Do you skip (eat) breakfast?

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Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?

Debate to eat breakfast or not…..Some feel that eating a nutritious breakfast sets the tone for the day and helps gives you the energy to get things done.  Others skip breakfast and eat a few hours later.   l often don’t eat breakfast and have not for many years.  I practice intermittent fasting and don’t eat for at least three or four hours after l wake up and I have more energy and focus when l skip breakfast.  

Today we consume lots more food that we used too.  If we start eating the minute we roll out of bed, and do not stop until we go to sleep, we spend almost all our time in the fed state.  Over time, we may gain weight, because we have not allowed our body any time to burn stored food energy.  

Intermittent fasting is a great way to kick start your health.  Research has shown that fasting stabilizes insulin levels, improves brain health and dramatically reduces the risk of chronic disease and obesity.  Digestion takes up a lot of energy and when we fast this surplus of energy can be used for healing and repairing cells in the body.  Fasting has been around for centuries and used to heal the body for many chronic health conditions. 

Intermittent fasting offers plenty of flexibility.  

Some of the most common ways:

   Time Restricted Feeding – Fasting period is any where from 16 to 20 hours and feeding period is 4 to 8 hours daily.  During this fast you have set fasting and eating windows.  For example, you fast for 16 hours of the day and are able to eat for only eight hours of the day.

The 16/8 method is popular, since most people already fast while they sleep.  It’s convenient as you extend the overnight fast by skipping breakfast and not eating until lunch.  We naturally are hungry at a particular time due to ghrelin.  This is also called the hunger hormone that is produced in the stomach before we eat, we can override that by drinking a glass of water to extend and offset the time that you usually eat.  Your eating window can be adjusted to your schedule but works best if you stick with a similar eating window.  This is the method that l practice and usually eat my first meal around noon and finish my last meal around 6 p.m.  I don’t eat for at least 3 hours before bed.

When trying intermittent fasting for the first time it takes at least 4 to 6 weeks for your body to adjust when you eat your first meal.  

    One Meal A Day is another example of  intermittent fasting, usually you eat a late lunch or early dinner.  Research has shown that this method can also be done several times a year to help many chronic health conditions.  This method can be repeated as often as you’d like or even done once or twice a week – whatever your personal preference is.   


   5:2  fasting method is eat every other day or 500 calories on fast day, or about 25% of your normal intake.  On non-fasting days, resume your regular, healthy diet.   Alternate days, for example you consume food one day on and the other day is a fasting day.  There are also strict variations to this approach that include consuming 0 calories on alternate days instead of 500.  On the 25 percent day, you eat strictly protein, vegetables, and some healthy fats—but no sugar or starches. 

   Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity over the last couple of years for everything from weight management to cognitive function.  One common issue with intermittent fasting is that without careful planning, fasting individuals can end up under-eating.

It’s important to note that intermittent fasting can have unpleasant side effects, but they usually go away within a month or so.  Side effects may include:

  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Headaches

Intermittent fasting is safe for many people, but it’s not for everyone. Finding the right eating and fasting windows for this method might take time to figure out, especially if you’re very active or if you wake up hungry for breakfast.

Fasting is not a magic pill.  It all comes down to the quality of your calories and how much you’re consuming.   

Where to begin?

Consider a simple form of Intermittent Fasting when starting out.  Start by cutting out night time eating and snacking and then start to limit your ‘eating window’ each day – such as only eating from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

As you progress and monitor how you feel, you may choose to gradually increase your fasting window. 

The Time Restricted Feeding is a safer bet for many people who are interested in trying Intermittent Fasting for the first time.  Start with 12 hours.  If you find your hungry at a particular time you can drink a glass of water and add a pinch of mineral salt that will help with the hunger.

 If you have any questions or concerns speak with your Dr. before starting a fast and or health professional who is knowledgeable about fasting. 

I have been using Intermittent Fasting for many years.  Reach out if you have any questions and want to try  Intermittent Fasting.

Be Well!
Jennifer 


Should You Do A Cleanse?

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Should You Do A Detox?

Detoxes are very popular right now. Most involve drinking a series of juices and while you may temporarily feel better, it is very important to understand that you may not have accomplished as much as you think you have.

It is important to understand what the goal of detoxing is supposed to be.  The idea is that by severely reducing your food intake and existing on raw juices, the energy that is not being used for digestion, can be used to remove toxins a person may have been storing in their fat cells.

The nutrients in the juices may also support the detoxification processes of the liver.

However, there is a flaw in this scenario.  Juice does not contain fiber, which is essential for toxins that have been prepared, by the liver, to actually leave the body. No fiber, toxins do not leave.

Good gut health is also essential for successful detoxification.  Before anyone undertakes a liver cleanse of any kind, they should be sure their gut is in a state to handle the toxins that will be coming its way, on their way out of the body.  Even toxins that leave via the urinary system must travel through the small intestines on their way to the kidneys.

If there are not sufficient good bacteria, the toxins that are bound to a liver conjugate can detach and go back into the body. They will just head back to the liver but this just puts more pressure on the liver, which is already overworked, or you would not have so many stored toxins in the first place.

In a perfect world, your liver would remove all toxins and any excess hormones immediately. If we feed our liver correctly, it will have all the nutrients and energy to do the work daily.

The following are some key liver foods you should consume frequently to keep your liver happy: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage or kale, Calcium d’glurcurate foods such as apples and grapefruit, bitter foods like dandelion or collard greens, sulfur-rich foods such as garlic and onions, and high antioxidant foods like berries, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables. Jerusalem artichokes are extremely good for the liver. Milk thistle tea is also very beneficial.

Another easy way to help you detox is to do what is known as daily detox. This requires that you do not eat anything for 14 hours between your last meal in the evening and your first one in the morning. Again, liver foods are needed to be consumed daily in order to support the detox function during the night.

A safe detox option is the 7-Day Hormone Reboot Challenge. It is designed with a combination of fiber-filled raw foods, gut health foods and some cooked foods to keep you grounded and satisfied for the first fours days, then three days of healthy eating. This is a very responsible way to do a detox. Food amounts are not limited in order to make sure participants are not to hungry. Detox reactions may occur but they should not be too severe unless you are really toxic and you have been eating virtually no liver foods.

Give it a try – by supporting your liver with this challenge, you will feel better and it gives you foods that are good for all hormones so it will be a great start to re-balancing your system.


The Key to Good Thyroid Function

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Thyroid issues seem to be on the rise and health professionals are looking in different areas for a smoking gun. Some blame gluten (it is not a cause). Some assume everyone has an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s, even without a proper diagnosis.

And most approach the thyroid, like it is the problem and therefore giving it some key nutrients will solve the problem.

The issue with all the theories, is a failure to truly understand what affects the thyroid. The truth of the matter is that for most people with thyroid issues, lack of thyroid nutrients is not the problem. Nor is autoimmunity and it is certainly not gluten.

The problem is that too many other systems in the body affect how we produce and use thyroid hormones:

• Excess cortisol from the adrenals can lower thyroid function
• The liver does as well as it helps convert T4 to T3 (our active thyroid hormone) and plays a key role in affecting metabolism
• The gut bacteria also help convert T4 to T3.  Gut bacteria also exerts influence on the HPT axis (hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid) which is the main signalling pathway for the production of thyroid hormones
• Excess insulin adversely affects thyroid function again by influencing the HPT axis

The thyroid’s relationship with the liver, the adrenals, the gut and the pancreas is important and these areas must be supported to help the thyroid. This is usually not part of most thyroid protocols and may explain why so many people fail to see an improvement even when they are prescribed thyroid medications.

So what can you do for your thyroid?

Eat thyroid foods such as sea vegetables like nori, kelp, or dulse, seafood and coconut oil.

Eat liver-friendly foods such as kale, broccoli, garlic, onions, apples, beets, lemon, limes, berries and Jerusalem artichokes and regular artichokes.

Consume plenty of fiber, probiotic and prebiotic foods to feed the gut and help it function as its best.

Add more nutrient rich fruits and vegetables.  Variety is the key as well as healthy proteins that provide amino acids, the building blocks of the immune system.  Vitamins and minerals are the catalysts for all body functions especially the thyroid function.

Reduce stress and support the adrenals. Adaptogens such as ashwaghanda and schizandra powder can be worked into recipes.  Ashwaghanda, holy basil or licorice tea can all be consumed throughout the day. Pick the one you like. Also, developing a routine that can reduce stress and allow for proper relaxation is important.

Lowering stress will also help prevent blood sugar swinging up and down and prevent high insulin. Eating small meals throughout day as well as consuming many foods good for the gut, adrenals and liver will all play a role in keeping blood sugar stable.

A good thyroid protocol is not hard to accomplish and it is great that we can eat our way to better thyroid function and hopefully, have some relaxing fun along the way.

l love hearing from you send me your comments and feedback to info@jbarnesliving.com

 


Does sugar affect how you deal with stress?

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During times of stress, our body initiates our flight or fight response.  The fight or flight response plays a critical role in how we deal in stress and danger in our environment.  Essentially, the response prepares the body to either fight or flee the threat. The stress response can be triggered due to both real and perceived threats. When you experience persistent stress, your adrenal glands releases cortisol, which increases appetite making you more likely to eat when you don’t need it. 

When we are stressed our tendency is to eat more, especially unhealthy carbs, such as sugary drinks, cookies, candy, ice cream, pasta and white bread become our staple.  Eating these foods cause your blood sugar levels to increase rapidly creating an imbalance in the body.  It has a double impact when we are stressed out and eat poorly as both rapidly raise your blood sugar levels.  What you eat during times of stress can have a direct impact how you respond and how the body recovers from stressful situations.  

Research has shown that symptoms associated with a blood sugar imbalance are depression, anxiety, mood swings, poor concentration and brain fog.  Stress and a poor diet, zaps our energy, effects our sleep, changes our brain chemistry, leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions.  In today’s world, stress is a daily companion, we have many more pressures and if stress is long term it can have a direct impact on our health.  

Stress management is key, we need to recognize our triggers and develop ways to help alleviate stress.  There are many stress reduction techniques that you can adopt.  Start small, it can be simple as mediating, going for a walk, listening to your favourite song and or talking it out with a friend.  Having a good support system is key to help you cope.

What you eat can also have an impact how you will react to stress.  During times of stress eating a diet that helps balance those sugar highs and lows will help reduce some of the symptoms and improve your response to stress. 

A quick fix during times of stress are drinking a glass of water with lemon instead of sugary pop or a herbal tea instead of coffee or caffeinated beverages.  Have healthy snacks on hand such as boiled egg, veggies, almonds, walnuts, and or piece of fruit.  

We are living through challenging times and stress won’t go away but if we eat better and practices stress management techniques then we are more likely to keep our bodies strong and manage our stress. 

My Blueberry Energy Smoothie recipe will balance your blood sugar and help the body fight stress.  It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and good fat.  This recipe will kick your sugar cravings to the curb, give you all day energy and help improve your mood.   

Ingredients:  Serves 2

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries 
  • 2 cups of baby spinach 
  • 1 banana frozen or chopped 
  • 2 tbsps Chia seeds and or hemp seeds
  • 2 cups of water 
  • 1 Avocado 
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.