Why Gut Health Is Important

More and more research shows that our health starts in our gut so we need to start taking gut health seriously.  There are good and bad bacteria in our gut and our health is best when these are all in balance.

Let’s take a look at what happens when our gut bacteria are in balance.

Gut Health

Less intestinal distress

If your digestive system is a bit sluggish you’ll likely suffer from bloating.  Good bacteria allow your body to break down food more efficiently and remove waste more quickly.

Stronger immune system

Most of your immune system is actually in your gut.  Having the right amount of good bacteria in your gut your helps create antibodies to fight off health threats.

Better absorption of nutrients

Having the right balance of good bacteria in your gut allows your body to absorb nutrients better.  You could be eating a super healthy diet but if you’re not absorbing the nutrients you won’t be getting any benefits.

More energy and fewer cravings

When your good bacteria levels are where they should be and you’re properly absorbing the nutrients you’re putting into your body you’ll have more energy and fewer cravings.  Cravings are usually caused by a deficiency of a certain nutrient.  As mentioned above, you could be eating all the right stuff, but if your body can’t absorb it it’s not going to benefit you.

Reduced inflammation

Uncontrolled inflammation in the body is the root of all disease.  Having your gut flora in balance will reduce inflammation in your gut.  If you suffer from IBS you’ve got inflammation in your gut.  Taking care of that by increasing the good flora will significantly decrease your symptoms.

How To Increase Your Good Gut Flora

Nutrition is key!  You need to consume proper high quality probiotics in order to create balance.  You can get these in a high quality yogurt or high quality nutrition supplement such as Shakeology.

Here are some more tips:

  1. Cut out sugar and processed foods

These foods destroy your gut health and cause widespread inflammation.

  1. Eat more plants and dietary fibre

This will help balance your pH and help to remove waste more quickly.

  1. Limit Antibiotics

Antibiotics don’t discriminate, they kill all the bacteria.  If you’ve been on antibiotics you’ll need to consume a good source of probiotics once you’re done.  Sadly, if you eat commercial meat, you’re exposed to antibiotics on a regular basis.  Luckily you can restore balance by consuming a good probiotic.

  1. Invest in a good probiotic source

You can get probiotics from yogurt and supplements but probiotics are very fragile and can be destroyed by heat and acidic environments so you need a high quality source.  Food supplements with live probiotics have a short shelf life and require refrigeration.  Freeze dried powdered supplements must be kept dry and at room temperature and they’ll also have an expiration date.  If your probiotic supplement does not have an expiration date you’re likely not getting any benefit at all.

 

Your Health Is What Matters

Your health is what matters the most so start taking your gut health seriously!  Without good health you’re not able to be there for your loved ones and your quality of life will be very poor.  Investing in your health should be your top priority so stop putting other things first.

Why Do We Need Water?

You know you need water and you’ve probably heard that on average you need about 64 ounces a day.  Have you ever wondered why?

What Water Does For Us

Water quenches our thirst but it also does a whole lot more.  Here are some of the things that water does for us.

Weight Loss

Numerous studies have shown a connection between proper hydration and weight loss.  Water helps you feel full so try drinking a glass of water before meals.  You just might find yourself consuming fewer calories.

Strength

When your muscles don’t have the water they need they fatigue a lot more quickly.  Stay well hydrated at the gym so you get the best workout possible.

Fluid Balance

Your body is about 60% water so you need to stay well hydrated to keep your fluids in balance.  Keeping your fluids in balance helps to digest food and transport nutrients, regulates body temperature and more.

Clearer Skin

Toxins trapped in the body can cause skin issues such as clogged pores and acne.  Water flushes out these toxins so they don’t remain in the body which can help keep skin clear.

Energy

Most of us reach for the coffee for a bit of energy but did you know that one of the most common symptoms of dehydration is tiredness?  Stay hydrated and maybe you won’t feel the need for that afternoon caffeine boost!

Hangover

Most of the symptoms of a hangover are caused by being dehydrated.  Try drinking a glass of water for every drink you have or at very least have a glass of water before you go to bed and start drinking more water when you wake up.

Pain Prevention

Did you know that aching joints, muscle cramps and strains can be due to dehydration?  If you find yourself suffering from any of these try upping your water.

Let’s Drink To That!

If you’re not drinking enough water every day hopefully this info will encourage you to drink more.  Not sure how much to drink?  General rule of thumb is 64 ounces or you can take your body weight in pounds, divide it by two and that’s about how many ounces of water you should be having each day.  Go buy yourself a fancy new water bottle and carry it with you everywhere!

Changing Your Eating Habits Is Tough

Changing your eating habits it tough.  I struggled with it for many years and when I decided to really focus on making a change it took a lot of time.  There are some key mistakes that people make when trying to change their eating habits that will sabotage their efforts.

Why You Struggle

Deprivation

I was always guilty of doing this.  I’d decide that I had to lose weight so I’d cut out a bunch of calories and make certain foods off limits.  This would work for a day or two but inevitably my cravings would overcome me and I’d binge.  While binging I’d tell myself it was okay because I had hardly eaten anything the days before.  No wonder I struggled with weight and self esteem problems!

Tip:

Learn proper portion sizes of the kinds of food you need to be eating to be healthy.  You might be surprised by how much you should be eating.  When you’re eating the right amount of healthy food you won’t feel deprived and you won’t get such intense cravings.  Never crash diet.

You Eat Diet Foods

Diet foods are just a trap.  They are marketed in a way that makes you believe you can eat these foods and lose weight and be healthy.  A big problem here is that the food is highly processed so it’s not even real food.  Your body needs real food.  The other problem is quite often people have the mentality that if it’s diet food you can eat a lot of it and not gain weight.  Diet food is rarely satisfying so it’s easy to eat a lot in one sitting.  It might be a low amount of calories per serving but if you’ve eaten multiple servings you’ve taken in a lot more than you realize.

Tip:

Eat real food.  Don’t be drawn in by diet foods.  I used to binge on diet foods and that’s what contributed a lot to my weight gain.  Stick to foods that came from the ground and/or an animal.

Not Being Prepared

You need to have good food on hand and leave the junk in the store.  You might buy some junk food with the greatest intentions of only indulging once in a while in a controlled manner…..that doesn’t work!  If it’s handy you’ll eat it more often then you intend and more of it.

Tip:

Find healthy food that you like and stock your cupboards.  Fruits, pre-cut vegetables, nuts, seeds – all of these make great snacks you can have on the go.  Have quick and easy breakfast options for those days you’re in a rush so you don’t stop at a coffee shop and end up with something unhealthy.  Shakes are a great option for breakfast as long as it’s a healthy shake.

An All Or Nothing Attitude

This was totally me.  Either I was on a diet or very much off a diet.  I would be too strict with myself, cave and eat something I knew I shouldn’t and then decide that since I’d already ruined my diet I better really ruin it.  Vicious cycle.

Tip:

Stop looking at food as either good or bad.  It is possible and very healthy to have a balance when it comes to food.  Food is what nourishes our body and soul.  Give yourself permission to have treats once in a while so that when you do you don’t beat yourself up over it.

Food

A lot of people struggle with food and it can be crippling.  Developing a healthy attitude toward food can be tough but it’s doable and so worth the effort to get there.  If you need help, comment below.

How To Make Yourself Do What You Need To Do

We have goals.  You probably have something in mind right now that you would like to achieve but you’re having a hard time getting started.  I’m going to share some tips on how to make yourself do what you need to do so you can get to where you want to be.

Let’s Do This!

Usually it’s fear that holds us back from trying new things but not always.  Here are some other things that might be holding you back from what you really want to do:

You’re afraid you won’t do it right.

A lot of times the doubting voice in your head keeps you from even trying something.  This is a protection mechanism.  Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing someone or, worse yet, yourself.  The problem with this type of thinking is it keeps you stuck.  So now you’re ‘safe’ but you’re stuck.  Protecting yourself from discomfort and disappointment is a normal thing.  This becomes a problem when it keeps you stuck in a situation that you’re not happy with.  What you need to do is think about all the benefits that will come from reaching your goal.  Then think about the dire consequences of not doing anything at all.  Once it’s in your head that staying where you are is a negative thing you’ll be able to jump in with both feet and get things done.

You just don’t feel like doing it.

We all have days where we just don’t feel like doing the things we have to do so you have to make it non-negotiable.  When I don’t feel like teaching my spin class it doesn’t matter because I don’t have a choice.  I have people who are coming to my studio for a workout and I have to be there to teach it.  When I don’t feel like teaching I just push that thought away and get my butt to the studio to deliver the best class I can.  Figure out how to make what you need to do non-negotiable.  Find someone to be accountable to.  Accountability and support almost guarantees results.

It’s going to be uncomfortable.

Some things in life are unpleasant but they still need to be done.  Improving your health and fitness means leaving your comfort zone and it can be hard to leave that comfort zone.  You know what happens in the comfort zone?  Not a damn thing!  You stay exactly where you are or, as with health and fitness, you end up doing damage to yourself.  Don’t let the thought of being uncomfortable stop you from achieving goals.  For a small amount of discomfort just think of what the rewards are.  You’ll have more energy, you’ll feel more confident, you’ll look and feel younger, your quality of living will be much better later in life, you’ll be around longer for your loved ones.  In exchange for some temporary discomfort you’ll avoid chronic discomfort.

Take Action! 

What changes do you want to make in your life?  Decide and take action!

How To Get Out Of Your Funk

Do you ever get into a funk?  Of course you do!  We all do!  Funks suck so I want to share some tips on how to get out of your funk.

Ways To Get Yourself Out Of A Funk

You can’t avoid low moods all the time but if you’ve been feeling down for a while it’s time to do something about it.

Reach out to a friend.

Contact a friend and be totally straight with them.  Tell them that you’re in a funk and you just need to talk.  Talking about what’s bothering you is very therapeutic and your friend will be supportive.

Read something inspirational.

Whether it’s a book on your favourite topic or an article written by someone who excites you this can be a great way to get yourself out of your funk.

Do something physical.

Physical activity results in a release of endorphins so just get up and move.  Maybe you’re already an active person but you’re in a workout funk.  This is the perfect time to try out a new program.

Do something nice for someone.

Commit a random act of kindness!  Doing nice things for others has a way of lifting your spirits.  Hold the door for a stranger, give someone a compliment or even volunteer at a local soup kitchen.

Do something that scares you a bit (or a lot).

Sign yourself up for an event, join Toastmasters, commit to a 30 day challenge – anything that gets you out of your comfort zone.  The surge of excitement you experience will totally get you out of your funk.

Get away.

Book a trip.  Even if it’s just a weekend at a B&B in the next town or city, a change of scenery can really help.

Explore your funk.

Take some time to think about what got you into your funk.  It’s better to recognize and deal with stressful issues rather than bury them.  In fact, burying them is really unhealthy and will eventually catch up to you in a very negative way.

Journal what you’re grateful for.

Take some quiet time to yourself and write down everything that you’re grateful for.  Thinking about the great things in your life will really help to lift you out of your funk.

Sh!t Happens

Life can be challenging at times and it’s not always easy to stay positive.  It’s totally normal get into a funk once in a while and it’s perfectly okay.  Just make sure you address your issues and ask for help when you need it.

Interesting And Disturbing Health Facts

Personally, I really feel like the majority of people in North America have no idea how unhealthy they are.  Confusing and conflicting info on nutrition and health from the media causes a lot of the confusion.  I thought it might be interesting to share some interesting and disturbing health facts.

Some Startling Info:

  • Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • 25% of North American children spend 4 hours or more watching TV daily instead of being physically active.
  • In a 2012 study, 52% of the Americans polled believed doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy.
  • At least 1 in 4 people eat some type of fast food every day.
  • Americans consume 31% more packaged food than fresh food.
  • In the US, 10 billion donuts are consumed each year.
  • North Americans are the biggest consumer of weight loss products in the world.  But they still lead the world in obesity and unhealthy lifestyle.
  • The percentage of North American children and adolescents who are considered overweight or obese has tripled since 1970.
  • Several chronic conditions can be controlled and avoided with healthy lifestyle and exercise.  These include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility, hypertension, sleep apnea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, stress, and many more.
  • Being overweight and obese is a real problem.  250 million Americans fall into this category and 360 000 Americans die every year from diseases directly related to obesity and unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Over1/3 of American children are overweight or obese.  Because of this, this generation of children will be the first to live shorter lives than their parents.

This Is Scary Stuff!

We all have an obligation to take care of our health.  It’s actually quite easy!  Get active for at least 30 minutes at least 3 times per week.  Be conscious of what you’re putting in your mouth.  Read labels, ask questions, when in doubt don’t eat it!  If man made it, don’t eat it!  If it’s advertised on TV it’s likely not healthy.  I’m here to help so leave a comment below or message me if you need some guidance.

Are You Suffering From Estrogen Dominance?

Have you ever heard of estrogen dominance?  It’s when your body has too much estrogen and not enough progesterone.  This is not just something that happens to women.  Men experience this as well.

In order for everything to work properly your hormones need to be in balance.  Metabolism is greatly affected by hormonal balance.  Are you struggling with your weight?  Are you active and eating well?  If you answer yes, then you may be experiencing some hormonal imbalance.

Causes

Here are a few things that can contribute to estrogen dominance.

  • Carrying excess weight. In both men and women being overweight creates and stores more estrogen
  • Exposure to environmental xenoestrogens. These can be found in plastic water bottles, body moisturizers and shampoos.  They can also be found in the meat of animals given growth hormones and antibiotics.
  • Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Both of these contain synthetic estrogen.
  • Chronic stress that causes problems with your adrenals and thyroid glands.
  • Poor diet, drinking too much alcohol and caffeine and smoking.

 Symptoms

Here’s a list of some of the conditions that estrogen dominance can be linked to:

  • An increase in the fat around the abdomen and thighs.
  • Difficulty losing weight.
  • An increase in PMS symptoms.
  • Endometriosis.
  • Allergies.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fibrocystic breasts.
  • Headaches.
  • Infertility.
  • Irritability.

Men with estrogen dominance will experience a loss of sex drive, increased abdominal fat, an enlarged prostate, and even prostate cancer.

How To Balance Your Estrogen Levels

  • Follow a healthy nutrition plan high in organic whole foods and fiber.  Aim for 9-11 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.  Try for a 3:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit.
  • Improve your digestion by increasing good bacteria in the gut.  Try a probiotic supplement and/or eat fermented foods.
  • Sleep seven to nine hours each night.
  • Reduce stress and support your adrenal and thyroid glands with proper rest and nutrition.
  • Decrease or stop using alcohol and caffeine. If you smoke, definitely stop.
  • Decrease your exposure to xenoestrogens by using safe personal care products free of parabens and phalates.
  • Eat grass fed meat and free range poultry whenever possible.
  • When eating dairy opt for raw cheeses and yogurts that came from animals that were grass fed.
  • Eliminate sugar and processed carbohydrates.
  • Exercise regularly.

One Change At A Time

Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list.  Pick one or two things you can change right now and do that.  Just a few small changes can have a very positive impact your hormones.

Why You Haven’t Achieved Your Goals Yet

How many times have you felt frustrated that you haven’t achieved your goals yet?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone!  Many people set goals that are totally achievable only to come up short.  There are reasons for this and I’m going to share that with you.

Lacking a plan

Many people have an idea of what they want, but not many take the time to write it down and then make a plan.  You need to know specifically what you want to achieve and write that down.  Then you need to come up with a game plan to reach that goal.  Break it down into steps and write the steps down so you’re clear on what you have to do.

Lacking focus

Once you’re clear on your specific goal and you have a plan, you have to focus.  Losing focus will guarantee failure.  To reach any goal you need to consistently work towards it every day.

Lacking a strong ‘why’

It’s fine to have a goal, but if you don’t have a strong why attached to it you’re going to give up when things get tough.  You need a very strong why that resonates so deeply with you that giving up is not an option.  Your why needs to be very personal with you and you need to be able to tie yourself emotionally to it.

Fear of failure

You have to believe in yourself and that no matter what, you’re going to reach your goal.  So many people decide to not even try because they think they’ll fail and their fear of failure paralyzes them.  Guess what?  By deciding you’re too scared of failure to even try, you’ve just failed.  Think about that – you’ve failed without even having tried.  Don’t fear failure!  You need failure so you can learn what not to do.  All you have to do is decide to go for your goal no matter what.  If you accept some failure along the way you’ll end up successful.  You only fail when you quit.

Not knowing how to get to where you want to be

No one should expect to know everything they need to know to achieve their goals.  That’s what the experts are for.  If it’s a health and fitness goal invest in help from a coach so you’re guaranteed to be put on the right path.  If it’s a business goal, hire a business coach.  There are experts out there that can help you achieve whatever goal it is you have.

Not enough money

So many people believe that they can’t achieve their goals because they don’t have the money.  Think of things you do spend your money on and why you spend that money.  You spend it because the thing you’re spending it on is important enough to you that you find the money for it.  If something is important enough to you, you’ll figure out how to be able to afford it.

Lack of support

I truly believe that the number one reason why people fail to reach their goals is a lack of support.  There is strength in numbers!  Even if the people around you aren’t supportive you can find support by seeking out a group of like-minded people.  This could be people at the gym, or an online support group, or a convention that you attend regularly.  There are many forms of support out there and isn’t it worth it to seek them out so you can achieve your goals?

Let’s Do This!

No more excuses!  Decide what you want, make a clear plan, find people who support your goals, enlist the help of experts if needed and get what you want!  Need help?  Comment below!

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is a very important mineral that we need in our diet.  It affects blood pressure, immune function and metabolism.  Recently we’ve been seeing more and more people suffering from magnesium deficiency and one of the main reasons for this is our depleted soil conditions.  Because the soil has been depleted from over farming and overuse of pesticides, plants, and the meat from animals that eat these plants, are lower in magnesium.  Regular consumption of caffeine and sugar also depletes the body of magnesium levels.  Another huge factor that leads to magnesium deficiency is stress.

Affects of Magnesium Deficiency

  1. Muscle Spasms and Cramps

    One of the most common symptoms of low magnesium.

  2. Calcification of the Arteries

    Magnesium deficiency can lead heart attack and heart disease.

  3. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension

    A Harvard study of over 70,000 people found that those with the highest magnesium intake had the healthiest blood pressure numbers.

  4. Anxiety & Depression

    There is a lot more research showing that magnesium deficiency effects mental health.

  5. Sleep Problems

    It helps relax the body and the mind, so you can get a restful sleep.

  6. Low Energy

    Magnesium is required in the reactions that create ATP energy in the cells. If you’re deficient in magnesium you won’t have any energy at the cellular level.

  7. Bone Health

    When we think bone health we often think calcium but without magnesium we don’t absorb calcium very well.

  8. Other Mineral Deficiencies

    Magnesium is needed for proper utilization of calcium, potassium, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, and many other nutrients.

 Increase Your Magnesium Levels

 Eat magnesium rich foods such as:

  1. Kelp
  2. Almonds
  3. Cashews
  4.  Molasses
  5. Buckwheat
  6. Brazil nuts
  7. Dulse
  8. Filberts
  9. Millet
  10. Pecans
  11. High quality nutrition shake

Take a good magnesium supplement 2 times a day with food:

Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate

  • Liquid colloidal Magnesium
  • Magnesium Chloride
  • Magnesium Citrate

Topical application:

  •  Magnesium oil
  • Magnesium lotion or body butter

 If you think you’re suffering from  magnesium deficiency, try one of the suggestions above and see if you symptoms disappear. Keep a diary to see what really works for you.