|When I mention “green things,” what do you think of first?|
Last week in my free FB community, Level Up Your Mom Life, we were chatting about incorporating more green foods into what we eat each week, so that’s where my mind went first.
But then I started thinking about the radio program I was listening to on the weekend and it was all about the environment and things we can do to create more green spaces to enjoy in urban areas and how often they are missing in community developments.
And next I thought about how I have to file my income tax return (argh!) and began to ponder financial wellbeing (people often refer to money as “green”).
Finally my mind settled on health and wellbeing and how the colour green is often associated with physical health.
SO MUCH GREEN-NESS!
And St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t too long ago and my ancestors are from Ireland so that was thrown into the mix in my brain too, lol!
It’s funny how a colour can have so many different things associated with it. And how important ALL those things are!
So here’s a few tips to support each of these:
1. Green-Finance: do you work with a budget to manage your household finances or do you wing it? There’s no shame in not having a plan! It can be hard to face your money situation sometimes and we might just subconsciously chose to ignore it and hope for the best (believe me, I’ve been there!). This week, how about if you simply write down on a piece of paper what your monthly income is (estimate if it fluctuates). Include all sources. Then, if you feel like it, you can come back to that number at the end of the month to see how accurate it was and maybe consider looking at your recurring monthly expenses next.
2. Green-Environment: do you use reusable shopping bags? Many places are doing away with single-use plastics and shopping bags like the ones at the grocery stores are included. If you don’t already use reusable bags, you can find some lovely ones (shameless artist promotion here… I have created a line of canvas tote bags with my art on them if you are interested. Just give me a shout and I’ll send you the info.) I also use some big rectangular shopping totes/Rubbermaid bins. They stack nicely in my car. Saying bye to single use bags will help the environment. It might seem like a small thing, but remember, those small things all add up!
3. Green-Health and Wellness: have you been making time to do something to support your own health and wellbeing lately? When things get busy it is too often ourselves that get shoved to the end of the attention line, right? One simple thing you can do to support your physical health this week is to make sure you are going to bed on time. What’s on time? It’s going to be different for everyone, but ideally setting yourself up for 7-9 hours of sleep will do you a world of good! See if you can get your household on board with you on this and start quieting things down a good 30-45 minutes before bedtime so you have a better chance of easing into a good sleep when you actually hit the pillow.
4. Green-Food: I shared a recipe for a green smoothie bowl (yes bowl) with my group last week which I’m sharing with you as well. I hope you enjoy getting more greens into you! It is quite yummy 🙂
Green Smoothie Bowl
(Makes 1 serving)
2 cups (60 g) spinach1 frozen banana½ cup (125 ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk½ avocado1 tbsp chia seeds
Ice (optional)Toppings of your choice.
Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend till smooth. If you want a thicker consistency, add ice.
Pour into bowl and add your fav toppings: fresh fruit and pecans work great!
So what do you think? Are you into greening things up a bit? Let me know by replying to this email (easy peasy) … and also let me know what you’re looking at in the list of green options!
Always from the heart,
PS – if you want to check out the online wellness coaching programs I’m offering to support women’s health and wellbeing, head on over to my website and click on The Real Life Reset System. I’ve taking my group coaching program and have shifted it to be self study (you can still get private coaching with me!). I’ve also broken the full program into bundles covering specific topics so you can choose what is best for YOU!
A New Way to a Familiar Destination
I was planning on writing a blogpost about boundaries this week; their importance, why we struggle with setting appropriate boundaries, tips on how to get going… but this morning I realized that one was going to have to wait.
Instead, I feel the need to write about the “baby-steps” I’m taking to rebuild my strength after a crappy experience of being very ill this past winter.
So BABY STEPS it is!
Those who follow me on social media or who receive my newsletters might remember that I came down with shingles after injuring a nerve on the top of my head last November. (If you’ve ever had the chickenpox, you have the virus that can cause shingles sleeping in your nervous system. With all my heart, I truly hope it never “wakes up” so you don’t have to experience shingles.) Anyway, I was surprised as the only people I’d known of who had shingles were all women in their 70s – I’M NOT THERE YET – and I didn’t realize a nerve injury could trigger it, although in hindsight it makes perfect sense.
So, I had shingles on my scalp, my face and in my right eye. I have never been so ill in my life. I literally laid on the couch for almost 2 full weeks. I didn’t even sleep in my own bed because I wasn’t really sleeping. The pain was incessant and unpredictable. I’m not one for taking medications if I can help it, but let me tell you I was keeping track of every painkiller I took so I knew when I could take my next dose and even then they just dulled the pain they didn’t eliminate it.
My rash didn’t clear up until 5-6 weeks later and my eye is almost completely healed. There is a small patch in my vision where it feels like I’m looking through a smudge on my glasses but it is very tiny and I can live with it!
I barely ate. I barely slept. The pain was unimaginable. I’m so fortunate to have loved ones nearby who could help me out with groceries and getting to appointments as I wasn’t able to drive for weeks.
Recovery was slow. Especially given that it had gotten into my eye. So I tried to go slow as I eased back into my “regular” life.
It took so much longer than I expected!
I should also mention that while not single, I am a Solo Mom and the past few years – even before the pandemic – had been very challenging. I went into this illness already maxed out as far as stress-levels were concerned.
The first time I really realized how hard everything had been on my body was when I went snowshoeing in early January (almost 2 months after getting ill). I have been very active during the winter for 10 years now so going snowshoeing wasn’t anything new to me. We weren’t doing anything difficult, just a nice little loop that would take us less than an hour. Well, my body did NOT enjoy that and I ended up getting extremely ill afterwards which set me back a little bit as far as getting back into the swing of things to say the least.
My nutrition was up to snuff (I have the BEST supplements and shakes which truly got me through the worst of my sick days because I honestly could barely eat anything but my body desperately needed the nutrients to fight the virus and heal), so no worries there. However, my physical stamina was nowhere to be found.
How could this be? I didn’t understand fully because I’ve never been that ill before, so I started asking questions and looking into options to help me heal to a point where I feel stronger and more capable than I had been for a few months.
WHEN WE FIND OURSELVES IN NEW SITUATIONS WE NEEDTO BE OPEN TO FINDING NEW WAYS OF APPROACHING THINGS.
I found I could not do a full yoga practice as I am used to doing. After about 25 minutes I would feel drained (and while I am a yoga teacher and have been for many years, I typically practice a slow-flow sequence so it wasn’t like I was Power-Yoga-ing and then feeling pooped, lol!) So I created mini practices for myself #babysteps. Depending on how my energy levels were, they are between 10-20 minutes which I am just now able to combine to enjoy a half hour practice. Yay!
I discovered that my cardio strength had really diminished and it was keeping me from hiking all the gorgeous trails near where I live. But the weather, my family responsibilities, work schedules, etc made it challenging as to when I could actually get outside while it was daylight. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a regular routine as it makes things so much easier to stick to!
What new way could I build my cardio and stamina from home? One that DIDN’T cost a fortune or take up a lot of room as my home is tiny… I found an old-school stationary bike! And I love it! It is compact, easy to use, and didn’t cost me a fortune. To be honest, I found it for $50 on Marketplace. Yay!
I started slow, because I had experienced what happened when I tried to push myself too far too fast. Ten minutes in the morning and 10 minutes after work. Just enough to get my heart rate up a little! The next week I did 15 minutes twice a day. Now I’m up to 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after work and I’ve been able to increase the tension for a better workout! Again, #babysteps to the rescue!!!
Do I feel bad about myself because of how I’ve had to scale back what activities I do or how long I do them? NOPE. I feel proud of myself that despite coming up against new challenges and obstacles, I’ve been able to find ways of healing and improving my health that work with how things are NOW.
Things change. We need to be able to change too.
Different isn’t bad, its just different. And sometimes as we shift into something new and different, we need to do so gently and let ourselves take Baby Steps.
Always from the heart,
PS – if you’re looking for some help figuring out your own best next-steps to make positive changes in your life, I’m here! I’m certified in wellness, life, and sleep science coaching and I’ve been teaching yoga for almost a decade. Give me a shout at email@example.com
Catching Some ZZZs (and why how you fuel your body matters!)
Most likely its come to your attention at some point in your life that there are certain things we should avoid if we want to get a good night’s rest. The most common thing we’re warned about is CAFFEINE and I know its a tough one to give up (or even cut back on). So I’m not going to tell you to go cold-turkey on that unless you want to… but I am going to let you know that because caffeine has a half-life of 8 HOURS, you’re gonna want to make sure you aren’t having any coffee, tea, pop or energy drinks a good 8 hours before bedtime to give you your best shot as sleeping well. Oh, sadly I need to add chocolate to that list as well as it contains caffeine too. Have your treats a little earlier in the day!
In addition to caffeine, eating too much food, or having fatty foods like burgers, pizzas, or fully loaded nachos late in the day can stress the digestive system and wreck havoc on your nighttime rest by causing indigestion and/or bloating. Best to enjoy in moderation, maybe by enjoying a good sized salad along with a piece of pizza or smaller helping of nachos. Keep it a bit more balanced and less taxing on the tummy.
One more thing to be mindful of as far as what you’re consuming close to bedtime… alcohol. Yup. I know it can be super tempting to pour a nice big glass of chardonnay or something to help unwind at the end of the day, but hold off. While a bevvy like this might seem like it helps you drift off to sleep quicker, it actually interferes with you getting quality sleep at night. So yes, you might be snoring away in bed for the whole night but you’ll like wake up feeling like it was only for 4 hours. Best tip if you are looking to improve your nightly slumber? Avoid the bedtime drink or have it at least a couple hours before you’re going to tuck in.
Okay, so those are the thing you want to try to reduce or eliminate to improve how much rest you’re getting at night. Happily there are certain things you CAN have closer to bedtime to help make things better!
Try adding a nighttime snack of a handful of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. These all contain natural melatonin which helps regulate our sleep/waking cycle. Your grandma’s standby of a warm glass of milk before bed is actually a good idea if you like milk! It contains both tryptophan and melatonin. CHERRIES were such a lovely surprise to me in my research to find sleep-supporting foods! This fantastic fruit is a powerhouse of sleep support. Cherries contain 4 different sleep regulating compounds: melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. Finally, while I advised against caffeinated tea above, chamomile tea IS recommended and has been used traditionally as a remedy to help insomnia. Chamomile contains a flavonoid compound called apigenin which has sleep-inducing properties… but just have one cup – you don’t want to be waking up in the middle of the night because you’ve had too much tea and need the bathroom! LOL!
On that note, staying hydrated throughout the day will also aid your sleep at night. When you are dehydrated, it can cause leg cramps and sore joints which can wake you or prevent you from dozing off easily. One last note on fueling your body for better sleep quality… sometimes our diet simply might be lacking in a nutrient that our body is low on or has trouble assimilating so we need an extra boost. This was a big discovery for me as I made my way on my own wellness journey. I spent a decade trying to ditch my exhaustion and get some decent sleep and everything I added to my daily habits helped, but it was finding the right supplement that finally clicked everything together for me. That final missing puzzle piece, if you will.
Magnesium, B12, Calcium are just some of the supplements that can help improve quality of sleep. As I always say, “We are all built from the same stuff, but we are all put together a little differently.” And we all have differing life circumstances. If you feel like you might need to supplement to give your body a nutritional boost, I highly encourage you to check in with your healthcare practitioner to see what you might be lacking. I’ve taken supplements pretty much my entire adult life because I was aware of some gaps in my nutrition. Now that I’ve found a super simple and effective 3 step supplement system that I can get done as soon as I wake up in the morning has made all the difference in fueling my body well. If you’d like to know more about the line of nutritional supplements I’ve fallen in love with, check out the Nutritional Support page at http://www.breezewellnessbc.com
Soooo, are you up for taking a good look at what you’re putting into your body and how it (or lack of it) might be impacting your sleep? It is one more step you can take in setting yourself up for sleep success with a routine you can stick with!
Cheers to catching those quality ZZZs!
Prebiotics 101 – what the gut needs
Yes! They’re the food that we feed our probiotics, the friendly gut microbes that are oh so important for good health.
Our gut microbes are alive, and they need to eat too. Their favourite foods are called “prebiotics” and include dietary fibre and resistant starch. The same fibre that keeps us feeling full slows down digestion and provides roughage that keeps us regular. Resistant starch helps promote healthy blood lipids. Both of types of prebiotics (fibre and resistant starch) are linked with many health benefits.
Technically-speaking, a prebiotic has three qualities:
- It needs to be undigested and reach the colon intact;
- It needs to be digested by our gut microbes; and,
- It needs to stimulate our health-promoting good gut microbes.
Now that we know what prebiotics are let’s dive into their health benefits.
Health benefits of prebiotics
Prebiotic fibre helps keep us regular by bulking up our poop. It gives it substance and form, so it’s not too runny or liquid. In fact, more fibre is often recommended to help with symptoms of diarrhea. Prebiotic fibre used to be thought of like a broom that sweeps food through our guts, but we’re learning more about its health benefits beyond this role.
For example, prebiotics can also help to maintain normal bowel structure and function, and even enhance blood flow to the cells of the colon.
Those are some of the health benefits of prebiotics themselves. But we get even more health benefits when our friendly gut microbes eat and digest them.
For one thing, our gut microbes use prebiotics to make short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs (e.g., butyrate) can feed the cells of our colon to keep them healthy. SCFAs also inhibit the growth of bad gut microbes, and can even increase mineral (e.g., calcium and magnesium) absorption. These effects are all linked to the slight acidity caused by the acids in those SCFAs.
Dietary fibre also binds to healthful phytonutrients (phyto = plant). These phytonutrients are lost when the fibre is removed from the food. But, when we eat the prebiotic fibre, our gut microbes release these phytonutrients so we can absorb and use them.
Where to get prebiotics
Dietary fibre and resistant starch are the main sources of prebiotics.
Prebiotic fibre is found mostly in plants; both fruits and vegetables.
Resistant starch is any starch (a type of carbohydrate) that goes through most of our digestive tract without being digested. It’s not broken down by our digestive enzymes because it’s “resistant”… until it gets to our gut microbes in the colon. Resistant starch is found in starchy foods like whole grains and potatoes.
One of the big differences between fibre and resistant starch is that all of the fibre we eat is undigestible. All of it reaches our colons. Resistant starch, on the other hand, is just a small percent of the starch we eat. Most starch is digested and absorbed along our digestive tract, and that part is not considered to be prebiotic. Only the small amount of starch that is resistant to digestion and makes it down to the colon to feed our probiotics is prebiotic.
Prebiotic fibre is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables. It’s essentially what’s removed when we make juice – the pulp. It’s one of the reasons why eating whole fruits and vegetables is more healthful than replacing them with juice.
Here are some great sources of dietary fibre:
Resistant starch is found in:
- Whole grains (e.g. oats)
- Green bananas
Starches can be made resistant by cooking and cooling these foods before eating them. The cooling process allows the starches to re-shape themselves into a structure that is harder to digest (i.e., more resistant).
Prebiotics are fibre and resistant starches that feed our gut microbes. And when we feed our gut microbes, they help keep our gut healthy and have other health benefits too.
Do you ever juice your amazingly healthy fruits and vegetables and have a ton of leftover pulp? What do you do with it? I have a great recipe for using that oh so healthy prebiotic fibre in a delicious way.
Recipe (Juice pulp): Brownies
¾ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened (prebiotic)
3 tbsp coconut flour (prebiotic)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups juice pulp, firmly packed (prebiotic)
½ cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8”x8” baking tray with parchment paper.
Add cocoa powder, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Whisk eggs, pulp, oil and maple syrup.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine well. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the baking dish.
Bake for 30 mins until the top is firm and edges just start to pull away from the dish.
Allow the brownies to cool.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: I like to blend the wet ingredients in my blender to make cleanup easier.
Eating… Mediterranean Style
I absolutely adore the Mediterranean diet! So naturally I’m thrilled that it seems that study after study shows that it’s great for health on so many different levels.
And it is!
But what exactly does it mean? Is adding a glass of red wine to dinner enough? Does it require a cucumber salad every day? Do I have to give up my favourite foods?
In this post, I give you a simple list of Mediterranean diet foods to eat, and foods to ditch. And a couple of important lifestyle factors to consider too.
And I have a non-salad one-dish dinner recipe for you to try!
Mediterranean Diet 101
The Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied diets out there.
It’s based on the traditional foods that people who lived around the Mediterranean Sea ate about 50 years ago. Back then, in the mid 20th century, researchers noted that people in Spain, Greece, and Italy lived longer and healthier than Americans. And they had lower levels of heart disease, the #1 killer.
So, they set out to find what was so healthy in this part of the world. And the research keeps coming in. And it’s pretty impressive.
Eating a Mediterranean diet is linked with
- Less overweight and obesity (it’s better than low-fat diets)
- Better blood sugar control (for diabetes and metabolic syndrome)
- Lower risk of heart disease and stroke (and blood markers like cholesterol and triglycerides)
- Reduced risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases
- Fewer cancers (breast & colorectal)
- Less premature death
Overall, it’s simply really good for you.
PRO TIP: Recent research even links the Mediterranean diet to better gut microbes! This makes sense when you feed your friendly gut microbes their favourite foods including fibre, fruit, and vegetables.
Here’s another bonus: Many people who start eating a Mediterranean diet can stick with it long-term.
How’s that for a healthy whole-foods health-promoting not-so-restrictive diet?
What to eat and drink on a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is chock full of healthy whole foods.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains
- Fish and seafood
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Herbs and spices
These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fibre. And they’re often eaten in social settings where the food (and the company) is enjoyed.
The go-to beverage for the Mediterranean diet is water. Coffee and tea are also regularly consumed (without the addition of lots of cream and/or sugar). And yes, red wine (about 1 glass per day) is very commonly enjoyed.
Some foods and drinks that are eaten in moderation include:
- Cheese and yogurt
Red meat, unfermented dairy (e.g., milk), butter, and salt are rarely consumed, if at all.
What to ditch on a Mediterranean diet
There are many foods and drinks that are not part of the Mediterranean diet. Not surprisingly, this includes many highly processed and unhealthy foods like:
- Processed meats
- Sauces and gravies
- Sugar-sweetened beverages or fruit juices
- Refined grains and oils (including hydrogenated oils)
- Too much salt
- Added sugars
And if alcohol is a problem, you can also ditch the wine.
The Mediterranean diet also incorporates a different lifestyle. Some things to ditch are being too sedentary, eating alone, and being overly stressed.
The Mediterranean diet is a very healthy way of eating. It is a whole-foods diet based mainly focussed on plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains). It also contains fish, olive oil, and herbs and spices. The Mediterranean diet is high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and fibre; all of which are health-boosting from your head to your heart… and the rest of your body.
Don’t forget that health involves more than just food. The Mediterranean lifestyle also incorporates regular exercise, eating with people whom you care about, and overall enjoyment of life.
Do you think you could add or ditch certain foods to get closer to the Mediterranean diet? Do you have a favourite recipe that embodies this way of eating? I’d love to know! Add it to the comments below.
Recipe (Mediterranean): One Pan Roasted Dinner
4 cod fillets
2 handfuls asparagus, ends removed
1 cup black kalamata olives, drained
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
4 handfuls cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin2 tsp dried dill2 dashes freshly ground black pepper1 lemon, sliced
Preheat oven to 450ºF and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.Place the fillets in the middle of the pan. Add the asparagus, olives, garlic, and tomatoes around the fish.
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with dill and pepper. Slice lemon and place one onto each fillet. Squeeze juice from the rest of the lemon onto the vegetables.Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Check if fillets are opaque all the way through and flake easily with a fork. If not, then cook for another few minutes.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can substitute another fish for the cod (e.g., salmon).
How About a Lovely Cuppa…?
Tea has some great health benefits. Its antioxidant abilities make it heart-healthy and reduce the risk of developing cancer and diabetes.
But, does the type of tea matter? Is green tea that much better than black tea? And what difference does adding milk and/or sweeteners do to it?
I give you the goods on the green tea vs. black tea. And the healthiest way to drink your tea.
Yup, we’re talking tea today. But I’m not going to give you a recipe to drink tea. Nope, not this week. This week I have a special (and awesome) way to eat your tea.
Green Tea vs. Black Tea
Tea is said to be the most popular beverage in the world. It’s been consumed for thousands of years by millions, perhaps billions, of people.
Tea has also been shown to have many health benefits. And some of these benefits are thought to be related to tea’s antioxidant properties. These properties are from its flavonoids known as “catechins.” Flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and have a range of health benefits that I talk about in this post.
Green tea vs. black tea – What’s the difference?
What do green and black teas have in common?
First of all, they both come from the camellia sinensis shrub that’s native to China and India. Green tea contains slightly more health-promoting flavonoids than black tea. How is this?
The difference lies in how they’re processed.
If the leaves are steamed or heated, this keeps them green. The heat stops oxidation from turning them black. Then they’re dried to preserve the colour and flavonoids which are the antioxidants.
Hence you have green tea.
If the leaves are not heated, and are crushed and rolled, then they continue to oxidize until they’re dry. This oxidation uses up some of the flavonoids’ antioxidant power, so black teas have slightly less ability to combat free radicals than green tea does.
PRO TIP: Adding milk to your tea reduces the antioxidant ability.
Both green and black teas contain about half of the caffeine in coffee. That translates to about 20-45 mg per 8 oz cup.
Green tea vs. black tea – Health Benefits
Tea drinking, in general, seems to be associated with good health.
Heart health – For one thing, both green and black tea drinkers seem to have high levels of antioxidants in their blood compared with non-tea drinkers. Green and black tea drinkers also have lower risks of heart attacks and stroke. Drinking green tea, in particular, is associated with reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL oxidation, all of which are risk factors for heart conditions.
Overall, drinkers of green and black tea seem to have a lower risk of heart problems. Green tea has also been shown to reduce risk factors (i.e., blood lipid levels) a bit more than black tea has.
Cancers – Antioxidants also reduce the risk of many cancers. Studies show that both green and black teas can reduce the risk of prostate cancer (the most common cancer in men). Also, green tea drinkers have a lowered risk of breast and colorectal cancers. Black tea is being researched for its potential to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer.
Overall, antioxidant flavonoids in tea seem to help reduce the risk of some different cancers. Green tea may have a slight edge over black tea, but both seem to be associated with lower cancer risk.
Diabetes – Both green and black teas can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. They also reduce diabetes risk factors, like elevated blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. For example, some studies have shown that both green and black teas can help reduce blood sugar levels. Other studies have shown that green tea can also improve insulin sensitivity.
Once again, green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea, but both are blood sugar friendly (just don’t overdo the sweetener).
Both green and black teas are from the same plant, but are processed differently. Green tea retains more of the beneficial antioxidants than black tea does; but both are associated with better health than non-tea drinkers.
Overall, both green and black teas are healthy drinks, and tea drinkers, in general, seem to have fewer health conditions than non-tea drinkers. Green tea seems to have a slight edge over black tea when it comes to measurable risk factors of some common diseases.
When you enjoy your tea, try to minimize or even eliminate adding milk and/or sweeteners; these reduce some of the health-promoting properties of tea.
I’d love to know: Are you a tea drinker? Which tea is your favourite? How do you like to enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below.
Recipe (Green tea): Matcha Energy Bites
Serves 6 (makes 12-18 bites)
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
4 tbsp almond flour
1 tbsp matcha green tea
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
Add all ingredients into food processor and pulse until blended.
Shape into 1-1.5″ balls.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: If you use sweetened coconut, then you can eliminate the honey/maple syrup.
Why Am I Still Hungry When I JUST Finished Eating?
If you often feel hungry after eating, it could be the specific food you ate. Did you know that some foods have been proven to help keep you feeling fuller longer? And others stop you from feeling even as full as plain white bread?
Today I’m diving into what’s known as the satiety index. It’s a measurement of how full food makes you feel. This is great to know if you want to stave off some of those hunger feelings and cravings.
Plus, I’m betting you’ll be surprised at the one food that ranks top of the list. The one, super common, but often bland, food that can help keep you fuller longer. But don’t worry, I have a very un-bland recipe that you are sure to enjoy.
What is the Satiety Index?
Have you ever notice that some foods keep you feeling full longer? And others give you the munchies an hour later? That can make the advice to “stop eating when you feel full” a bit tricky if you’re picking foods that aren’t filling.
That’s a phenomenon called satiety. It’s the feeling of fullness, of being satisfied and satiated. It’s is the opposite of hunger and appetite.
The satiety index is a rating of foods that have been tested for the satiating effect in a 240 calorie (1,000 kJ) portion size. The scale scores foods based on whether people feel extremely hungry, hungry, semi-hungry, no feeling, semi-satisfied, satisfied, or extremely satisfied. Similarly to the glycemic index, the response to white bread was set to be 100. Foods that are more filling have numbers higher than 100. Foods that are less filling have numbers lower than 100.
Characteristics of foods with a high satiety index
There are a few common characteristics of highly satiating foods.
- Foods that are more filling (i.e., have a high satiety index) tend to have more protein. Protein is considered to be more filling than either carbohydrates or fats.
- They also tend to have more fibre. Because fibre is not digested, it provides bulk. This bulk tends to help you feel full longer because it slows down emptying of the stomach and digestion time.
- Highly satiating foods tend to have more volume for the same amount of calories; this means they tend to take up more space with water or air.
- They tend to have less fat.
- Highly satiating foods are also generally whole and less processed.
If you think about the feeling of fullness, it makes you not want to eat at that moment. It wards off the feeling of hunger. Eating more foods that have a higher satiety index are more filling, and therefore can help you to eat less overall.
This is one strategy to use if you feel hungry all the time, or if you’re trying to lose weight.
What foods keep you feeling full for longer?
Some foods that score higher than white bread (100) on the satiety index are:
- Boiled potatoes (323);
- Fish (225);
- Oatmeal/Porridge (209);
- Oranges (202);
- Apples (197);
- Brown rice pasta (188);
- Beef steak (176);
- Baked beans (168);
- Eggs (150);
Some foods that score lower than white bread (100) on the satiety index are:
- Ice cream (96);
- Chips (91);
- Yogurt (88);
- Peanuts (84);
- Mars bar (70:
- Doughnuts (68);
- Cake (65);
- Croissant (47).
If you want to feel full and more satiated, then choose foods from the first list that score more than 100.
The satiety index is a measure of how filling and satisfying food makes you feel. The higher the score, the fuller you feel. Eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help reduce food intake.
Foods that are very satisfying (satiating) tend to be protein-rich, fibre-rich, lower in fat, whole, less processed foods. Things like boiled potatoes, fish, oats, fruit, meat, and legumes.
Foods that are not very satiating tend to be higher in carbohydrates, fat, and are more processed; things like ice cream, chips, doughnuts, cakes, and croissants.
If you want to feel full longer, then choose more foods that are highly satiating and fewer foods that are not.
Recipe (Highly satiating): Not your average boiled potatoes
2 lbs mini potatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp fresh chives (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
½ tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh dill
In large pot place potatoes, garlic, stock, salt & pepper. Cover and bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
Check for doneness by piercing gently with a fork. Add more water if needed.
When done toss with herbs.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can drizzle with a touch of olive oil if you like.
Need a Mood Boost? A different take on the saying “you are what you eat”.
You Are What You Eat.
Well, yeah, but have you given any thought to how what you are eating is making you feel?
There’s, no question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right? I’m sure you’ve noticed at least once, how after you’ve binged on some highly processed, super salty or sugary foods that your mood may have taken a real tumble.
Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods. While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.
First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.
Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.
Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood-busting foods.
Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.
Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.
Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.
Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.
Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.
FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3 fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behavior by 50%!
Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.
You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.
“But it makes me feel good!”
Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximize the “pleasure” centers with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the color, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.
A few other things to avoid are:
- Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
- Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
- Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).
Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.
And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.
Recipe (mood boosting): Fruit Salad
1-2 cups watermelon, cubed
1-2 cups cantaloupe, cubed
1-2 cups blueberries, fresh
1-2 cups blackberries, fresh
1-2 cups green grapes
Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss. Seriously, it’s just that easy!
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.
Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!
How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?
Oh, the words “blood sugar.”
Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?
Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.
The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.
This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy Continue reading “Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!”
Eating my Damn Breakfast… and other meals…
I’ve lived with anxiety since I was 8 years old. I’ve developed my own ways of dealing with it, and have learned much from working with a variety of health professionals as well as through my own self-study. I’ve got a good selection of things in my “tool kit” to help with cope with anxiety issues when they arise.
In the past year I noticed something new about my anxiety experiences. While I’ve always been aware that WHAT I eat impacts my moods and my ability to cope with what life throws my way, and while I’ve been doing my best to eat regularly throughout my day to help keep my low blood pressure in check, I DIDN’T realize how much putting off eating was impacting my emotional & mental health. When I don’t eat enough and/or regularly I’ve definitely felt my anxiety getting the better of me. Continue reading “Eating my Damn Breakfast… and other meals…”