Coffee – Who can drink it and who should avoid it?

Coffee – Who can drink it and who should avoid it?

Coffee is one of those things- you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

I must admit I like coffee and drink it regularly. I like especially my morning coffee. Having it first thing in the morning is like a ritual for me. I drink Turkish coffee in my pj’s.

What about you?

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But…a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizersof caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is “fast” metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol
  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and health risks

There area ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
  • Increased sleep disruption
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases
  • Lower risk of death
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

Should you drink coffee or not?

There area few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • People who are pregnant
  • Children and teens.

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Affect your sleep?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

Also take note. Have organic coffee whenever possible. Coffee beans are a sensitive plant and prone to molding. So conventionally grown coffee beans are treated with lots of chemicals.

Also, are you aware what is in your coffee? Are you putting a lot of sugar and cream? Hmm…maybe not the best idea.

The season of pumpkins are upon us.


RECIPE (Latte)

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Serves: 1

  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1 cup coffee (decaf if preferred)

 

Instructions: Add all ingredients to blender and blend until creamy.

 

To your radiant health, with love

Surprising ways stress can change your body

Surprising ways stress can change your body

Have you ever wondered what happens to your body when you are stressed? I was previously talking about stress and aging. Let’s explore all the negative effects stress has on our bodies.

When you learn exactly how your body responds to stress, it can be a HUGE “a-ha” moment.

It helps you understand what you can do to calm your body, so you feel instantly more balanced and more in control – and why that’s so important!

It’s tempting to think we can power through stress, but over time it takes a real toll.

Here are just some of the ways stress change your body:

You can gain weight in the form of body fat. Having chronically high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can 1) make you hungry and 2) increase fat storage. That can contribute to weight gain and the buildup of fatty tissues.

It can make it hard to sleep. Besides the fact that being stressed can keep you awake at night, when your cortisol levels are out of whack, it can make your body want to stay up at night and sleep during the day (which causes an even bigger hormonal disruption, affecting your hunger hormones).

You can feel aches, pains, and headaches. When you’re stressed, your muscles tighten up. Over time, this can cause things like migraines and low-back pain – and even set the stage for injury!

It can hurt your heart. Repeatedly high stress hormone levels, elevated heart rate and blood pressure can increase the risk for hypertension, heart attack or stroke.

Your immune system takes a big hit. Over time, communication between your body’s stress response centers and your immune system becomes disrupted. This has been linked to the development of chronic fatigue, depression, immune disorders, diabetes, and obesity.

It’s bad for your gut.It disrupts the workings of your digestive system – not just from the extra hormones floating around your body, but also by impacting your appetite. This can lead to acid reflux, bloating, nausea, pain, and even diarrhea or constipation.

Even your sex life can take a dive. Stress can dampen libido.

This is why it’s SO IMPORTANT to make time destress.

Your body is wired to handle short-term stress to get out of a jam. But it’s not set up to handle being “go-go-go” 24/7!

Here are some things you can do to destress yourself:

  • Exercise regularly! Study after study shows how exercise can increase your body’s “feel-good” hormones and help reduce the stress-causing hormones.
  • Create a daily positivity practice,reading or watching inspirational books and videos. This helps create a positive, resilient mindset.
  • Engage in hobbies or pastimes that make you feel good. This can include anything from cooking and crafting to making music or rebuilding cars.
  • Volunteer or help someone. Your body will release feel good hormones (oxytocin and endorphins) so you aren’t just helping others – you also are helping yourself!

It’s pretty incredible how a small six-letter word can do so much damage to your body.

I hope you found this email helpful and now have a few ideas to help you take control!

Do something fun today,


RECIPE

Stressbuster Tea
  • 1 tsp green tea
  • 1 tsp dried lavender blossoms (or lavender tea)
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile blossoms (or chamomile tea)
  • 3-4 cups water (heat till barely a boil)
  • 1 tsp honey or 1-2 drops Stevia (optional)

 

Place your herbs/teas in a teapot, French press, or large mason jar. Add hot water, stir, and let steep for at least 5 minutes. Strain, pour into cups, add optional honey, and enjoy!

If you’re not into whipping up your own tea blend, you also can try one of the stress-busting tea blends on your grocery shelf. There are tons out there – whenever possible try for loose-leaf organic blends.

Remember: One of the best ways to combat stress is by taking care of yourself. A healthy, strong, and fit body is a resilient body. We are here to help!

So many exciting things are happening in our Sisterhood aka our amazing Facebook group. If you struggle with weight (according to my market research 80% of the participants does) I am inviting you to join us.

Here is the link to join https://www.facebook.com/groups/499316053867660/

To your radiant health, with love

How junk food tricks you into eating too much

How junk food tricks you into eating too much

I read a study the other day that I just had to share with you, because it personally made me even more committed to eating a diet based on real, whole foods.

It’s all about how ultra-processed foods make us want to eat more.

Here are the basics of what they found: people who eat a diet of “ultra-processed” food take in more calories and gain more weight than people who eat less-processed food – even when they are given meals containing the same calories and macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbs).

The study was conducted by the National Institutes for Health.

Scientists had 10 men and 10 women check into a clinic for a month and fed them a controlled diet. For two weeks they were given meals consisting of ultra-processed foods, and then for another two weeks they ate a diet of minimally processed foods. They could eat as much of their meals as they wanted.

As an example, an ultra-processed breakfast was a bagel with favored cream cheese and sweetened tea, while a whole foods breakfast included oatmeal, bananas, walnuts, and almond milk.

When they were given the “ultra” processed diet, the study subjects ate their meals faster AND consumed about 500 more calories a day… not surprisingly, they also gained an average of about 2 pounds!

Meanwhile, they lost about 2 pounds on the minimally processed diet.

This is the first study to ever show a direct relationship between processed foods and weight gain when other factors are controlled. Even so, it’s something we’ve kind of known over the years, right?

But here’s the kicker: processed foods are filled with things that make us want to eat more – salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats. So not only are they linked with eating more, they ALSO contribute to chronic health problems!

When we eat MORE of those foods, we’re taking in yet more things that are not good for us! (other studieshave suggested that junk foods are engineered specifically to make us want to eat more.)

Here’s another thing “shocking-not shocking” aspect of the study: the processed diet was actually much CHEAPER (by almost 50%!).

Scientists estimated the weekly cost to prepare 2,000 calories a day of the ultra-processed diet at $106, while the minimally processed diet cost $151, based on the prices at a nearby supermarket.

Here’s my personal takeaway on this one.

The food you eat is SO MUCH more than just “calories.”

It has a powerful effect on your health and well-being… and eating a healthy, whole-foods-based diet makes a strong statement to manufacturers when it comes to our food supply.

Over time, extra calories add up, and that extra weight can lead to serious health conditions. We are facing epidemics of obesity and chronic conditions like never before.

If you think healthy eating is expensive, I challenge you to do some research and find out what is the cost of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer etc.

How can you save money when it comes to eating a healthy diet?

  1. Buy in bulk and buy locally
  2. Shop sales,
  3. Use your freezer as much as possible
  4. Batch cooking
  5. Meal planning

If you need help coming up with healthy meal ideas that are affordable let me know. We are alw­ays here to help. Just reply to this email and I will be back to you shortly.


RECIPE

Quinoa Veggie Bowl

Serves 1

  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cut into chunks and cooked
  • 1/4 avocado, diced
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup sauerkraut

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve.

To your radiant health, with love

Why Fiber Is So Great

Why Fiber Is So Great

Did you know that there is a nutrient in your food that can keep you feeling full, doesn’t have any calories, and help you live longer?!

Most of us don’t get enough of it!

It’s fiber, and it’s definitely worth taking a look at your intake.

Let’s talk about how much fiber you need to get every day.

According to the Institute of Medicine, men under the age of 50 should aim for 38 grams of fiber and women under 50 need 25 grams. Meanwhile, if you’re over 50, men need 30 grams and women need 21 grams.

There are two basic kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Your body can’t absorb either, so it passes through your body (which is why it makes a good food choice to keep your internal plumbing humming).

SOLUBLE FIBER

dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material as it moves through your system. It can help lower your blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It’s found in oats, apples, chia and flax seeds, citrus fruits, carrots, peas, beans, barley, and in psyllium powder.

INSOLUBLE FIBER

is especially good for people who tend not to have regular bowel movements because it helps move waste through your system. It’s found in nuts, legumes, some veggies (cauliflower, potatoes, green beans), and if you aren’t gluten sensitive you also can get it in whole wheat flour and wheat bran.

Both kinds of fiber are incredibly good for your health. Here are some things that a fiber-rich diet helps with:

  • Bowel movements.Fiber can help with both constipation and loose stools.
  • Digestive system. Fiber can help prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. Studies show a fiber-rich diet also might lower your risk of colorectal cancer.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Soluble fiber lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol, and it shows promise for reducing blood pressure as well as inflammation in your body.
  • Blood sugar.Soluble fiber can help ease blood sugar spikes, and insoluble fiber appears to help reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
  • Some studies show that an increased fiber intake is correlated with a reduced risk of dying from heart disease and all cancers.
  • Healthy weight.Fiber keeps you feeling full, which can help you from eating too much.

So, how do you know if you’re getting enough? It’s worth taking a couple days to track your fiber intake – you can do this by reading labels, but since many fiber-rich foods don’t actually come with food labels, it’s a lot easier to use a food tracking app or website (there are hundreds available, but two reliable ones are myfitnesspal.com or cronometer.com).

Note! When you start tracking your fiber, try not to suddenly load up on fiber-rich foods if you’re not used to eating them. There’s a chance your digestive system might rebel a little. You can save yourself some misery if you gradually increase your intake over a few weeks. 🙂

OK, now it’s time for a recipe! This makes a great healthy snack or breakfast.

I really like this because you can customize it any way you want. To boost the fiber (along with antioxidants and other micronutrients), you can add nuts and/or berries or other fruits. A dash of cinnamon will add even more blood-sugar-stabilizing effects!


RECIPE

This recipe will keep in the fridge for several days.

Make-Ahead Chia Pudding

(makes 2 servings)
¾ cup dairy-free milk (choose your fav)
¼ cup chia seeds
½ tbsp honey or maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator at least 6 hours, until it becomes thick and pudding-like. Sometimes the chia seeds clump together at the bottom of the bowl, so you might need to stir the mixture to ensure they fully absorb the liquid.

Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Place in a serving bowl and add the optional nuts/fruit.

I hope you enjoy it!

To your radiant health, with love

Low Carb Diet 101

Low Carb Diet 101

It is well known that the Western diet/Standard American Diet (SAD) are high in processed carbohydrates (especially sugar) which results in gastrointestinal and systemic inflammation. This further contributes to the development of increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) which can lead to all kind of diseases and imbalances (allergies, autoimmune diseases, blood sugar imbalances, obesity etc). By eating refined carbohydrates and not enough fiber we feed the pathogenic bacteria and fungi (especially those higher up in the digestive tract). By eating complex carbohydrates with fiber, we feed the beneficial bacteria in the lower part of the gut.

High carb diet also favors weight gain. Excess carbs are stored as fat.

Now let’s explore a low carbohydrate diet.

Low carb diets have been popular on and off since the dawn of the Atkins fame (and maybe even earlier?). But, what exactly defines low carb? Does eating this way actually help with weight loss? Are there any other health benefits to eating fewer carbs?

Let’s see.

What is a carb?

A carb, or carbohydrate, is one of our three main macronutrients. Carbs, along with protein and fat that are needed for optimal health in quantities larger than vitamins and minerals which are micronutrients.

Carbohydrates come in three main types:
  • Sugars
  • Starches
  • Fiber

Sugars are the smallest (molecule) carb. There are many different kinds of sugars, beyond the well-known table sugar (sucrose) or fruit sugar (fructose).

Starches are longer chains of many sugars bound together. Starches are broken down by our digestive enzymes into sugars. These sugars are then absorbed and metabolized in much the same way as if we ate sugar itself.

Fiber, on the other hand, is also a long chain of sugars, but these are not broken down by our digestive enzymes. Fiber passes through our system, feeds our friendly gut bacteria, and then takes food waste out the other end.

Because fiber isn’t digested like sugars and starches, it’s often excluded from the carb calculation.

How we metabolize carbs

When we eat carbs, our body absorbs the broken down sugar into our blood, thus raising our blood sugar. Depending on how high and fast our blood sugar rises, our body releases insulin to tell our cells to absorb that sugar out of our blood and use it as energy now or store it for later.

This is part of the theory as to why eating low carb diets may help with weight loss – by preventing the release of insulin, thus preventing the storage of excess calories.

But, our bodies are a bit more complicated than that!

Low carb for weight loss?

Yes, our bodies are burning fat more efficiently than sugar (carbs). While burning sugar a lot of free radicals are created. Low carb diet helps with insulin balancing (insulin resistance).

A few studies recently put low carb diets head-to-head against low-fat diets for weight loss.

How many carbs is low carb?

There isn’t one single definition.

The average American eats about 300 g of carbs per day. Some people consider eating under 250 g of carbs per day to be the first threshold of a low carb diet. That’s really not that low in carbs, it’s lower carb, rather than low carb. Plus, if you’re new to cutting carbs, this level is easy to maintain and a good start (if you want to cut your carbs).

Taking that a step further, eating about  50 g per day of carbs is considered a typical low carb diet.

On the extreme side, eating less than 50 g of carbs per day is considered to be very low carb – it falls under the ketogenic diet range. Eating so few carbs can actually change your metabolism into a ketogenic state. That means we are burning fat for energy (fat burner vs. sugar burner).

Other health benefits of low carb diets

Low carb diets have the benefit of preserving muscle mass during weight loss. They can also improve heart health biomarkers like cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Not to mention that eating fewer carbs can improve how our bodies manage those carbs in terms of insulin and fasting blood sugar levels.

There can definitely be some non-weight-loss health benefits to eating fewer carbs!

Conclusion

Eating a low carb diet can be healthy, as long as it contains enough of all the essential nutrients. Some people may lose weight by eating fewer carbs, and others won’t.

Low carb diets can help to improve how the body manages blood lipids and blood sugar, so it can be a healthy choice for some people.

As with most things in nutrition, there isn’t a one size fits all rule. Low carb diets can be a good choice for many people, but it’s not the magic bullet that some people claim.

What about you – have you tried (or do you currently) eat low carb? How many carbs do you eat per day? Have you had any great (or not so great) health effects from it? Let me know in the comments below.


RECIPE:

Low Carb Baked “Breaded” Chicken
Serves 4

2 pounds chicken drumsticks
½ cup almond flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp rosemary or thyme
½ tsp garlic powder

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450F. Cover a large baking dish with parchment paper. In a large food storage bag, combine all ingredients except chicken. Place a couple of pieces of chicken in the bag and shake until coated. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. Place chicken on a lined dish and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Turn over and bake 15 minutes longer. Ensure the internal temperature of chicken reaches 165F.

Serve & enjoy!

I opened up a few spots for strategy sessions. Let’s have a virtual latte and create the roadmap to radiant health for you. Just click on the link to schedule  https://my.timetrade.com/book/6ZDTG

To your radiant health, with love,

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