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.
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
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.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 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
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?
- Buy in bulk and buy locally
- Shop sales,
- Use your freezer as much as possible
- Batch cooking
- 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.
Quinoa Veggie Bowl
- 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
You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight. Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.
You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.
Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?
What can slow my metabolism?
Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).
But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”! In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.
Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:
- low thyroid hormone
- your history of dieting
- your size and body composition
- your activity level
- lack of sleep
We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.
Low thyroid hormones
Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active. Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.
Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.
Your history of dieting
When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.
While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.
Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.
Your size and body composition
In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates. This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.
However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.
Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.
Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.
Which leads us to…
Your activity level
Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.
Even little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.
Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Also, exercise regularly.
Lack of sleep
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
- ½ cup Brazil nuts
- 2 cups water
- Nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
- ½ cup chia seeds
- ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk. If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.
To your radiant health, with love
Broccoli and kale are often touted to be “superfoods.” And, yes, they really are amazingly healthy for you.
If you’re wondering what exactly is in these green powerhouses that makes them so “super,” I’ve dived into the research to give you some nerdy reasons to make these a staple in your diet.
To start, they’re both considered cruciferous vegetables related to each other in the Brassicafamily. This family of super plants also includes cauliflower, cabbage, mustard greens, and Brussels sprouts.
These superfoods have a ton of nutrition, and other health-promoting compounds, they’re relatively inexpensive and easy to cook too!
Broccoli and kale are full of nutrition: vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. They’re both considered to be nutrient dense which is a measure of nutrients per calorie – and these both have a lot!
100 grams of broccoli (about 1 cup, chopped) contains:
- 34 calories
- 8 g protein, 0.4 g fat, 6.6 g carbohydrates, and 2.6 g fiber
- Good source of B vitamins (when eaten raw)
- >100% of your daily vitamin C
- Almost 100% of your vitamin K
- Good source of manganese
- Traces of all the other vitamins and minerals
One cup of loosely packed kale contains:
- 8 calories
- 7 g protein, 0.2 g fat (including omega-3), 1.4 g carbohydrates, and 0.6 g fiber
- Contains pre-vitamin A (beta-carotene).
- Several B vitamins, including B1, B3, B5, B6, and folate (B9)
- Rich in vitamins C and K
- Lots of minerals including manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, sulfur, copper, phosphorus, and calcium
As you can see, these two foods contain a lot of nutrients.
NOTE: Too much vitamin K may interact with certain blood-thinning medications. If you’re taking one of these medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before incorporating too much of these superfoods into your diet.
Broccoli and kale also contain other health-promoting compounds.
Super health-promoting compounds
Broccoli and kale tend to taste a bit bitter – but that bitterness equals healthfulness!
This bitter flavoor is from some of the health-promoting compounds in these super plant foods. Things like glucosinolates (e.g., sulforaphane and isothiocyanates) and polyphenol flavonols.
There are a few different types of kale – from curly kale, to dinosaur kale, to red/purple kale. The different colors result from slight differences in the amounts of the compounds these plants contain.
One of the main active ingredients in cruciferous vegetables are glucosinolates. These antioxidant compounds are very useful to help detoxify and protect against cancer.
FUN FACT: It’s the precursors to glucosinolates that are in cruciferous vegetables, not the compounds themselves. When fresh broccoli and kale are eaten (or even chopped/blended) raw the active compounds are produced. *This fact is incorporated into a trick I use in this week’s recipe*
NOTE: Glucosinolates may affect iodine absorption and thyroid health, particularly in people prone to thyroid disease. In this case, you may not have to ditch these superfoods altogether – just cook them first.
These superfoods also contain flavonols like kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they decrease your risk of cancer.
Kale also contains carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are known for promoting eye health and are protective against many cancers.
When cooked, kale contains another anti-cancer compound called indole.
Broccoli and kale are cruciferous superfoods. They are packed with nutrition and have a whole array of health-promoting compounds.
Almost everyone should be eating these regularly. Just be cautious if you’re taking blood-thinning medications; and, if you have thyroid issues, cook them first.
Do you, or anyone you know, absolutely love (or hate) these superfoods? Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Let me know in the comments below.
Recipe (Broccoli & Kale): Superfood Soup
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 large handfuls kale
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 stalks broccoli chopped
8 cups broth
½ cup tahini
2 tsp sea salt
Sauté garlic in olive oil in a large soup pot. At the same time do steps #2 and #3.
Add half of the raw kale, celery, and broccoli to your high-speed blender (in that order). Cover with up to 4 cups of broth and blend.
Pour soup into the pot with the sautéed garlic. Do the same for the other half of the veggies and broth.
Heat soup and simmer for up to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add tahini and sea salt. Stir well.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: If you want the soup to be extra creamy, you can re-blend after it’s heated.
To your radiant health, with love,
During the hot summer days we reach for a refreshing cold drink. It really feels great for a dehydrated and overheated body to cool down with a glass of cold water or lemonade.
Everyone will agree with that. Right?
Unfortunately, the problem is that most of the refreshing drinks (juices, teas, lemonades, sodas) are high is sugar or have artificial sweeteners (the bad ones). If someone tries to lose weight it makes sense to drink a zero-calorie drink. After all it doesn’t have sugar, so it won’t impact our blood sugar levels. Right? Yes and no. Here are some facts.
Studies have shown that artificial sweeteners negatively impact our health. Researchers were astonished to discover that regular drinkers of diet soda were three timesmore likely to develop stroke and dementia. Consuming artificial sweeteners has also been linked to higher rates of depression, kidney damage, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, headaches and migraines, hyperthyroidism, lupus, brain tumors, low blood sugar, and cardiovascular disease!
When we consume diet or sugar-free products, the zero-calorie artificial sweeteners play tricks on our taste buds and on your brain. Your brain senses sweetness, and our bodies expect the calories that usually follow with the sweet signal. Studies show your body can still produce an insulin spike, hence the relationship between sugar-free sweeteners and diabetes.
Another large contributor to the dangers of artificial sweeteners is the effect that they have on the gut microbiome. Artificial sweeteners disturb the bacteria in your gut, which can cause glucose intolerance even in healthy people.
Where can you find artificial sweeteners?
- Diet soda
- Sugar-free desserts (ice cream, sugar-free baked goods)
- Low-sugar/Sugar-free fruit juice
- Flavored water
- Diet iced tea
- Flavored coffee syrups
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Salad dressing
- Packaged Meats
- Sugar-free gum and mints
- Sports and nutrition bars
- Meal replacement shakes and snacks
- Sports drinks
- Sugar-free candy
As you can see, they are everywhere.
So being mindful and reading labels will empower us to make right decisions and keep our focus on our health. How many times we act like in a “hypnotic state” reaching to the nearest “thing” without realizing what damage we are doing to our health. Been there, done that.
Can we quench our thirst the healthy way? Absolutely!!!
Here are the healthy sweeteners:
- Monk fruit
- Coconut palm sugar
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
Just to clarify a few things. If you struggle with insulin resistance you have to be careful some of natural sweeteners. Example dates. They are high in fructose and will cause insulin spike. In that case best bet would be Stevia (powder or drops).
Here are a few tips for healthy cool summer drinks:
- Home-made ice tea
- Flavored water
- Sparkling water (plain or added natural flavor; mint leaves, a few slices of berries or lemon)
- Natural ginger ale (if you are adventurous enough to ferment ginger. More is coming soon on this topic)
- Iced coffee (healthy one; meaning organic coffee with full fat coconut milk or MCT oil)
If you have some great ideas, I would like to hear from you.
One of my favorite summer drinks is homemade kombucha mixed with hibiscus tea. It’s so delicious.
I know, I know…not everyone brews kombucha. I am including a great recipe with strawberries (low glycemic) so everyone can enjoy!!!
1 lbs organic strawberries
8 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Stevia
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!!
You may garnish with slices of strawberries, lemons or herbs to your liking.
I hear this statement way too often. We come up with so many excuses and reasons why we can’t cook. As we know good health starts in the kitchen. If we want to use food as medicine and I think it is the best way for building healthy bodies, we have to start cooking. The food we buy is usually loaded with chemicals, low-quality ingredients and even irradiated sometimes. When we prepare our meal, we have full control of what is in it. We infuse it with a huge dose of Vitamin L (LOVE) and that makes a huge difference.
Cooking at home is more cost effective and create beautiful opportunities for bonding with our family members. If you live alone, a great way to relax and show some self-love. Living alone is not an excuse not to cook!!!
I get that we are all busy. We live a fast-paced lifestyle. I believe one of the reasons for not finding time to cook is we don’t see the value of home-cooked meals. The other reason is not setting it as a priority.
We all make choices.
Our power lies in the possibility of making choices.
Let’s brainstorm how can we set ourselves for success and create amazing homecooked meals.
Here are a few tips about what is working for me and my clients.
The most important is MEAL PREPPING.
Propper planning is the key especially when we have very limited time.
- Create meal plans for a week or two. This can be fun when you include your family member. Grab your cookbook or Google healthy recipes.
- Make a list of the ingredients and create a shopping list.
- Shop on weekends when you are off.
- Prep your vegetables in advance (wash, cut and bag).
- Share responsibilities.
- Give yourself some time.
- Cook in bulk (to have enough for two meals and to freeze at least two meals).
It’s also helpful to stock up on staple foods such as:
- Frozen wild caught and canned salmon.
- Frozen chicken, turkey and beef
- Greens (spinach, kale, chard)
- Vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Having staple food in your fridge and pantry will help when you don’t have time to cook you reach for something fast, easy and healthy such as baked salmon with salad, scrambled egg with spinach, sardines with vegetables, avocado and egg salad, etc.
To help you get an idea of how really it’s not that difficult to meal prep I am including a three meal course with a shopping list.
One Day Meal Plan with Shopping List
PALEO CEREAL WITH COCONUT MILK
1 cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
2 tablespoons chia seeds or flax meal
1/8 cup coconut flakes, toasted
1 tablespoon bee pollen (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 apple, diced
2 cups coconut milk
Place almonds and walnuts in food processor and chop until desired consistency and then place in bowl, add chia seeds or flax meal, toasted coconut, diced apple, cinnamon, and bee pollen if using. Store mixture in an airtight container.
Serve cereal with coconut milk for a cold version or place ingredients in a pot with milk, warm and serve.
RAINBOW SLAW WITH SAUTÉED SALMON
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup jicama (cut into long strips)
Pumpkin seeds, for garnish
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
Combine vegetables in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over vegetables. Garnish with pumpkin seeds.
115-ounce can of salmon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
PREP THE SALMON.
Open the can of salmon and dump out the water. Place the salmon in a mixing bowl and remove the large bone in the center of the fish. Use a fork to break up the fish into small pieces (as you may do with tuna fish salad). Add the cumin, paprika, cayenne (optional), and sea salt. Mix well. SAUTÉ THE SALMON. Take a large sauté pan and add the coconut oil. When the pan is hot, add the onion and red pepper. Sauté until soft. Next, add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant but not burned (about 2 minutes). Finally, add the salmon and sauté until warmed through (about 3 to 5 minutes).
BAKED PALEO MEATBALLS
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic
¼ cup almond flour/meal
1 pound ground chicken, turkey, or beef
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon chili powder
In a food processor, pulse together the zucchini, carrots, parsley, and garlic. Place mixture in a large bowl and add almond flour, egg, meat, salt, pepper and chili powder. Mix well.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Evenly coat a baking dish with olive oil.
Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure
to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snuggly and in even rows vertically and horizontally, to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.
Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. When the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan and remove and serve the meatballs.
(click on image to download printable list)
- Chia seeds
- 1 apple
- Coconut milk
- Coconut flakes
- Canned salmon
- Carrots (one bag or bunch)
- Purple cabbage
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
- Ginger (fresh or powdered)
- Zucchini 1
- Parsley (a bunch)
- Almond flour
- Ground turkey, chicken or beef 1 lb.
- Himalayan pink salt or sea salt
- Chili powder
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To your radiant health, with love