Nutrition

Super Foods Favs

Seems everything labeled healthy is also labeled “super food” these days, when back in 2004 when Dr. Steven Pratt first coined the term, he originally called out only these 14 foods: Pumpkin, walnuts, oranges, salmon (pacific or alaskan), turkey breast, spinach, yogurt, soy, oats, tea, blueberries, tomatoes, beans, broccoli

 While most of us health junkies would still agree that many of these foods still are “Super” we’ve since argued about and added to the list.  Yogurt, soy, and oats have had the most notable debates, mostly due to the quality of their processing. 

 However, we all still can agree on his 3 basic tenets of superfood status:

  • They should be accessible to everyone & readily available.

  • They should be packed with nutrients known to enhance longevity, with above average antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids and more diseases fighting & health boosting properties.

  • They should have health benefits backed by scientific and peer-reviewed studies.

 Here’s a list of my Favorite additions to the above Super Food list. See if you can incorporate one of these now 23 superfoods every day over the Summer!!  

Kale, Artichokes , Açaí berry, Brussels sprouts, Cucumber, Avocado, Sprouts, Coconut oil, Bone Broth

Best Supplements for Stress

With the summer upon us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed out and well, just too busy!  Today’s post is a little stress hack to help you not only deal with stress, but also keep you alert and focused for increased productivity throughout your day.  There is one supplement that can do all of this, L-theanine

L-Theanine, is a natural amino acid, not readily available in our diet that can help with mental focus, alertness, reduced anxiety, and deeper sleep.  It has also shown beneficial for cardiovascular health support and memory and cognition.  Found in most teas (most notable, green tea) it can help stimulate GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and reduce anxiety. 

It is unique that it can be taken at both ends of your day for the same benefit.  Research suggests 100-200mg per dose up to 3x per day.  More is not more with this, as higher doses at one time can have the opposite effect.  

Supercharge it for day & night!

AM - Take with your morning coffee (powder or pill form) to decrease jitters from caffeine and increase focus and alertness.

PM - Take with melatonin 1-2 hours before bed for more restful sleep. 

 Supplements by themselves are not magic bullets and cannot not undo an unhealthy lifestyle, but they CAN add support, hence the name “supplement” to supplement your already healthy lifestyle. They should be used wisely and in coordination with your health & medical history, lifestyle, and wellness goals. Most require a minimum of a couple weeks to a month for full effect.  ALWAYS talk to your doctor before adding any supplement. 

  • Don’t take L-theanine if you already have low blood pressure or are on blood pressure medication

  • L-theanine can interfere with stimulants

 BONUS: Here are 5 more supplements known for combating the effects of stress:

Ashwaganda - an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for many hears.  Adaptogenic herbs work to adapt to your hormone response, giving your body more of what it needs, this one is mostly known for supporting stress hormones and thyroid function. 

Rhodiola - Another adaptogen, this one helps to boost brain power, burn fat, and increase energy, while reducing fatigue, anxiety, and depression. 

Valerian Root  - Mostly known as a sleep aid, like L-theanine it can increase GABA levels, usually better tolerated 1-2 hours before bed. 

Vitamin B - B vitamins provide nervous system support and keep your energy high to combat the effects of stress in your body. 

Magnesium - Another GABA booster, magnesium supports muscles and nerves while helping to also regulate cortisol (stress hormone) levels. 

*This is for information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, always speak to your physician before adding supplements to your diet.

Hydration for Summer Activities

Electrolytes conduct electricity when dissolved in water and are essential for several biochemical processes and life functions.  Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Bicarbonate, Magnesium, Chloride, and Phosphate are all electrolytes, each with their own regulatory functions inside and outside of cells.  The most common symptoms of electrolyte imbalance are; anxiety, trouble sleeping, and digestive disorders.  

When it comes to hydration, sodium and potassium are the most talked about and the most commonly imbalanced.  aside from hydration, both are essential in kidney function, muscle contractions, nerve signaling, energy production, and more recently linked to bone health.  

Our bodies were designed to hold on to sodium as it was sparse in the early hunter gatherer days, unlike its counterpart potassium which was abundant in the fresh fruits and vegetables readily available.  

So by design, we hold sodium and let go of potassium.  Sodium intake in today’s diet is up to 7x the daily recommended amount 1300-1500mg (less if over age 50), while potassium struggles to exceed 50% of the recommended daily amount of 4700mg.  This inverse intake is causing us to retain sodium in order to preserve potassium.  Thus increasing fluid retention and possibly spiking blood pressure.  

Is restricting sodium the answer? Not really, healthy active adults, usually don’t have to restrict sodium levels, some may benefit from an increase in dietary sodium. Especially those who’s exercise sessions can last over 2 hours.  A diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables will ensure potassium levels remain high too. Use caution with sodium only supplements (such as salt tablets) as they can lead to further imbalance and fluid retention. 

For exercise sessions over 2 hours, you may find electrolyte supplementation effective.  Your best electrolyte supplement should contain a balance of Sodium (salt), Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium in that order of priority and concentration.  When in doubt, check the ingredients on the label.  

In Summary: 

  • Healthy highly-active adults need salt.

  • If supplementing choose a balanced electrolyte drink.

  • Supplementation is usually not needed for exercise sessions under 2 hours with a proper diet and training plan. 

  • Medications and hormone imbalances can cause electrolyte imbalance, always check with your doctor before supplementing. 

  • As an active adult, ensure your diet is packed full of potassium rich foods such as: dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash, and avocados. 

 

Food Intolerances vs Allergies

This is a quick article share from one of my favorite Integrative Medicine Practitioners. Many of you have asked me about various “avoidance diets” such as FODMAP, night shades, gluten-free, etc. This article does a great job a summing it up for you.

Up to one in 20 Americans may have NCGS, which can affect the brain, skin, endocrine system, stomach, liver, blood vessels, and more. Common symptoms of a food intolerance are digestion or stomach issues, fatigue or foggy mind,  headache, skin or joint issues. The best way to check for food intolerances is by an Elimination Diet: https://chriskresser.com/food-allergy-vs-food-intolerance-why-the-difference-matters/

Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Low Carbs, No Carbs

The carbohydrate debate is one the most heated debates in the nutrition space, but more and more practitioners are lowering the daily amount of carbohydrates required as new research on hormone regulation and blood sugar pours in. 

Here are the most popular 3 daily intake ranges for carbohydrates (measured in total grams).

Ketogenic Diets

Maximum of 20 grams per day - these diets are aggressive and the most researched today, they are tough to stick to, but proving to be great for those with a lot of weight to lose or anyone with or trending toward type 2 diabetes.  when first adapting to a ketogenic diet, side effects are common but subside after a few days while your body transitions from carbs to fat as its main source of fuel.

Low Carb Diets

Daily range of 20 to 50 grams, These diets tend to have less side effects, but an adjustment period is common. Great for someone who wants a little push or to drop those few pesky pounds. 

Moderate Carb Diets

Daily range of 50 to 100 grams.  This is the most common type of lower carb diet and a great place for someone who is just learning to monitor daily carbs or someone who is simply looking to maintain their physique and current health status.  

Finding the “sweet spot” for your daily carb intake (and carb sources) can be the key to lasting daily energy, great sleep, and good moods. It is important to note that not all grams are the same. These two plates, each with 20 grams of carbohydrates.  Choose wisely! 

SuperFood Sides & Happy Thanksgiving

Thank you Matt for yesterday’s Wellness Tip Matt!! While I can condone taking the day off from exercise, I cannot support the extra Pie! 😊

 

Fun Fact – Tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted into serotonin, a mood boosting and relaxation chemical/neurotransmitter . It is often found to be low in people with insomnia and depression, so eat that turkey up!

 

Not so fun fact – CDC warns of E. coli found in romaine lettuce and advises to avoid all of it until the source of the bacteria is found. Eat salads with caution & skip the romaine

https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-11-18/index.html

 

STILL NEED SIDE DISHES? these 3 Super-Food side dishes (attached) add a touch of wellness to what I’m sure is an already healthy Thanksgiving Day Menu! 

Have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!

 

With Gratitude,

Chelsea

Guest Post - Spooky Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Spooky Detox Smoothie!

 

In the spirit of Halloween and in perfect timing for our fall detox challenge this Pumpkin Protein Smoothie (recipe attached) is the perfect treat for your tricks!  Recipe by my dear friend, wellness colleague & Private Chef, Rebecca Ewing Fisher – Flavorla.com

 

This power packed smoothie is not only great for its detoxification benefits, but contains pumpkin which is a staple food item for the fall season. Eating fruits and vegetables of the season in your community provide you with essential vitamins and minerals to support and prepare your body for the upcoming season.

 

This is a great resource to look up seasonal produce in your state:

https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org/

 

You can still JOIN the Fall Detox Challenge (Click Here) – Get cleaned up & ready for Thanksgiving!

 

Week 1-  Detoxing your mind (current week)

Week 2 - Detoxing your diet

Week 3 - Detoxing your body (actual detox plans)

Week 4 - Sustainable detox practices and nourishment

Special Healthy Being detox package discounts for participants!

*If you signed up and are not receiving emails, check your junk folder, emails from chelsea@chelsealayna.com

 

Have a Happy & Safe Halloween!

Chelsea

Bone Broth - The Immune Boosting Fall Elixor

Wellness Wednesday – Boost Your Immune System for the Fall with Bone Broth.

(1.5 minute read, shareable content attached)

*Don’t miss next week’s meeting with a Wellness Presentation - Vickie Memmer presents the National Center For Healthy Housing's seven principles of a healthy home.

 

As it turns out chicken soup is good for more than just the soul! Bone broth, once considered medicine in many ancient cultures, contains amino acids, minerals, collagen, antioxidants, and other highly valuable nutrients in a more absorbable form.

 

The number one benefit of regular consumption of bone broth is boosting immunity by healing the lining of the gut.  Often referred to as our second brain, the gut is our first defense against illness as an integral part of our immune and endocrine system.  Up to 80% of Americans could be suffering from leaky gut syndrome, an often silent gut dysfunction that leads to an increased state of inflammation, poor nutrient absorption, and decreased immunity.

 

In addition to healing the lining of the gut, the amino acids in the broth, (arginine, glutamine, and cysteine) also help to alleviate symptoms of the common cold by clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways, and increasing nutrient absorption. Cysteine was found to chemically resemble the bronchitis prescription drug acetylcysteine.

 

If that’s not enough:

Natural collagen and gelatin support healthy bones and skin

Potassium, glycine, and glutathione to support cellular and liver detoxification.

Vital minerals promote restful sleep and reduce inflammation.

 

Bone broth can be made at home purchased online or at many local natural grocery stores. A slow cooker works best for home cooked broth, cook bones  18 – 72 hours, add kosher salt and a good splash of apple cider vinegar to pull all of the nutrients out of the bones.  Throw in your favorite veggies and water to the top.

 

When cooled, scoop the fat off and discard, use or refrigerate within 5 days and/or freeze the rest.  Serve warm and try adding lemon juice, ginger, minced garlic, and/or turmeric to your cup to boost immunity and add flavor.

 

For a local resource, try Brock's Stocks, available at Haderlie Farms.

 

To your healthiest self!

Chelsea

Sugar-Free September

I’m going Sugar Free for the rest of September who’s with me??

 

If you enjoyed a “sweet” summer, join me for a September Sugar Challenge.  Of course after you finish your favorite pastry/bagel at today’s meeting! 😊

 

For the rest of the month, limit your added sugars to 25 grams or less PER DAY. Which means if you did enjoy a pastry, your definitely done for the day. 

 

Added sugars by definition are the sugars and sweeteners added to foods for flavor, you’ll find them in bread, ketchup, sports drinks, yogurts, cereals, low fat foods, packaged foods, dried fruit mix, and even snack and protein bars. 

 

WHY is Excess Sugar so bad? –

We all know that excess sugar causes weight gain, increases inflammation, increases risk for heart and cardiovascular disease and significant hormone disruption. Excess sugar also impacts the brain by impairing our cognitive skills and targeting the reward centers of the brain, causing us to crave more.  Scientists have proposed that sugary foods (along with salty and fatty foods) can produce addiction-like effects similar to cocaine, driving the loss of self-control, overeating, mood swings, and associated weight gain.  

 

Anytime you want to make a change in your personal eating habits, it is important that you come from a place of education and awareness and not restriction.  For example, can you have a YES Bar? Of course you can, but check the label, that’s 9 grams of added sugar, 1/3 your allowance for the day.

 

Here are some not so sweet statistics:

●      Added sugars are hidden in 74% of low fat foods and 80% of packaged foods. 

●      Excess fructose consumption was liked to an increase in leptin resistance. leptin is the hormone that signals your brain when you’ve had enough food. 

●      The average American consumes 22 teaspoons added sugar per day.  The World Health Organization (W.H.O) recommends a maximum of 6 teaspoons or 25 grams per day.

●      Drinking just one can/bottle of a sugar sweetened beverage per day with no other dietary changes can lead to excess weight gain of 10 to 15 pounds in one year.

●      A single cup of apple juice and a regular strawberry yogurt both contain 6 teaspoons of added sugar, the recommended daily allowance from the W.H.O. 

●      Total deaths from diabetes are project to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years, this trend could make it the seventh leading cause of death by the year 2030. 

●      Sugar can be found under over 60 alternative names on food labels.  Here is a short list of some of them.

 

Mind Body Nutrition - Tanya Mark

The future of nutrition and the answer to all of your nutrition problems might be in this post…..
Especially if you know what to eat (and not eat), yet you still make choices that don’t support your desired outcome.

What we eat is only half the story of good nutrition, the other half is who we are as eaters. That is, what we think, feel, believe our levels of stress, relaxation, pleasure, awareness, and the inner stories that we live out all have a real, powerful, and scientific effect on nutritional metabolism. The good news is that you don’t have to go on a diet to change this, you just have to change you, the eater!

Take a look at the attached document, written by my colleague in wellness, Tanya Mark for Two Mind Body Nutrition Strategies to help you work on YOU, the eater. 

The cutting edge fields of Mind Body Nutrition and Dynamic Eating Psychology are beginning to prove what ancient wisdom traditions have been saying for eons – that the mind and body exist on an exquisite continuum, and profoundly impact one another.  Science also supports the notion that what we think ACTUALLY affects our physical state…  If you didn’t think you could think yourself into gaining or losing weight, think again!

Stress and The Gut - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22314561
Stress & Eating Behaviors - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214609/

In case you were wondering where to buy Vitamins R, P, S, & L……. 
According to Marc David (referenced & quoted) Founder & Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, Relaxation, Pleasure, Slowing down, & Love are fundamental to healthy nutrition and to a healthy life.  (Vitamins R, P, S, & L)

Inflammation Fighting Foods

Inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases”, and may be related to asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s according to Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine.

Inflammation isn’t all bad, it is an integral part of our immune system, increasing blood flow, activating an army of white blood cells to mitigate damage caused by an illness, pathogens, or injury.  That type of inflammation is often labeled “Acute”, meaning that it starts quickly and usually dissipates in a couple of days. Chronic inflammation on the other hand if left untreated can last for weeks, months, even years, often going undetected.  Chronic inflammation keeps the immune response active, sometimes resulting in the attack of healthy tissue, worst case contributing to an auto-immune disease.

Chronic inflammation can exist without symptoms and in “healthy people”.

The most common causes of inflammation are poor lifestyle choices such as processed foods and inactivity….

But that’s not you, you are healthy, active, environmentally conscious, and you even put adaptogenic herbs in your morning smoothie, right??

Harder to detect causes of chronic inflammation include:

-       Chronic stress, resulting in HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis dysfunction, aka adrenal fatigue, wreaking havoc on your hormones.

-       Allergies and food intolerances that can occur as a result of missing enzymes or nutrients, poor bacterial balance or gut integrity, and more.  It is estimated that 3 out of 4 people have some sort of food intolerance.

-       Intestinal pathogens, usually yeast, bacteria, or even parasites. Yep, bugs!  Ewe, but it happens, traveling out of the country, poor quality or undercooked meats or fish, over indulgence of sugar or alcohol, even some medications.

-       Excessive exposure to toxins or mold, typically found in household items, poor quality air filtration, hidden mold in your home, walls, bathrooms and kitchens.

In addition to managing your stress, meditating, eating anti-inflammatory foods and exercising, now is a great time to check your home for hidden mold, switch your household cleaners, cosmetics, and toiletry items to natural and organic when possible, avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners and any other food additives.  An elimination diet can help to identify food intolerances, starting with gluten, dairy, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts.


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Fats Don’t Make you Fat  

Dietary fats provide energy, manufacture and balance hormones, form cell membranes, forms our brains and nervous systems, and transports fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), reduce inflammation, protect cells, and promote weight loss.  However, Not all fats are created equal, instead of good & bad, I like to think of them as good, better, and toxic.  Here’s the difference.   

EFAs – The Omegas

Essential Fats, often called essential fatty acids or EFAs are broken down into 3 classifications, but only two of them are really essential, Omega 3 and Omega 6. The third, Omega 9 can be made in your body from Omegas 3 and 6.  Focus on Omega 3 consumption as they are usually the more difficult/uncommon to get form food.

* Tip: A healthy balance of 1:1 or even a bit higher in Omega 3s is recommended. Fatty fish is a great source. 

Omega-3 - Includes beneficial fatty acids EPA, DHA and a-linolenic acid. Essential, required from food. Richest sources: herring, sardines, mackerel, salmon, chia seeds, flax seeds and microalgae.

Omega-6 - Includes the essential Linoleic fatty acid and arachidonic acid. Essential, required from food. Richest sources: avocado, durum wheat, flaxseed oil, hemp oil, soybean oil, acai berry, cashews.

Omega-9 - Includes Oleic acid, erucic acid, elaidic acid, eicosenoic acid, mead acid and nervonic acid. Made in the body, not essential. Richest Sources: olive oil, rapeseed oil, mustard seed. 

Saturation – 

Fats are also classified by their saturation, saturated, monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated, and partially hydrogenated (a type of trans-fat).  Partially hydrogenated oils, these are now known to be toxic and as of June 2018 are against the law to include in foods (FDA 2018).  Food makers have up to 3 years to remove them entirely.  Not all trans fats can be removed as some occur naturally in meat and dairy products, these natural trans-fats have different chemical structures than manufactured trans-fats and also contain CLA, a type of Omega 6 (above).  CLA is said to have anti-inflammatory, cancer preventing, and weight loss promoting benefits.

* Tip: Focus on unsaturated fats (mono or poly) making those higher in Omega 3 a priority

*Note: Grass fed meat and dairy products have higher levels of CLA (an Omega 6 essential fat) than grain fed.

Saturated - Solid at room temperature. Found in: beef, pork, coconut, avocado, palm oil, dairy products. Eat in moderation, contain beneficial CLA’s, MCT’s and Omega 6.

Monounsaturated - Liquid at room temperature, become solid when chilled. Found in: avocados, olives, olive oil, nuts, sunflower oil, seeds, halibut, sablefish, mackerel, vegetables high in oleic acid. Packed with Omegas 3 & 6, eat these daily.

Polyunsaturated - Liquid at room temperature and when chilled. Found in: salmon sardines, mackerel, herring, trout, fresh tuna, flax seed (&oil),  walnuts, soybean oil. Packed with Omegas 3 & 6. Higher concentration of Omega 3s.

Partially Hydrogenated - Most liquid at room temperature, but have added hydrogen bonds to make them shelf stable. Found in: processed foods, margarine, candy, chips, soda, some pastries, some peanut butters. Toxic, do not eat.  Check labels for “partially hydrogenated”.

Chain Length – (MCT vs LCT)

Most fats (fatty acids) are considered long-chain, there are a specific few that are considered medium-chain and have gained in popularity among low carbohydrate eaters and those looking to lose body fat.  Medium-chained fats (or triglycerides) are known as MCTs. 

MCTs bypass the digestion/breakdown process and go straight to your liver for use as energy, therefor avoiding the potential for extra storage like LCTs.  MCTs are difficult to find in foods as they are usually combined with LCTs.  Highest sources of MCT from foods are coconut and palm oils or a specifically curated MCT oil, usually derived from coconut with LCTs removed.

*  Hint: Perhaps you’ve seen a coffee recipe with coconut oil or MCT oil, now you know why! 

CHEAT SHEET –

*Look for Healthy Omega 3 fat sources first, Omega 6 fat sources second.  Animal products contain Omega 6 already, so most of us get those.

*Avoid any partially hydrogenated oil or anything made with it, it is toxic.

*Eat saturated fats in moderation, choose grass fed meat and dairy products and free range organic poultry because of the higher quality of fat.

*Supplement with MCT oil for sustained energy, particularly during periods of fasting or carbohydrate restriction, MCTs are not stored, they are used immediately for sustained energy.


Health Hacks & Secret Hangover Helpers

There are 86,400 seconds in a day, every one of those seconds your physical body is hard at work to keep you healthy and maintain homeostasis (balance).  One of the toughest jobs is fighting exposure to toxins, both intentional (alcohol, sugar, chemicals, etc) and unintentional (travel, stress, polluted air, etc.).

As a former fitness competitor and health maven, I know how great optimal health feels. However, like some of you, I enjoy a cocktail or 2 (full disclosure, maybe more than 2) and that doesn’t always bode well for waking up feeling my best.  So, I allowed my passion and daily quest for high energy and exceptional health lead me down the path of hangover hacking. 

There must be a way to indulge a little and minimize the damage…..  

Here is what I found to work for me.

(these are also the exact steps I take when I travel) 

Choose my poison - my go to is potato vodka or tequila (clear)

Avoid sugary drink mixes and processed foods

Hydrate - I Aim for 1:1 ratio

Load up on Vitamins C & B

Take Po Chai Pills & Activated Charcoal Before I drink and when I get home

Eat as many nutrient rich foods as possible. 

- The Deets -

Some alcohols carry a heavier toxic load the others, clear liquors remain supreme (Vodka, gin, & clear tequila), dark liquors, wine, then beer (in that order) are among the worst.  

Nutrient rich foods like asparagus help protect the liver; nuts such as Pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds are full of magnesium, as are dark leafy greens and even dark chocolate.  Healthy fats such as salmon and avocado help to fight inflammation and protect cellular damage. 

Processed and sugary foods increase inflammation and make it more difficult for your body to deal with exposure to toxins. 

Po Chai Pills are my new bff thanks to my Acupuncturist Juliana King (juliana-king.com), Po Chai Pills are made in Hong Kong with more than 10 potent medicinal herbs that support digestive function, often referred to as “Cure-All Pills” with roots in ancient Chinese medicine dating back to 1896.  Juliana recommends taking one vial before beginning drinking and one vial right before sleep with a tall glass of water.  

Vitamins B & C are powerful antioxidants and important for cellular protection.  The verdict is still out on activated charcoal, early research says it helps slow the rise of blood alcohol levels and assist the body in removing toxic byproducts.  For my personal, n=1 study, I have found it to help.  Activated charcoal is not something I take regularly as it is potent and can also block or remove important nutrients.    

As with any other diet or supplement information, always talk to your doctor before trying any new supplements.  Supplements are not be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle or seeking medical advice, this article is for informational purposes only.