, not both (or if you want to be really strict then don’t have either!).

So if you particularly look forward to desserts, skip the carbs (potato, pasta, rice, bread) with the main meal.

If you’re a big drinker then I’d include this in the equation. If you want to drink more than a couple without undoing your hard work then it’s worth considering skipping the carbs and dessert.


Summary

Allow yourself to indulge on the big day; one high-calorie day can actually boost metabolism!

If you have numerous social events that involve eating off-plan during the Christmas period then follow the above tips to avoid undoing all your hard work.

After Christmas, to help you get back on the wagon, use my FREE ‘5 Day Detox to Curb Carb Cravings’ to get you back on track and super focused.  Sign up below!

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The eat less move more concept is a very small part of a very big picture. It’s the part of weight management that has the least impact, especially when you have your hormones to contend with, and I’m not just talking about oestrogen here.

I have women contacting me every day, who tell me “I’m virtually starving myself, why am I not losing weight?!” It’s because they haven’t addressed the underlying cause of weight gain; hormone imbalance.

Join Us For Our Free 5 Day Detox...

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The Weight Loss Mindset

Those who lose weight and keep it off have a very different mindset to ‘dieters’. The successful think about forever not just the coming weeks or months. The successful think about what they’re trying to gain, not how much weight they have to lose!

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Five Weight-Loss Friendly Snacks You Will Love

Anyone that has worked with me or has been to one of my talks will know that I typically recommend skipping the snacks. There are a few good reasons for this:

  1. Eating too frequently can prevent blood sugar and insulin levels from staying in the healthy range, leading to increased fat storage.
  2. Eating too frequently switches off a super important process in the small intestine called the ‘migrating motor complex’. This clears bacteria preventing overgrowth.

However, sometimes a snack is necessary if for example, you’re having a particularly active day.

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Weight Loss Is Changing

The eat less move more concept is a very small part of a very big picture. It’s the part of weight management that has the least impact, especially when you have your hormones to contend with, and I’m not just talking about oestrogen here.

I have women contacting me every day, who tell me “I’m virtually starving myself, why am I not losing weight?!” It’s because they haven’t addressed the underlying cause of weight gain; hormone imbalance.

Join Us For Our Free 5 Day Detox...

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Can My Symptoms Actually Be a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerances or “sensitivities” can affect you in so many ways.

And they’re a lot more common than most people think.

I’m not talking about anaphylaxis or immediate allergic reactions that involve an immune response. Those can be serious and life-threatening.  If you have any allergies, you need to steer clear of any traces of foods you are allergic to, and speak with your doctor or pharmacist about emergency medication, if necessary.

What I’m talking about, is an intolerance, meaning you do not tolerate a specific food very well and it causes immediate or chronic symptoms anywhere in the body. Symptoms can take hours or even days to show themselves. And symptoms can be located just about anywhere in the body.

This is what makes them so tricky to identify.


Symptoms of food intolerances

There are some common food intolerances that have immediate and terribly painful gastrointestinal symptoms, such as lactose intolerance or celiac disease. These can cause stomach pain, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhoea;  symptoms can start immediately after eating lactose or gluten.

On the other hand, other more insidious symptoms may not be linked to foods in an obvious way.

Symptoms like:

  • Chronic muscle or joint pain
  • Sweating, or increased heart rate or blood pressure
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Exhaustion after a good night’s sleep
  • Autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rashes or eczema
  • Inability to concentrate or feeling like your brain is “foggy”
  • Shortness of breath

If your body has trouble digesting specific foods, it can affect your hormones, metabolism, or even cause inflammation and result in any of the symptoms listed above. And these can affect any (or all) parts of the body, not just your gastrointestinal system.


How to prevent these intolerances

The main thing you can do is to figure out which foods or drinks you may be reacting to and stop ingesting them.

I know, I know…this sounds so simple, and yet it can be SO HARD.

The best way to identify your food/drink triggers is to eliminate them.

Yup, get rid of those offending foods/drinks. All traces of them, for three full weeks and monitor your symptoms.  

If things get better, then you need to decide whether it’s worth it to stop ingesting them, or if you want to slowly introduce them back one at a time while still looking out to see if/when symptoms return.


Start Here: Two common food intolerances

Here are two of the most common triggers of food intolerances:

  • Lactose (in dairy  – eliminate altogether, or look for a “lactose-free” label – try nut or coconut milk instead).
  • Gluten (in wheat, rye, and other common grains – look for a “gluten-free” label – try gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa & gluten-free oats).

This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good place to start because lactose intolerance is thought to affect up to 75% of people, while “non-celiac gluten sensitivity” can affect up to 13% of people.

So, if you can eliminate all traces of lactose and gluten for three weeks, it can confirm whether either or both of these are a source of your symptoms.

Yes, dairy and grains are a part of many government-recommended food guidelines, but you absolutely can get all of the nutrients you need if you focus on replacing them with nutrient-dense foods.

A reliable way to monitor how you feel after eating certain foods is to track it. After every meal or snack, write down the foods you ate, and any symptoms so you can more easily spot trends.

Click here to download a free copy of my Weekly Diet Diary/Food Journal to help you track.

And, as mentioned earlier, symptoms may not start immediately following a meal. You may find, for example, that you wake up with a headache the morning after eating bananas.

You might be surprised what links you can find if you track your food and symptoms well!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you eliminate something, you need to make sure it’s not hiding in other foods, or the whole point of eliminating it for a few weeks is lost. Restaurant food, packaged foods, and sauces or dressings are notorious for adding ingredients that you’d never think are there. You know that sugar hides in almost everything, but did you also know that wheat is often added to processed meats and soy sauce, and lactose can even be found in some medications or supplements?

When in doubt you HAVE to ask the server in a restaurant about hidden ingredients, read labels, and consider cooking from scratch.      


What if it doesn’t work?

If eliminating these two common food intolerances doesn’t work, then you can go one step further to eliminate all dairy (even lactose-free) and all grains (even gluten-free) for three weeks.

You may need to see a qualified healthcare practitioner for help, and that’s OK. I don’t want you to continue suffering if you don’t need to!

Check out this dairy-free Nut/ Seed Milk Recipe

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Five Cholesterol Myths & What To Eat Instead

You knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (borderline obsession) about cholesterol, right?

Before we jump into some myths let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.


Myth #1: “Cholesterol” itself is bad

While cholesterol is an actual molecule, it’s what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood that’s more important than just how much of it there is overall.  In fact, depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart.  Yes, opposite!

So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood.  These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.  

They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply bad because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there


Myth #2: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat. Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  ‘Cause that’s where it’s made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal, your liver doesn’t need to make as much.


Myth #3: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. oestrogen and testosterone), as well as bile, to help you absorb dietary fats.  Not to mention that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.


Myth #4: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

Don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

Guess what does?

Nutrition and exercise!

One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies.  I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day. Every day.

Don’t worry the recipe below should help you add at least another salad to your day.

You can (should?) also exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats.  That means fatty fish, avocados and olive oil. Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.


Summary:

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we’re learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are. And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.

See our Orange Hemp Seed Dressing. 

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