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Did you over-indulge?

It was a great weekend for me. I was celebrating a BIG milestone with friends and family we ate lots, we laughed lots and there were those of us that drank too much. I realized the holidays are on the way and this might happen a little more often for some in the weeks to come. So how can I help you recover faster? Nobody has time for a hangover so let’s explore some nutrition that can help prevent and help recover from indulging with a little alcohol during times of festivities.

Tip #1 – Drink plenty of water. Most people know they should be pacing themselves and trying to drink some water between drinks but for some even more hydration and hangover prevention drink lots of water before you even get to the party. By going in well hydrated you have a better chance of getting up the next morning without feeling your head pounding.

Tip #2 – After a night of drinking it’s not just enough to drink water, it’s also important to include some electrolytes. Coconut water and meat stock/bone broth can replenish calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium lots the night before.  There are also electrolyte tabs you can purchase that dissolve in water, have a little flavor to help balance your electrolytes.

Tip #3 – Add some lemon and honey. The lemon is great for replenishing some of those water-soluble vitamins you lost during your party hours and the honey can help balance your blood sugar that may have fluctuated while you were drinking. Honey also is high in fructose that helps metabolize alcohol.

Tip #4 – Breakfast of Eggs. Eggs are high in the amino acid Cysteine. This powerful amino acid can help break down acetaldehyde, a by-product of alcohol, in the liver which helps you detox the alcohol and feel better faster!

Tip #5 – Probiotics!! Acohol can upset the balance of your microbiome so replenishing your helpful gut bugs with probiotic is important. One strain that is especially important is the bifidus bacteria. Like cysteine in eggs the bifidus probiotic helps break down the toxins from the alcohol and the faster the body can get rid of the toxins the faster you will feel better.

These are just a few tips to help get you through the holiday season. Drinking in moderation is still the best prevention for a hangover, but we all know that some holiday celebrations can get the best of us. If you find that you are out late and have over indulged. If you wake up feeling a bit under the weather the next day, one more way to feel better is to just sleep it off. The body can do its best detoxification when it has time to rest.

Do you want to know more? Are you worried about making it through the holidays healthy? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals including better sleep? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. We can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  We work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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Food can help or hinder sleep…which foods are you eating?

Are you dealing with sleeping issues? Can’t seem to get to sleep because your mind is racing or maybe you are exhausted and fall asleep right away but wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. There are lots of reasons that sleep seems to elude us, but have you ever thought that some of the foods you eat at dinner or after could be the reason you can’t get a good night’s rest?

There is food that hinders sleep and there is food that can help us relax. If you are adding one but not the other and you are dealing with high stress and poor sleep habits, you could be setting yourself up for a restless night.

First, let’s discuss what good sleep habits mean. Sleep habits refer to the process or routine you go though each night to prepare for sleep. I swear I had never heard about this until I went to a parenting class for my first born on how to sleep train her to sleep through the night. It was eye opening for me! I started applying the same principles to my own before bed routine and I started sleeping better too! When putting a baby to sleep it’s about creating a calming environment. Have you had a look around your bedroom lately? Is it cluttered? Are you working on your business, balancing your financial life or watching intense television shows in bed? Well, it’s time to turn off the t.v., put the electronics away (yes, that means your phone too) and possibly pick up a book or listen to some calming music. It’s also important to dim the lights as our brains begin to produce melatonin to help us sleep when the sun goes down. Most importantly it’s about the “routine” meaning that it should be relatively the same every night. You should prepare your body and train your brain that it’s time to relax, shut down and rest.

Now, what did you last eat and when did you eat it. I highly recommend that you stop eating at least two hours before you go to bed. It’s hard to sleep when your stomach still has food it’s trying to process. Laying down after eating is not optimal as it can lead to gas, bloating and even re-flux! So, do your digestive system a favor and stop eating late at night. It’s also important to give you digestive system a break over night to get some internal house cleaning done. Just because you are sleeping doesn’t mean your organs shut down, but they do need the time to slow down and rest as well.

There are a variety of foods that could be keeping you up at night. The most obvious are stimulants like coffee, soda, candy and chocolate. These foods are high in caffeine and sugar which stimulate our body regardless of whether we are tired or not. Our brains might be exhausted, but our body is not able to settle down. Alcohol is another sleep robber. I know a few people that actually use alcohol to get to sleep but alcohol can rob you of deep REM sleep and can disrupt your sleep later in the night. High fat processed foods can keep you from sleeping your best as well. Do you remember our chat above about digestion? Fats are very slow to digest so you definitely want to be sure that you give yourself time to digest before rolling into bed after a high fat meal.

On the flip side there are foods that can help you slip into a long overnight nap. Foods high in the amino acid tryptophan which is a precursor to both serotonin (happiness) and melatonin (sleepiness) are great to promote better sleep. Turkey is a great example and I bet you can recall the after-dinner lull from a big holiday turkey dinner. Other foods that have tryptophan include dairy (which is why your mom or grandma always warmed some milk to drink before bed), nuts and seeds, and spinach. There are a few foods that are naturally high in melatonin itself. These include tart cherries, or even tart cherry juice, rolled oats and nuts and seeds. Magnesium, also known as the anti-stress mineral is important for helping to relax. Dark leafy greens are high in magnesium as well as avocados and again nuts and seeds.

I personally love to have something warm to help wind down from a busy day and now that the chilly weather is here tea is my favorite part of my bedtime ritual. Some great sleep-inducing teas include chamomile, valerian, peppermint or passion fruit.

“Sometimes the most productive thing one can do is sleep” ~Unknown~

Do you want to know more? Are you ready to sleep better than ever? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals including better sleep? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. We can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  We work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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Is the food you are eating making your body odor worse?

Have you ever been walking in a mall, crowded restaurant or party and get a whiff of body odor? Did the thought of “What the heck did that person eat?” come to mind? It’s a known fact that what you put in your body to process will affect your energy, weight, state of mind but did you know it can also affect your smell?

Body odor is an interesting thing. It can be measured by the smell of your breath, the smell of your sweat and the bodily odors released with elimination. All of these are affected by the foods we choose to fuel our body with on a regular basis. But there are some simple things we can do to return our body to our sweet-smelling self!

First, lets explore the foods that could be adding to our not so pleasant smells.

  1. Alcohol – This doesn’t mean having a glass of wine is out of the question but a night of binge drinking or over doing it can lead to a few days of smelling less than optimal. Alcohol has to be processed by the liver. The liver breaks it down into compounds that are safe for removal and that removal can take place through the sweat glands, feet, etc. It’s how the body naturally detoxifies the alcohol from your system. My suggestion is to keep that alcohol in moderation to keep your body odor under control.

  2. Brassica/Cruciferous Veggies – These veggies are jam packed with vitamins and nutrients, so I would never suggest not keeping them as part of your weekly menu. But, they do contain sulfur compounds that can add to odor in the body.

  3. Allium - Along with the brassica veggies watch out for too much garlic and onion as these too leave the sulfur smell in their wake but again, they are important for so many great nutrients and vitamins, they are antimicrobial and antibacterial so removing them for good is not a solution. Just be sure to not over do it!

  4. Asparagus – This bright green vegetable has a compound called methyl mercaptan that produces a smell in all the bodily fluids once consumed. Studies have been done that show it’s not as strong as we perceive, and some people can’t smell it at all. If you notice your smell changes after eating asparagus, you can rest easy knowing that there is very little chance that anyone else will notice so keep on eating that asparagus!

  5. Red Meat – There was an actual study done where men in one group we asked to consume meat and another group consumed a vegetarian diet. They collected the t-shirts worn by the men after a couple of days and had women decide which group of men smelled better. (Yep, not sure I would have volunteered for this smelly study!) It turns out that the women found the vegetarian men’s smells much more acceptable. So cutting back on your red meat consumption is thought to help keep you smelling your best.

  6. Fish – There is a condition called trimelthylaminuria where trimethylamines are not broken down in the body. This chemical is found in fish and when not broken down builds up in the body and ends up coming out in the sweat, breath and urine of those affected as a fishy smell. It’s now thought that this may affect more people than once thought so if you find that eating fish leaves you smelly this could be the answer!

Okay, so now we know the foods we need to watch out for, but what can we do if we feel we need a little help with our body odors.

  1. Eat Clean – Again, there is the tried and true evidence supported idea of avoiding processed foods. These include foods high in refined sugar, white flours, hydrogenated oils, preservatives and chemicals. I know, I know, this is always the answer, right? Well, if it is just that easy then why isn’t everyone doing it? We would all smell SO much better!

  2. Build Your Microbiome - This also goes along with the first idea of eating clean. You want to feed your body well, but you also want to feed the gut bugs in your intestinal system that help you process foods better. This will help you produce less gas and odor. Another consideration here is the microbiome of your mouth and skin! Did you know that sweat doesn’t have an odor? It’s the bacteria on your skin that acts on the sweat that produces the odor. Keep the area of your sweat glands (feet, armpits, breasts and groin) clean and dry. Your breath and the health of your teeth can also be affected by the microbiome of your mouth so proper dental care and hygiene is important but so is eating healthy fermented foods.

  3. Chlorophyll – Eating meals with lots of leafy greens and concentrated chlorophyll has been known to help remove body odor. Chewing herbs such as parsley, mint and cilantro have been traditionally used to help neutralize odors at the end of meals. (Those herbs on your plate are not just garnish!)

  4. Fiber – Eating a menu high in dietary fiber can help in several ways. First it feeds the microbiome in your gut to help break down your food better and secondly it helps carry toxins from the body to improve elimination.

Do you want to know more? Do you do all these things and still find you dislike your own aroma? Are you ready to smell your best? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. I can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  I work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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Could a Little Magnesium Solve Your Problems?

I have recently been learning more and more about the mineral magnesium. I have even been supplementing with it and have been finding the benefits are changing my health in great ways! As most of my readers know, I am a foods first holistic nutrition consultant. I will always recommend you try to get the foods high in magnesium before supplements but according to Health Canada nearly half the population is deficient in magnesium. When deficient, supplementation can get the body what it needs and running optimally far more quickly than with food alone, especially if there are health related issues stemming from the deficiency.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body. It is involved in more than 600 cellular reactions and 60% of it is found in our bone. The rest is found in muscles, soft tissues and fluids like the blood. All cells need magnesium and all cells contain it. If you are deficient in magnesium you could be experiencing some of the following symptoms:

  • Restless legs

  • Muscle cramps

  • Migraines

  • Fatigue

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Weakness

  • Depression

  • High blood pressure

  • Inflammation

The recommended daily intake, which is the average daily intake level recommended to meet our basic nutrient requirements is about 320mg for an adult female and about 420mg for the average adult male. If you consume too much magnesium the biggest side effect, you need to worry about is experiencing loose stool.

There are some dietary and lifestyle considerations you should keep in mind if you find you may be deficient in magnesium. A big one is cutting back on processed and junk foods. These foods provide very little magnesium (little nutrient value at all really) and can make your issues worse. Another consideration is cutting back on coffee, alcohol and soft drinks. These beverages act to remove magnesium from the body so are not helping you with absorption. If you consume lots of beans and whole grains, it’s best to soak them before cooking to reduce the phytic acid that can interfere with magnesium absorption in the gut. Cutting sodium, as it competes with magnesium, can be helpful as well. Raw greens contain lots of magnesium but also have oxalic acid which can interfere with magnesium absorption as well. To get the most out of your greens, it’s best to lightly steam them.

Here are the top ten foods to help increase your magnesium:

  1. Pumpkin Seeds

  2. Spinach – lightly steamed

  3. Swiss Chard – lightly steamed

  4. Black Beans – soaked first

  5. Flax Seeds

  6. Almonds

  7. Cashews

  8. Dark Chocolate

  9. Avocado

  10. Wild Salmon

As discussed in the beginning, sometimes supplementation is the best way to get yourself on track and get relief from the symptoms you may be experiencing. There are many different forms magnesium can be supplemented. For example, Mg-Threonate is great for brain health, Mg-Glycinate will help with relaxation and sleep and Mg-Malate will help with increasing energy levels. There is Mg-oxide which is said to improve athletic performance and mg-Chloride to help with detoxification pathways in the body and nervous system function. For constipation Mg-sulfate is helpful and Mg-Taurate is said to be helpful for cardiovascular health.

There are also a few supplement choices which might not be as great. Mg-Citrate helps with constipation but can pull a lot of water into the intestines leading to dehydration. Mg-hydroxide has some known side effects such as nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite and then Mg-Apartate and Mg-Glutamate are known excitotoxins so use caution with these forms. In all cases, especially if you are taking medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist to be sure that you are choosing the right supplement for you. Remember that choosing foods first is a safe way to increase your magnesium without the worry of interactions.

Do you want to know more? Are you interested in getting even healthier? Would you like to know more about how you can begin to get to the root issues holding you back from reaching your health and wellness goals? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes so that you can feel your best every single day. I can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  I work with women from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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What is a True Allergy?

I hear people talking about being allergic to this and sensitive to that. We need to remember that a true allergy is the body’s oversensitive immune response to a substance that should normally be harmless. Food allergies lead to a variety of symptoms that can range from annoying to life threatening. When people deal with food allergies, exposure to specific proteins leads to their immune system going into overdrive. It triggers the release of chemicals into the bloodstream that creates inflammation in parts of the body. These allergies can contribute to skin problems such as rashes, dermatitis and eczema. They can lead to digestive issues like nausea, bloating, gas and elimination problems. When allergies get severe they can lead to asthmatic symptoms, or even systemic reactions like anaphylaxis that can be fatal.

1-2% of adults and 8% of children have a food allergy.

How do Allergies work?

We may not know we are allergic when we originally eat a food. When a trigger food is eaten for the first time the protein is digested into amino acids which are absorbed into the body through the intestine. (Just a note that sometimes the allergen can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled.) The immune system will react to this trigger food by producing antibodies that are specific to the allergen or that particular food. The antibodies travel in the bloodstream and bind to the surface of white blood cells called mast cells which are then “sensitized”. After the first exposure there is no reaction in the body, but the cells are primed and ready for the second exposure.

The next time this trigger food is eaten the mast cells recognize the protein allergen. The mast cell then binds to the antibodies on the mast cells. This activates a process called degranulation. As the mast cell degranulates it releases histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. It is the effect of these chemicals on the body that produces different allergic symptoms. In extreme cases anaphylaxis occurs. Anaphylaxis results in extreme symptoms like throat swelling, severe asthma and a drop in blood pressure. It requires emergency medical attention always.

What is a Food Intolerance?

Food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to digest a component of food. This type of intolerance does not aggravate the immune system in the same way as a true allergy. You can be born intolerant to certain foods or become intolerant later in life. Intolerance occurs when you don’t have a particular enzyme that helps break down nutrients. Sometimes, it’s part of a food that a person is intolerant to and sometimes it’s the additives, chemicals or toxins in particular foods that triggers a digestive reaction. Symptoms can arise any where from hours after eating to days later. They can vary from individual to individual but commonly include nausea, bloating, cramps, constipation/diarrhea and gas. Intolerances are difficult to pinpoint as symptoms are delayed and often more than one intolerance can coexist. Elimination protocols can help remove problematic foods and relieve symptoms.

If this is something you think you might be dealing with No Shoes Nutrition can help! We can help you identify the foods that don’t agree with you and make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs to feel your best! Allergies or intolerance, often the only treatment is to avoid the trigger food. The exclusion of more and more foods can mean a lack of important nutrients. Are you concerned that you might be dealing with allergies or intolerances? Curious about how health coaching can help you make changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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No Shoes Nutrition by Megan Barefoot - 2M ago
How Fresh is Fresh?

So, you have decided to make a change this season and start investing in your health. You are going to make a BIG effort to buy your fruits and veggies fresh and eat them raw as you have read that this can be best for your health. But what does fresh mean and how fresh are the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store?

Freshness has become an important concept in evaluating the quality and desirability of food. What factors influence the freshness of our food?

Once a fruit or vegetable has been picked it starts to decrease in freshness. While some fruits and vegetables only reach ripeness after harvest, most foods will start to lose flavor and nutritional value moments after picking. This is the point where our food begins to spoil. Picking the fruit or veggie begins the release of destructive enzymes that begin the natural breakdown processes such as oxidation (think a cut apple turning brown) and nutrients start to degrade. There are also microbes that grow as the defense mechanisms in the plant cells that start to stall.

Is there a time limit for freshness? Some plant foods can remain fresh for long periods, if they are stored correctly. Potatoes, for example, can stay fresh for three months if they are stored in a cool dark place. Pears and apples can be stored for up to a year in special atmospherically controlled facilities. The foods we eat can take quite the journey! Produce grown in the southern hemisphere will pass through many stages on its journey to our grocery stores and markets. Believe it or not, some of the “fresh” produce we buy is harvested, then loaded onto airplanes (for the more perishable foods such as berries) which can take 1-3 days, or it’s loaded into refrigerated ships that control temperatures and keep the produce as fresh for 1-4 weeks at a time! When the produce reaches its destination, it may then need to travel by truck to a distribution center before finally being delivered to a retailer and eventually making it into your cart at the grocery store!

During the time our food is travelling to our plate nutrients are being lost. Nutrients are lost at an accelerating rate as a foods freshness decline. They are particularly affected by oxidation, heat, sunlight, dehydration and enzymes. Vitamin C is especially vulnerable to degradation over time, although this varies between foods. Chilling and freezing are helpful in delaying or preventing nutrient loss.

So where should we get our food to get the freshest, most nutrient dense foods? In a perfect world we would all be able to grow our own food in our backyards and in our houses and pick the produce straight off the tree, plant or vine. This is, however, not a realistic expectation so during the summer and harvest times your best bet is to visit your local farmers markets and buy directly from the local farmers that have recently harvested their crops. In many parts of the world, like here in Calgary Canada where I live, there are plenty of farmers markets and fresh produce but only for a very short time as our growing season here in the north is very short. To prepare for the “off season” I recommend buying extras and freezing fresh produce. I do this with a lot of berries, fruits and greens that I like to use for my morning shakes all winter. I also preserve some foods by fermentation by making fermented pickles and sauerkraut. But honestly, we live in a miraculous world of science and transport. To have apples and watermelons in the dead of winter, to enjoy berries and greens to keep us healthy all year is truly a blessing we rarely think about. Next time you are enjoying a fresh pineapple in the winter months think about the journey that fruit took to get to your plate. It really is AMAZING!

Want to get even healthier? If you’re looking to introduce fresh foods and change the way you eat – in a way that’ll help you improve your health, appearance, and performance, let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation.  I work with people from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!

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