IF YOU ARE TOSSING AND TURNING IN BED AT NIGHT…

IF YOU ARE TOSSING AND TURNING IN BED AT NIGHT…

If you are one of the ladies who is tossing and turning in bed at night, just to know you can’t blame only menopause for that. Yes, it is a frequent symptom of the above-mentioned phase in our lives, but there is more to the story. Keep reading.

Circadian rhythms are patterns of brainwave activity, hormones, cell regeneration and biological activities that occur daily. And sleeping well at the right time each day is essential to keeping the circadian rhythms functioning properly, so we function properly, too.

The fact that our microbes are the regulators of this function and that our sleep patterns are an issue for our microbes should not surprise us. They need us to rest so they can do their thing while we sleep and keep their balance as it should be.

There is also more news you might be interested in. Not having the right microbes may be lowering your metabolic rate while you sleep, and this can lead to weight gain. This is based on a mouse study at UI Carver College of Medicine which found that mice given a drug that lowers beneficial bacteria, had a lower metabolic rate both when resting and when asleep, causing them to gain weight.

So, what should you do?

Should you work on sleeping better to help the microbes or should you work on your gut health to help you sleep better? The answer is to do both. There is a number of strategies that can help.

To help reset your circadian rhythm:

  • Go to bed at a set time and get up at the same time as much as possible.
  • Avoid bright lights near bedtime.
  • Avoid eating or exercising close to bedtime.
  • Sleep in dark space – light tricks the body into thinking it is time to be awake.
  • Develop a relaxing routine before bed whether it is taking a bed, deep breathing exercises or having a nice cup of herbal tea such as chamomile or valerian.

For those who have irregular work and therefore, sleep schedules, consider talking to a practitioner about taking melatonin.

Diet also plays a role.

In another mouse study, both high fat and low-fat diets played a negative role in the function of circadian rhythms and they also altered the microbiome. Short-chain fatty acid production was lower, especially butyrate which is essential for circadian rhythm function. Butyrate is produced by beneficial colon bacteria from resistant starch found in complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, rice, legumes, and sweet potatoes.

To improve gut health:

  • Eat prebiotic foods, especially those with resistant starch.
  • Take probiotics which can help melatonin levels which, in turn, help restore circadian rhythms.
  • Butyrate supplements are available if you are unsure as to how well you are producing it.

Sleep is one more example of the potential problems caused by dysbiosis and why we should be focused on improving our gut health.


RECIPE

Fermented Green Smoothie

Serves 1

1 cup raw spinach
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 crushed ice, or 1/2 cup cold water (to adjust consistency)
1/2 cup sauerkraut
1 tsp arame
1/2 tsp schizandra powder
Juice of 1 orange
2 tsp raw honey

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Ingredients can be adjusted to taste.

Enjoy!!!


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CHOCOLATE FOR LONGEVITY and THE GOOD BACTERIA TOO

CHOCOLATE FOR LONGEVITY and THE GOOD BACTERIA TOO

If you love chocolate and have you been waiting for someone to tell you that chocolate is good for your gut, besides so many benefits, including longevity.  Well, then today is your lucky day.

Chocolate (of course I am talking here about dark, pure and preferably raw chocolate, high in cacao) is a significant prebiotic and feeds the good bacteria in our gut.

The best possible news for those who want to improve their gut health and want to continue to enjoy their love of chocolate.

Let’s see some of the benefits of the chocolate. It is known for centuries the connection between cacao and longevity.

Let’s see some of the facts:

  1. Cacao is the #1 Antioxidant in the world
  2. It is rich in minerals, especially ones required for combating stress: magnesium, manganese, chromium, iron, zinc etc.
  3. Rich in fiber (some of the best soluble fiber)
  4. Contains PEA (love chemicals)
  5. Contains bliss chemical Anandamide

Now let’s talk about chocolate and gut health.

It seems that Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus bacteria in the gut love to gobble up chocolate as much as you do.  In return for the feast, the good bacteria turn the phytonutrients in chocolate into anti-inflammatories that help with heart health. It seems that the credit that chocolate has had for being good for the heart really belongs to the beneficial gut bacteria.

Without the gut bacteria playing this role, the phytonutrients in the chocolate known, as catechins and epicatechins are poorly absorbed. The fermentation process breaks them down into smaller metabolites that allow them to be absorbed and lower inflammation in the body. They also act as antioxidants.

What about craving chocolate? Is this a craving for magnesium like so many people have speculated? Apparently not. Your gut microbes can control what you eat. I bet you thought it was you, but it is not. Both good and bad bacteria can manipulate the Vagus nerve – the key connection between the brain and the gut, to make you think that you want to eat certain foods and that includes chocolate.

Different bacteria want to eat different foods and whatever bacteria have an advantage in numbers, determines what you crave. By having you eat more of a given food, they help keeps their numbers strong.  The gut bacteria can even manipulate you to feel anxious and depressed and signal you to eat a given food “to feel better”

There is still a lot of research to be done, including how we are influenced to overeat and under eat by gut bacteria. In the meantime, the next time you crave chocolate, you do not have to feel guilty, knowing that it is your good bacteria talking to you to give them a good meal.


RECIPE

HEALTHY HOT CHOCOLATE

1 cup of unsweetened nut milk (almond, cashew, coconut)
2 teaspoons organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon raw honey, maple syrup or monk fruit
1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)

Warm the almond milk on low heat and add the rest of the ingredients.

Enjoy!!!


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HOW TO USE LESS PLASTIC and WHY?

HOW TO USE LESS PLASTIC and WHY?

Plastic is used everywhere. From packaging, medical supplies, clothing, and cosmetic containers to electronics and furniture. It’s even used to line tin cans. Look around your home and just see how many items are made of plastic. And the use of vast amounts of plastic is causing us environmental issues and potential health hazards. The chemicals in plastic are toxic. They are notorious hormone disruptors, like BPA. They are able to bind to estrogen receptors and elicit much stronger reaction than estrogen (a reason why named Xenoestrogens; fake estrogens).

The good news is that there are many options for using less plastic. This requires establishing new habits, which is not difficult, and in some cases will even save you money.

 

Let’s start talking about why we should use less plastic.

Issues with Plastic:

  • Plastic is made from petroleum and other petrochemicals which consumes vast amounts of natural resources.
  • It contains harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA) which was added to the process to make plastic soft, so it could bend and be formed into different items like containers, shopping bags, water bottles, baggies, and plastic wrap. BPA was originally designed as a synthetic estrogen for women. However, it was discovered it made plastic soft. Now we are just getting trace amounts in our food and beverages and from our clothes if they are made from polyester.
  • It’s not biodegradable. What does that mean? It doesn’t easily break down into single molecules and make its way back into the earth. How long does it take to break down? It can take less than a year or up to 50 years. It depends on the type and quality of the plastic. It also depends on where it’s residing. Plastic in warm ocean water degrades faster than plastic in the landfill.
  • When it degrades, it’s not producing any useful molecules nature can use. It’s actually breaking down into toxic chemicals and polluting the earth more than when it was plastic.
  • Plastic pollution in the oceans, beaches, and land is a big problem. The most common items found are straws, plastic wrap, bottles, and bags – with many of these showing up on beaches or seen floating in the water. They are even showing up in places where people don’t go.
  • Plastic bags, straws, and other types of soft plastics like these are harmful to wildlife.

How to Use Less Plastic:

  1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. This is difficult, but the more you think about it, the more options you will find.
  • Buy fruits and vegetables as single items, not packaged.
  • Look for items in glass jars.
  • Purchase dessert items at bakeries that still use cardboard boxes or paper bags.
  • Ask the butcher, if your grocery store still has a butcher department, if he can package your meat or fish in the thick waxed paper they previously used. Many butchers still use it when you buy items in the display case as opposed to the refrigerator and freezer bunker or case.
  1. Look for detergents and other products in boxes. They still exist.
  2. Use cloth shopping bags or support stores that have switched to plastic corn bags. However, it should be noted that if these plastic bags end up in the landfill, they don’t necessarily degrade faster than the plastic made from petrochemicals. Cloth is best. Just keep these bags in the trunk of your car so they are always handy. You can also purchase eco produce bags (sometimes found at your local grocery store). Take these bags with you when you purchase your produce and use these instead of the plastic bags provided.
  3. Wear clothing made of natural materials such as cotton, wool, or silk instead of synthetic materials such as polyester. When washing synthetic clothing, fibers flake off, and these tiny pieces of microplastic are showing up in our water systems. Even clothing that is a mixture of natural fabric and polyester is better than 100% polyester. Polyester also doesn’t breathe, and this means body odor will be more prevalent from sweating.
  4. Don’t throw old electronics in the trash to get rid of them. Take them to a facility that will recycle them, or give them to a person who repairs electronics as the parts may be useful.
  5. Be the one to reuse the plastic. This is called upcycling. If you are creative and crafty, there are many things you can do with plastic bottles and bags. Just google “upcycling plastic” for sites that have ideas and instructions.

Lowering Single-Use Plastic:

Plastic containers have the advantage that they can be used repeatedly. They last for years. From a pollution perspective, this is better. While the production of the plastic is not environmentally-friendly, we can at least produce less when it’s reusable. However, single-use plastic, where we use it once and throw it away, is one of the biggest concerns.

Here are some easy suggestions to reduce single-use plastic:

Reusable Plastic Wrap.

There is now reusable wrap available, usually made from beeswax and other biodegradable ingredients, that can be pressed around the jar or food that you are storing. These wraps can be reused up to 150 times and can be washed. They are suitable for wrapping lunches and storing foods in the refrigerator. They can also be used for storage in the freezer for up to 30 days. They are breathable, which means air can pass through them. This makes the food less prone to mold. Plastic does not breathe.

Don’t Use Plastic Straws.

They’re not needed. And if you do want to use one, purchase a stainless steel or glass straw. It can be washed and used over and over again indefinitely.

Purchase a Stainless Steel or Glass Water Bottle.

Fill it with good quality water. If you like bottled spring water, get a water cooler for your home from a company that has glass jugs. Fill your reusable bottle at home. It’s not only good for the environment, but it will also save you money.

Bring a Mug to Work.

By doing this, you will not rely on plastic cups for coffee or water. Use a mug with a lid so when you get your favorite coffee to go, you just hand your mug to the clerk to fill.

Bring Your Own Container for Takeout and Leftovers When You Eat Out.

Even if you’re ordering takeout – pick it up and ask them to put it in your containers when you arrive. This may seem like an awkward thing to do, but you won’t be the only one asking.

Avoid Using Disposable Plastic Plates, Cups, and Cutlery.

There may be occasions when you have to purchase disposable cutlery and plates. Look for ones that are made from recycled paper or biodegradable plastic. However, try to use real plates and cutlery. Don’t be afraid to ask people to bring their own plates and cutlery to the family picnic.

Stop Using Plastic Bags for Storage.

It’s better to store food in harder plastic containers than use plastic bags. There are also glass and stainless-steel containers that can be used for storing lunches or food in the refrigerator. The glass containers usually have plastic lids to go with them but that is still less plastic.

Using less plastic will send a signal to manufacturers that they need to have better environmental options for their products. Don’t be afraid to contact companies who make products that you like. Let them know that you want them to use less plastic.


RECIPE

Red Lentil Curry Soup with Pita Chips

Serves 4

1–2 tbsp butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
3 tbsp chopped white onion
10 cremini or shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
4 cups bone, chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups Yukon gold potatoes, cut into pieces
2 large unpeeled carrots, sliced
1 cup red lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 cup non-chlorinated water, plus more as needed
4 cups chopped spinach or baby spinach
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup full-fat yogurt or coconut yogurt

  1. Heat a soup pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the butter, coconut oil, or olive oil and onions. Lightly sauté.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for three minutes. If the onions or mushrooms start to stick, add some of the broth.
  4. Add the garlic and curry powder and stir. Add the broth, potatoes, carrots, red lentils, and water. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer.
  5. Cover and simmer for 45–50 minutes, until the vegetables and lentils are soft. Add more water or broth if the soup becomes too thick.
  6. Add the spinach and allow it to wilt.
  7. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Ladle soup into bowls and top with yogurt. Serve with pita chips.

Enjoy!!!


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To your radiant health, with love


PS!! IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Due to request I am keeping open cart for my latest program REBORN and moving the starting date to June 3rd.

If you didn’t have the chance to check out the program, please do so. This is a great opportunity to get a huge value for a low investment. Even if you are in good health you need this information to know how to prevent age-related health issues.

Here is the link to check it out: https://drilona.lpages.co/reborn-8-week-program

OILS OR FATS FOR COOKING?

OILS OR FATS FOR COOKING?

Do you remember the time when we used to avoid fats at all cost? I surely do. I would bake my meats dry, usually adding only some water to the pan. Sometimes I would add some I can’t believe it’s not butter. But even that sounded too fatty and too bad.

In the late seventies, the medical establishment taught us how bad fats are. They will cause heart attacks, stroke and eventually kill us.

Since then we are facing an alarmingly increased rate of obesity and diabetes and studies have proved the direct correlation between fat-free/low fat craze and metabolic diseases epidemic.

Hmm…something to think about.

We need fats. Healthy fats. Wondering which one? We will get there in a minute.

Especially our brain is very sensitive to low amounts of fat in our diet.  Could be the epidemics of cognitive declines (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia) be influenced by the fat-free/low fat craze? It is something to think about.

One of the big problems with our modern SAD (Standard American Diet) is we are ingesting a large amount of highly processed carbohydrates, sugar and vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are in everything including cookies, cakes, muffins, salad dressings, prepackaged meals, etc. Restaurants use them largely because they are cheap. What is exactly the problem with vegetable oils? They are rich in trans fats and unstable when heated and create harmful oxidation byproducts. More than 100 dangerous oxidation products have been found in a single piece of chicken fried in vegetable oils. This is scary. Besides the harmful oxidation byproducts, there is glyphosate contamination and GMO.

While trans fats were recognized as dangerous for health and being eliminated from the food industry and replaced with not much better vegetable oils. There are more harmful compounds in vegetable oils and all together they have inflammatory effects on the body.

I am assuming by now you are getting frustrated and asking what oils of fats you can use for cooking without harming your health.

Here is the list

COCONUT OIL

It is gaining popularity lately and for a good reason.  It doesn’t change at high temperatures and has so many health benefits.

  1. Cardiovascular health (it helps to improve HDL (good)cholesterol levels and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  2. Increased energy (MCFA; medium chain fatty acids are rapidly digested and converted by the liver into energy for immediate use)
  3. Weight management (stimulates metabolism)
  4. Antimicrobial properties

OLIVE OIL

  1. Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats.
  2. Contains large amounts of antioxidants,
  3. has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. It is protective against heart disease. Just think of the Mediterranean diet, where people use a large amount of olive oil.

AVOCADO OIL

It has so many health benefits.

  1. It is rich in Oleic Acid a very healthy fat.
  2. Improves skin
  3. Enhances absorption of important nutrients,
  4. May reduce symptoms of arthritis,
  5. It’s high in lutein, an antioxidant important for eyes, etc.

GRASS FED BUTTER

Once a “bad guy”, butter is back. It has so many health benefits.

  1. Contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which helps reduce belly fat and supports muscle growth.
  2. Great source of butyrate (short-chain fatty acid) that reduces inflammation
  3. Contains Vitamin A, D, and K2
  4. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids
  5. Other nutrients: lecithin, selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper,

GHEE

Once used mostly in Indian cuisine ghee is gaining popularity in the States.  Ghee is clarified butter, one of the most powerful healing foods out there.

Benefits:

  1. Packed with fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, K)
  2. Contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid); a fatty acid with a ton of health benefits (reducing belly fat, reducing inflammation, preventing cancer
  3. Loaded with butyrate (short-chain fatty acid that has an important role in gut health)
  4. It may support insulin levels
  5. Fight off inflammation

Let me answer the question in the beginning. Fat or oils for cooking? BOTH. But the healthy ones.


RECIPE

BASIL AVOCADO OIL PESTO

 2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts

Add all the ingredients except the avocado oil to the food processor. Pulse it a couple of times and add the avocado oil. Turn the food processor on low speed and add slowly the avocado oil.

Enjoy!!!


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Do I Need Carbs?

Do I Need Carbs?

The answer to the question is yes, but the low-density carbs, the good ones. We do need carbohydrates. They are a macronutrient important for our bodies optimal functioning. How much do we need? It depends. We will talk about a bit later.

The media and the whole online world are buzzing about carbs. The keto diet is gaining popularity like wildfire. It is based on a very low carb diet (high fat and moderate proteins). On the other hand, the mainstream media still promotes a high carb diet as a heart-healthy diet.

So, where is the truth?

When we ingest carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose and fructose and provide energy for our cells. If we eat more than our body needs for energy, glucose is stored as a reserve (in a form of glycogen in the liver and muscles). If we consume carbs in excess, and we do on the SAD (Standard American Diet) the excess will be stored as fat after the glycogen stores are full.

Be aware, not all carbs are created equal.

The low-density carbs, bound to fiber and water such in fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and roots are beneficial because they are feeding the good bacteria in our gut, also provide fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, etc. They won’t cause a sudden spike in blood glucose. Versus the high-density carbs found in highly processed carbs, in junk food, in pastries, basically baked goods made of white flour have no nutritional value, but empty calories. They feed the bad bacteria in the gut, the inflammation-promoting species. And exactly that is what happens in the gut, inflammation that eventually leads to leaky gut.

Therefore, low-grade inflammation will develop in the body that will lead to many health problems, including obesity and diabetes.

Inflammation will lead to Leptin resistance in the brain. Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells and its role is energy management. When we eat and the body has enough energy Leptin will signal it to the brain, which will send an impulse to stop eating. When Leptin resistance develops there is a miscommunication between the brain and fat tissue. We eat and eat and eat some more, because of the lack of the signal from the brain to stop.

So, the best way to lose weight is to restore Leptin resistance.

Let’s go back to the question do we need carbs. We learned so far, we do and why do we do. The next question is how much do we need? It depends. Depends on your health status. Example, if you struggle with gut issues, dysbiosis, SIBO or have severe glucose imbalance, neurological disorders (Alzheimer, Parkinson’s) you need a very low carb diet (less than 50 g per day). If you want to lose weight, less severe glucose imbalance low carb diet will be your choice (50-75 G per day). Moderate carbs for adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, maintaining weight (75-150 g). High carb diet is for athletes and very active people (more than 150 g).

Remember, quality is even more important than quantity. We should consume low-density carbs. Period.


 

SWEET POTATO CHIPS

Easy and super delicious recipe.

Slice sweet potatoes with a mandolin or sharp knife into tiny slices. Sprinkle with salt and olive oil. Lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in the oven, preheated to 400 *F, for about 25 minutes. You can add spices to the salt or cinnamon. Play with the tastes and enjoy!!

To your radiant health, with love

Good News and Bad News

Good News and Bad News

Happy spring!! I hope you are ready to awaken your precious self with nature’s awakening. It’s time to spring clean not only our house and yard but our bodies and minds.

Take inventory of your life. What changes do you need to create? What is holding you back? Where do you procrastinate? We know what we supposed to be doing (start exercising, change our diet, reduce stress etc) but somehow, we don’t do it. Wonder why? We don’t see our worth. We don’t see that we deserve to live a happy and healthy life. That is our birthright!!

One of the most important factors that will lower the quality of our lives and life expectancy is the growing epidemics of obesity and diabetes, called diabesity. This is the bad news I am talking about.

50% of people over 65 is suffering from this condition.

Are you wondering if you may be in this group of statistics?

Diabesity Symptoms

Here are some facts that will help you to check yourself

Diabesity (obesity+diabetes) symptoms

  1. Sugar cravings, especially after meals
  2. Eating sweets don’t relieve cravings for sugar
  3. Fatigue after meals
  4. Frequent urination
  5. Increased appetite (always hungry)
  6. Difficulty losing weight
  7. Sluggish digestion
  8. Sexual dysfunction

Signs of Diabesity

  1. Abdominal obesity (waist circumference more than 30”)
  2. High blood sugar
  3. High blood pressure
  4. Systemic inflammation
  5. High cholesterol
  6. A tendency for blood cloths

Diabesity and metabolic syndrome are the root cause of serious health conditions like heart diseases and stroke. It is the number one cause of death and diseases.

Let’s talk now about the good news. Diabesity is preventable and in many cases (if you start early enough) reversible or at least modifiable. And let me tell you this sound amazing!!

A Few Simple Steps

  1. Clean up your diet, limit sugar, and highly processed carbohydrates
  2. Add healthy fats to your diet (extra virgin olive oil. Olives, avocados, coconut oils)
  3. Increase vegetables and leafy greens in your diet
  4. Start moving your body
  5. Have enough sleep
  6. Manage stress

Since the warmer weather is here its much easier to schedule a walk for example in our daily routine. Farmer’s market will be open soon. So many things to look forward to. Right?

If you would like to learn more about the topic, I would like to invite you to join our Facebook group where next month I will be talking about insulin resistance, prediabetes, and diabetes. CLICK HERE TO JOIN.


RECIPE

LONGEVITY SMOOTHIE 

1 ½ cup coconut water (unsweetened; if unavailable use plain water)
Handful of kale
Handful of parsley
2 scoops collagen powder
1 tablespoon maca powder
1 teaspoon ashwagandha
1 teaspoon spirulina
1 green apple
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon Lion’s mane (or any other medicinal mushrooms)

Blend in a high- speed blender and enjoy!!! Sometimes I make it creamier, like a soup (adding fewer liquids or not adding extra liquid). Both ways taste fantastic!!!

To your radiant health with love,

 

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