Why 'Detox' Isn't Always Just A Buzz Word

We hear the word 'detox' a lot.

While most people associate the word 'detox' with juice cleanses, extreme fasts, and feeling deprived, it actually doesn't have to be that way.

I'm sure one thing we can agree on is that our bodies can be highly toxic. Regardless of how healthy we may be, we are constantly bombard with toxins in the air, our food, our skin products and cleaning products etc. Toxins are everywhere.

So what do we do to avoid them? When's the right time to cleanse? How can you kick this itchy, achy, stuffy head feeling since the sun actually started to come out?

Now that it's finally officially spring, maybe you're starting to feel more energized, but these allergies just seem to be holding you back or the fact that maybe your clothes are feeling a tad tighter or you're exhausted despite getting your 8 hours. 

A great deal of these symptoms are related to having a sluggish liver. While our bodies can detox naturally, the process can become compromised by the constant exposure to the toxins we eat, breath or put on our skin.

The liver has over 400 different functions, so we want to help decrease the burden placed on the liver.

The good news is there are ways to support the liver and alleviate toxic load on the body, but first we need to determine whether our body needs it.

 

How To Know Your Body Needs A Detox

  •  Increased belly fat
  • Cravings and/or blood sugar issues
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Acne, rosacea, itchy skin
  • Fatigue (unrelieved by sleep)
  • Overheating or excessive sweating
  • Chemical sensitivity (become easily intoxicated by alcohol or are sensitive to perfumes)

These are just some of the symptoms that indicate your liver may need an overhaul.

While some people may say,

“I’m just getting older.”

“My body doesn’t work like it used to”

“I have one glass of wine and I’m drunk..hungover..can’t sleep well”

“It just this time of year. You know, allergies”

These are actually all signs that your liver needs support. While everyone needs detox support throughout the year, Spring is actually the time of year that is best to detox and cleanse your body.

 

Why To Detox In The Spring

The days of spring are longer, warmer days where new growth and regeneration is abundant.

At this time of year, our bodies are emerging from a dormant winter state, ready to take on new periods of growth and renewal.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is when your liver is most available to do extra work, but it needs to be given the right support.

 

5 Steps To Support Detox

 

1.    Plan It Out

Pick a solid start and end date. This will help strengthen your commitment the program. Menu plan for the week. Create a list and stick with what you have to make grocery shopping more efficient and less tempting. 

 

2.    What To Avoid

For at least 21 days, eliminate processed carbs, refined sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol. Read labels. Avoid foods listed, prepare foods as much as possible.

If buying something packaged, read the ingredients. My rule of thumb is to only eat foods with five ingredients or less, with words you can actually decipher.

 

3.    Get Support

Who said giving all those food groups was easy? Let’s be real! It’s hard. Find support from people who believe in your cause or are willing to do it with you!

 

4.    Stay Hydrated

When your body goes through detox, you lose a great deal of water of weight because your body is eliminating inflammatory foods. These inflammatory foods cause water retention. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure you’re consuming enough water.

Not to mention, the body needs water to keep organs properly functioning, promote cell to cell communication, and aid in digestion. We want to promote digestion and elimination to get toxins out of the body.

 

5.    Pay Attention To The Emotional Triggers 

When we’re tempted to reach for the candy or the soda, get curious as to why we’re reaching for it in the first place. Often we use food to distract us from feeling the emotions or thoughts that are really there. What ways are you potentially using food to avoid what you’re really feeling?

 

If this all feels overwhelming to you, I totally understand. I know that giving up sugar, processed carbs and alcohol is hard.

It’s a decision you have to be willing to make. Decide what you’re body, mind, and spirit are being held back from as a result of your reliance on stimulants.

If you feel you need extra support and want to give your body a vacation from carbs and processed sugar, I’m running my 5-Week RESTART Program starting tonight, April 16th at 7:30 pm est.

The difference between the RESTART Program and typical detoxes is that this program is built on whole foods, healthy fats, real sustainable advice that supports long-term change. It is not a quick fix, but a program where you truly learn about what works best for your body.

It’s not too late to sign up, and I’m offering an extra 25% off (that’s $75 off) for today only.

You can learn more about the program by visiting my website here.

And remember, you have the power to be the most abundant version of yourself. You just have to believe it.

 

In Abundant Health,

 

Ali

 

 

5 Tips To Recover From The Holidays

We all look forward to this time of year spent with lots of family, fun and food.

But at the end of the day or maybe the next morning, the holiday bloat, fatigue, and food/alcohol hangover is really starting to set in. 

So what can you do to counteract the inevitable holiday hangover? Here are my 5 Tips To Recover From The Holidays! 

1. Start Your Morning With A Glass Of Warm Water  

Drink at least 16 oz. of warm water with lemon or lime to help alkalize the body and continue to move food through the digestive system. 

Herbal teas are great to include in the morning routine. Lemon ginger, dandelion tea or green tea are some of my favorite cleansing teas. 

Be conscious of making sure you get enough water in for the day.

I recommend consuming at least 50 percent of your weight in ounces. 

lemons-cutting-board.jpg

 

2.  Get In Some Movement 

You want to be sure the bowels are still moving and one way to do that is definitely by movement. Try to get in a walk or short 15 to 20 min workout. Take the dog out and go on some interval sprints, or just get your steps in Black Friday shopping ;) 

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3. Avoid Antacids And Antacid-Reducing Medication 

Your enzymes are there to help you digest food. In order for your body to properly digest food in the stomach it needs to be at very low pH, however, antacids actually increase the pH and neutralize acidity in your stomach. This can prevent the breakdown of food and promote the proliferation of bacteria. 

Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar by itself or in your water instead to help initiate the process of digestion. Unfiltered Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar is best! If taken 15 to 20 minutes before a meal, it will promote digestion, but even taking it all will make a difference! 

If you're familiar with digestive enzymes, these could also be a great option to ensure food is moving through the digestive system. 

If you're often constipated, a way to help continue to move the bowels is magnesium. It's a deficiency in 80% of the population and is a mineral that is chronically depleted through stress. Magnesium helps relax the autonomic nervous system and digestive system to promote a bowel movement. 

4. Sleep 

We often don't realize how much sleep helps the body recover. While you are sleeping is when the liver is most active in helping the body detox, so if you're not sleeping at least 8 hours, it's not giving the liver enough time to fully detox the body. 

If you've lost some sleep over the last few days, make it a point to take a nap today. Listen to your body, if you're exhausted you may not want to reach for that extra cup of caffeine. This will only stress the body more, causing a large spike in the stress hormone, cortisol. A nice 30 minute nap will definitely be a better way to help the body actually recharge. 

5. Take a Probiotic 

Do you happen to have a probiotic lying around the house that you used to take and have forgotten about? Here's the time to break it out. 

If you're looking for a good probiotic, I recommend Prescript Assist

You can also get some active forms of probiotics from sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir or kombucha. These are other great options as well! 

 

Hope you all enjoyed your holiday and continue to enjoy it! Remember there are ways to indulge and still focus on recovery! It's all about finding that balance. 

 

In Abundant Health,

Ali Boone, RD, LD, NTP 

    How A Mindful Mealtime Practice Can Promote Better Health

    Mindfulness as defined by the dictionary is “The quality or state mind of being conscious or aware of something”

    Some of you might think of awareness as slowing down so you don’t hit the car that’s in front of you, taking notice of the traffic up ahead, or being aware of the events you’re expected to attend in your calendar.

    Not many of us think of mindfulness from the perspective of relaxation, slowing it down, taking in life or realizing just how fast we all move throughout the day.

    We, as a society, have become so consumed with all the doing that we forget how much the doing prevents us actually being who want to be and how we want to live.

    We get so caught up in life’s expectations and commitments that we forget to appreciate what’s in front of us.

     Take mealtime for example.

     

    Absent Mindful Meal Time Practices

    How many of us actually take our time eating our food?

    I actually had one client recently tell me she thought of eating lunch as a chore. She worked in a fast-paced, sales oriented job in a metropolitan area where you were expected to achieve a high volume of sales each day.

    She confessed to eating lunch everyday at her computer while making deadlines, closing deals and constantly checking email.

    Hey, I know I’m guilty of it too!

    But the reality is, when we think and feel we are expected to always achieve, we never stop to relax. While most people will argue with me that they are relaxed, their bodies actually sense otherwise.

    We sense the pressure of meeting the deadline and eagerly responding to an email that doesn’t actually need to be responded to that second.

    We inhale our food. Take a few bites, maybe, before a big gulp of hardly chewed food. We forget to even breathe. And before we know it, fiver minutes later our meal is gone. We hardly remember what it even tasted like and how it could have possibly been eaten that quickly or maybe we don’t realize at all.

    We are uncomfortably and aggressively full and oh so tired, but we don’t associate it with the meal we just ate. We just think it’s a result of it being so late in the day.

    But deadlines are deadlines and this email has got to go out, so you brew up another batch of coffee and continue on your day brow furrowed, shoulders shrugged, eyes squinted, fight or flight mode turned up to MAX.

    What we don’t realize is our body is extremely intelligent. It will do everything it can to protect us.

    It senses stress. It senses danger. As a result, the Autonomic Nervous System slips into the Sympathetic Mode aka Fight or Flight Mode.

    When the body senses danger, it kicks into high gear.

     

    What Happens In Fight Or Flight Mode?

    The body senses a perceived threat.

    ·       Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released

    ·       Heart rate increases

    ·       Blood pressure increases

    ·       Pupils dilate (vision may narrow to help you focus on the “predator” at hand)

    ·       Blood flow to organs is cut off

    ·       Hearing may become heightened

    ·       Might begin to sweat

    ·       Digestion ceases

    ·       Body receives a burst of energy and strength

    Do you feel tired, bloating, and uncomfortable after your meals? It's no wonder - your body hasn't actually digested your food yet. This series of events has prevented food from initiating digestion, so now your system is completely overloaded with the meal you just ate. 

    So what do you to promote a more relaxed state that actually initiates digestion, but also allows your body to fall out of Fight of Flight Mode and into a Rest and Digest State of Being? 

    My Top Recommendations To Improve Mealtime Practices

     

    1.    Leave your desk. Put all assignments away – this means physically and mentally

     

    2.    Allow yourself time to smell the food you’re eating

     

    3.    Savor the smells. Enjoy them.

     

    4.    Take some deep breaths. Be Thankful for your food

    • Allow your body to slip into a nice blissful Rest & Digest State

    • This is the other mode of the Autonomic Nervous System that allows your body to relax and digest your food)

     

    5.    Practice putting your fork down between each bite

     

    6.    If you’re someone who gets shaky or hangry when meals are skipped, Don't Skip Meals

    • This is a result of your blood sugar dropping. 
    • Your blood sugar dropping will automatically cause our body’s to slip into Fight or Flight Mode leaving it very difficult to slow down and relax.

     

    7.    Most importantly, be patient with yourself.

    This takes practice.

    Remember the first step is to acknowledge how quickly you are eating. This will help bring awareness to the body and allow you to practice being more mindful.

     

    The Result Of Absent Meal Time Practices and Much More

    Mealtime practices are just a small example of a lost tradition that we have completely disconnected from.

    I am using this example because it is extremely common among many clients I work with, but you might find this reoccurring theme in many other aspects of your life.

    On a scale of 1-10, how relaxed to you allow yourself to feel throughout the day?

    Do you always feel stressed, anxious, frustrated or on edge?

    These are emotions that will continue to result in a stress induced response, which not only impairs digestion and the ability for your body to effectively break down food, but also results in increased aging, greater risk of disease like Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and a host of Autoimmune Conditions.

    For the remainder of the week and throughout these next few months, I challenge you to look at all areas of your life and see where you are actually truly practicing mindfulness.

    Have you actively chosen to slow it down and center into how you are currently feeling, how you want to feel, and who you want to be?

    As I have come across some of my own health challenges, it has really forced me to take a deeper look at where I can be more conscious, more aware, and more myself.

    I hope you take these recommendations into consideration during your mealtime practice. It’s just one of the many areas of our lives where routine becomes all too familiar, all too quick, and a result our health suffers.

    If you might need help with your mealtime practice or any other area of your life, I have the tools and accountability to support you.  

    Set up a Free 30-Min Discovery Call today to learn more!

     

    In Abundant Health,

    Ali   

    An Easy, Refreshing Summer Salad!

    If you're looking for a refreshing salad for the summer, try this Watermelon Cucumber Mint Salad
     

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 watermelon, cubed
    • 1 cucumber, sliced
    • 1/4 c fresh mint chopped
    • 1/4 c olive oil
    • 2-3 tbs balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbs raw honey
    • salt to taste

    Instructions:

    1. Add watermelon cucumber and mint to a bowl
    2. Heat olive oil, balsamic and honey on medium until honey melts 
    3. Add balsamic, honey and olive oil to the bowl and toss!

     

    Stay tuned for more easy summer recipes!

    Having a difficult time coming up with easy, healthy recipes that actually have flavor, I'm here to help! Email me at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com for more meal planning guidance! 

    5 Steps To Prepare A Healthy, Satisfying Meal in Less Than 15 Minutes!

    Who said preparing meals and eating healthy always had to be difficult and time consuming and well, not satisfying?

    Read my 5 Steps To Prepare A Healthy, Satisfying Meal in Less Than 15 Minutes and learn the key components of a balanced meal that won't leave you feeling deprived! 

    Step #1 -Pick Your Protein

    Make it an easy protein that's quick to cook and doesn't require a lot of time and energy. Allows search for quality if you can - organic, grass fed, pasture raised etc.

    The following examples fit this category: 

    • Ground beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey
    • Eggs
    • Pre-cooked uncured, nitrite free sausage
    • Canned Fish (Tuna, Sardines, Salmon)

    Step #2 - Pick Your Seasoning/Add Your Flavor

    Sometimes meals don't necessarily need additional flavor, but seasonings can always help make more flavorful. Sometimes the way of adding flavor can also help you accomplish Step #3 - Evaluate Your Healthy Fat. 

    For example, a healthy dressing, avocado or coconut butter can add flavor and also fit into the healthy fat category. 

    Here are just some examples of how I add flavor to my meal: 

    • Sea salt, celtic salt, himalayan salt (never skimp! these salts will help provide your body with trace minerals and help support the adrenals!)
    • Coconut aminos  (nice light asian flare, soy sauce alternative) 
    • Fresh garlic (great anti-microbial, adds a ton of flavor) 
    • Turmeric, curry seasonings
    • Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, rosemary) 
    • Taco seasonings (chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder)
    • Or buy a Taco Seasoning pre-mixed along with Steak Seasoning and Seafood Seasoning at Primal Palate.
    Griddle-and-Grill-Pack-2017-800x612.jpg

    Step #3 – Evaluate your healthy fat

    Healthy fats are possibly the most common missing meal component I see with my clients. Healthy fats are extremely important in building your meal because they:

    • Help keep you satiated
    • Promote digestion or movement of food through the intestines
    • Building blocks for different hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone etc)
    • Help you absorb essential vitamins (A,D,E,K) 
    • Help food taste good! 

    I generally recommend at least 1-2 servings of healthy fats. If you have a leaner meat (like chicken or turkey) I say add in 2 servings. Or if you're someone who isn't used to adding in healthy fats, maybe just stick with one.

    Examples of different fats include: 

    • 1/2- 1 Tbs Cooking fat (butter, ghee, coconut oil etc)
    • ¼ - ½ Avocado
    • 2 Tbs Healthy dressing  (Tessamae's, Primal Kitchen or homemade dressing) 
    • 2-3 Tbs raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds 
    • 1 Tbs coconut butter 
    healthy fats .png

    Step #4- Throw in Your Vegetable

    Again, make it EASY. The following are vegetables that all cook extremely quickly OR require no preparation at all.

    Remember, pre-cut vegetables are always an option. Many grocery stores carry pre-cut cabbage or broccoli slaw. Trader joes often has griller packages with pre-cut varieties including asparagus, mushrooms and onions or pre-cut bell peppers. 

    The following are examples of vegetables that cook quickly or require no prep:  

    • Asparagus
    • Collard greens, kale, swiss chard, spinach (cook down quickly, add at the end!) 
    • Bell Peppers
    • Beets (great on a salad raw!) 
    • Cabbage
    • Green Beans
    • Kohlrabi (great on a salad raw!) 
    • Sumer squash
    • Fermented vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut)
    • Zucchini 

    Step #5 - Evaluate Your Carb 

    This may be something you end up leaving behind if you're in a time crunch. A carb (like rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes or any carb dense vegetable) generally takes longer to prepare. 

    In the scenario where you are crunched for time, the carb could be either prepared ahead of time, left out or prepared on the stove while the meat and vegetable cook. 

    Examples include: 

    • 1/2 cup - 1 cup brown rice 
    • 1/2 cup- 1 cup quinoa 
    • 1 medium sweet potato (2 1/2 x 5") 
    • 1 cup parsnips, butternut squash 
    • 1 cup beets
    • 1/2 apple 
    Sweet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Cooked in 2 tbs ghee

    Sweet Potatoes and Russet Potatoes Cooked in 2 tbs ghee

    Putting It All Together 

    The following are examples of some meals that were cooked in 15 minutes! Stay tuned to my blog post for Healthy Recipes Cooked In Less Than 15! 

    Over Easy Eggs, Green Beans & Collards

    Turkey, Butternut, Kale Hash 

    Veggie-Stuffed-Tuna-Collard-Wraps-Eat-Spin-Run-Repeat4.jpg

    Healthy Tuna Salad Wrapped in Collards 

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    Asian Ground Turkey, Kimchi, Sauteed Cabbage & Spinach 

    Liked what you read or want to learn more tips & tricks to help create balanced meals that won't leave you feeling deprived, leave a comment below or email me at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com.

    Set up a free 30-minute discovery call today

    Dealing With Fatigue And Stubborn Weight Loss? This Could Be Why

    Are you feeling tired, puffy, bloated, and irritable? 

    I get these questions often, "Why am I so I tired?" or "Why can't I lose this excess weight?" 

    While there is no doubt there could be an underlining health condition present, the majority of people I work are actually dealing more with blood sugar control issues than anything else. 

    When it comes down to it, the matter is often more about making small tweaks to your diet and changing up your meal and/or snack composition than feeling like you have to overhaul your entire life. 

    What does blood sugar have to do with anything though, you ask? 

    Balancing blood sugar through meal composition is crucial to helping stabilizing energy levels. 

    Here's why. 

    Blood Sugar: The Tricky Roller Coaster Ride

    When you consume any carbs (whether it's brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, fruit, bread, candy etc), this causes an increase in blood sugar. While of course some of these carbs are going to cause less of an impact on your blood sugar, it’s important to look at what you’re eating these carbs with.

    Are you consuming meals that are primarily carbs? Maybe you have a rice dish for lunch or an orange or an apple for a snack?

    While I think these sources of carbs are great, the composition of that meal or snack is also important. All of these examples listed are primarily carbs, which eventually breaks down into sugar.

    When we consume too many carbs and possibly not enough fats, protein or vegetables, this in turn causes a greater spike in blood sugar. It is these three meal components (fats, protein and vegetables) that play a very crucial role is stabilizing blood sugar as well as maintaining energy levels, promoting weight loss and creating hormone balance. 

    When our blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin that helps transport from the blood into the cell, so it can utilized as energy. 

    However, often insulin overcompensates and drives blood glucose to below normal levels. This in turn signals the adrenals to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is hormone that is released in response to stress. Essentially, our blood sugar dropping to below normal levels is a sign of stress and causes our body to go into fight-or-flight mode. 

    For the people who eat the sweet treat instead of say the apple, shame and guilt start to set in. They begin to believe it was a "lack of willpower" that got them to this place, when in actuality it is a result of your blood sugar dropping and your body needing a source of immediate energy to bring your blood sugar back to normal levels.

    When we eat carbs and/or sugar, our blood sugar rises and drops, and the adrenals mobilize cortisol to raise blood sugar, this also signals the mobilization of muscle tissue and preserve body fat. 

    See, fat is makes up all your cell membranes, it's needed to digestion essential vitamins A, D, E, K, and it's surrounding your organs, so fat is essential and muscle is secondary. 

    This mechanism of your blood sugar rising and dramatically dropping causes a cascade of energy highs and lows, inflammation, and weight gain. It is also a leading cause of many underlining health conditions, like insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. 

    Going for that sweet treat or "quick fix" snack might feel like a good idea at the time, until you begin to feel the food coma set in, the energy spike and inevitable energy plummet, the guilt, and the cycle of feeling irritably hungry all over again.  

    Furthermore, cortisol as well as other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone share the same precursor, so in order to be processed they need the precursor (cholesterol) to be available. However, due to the constant need for cortisol in the scenario of your blood sugar dropping or you experiencing any other daily stress, cortisol begins to steal from other hormone pathways, thus preventing their production. So inevitably, this blood sugar imbalance can lead to to a hormone imbalance as well. 

    Now that you have this newly discovered knowledge, let's talk about mainstream diet principles, how they are doing more to harm us, and what steps we can take to actually effectively live a healthy, happy life. 

    Mainstream Diet Principles

    Mainstream diet principles teach people to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day as a way to "increase their metabolism". It also teaches people to avoid fat.

    But why is that actually doing more to contribute to the very problem at hand? 

    This concept and belief inadvertently causes people to rely more on low-calorie, low-fat small meals. However, these low-fat snacks are often high in carbs, and since we talked about how fat helps stabilize blood sugar, you now can see how these snacks (or low-fat meals) may actually contribute to blood sugar dysregulation, insulin resistance, weight gain and general fatigue. 

    So, what's the solution? Eat chicken and broccoli all day?! 

    HECK NO!

    Here are my key nutrition tips to set you up for success.

    6 Nutrition Tips To Boosted Energy Levels & Faster Weight Loss

    1. Incorporate More Healthy Fats

    Healthy fats will play a great role in stabilizing blood sugar and keep you full for longer. Examples Include: 

    • 1/4- 1/2 avocado
    • 1/2 Tbs butter or coconut oil 
    • 2-3 Tbs raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds 
    • A handful of raw nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc) 
    • 1 Tbs chia seeds or ground flaxseed in smoothie or in your yogurt

    2. Make Sure At Least 1/3 Of Your Plate Is Vegetables

    Vegetables play a key role in blood sugar stabilization, but they are also helping your body receive micronutrients.

    We all need micronutrients, but if you’re experiencing blood sugar control issues, your body is at an even greater need for nutrients, as this series of events depletes our bodies of essential vitamins and minerals.

    3. Eat Good Quality Protein

    Most have the protein concept down. They realize it's important to get some protein in at each meal, but often we overdo it. Quality over quantity is important. A serving that's equivalent to a deck of cards is all you need. Examples include:

    • 3-5 oz grass fed beef 
    • 3-5 oz wild-caught salmon 
    • 2-3 pasture-raised eggs 
    • 1 can wild caught sardines or tuna 

    4. Always Pair a Carb With a Protein, Fat or Vegetable

    Meal Examples:

    • Meal 1 –  1 small sweet potato (carb), 4 oz Chicken (protein) 1 Tbs butter over veggies or sweet potato (fat), 1 cup broccoli (vegetable)
    • Meal 2 – ½ apple chopped (carb), 4 oz Salmon (protein), ¼ cup walnuts + 2 tbs vinaigrette dressing (fat), 2 cups leafy greens + radishes (vegetable)

    Snack Examples:

    • Snack 1 – ½ apple (carb) + 1-2 tbs almond butter (fat) maybe add a handful of beef jerky if you’re still hungry
    • Snack 2 – Whole Fat yogurt (protein/fat) + berries (carb) + 1-2 tbs raw nuts or ground flaxseed (fat)
    • Snack 3 – Guacamole (fat) + Carrots + celery (vegetable)

    5. Don’t Skimp On The Meals and Snacks

    Notice how the meal and snack examples are well-rounded.  I’m purposefully making sure there are less carbs and more protein, fat or vegetables. I’m less concerned about calories and more concerned about finding a meal or snack that’s going to keep me satisfied and not snacking an hour later.

    6. Listen To Your Body

    Above all else, listen to your body. If you’re hungry within an hour after that meal or snack, something’s really going on here. Look back at the meal or snack you consumed. Did it have a balanced ratio of proteins fats and vegetables? Was it possible that there was more carbs than you anticipated? Perhaps you had forgot the fat or vegetable? Get curious around what could be the cause?

    And if you’re having trouble figuring out how to boost energy levels, get rid of stubborn belly fat, and feel confident in your skin and your skills once and for all, don’t hesitate to reach out! That’s what I’m here for!

    Email at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com to schedule a free 30-min informational session! 

    In Abundant Health, 

    Ali 

    Do You Often Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night? This Could Be Why

    Do you always wake up in the middle of the night at the same time?

    Do you blame it on the dog, the wind, or your need to go to the bathroom? What if I told there's an actual reason you're waking up in the middle of the night?

    So, what's the cause you ask? Blood sugar dysregulation. 

    The number one commonality I find with clients who are waking up between the hours of 1 and 4 am is that they aren't incorporating any carbs at dinner or they're snacking on sweets or carb dense foods after dinner. 

    I'm sure you're asking yourself, "You can wake up in the middle of the night when you eat carbs and when you don't eat them? I don't get" Hear me out. 

     

    Why to Incorporate Carbs At Dinner

    Most people have been taught to stop eating carbs after 6 pm or to avoid them all together at dinner. 

    However, carbs actually help increase melatonin production and therefore improve sleep. Eating carbohydrates at night can help replenish glycogen (the storage form of glucose). Your body needs a reserve of glycogen in order to maintain your blood sugar throughout the night. 

    If you wake up between the hours of 1 and 4 am, it is most commonly caused by a drop in blood sugar followed by an immediate spike in cortisol. 

    Cortisol is a stress hormone released in response to a perceived threat your body is experiencing. Your blood sugar dropping is that threat. 

    When your body identifies a threat is eminent (i.e. your blood sugar dropping) cortisol begins breaking down protein (aka muscle tissue) to create more glucose.  This action of cortisol being released, causes us to wake up in the middle of the night. 

    In this fight or flight mode, it signals your body to store body fat.  Sustained high cortisol levels also destroy healthy muscle and bone, slow down healing and normal cell regeneration, impair digestion, metabolism, mental function, interfere with endocrine function and weaken your immune system. 

    Needless to say, we want to do everything we can to manage and lower cortisol levels. Read on to learn some tips how to effectively lower cortisol and improve sleep.

    Why To Avoid Snacking After Dinner

    This same action described above can also result if you are consuming sweet treats a couple hours after dinner or right before bed. Maybe you don't eat sweets, but it's popcorn or chips or even an apple.

    Regardless of whether it's a healthy snack or not, it's almost often strictly carbohydrates. In this instance, consuming strictly carbs as your snack can cause a dramatic blood sugar spike and a subsequent decrease in blood sugar. This sudden decrease in blood sugar will result in the release of cortisol. This is the same stress hormone that woke you up when you didn't consume carbs at dinner.

    "So then what's the balance here, Ali. How do I get this blood sugar thing to stop?"

    It's a lot easier said than done, but below are my top tips to at least start you on the road to improving sleep. 

     

    Top Tips To Improve Sleep

    1. Always make sure your dinner is complete with:  

    • Protein (i.e 4-6 oz any quality meat)

    • Carb (1/2 c- 1 cup sweet potato, butternut squash, potato, brown rice, quinoa, etc)

    • Fat (1/2 avocado, 1/2 tbs coconut oil, butter tallow or ghee, 1/4 c raw nuts or seeds)

    • Vegetable - always AT LEAST 1 cup if not more, always vary your vegetable to get in a variety of nutrients

    2. Try to stop eating or snacking after you've eaten dinner 

    It helps to follow the above meal guidelines to prevent the need for snacking. If you are hungry, try to increase the serving sizes at dinner and if you need a snack, rely more on protein, healthy fats (like raw nuts or nut butters) and/or vegetables

    3. Avoid foods you are sensitive to or cause gas bloating or digestive discomfort (this will only contribute to disrupted sleep as it overwhelms the liver and the digestive system) 

    4. Eat at least 4 hours before you go to sleep

    5. Avoid sugar, hydrogenated oils, caffeine, and refined carbs as these can also overwhelm the body and organ systems  

    6. Shut off all artificial light (cell phone, lab top, computer etc) at least two hours before bed

    Although not related to blood sugar regulation, artificial light prevents the production of melatonin (our sleep hormone), so this only contributes to an inability to fall asleep or restless sleep. 

    So if you are cutting the carbs at dinner or find yourself frequently snacking after dinner, consider the possibility that these habits could be contributing to your restless sleep patterns, increased stress levels, and inability to lose weight. 

    Want more tips to improve your blood sugar regulation? 

    Email me at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com for a free informational session! 

    In Abundant Health,

    Ali Boone 

     

     

    New Year, New You (or is it?)

    Eat better, stop smoking, workout more…

    Many of us know New Year’s resolutions are filled with commitments to living a more healthy, happy, balanced life. Exercising and eating healthy are all good and well, but what if your definition of “eating right” is actually dramatically limiting your success?

    This time of year always has me on my toes. I have several friends and family members call me to tell me they are following a low-calorie diet, avoiding all fat, exercising every day of the week, and weighing themselves every morning. Then, in a few short weeks, frustration sets in and they follow up with, “I feel like I am doing everything ‘right’, but nothing is working”

    Did you know that 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail?

    That alarmingly high statistic is due in part to the lack of structure and accountability we set around our goals, but it’s also due to our misconception of what constitutes “healthy”.

    Bear with me here. Are you someone who:   

    ·       Constantly feels fatigued and exhausted?

    ·       Often loses focus, feel brain foggy, and frequently lose track of things

    ·       Has a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning?

    ·       Has a difficult time falling asleep or often wake up in the middle of the night?

    ·       Has gained weight for what feels like no reason at all?

    ·       Feels tired and bloated after meals?

    ·       Craves sugar or caffeine to get through the day?

    ·       Struggles with weight loss plateaus?

    ·       Constantly feels stressed, anxious or overwhelmed?

    If you answered “ugh, yes!” to any of these, your “healthy” lifestyle may actually be working against you. This New Year, resolve to understanding the science of your body.

    Have you ever heard anyone mention the importance of digestion or gut health? Did you know that 80% of your immune system is located in your gut? Your gut is often called your second brain.

    Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria are capable of impacting your body’s ability to absorb vitamin and mineral, regulate hormones, digest food, produce vitamins, eliminate toxins, and affect your mental health.

    So when you think about your general exhaustion, inability to lose weight, and uncontrollable cravings, consider the possibility that it has nothing to do with your "lack of willpower" and everything to do with your gut.  

    Before you decide to make this year consumed with counting calories, eating less to lose more, and over exerting yourself day in and day out, I encourage you to think about reevaluating the steps you're currently taking towards reaching your health and wellness goals. It’s not as easy as calories in calories out, but I promise making some tweaks toward a healthy gut  is worth the work.

    If you want to learn more about the state of your gut health, email me at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com. I’d love to talk more about you, your goals, and what we can do to get you one step closer to achieving them.

    Happy 2017!

     

    In Abundant Health,

    Ali Boone, RD, LD, NTP

    10 Ways to Ease Indigestion & Bloating Over The Holidays

    It goes without saying that the holidays are often filled will indulging in foods that we wouldn't typically eat. The average weight gain over the holidays is 7 to 9 pounds. While some of this weight gain is attributed to an overconsumption of excess carbs and sugar and overall increased consumption of calories, it also related to impaired digestion.

    If we aren't properly digesting our food, it can prevent food from being properly broken down, thus resulting in bloating, constipation, cramping, weight gain etc. 

    Below are some easy tips to aid in digestion and alleviate the symptoms of bloating and digestive discomfort over the holiday season! 

     

    1. Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice to Your Water

    Incorporating Apple Cider Vinegar  or lemon juice 15-20 minutes before a meal will help increase digestive enzymes (which are protein based compounds that help you break down food) and help decrease transit time. 

     

    2. Avoid PPI's, Antacids, or Any Over the Counter Acid-Suppressing Drugs 

    Digestion in the stomach is most optimal at a pH of 1.5 to 3. Acid-Suppressing drugs increase the pH of the stomach, thus preventing the action of enzymes that play a key role in digestion. While the theory is that heart burn and acid reflux is caused by an over production of stomach acid, it actually couldn't be more opposite.

    As a society, our intake of medications, sugar, alcohol, and processed carbs has resulted in a decrease in stomach acid production.  We need stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) to effectively break down food and kill off any potential pathogenic bugs.  However, when stomach acid is suppressed, it prevents the break down of food. This can lead to bacteria accumulating in the stomach, which can migrate towards the small intestine and wreak more havoc on the digestive tract. 

    PPI's (Proton Pumping Inhibitors), the most common being Omeprazole (or Prilosec), harms your heart, brain, kidneys and gut. Apple Cider Vinegar or hydrochloric acid is a much better alternative to these acid-suppressing drugs. I recommend starting with ACV first! 

     

    3. Stay Hydrated 

    Drinking less water slows down your digestion significantly. Making sure you're consuming half your body weight in ounces is important. If you plan on drinking alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea, or juice, you should be even more conscious of your water intake. These beverages are diuretics and will cause greater dehydration. 

     

    4. Avoid Drinking Water Directly Before or After Meals 

    While stay hydrated is important for gut motility, drinking water directly before, during or after meals actually dilutes the strength of digestive enzymes. The less strength the enzyme has, the slower food is digested and the more likely you are to feel bloated. 

    This is not to say you cannot drink water with meals. Sips with a meal is perfectly fine. However, drinking water 20 minutes before meals and at least an hour after will help improve digestion and absorption. 

     

    5. Drink Peppermint or Ginger Tea

    Peppermint and ginger tea will help regulate stomach acidity, stimulate peristalsis (movement of food through the intestines) and decrease transit time. 

    For Ginger Tea, I recommend grating 4 to 6 quarter-size pieces of ginger. Drop them in a pot filled with water. Bring the water to boil cover and steep for 10 minutes

     

    6. Increase Probiotics & Fermented Foods 

    Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on sugar and starch to create lactic acid. The process of fermentation preserves the foods and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega 3-fatty acids and various strands of probiotics (that will help increase beneficial bacteria in the gut).

    Traditionally fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and tempeh will help balance the production of stomach acid, improve nutrient absorption and aid in digestion. I always recommend Incorporating 1/2 cup of kimchi or sauerkraut with your meals. It's best with all three meals, but starting with just one meal will still make a difference! 

    While you can make all these foods, you can easily purchase them at the store. Here is my favorite sauerkraut brand. They also have a great Gut Shot product if you're not one for sauerkraut. Always look for your favorite fermented foods to be refrigerated and with minimal added ingredients. 

    7. Slow Down Your Eating 

    Eat your food slowly, always chew thoroughly. Take deep breaths. When you are relaxed, this is when digestion is most optimal! You will notice some of these tips are a slight repeat of my 10 Tips For a Guilt-Free Holiday Season, but that is primarily because some of these points are so important! 

     

    8. Incorporate Movement

    Even if you're just going on a walk, exercise will help increase gut motility. Even a gentle belly massive or easy spinal twists will help increase the digestion of food through the intestines and promote a bowel movement.

    Try lying on the ground with your arms out in a T-shape. Bring your legs into your chest and move your knees slowly from side to side, ensuring that both shoulders are planted on the ground. Yoga is also a great way to focus on deep breaths and spinal twists that will help promote digestion and cleanse organs. 

    9. Avoid Foods You Are Sensitive To

    If you have a sensitivity or allergy to specific foods that cause you a lot of pain, indigestion, bloating and upset stomach, I highly recommend avoiding them.

    With over 70% of the population have a food sensitivity to dairy, I would say your conventional milks, cheeses, and ice cream are the number one culprits for all these unwanted ailments. If you have a sensitivity to dairy, I highly recommend avoiding it or sticking to raw dairy.   

     

    10. Take Activated Charcoal or Digestive Enzymes 

    If you plan on traveling over the holiday season, plan to eat foods you have not prepared or simply have a hard time avoiding foods you are sensitive to, I recommend taking activated charcoal. It is a safe and effective way to help your body flush out toxins. It also helps prevent gas and bloating. Read more on the benefits from Dr. Axe here.

    Some of you might not be familiar with digestive enzymes, but I also recommend them as an effective way to aid in digestion. 

    If you are experiencing: 

    • Gas and bloating after every meal 
    • Feel full after a few bites
    • Continue to feel full after a meal for an hour or more
    • Undigested food in your stools 
    • Floating stools 
    • Stools aren't well formed 
    • An "oil slick" in your stool (suggesting undigested fats) 

    You might want to consider taking enzymes in the future. If this is you, please feel free to reach out to me at Ali@NourishedAbundance.com. I would be happy to talk to you more about what protocol that would benefit your body and promote digestion. No individual is the same, so it would be impossible for everyone to benefit from the same enzyme. 

    I hope you all found this list helpful! What other ways have you found help alleviate bloating? Feel free to leave in the comments below. 

    Have a wonderful holiday! Enjoy this time and give thanks for having the opportunity to spend time with family and friends! 

    In Abundant Health, 

    Ali

    10 Tips For a Guilt-Free Holiday Season

    We all know this time of year all too well. It always seems to creep up on us rather quickly. We're excited to spend time with family and friends, eat and drink and overindulge, but when the holidays start to settle, we are left feeling bloated, tired, and unmotivated.

    Have no fear! I want you to feel light, energized and ready to get back at it during and after that holiday season!

    Here are my 10 Tips for a Guilt-Free Holiday Season!  

    1. Don't Skip Breakfast

    Skipping breakfast will only set you up for a rollercoaster ride of blood sugar highs and lows. Upon waking is generally the longest we go without eating. It is for this reason that your blood sugar can invariably drop, leading you to consume and crave more sweets and unnecessary calories.

    Start off with a balanced breakfast to curb your appetite and keep those blood sugar levels stable, maybe an easy breakfast casserole to feed the whole family. Try this egg & sausage bake recipe here

    2. Get In Enough Protein, Healthy Fats & Vegetable

    All these components of a meal are essential for stabilizing your blood sugar as well. We all get plenty of protein on thanksgiving, but we also get plenty of carbs. I'm not necessarily saying to avoid all the 'bad' stuff, but maybe try to drop a tablespoon of butter on your mashed potatoes or find some balance by incorporating roasted vegetables.  Protein, fat and vegetable will also help keep you more satiated and signal when you're full.

    3. Chew Your Food Slowly 

    It takes 20 minutes to reach satiety. Not to mention, in order to digest your food, your body must be in a relaxed state. If we chew our food quickly without allowing the brain to register we are eating, enzymes that help digest our food are not released. If we are not digesting our food properly, this causes a lot of bacteria to accumulate in the stomach from maldigested proteins, fats, and carbs.

    Be thankful for your food - say a blessing, take deep breaths, put your fork down between each bite. This well allow for digestion to take its natural course. 

    4. Stay Hydrated

    Feelings of thirst are often mistaken for feelings of hunger in the body. Water plays a key role in digestion and allowing your body to detox. If you're going to take away any tips from this list, please make sure you are drinking water!

    Read my article on water here to learn more about its many roles, what individualized amount is right for you, and how much water to consume after drinking any coffee, tea, juice or alcohol. 

    5. Avoid the Self-Blame Game, Follow an 80/20 Rule

    Guys, no one ever gets anywhere by playing the self-blame game. It's a holiday. You're with family and friends and you're allowed to enjoy it. Guilting yourself will not make you feel any better. However, I do think it's important to follow an 80/20 rule.

    • Mashed Potatoes with full-fat cream and real butter are better than a sweet potato casserole covered in marshmallows. 
    • Coconut milk ice cream is better than Ben & Jerry's 
    • Sharing a small slice of pie is better than having two large slices of pie 

    Be mindful, actively choose what you want to eat, and try to balance it with other healthy options.  

    6. Bring the Dessert

    And if all else fails, bring the healthy option! I say specifically dessert, because this is where most feel they have their "downfall".  It is not your lack of willpower that leaves you going for several pieces of cookie or cakes. Sugar is addicting. So, if you're someone who feels like sugar is something you can't limit, I definitely recommend bringing your own dessert. 

    Look for recipes that use raw honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar as their sweetener. This is easiest when searching for "Paleo Desserts" 

    Take this Paleo, Grain Free Pumpkin Pie  for example my friend and fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Carrie Vit made over at Organically Delicious

     

    7. Make Time for Self-Care

    The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for everyone. Just remember to take time for yourself. Whether it's 15 minutes alone in your room, meditation, going on a walk, taking a nap, or enlisting help in others, remember that if you put yourself first it can help enrich the time you spend with family and friends. You're less stressed, less rundown, more cheerful, more present, more conversational and more joyful. 

    8. Get Enough Sleep

    This kind of branches of the umbrella of self-care. Making sure you get enough sleep is so so important. We are much more capable of handling stress and giving our bodies time to detox when we prioritize sleep. I always recommended at least 8 hours or at least some time to take a nap leading up to the big day.

    9. Get Up & Move

    Most people set high expectations for a workout and think it has to be 60 minutes for it to even count. That is NOT true. Even a simple walk outside will help get the digestive tract moving, get you some fresh air, and maybe more time with family or hey, without em! haha whichever you feel is necessary.

    Also, check out my article Tips to Eat, Drink, and Enjoy Your Fourth to find two easy, effective 20-minute workouts! 

    And last, but of course not least...alcohol 

    10. Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

    Alcohol converts to sugar and is stored in the muscle, liver and fat cells, so it can throw your blood sugar off balance. Alcohol also creates a heavy burden on the liver, so it's important to take these tips into consideration to stabilize blood sugar and increase the antioxidant rich properties in the beverages you are consuming. 

    • Consume alcohol after a meal to lessen the blood sugar impacts 
    • Always alternate alcohol with water to stay hydrated and lessen the hangover 
    • Add a lime to your drink. Limes are highly alkalizing and also help with insulin sensitivity. 
    • Add a sparking mineral water to your drink to provide extra minerals. The carbonation also helps increase the absorption of alcohol, so that way you don't end up drinking as much
    • Add natural sweeteners like stevia, all-natural carbonated waters, or coconut water to avoid refined sugars and the inevitable blood sugar dip 

    Tips on What Alcohol To Drink -  

    • Vodka derived from potatoes, tequila, and wood-aged spirits like whiskey, brandy, scotch or cognac are better for balancing blood sugar. 
    • A sparkling white wine or dry champagne like prosecco is lower in sugar. The drier the better, which means less sugar. 
    • Wine is high in resveratrol, which is proven to fight cancer, help lower blood pressure and promote good heart health, however, organic wines are better as grapes are highly treated with pesticides. Avoiding cheap wines will also certainly result in less of a hangover.
    • Try to avoid the beers and mixed drinks with added sugar 
    • And of course if you're not a drinker, you could also check out Mark's Daily Apple for some Mocktails ;)

    I hope you all found these tips helpful! What's most important above ALL else is to just be grateful and enjoy time with family! Always take time to appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted. 

    If you have comments or questions feel free to post in comments section! Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Holiday's, Everyone! Stay tuned for my next holiday post closer to Christmas time.

    In Abundant Health,

    Ali Boone, RD, LD, NTP