Monthly Archives: March 2019

Why is my metabolism slow?

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

We know as we age our metabolism tends to slow down.  As a post-menopausal woman I can attest to that! Is this you?

That’s why I went for the Metabolic Balance® plan.  It focuses on just that: balancing metabolism using a unique combination of nutrients.  Taking the guesswork out of what to eat and thank goodness, no counting calories or adding up points!

MBresetballoon

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have.  As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  In addition to a regular exercise routine, keep moving. Incorporate movement into your day.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. You can read more tips for a better night’s sleep here.

Want more information about the Metabolic Balance® program? visit http://bit.ly/tnweightloss or send me an email tessanp@shaw.ca

 

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

 

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.

Eight tips for choosing supplements wisely

green purple flower
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We all know the vast array of supplements on the market today. It seems that new ones are launched every day and there is more and more marketing lingo that promises to save your health.

And  remember the supplement business is a multi billion dollar industry!

But you are a savvy health-conscious consumer. You eat well, and you want to make sure you’re making wise choices with your health (and money).

There are a lot of choices out there, so I hope that the tips for choosing wisely are helpful.  After reading this post, should you decide you want guidance deciding which supplements are right for you contact me at 778-363-0779 or drop me a line at tessanp@shaw.ca

I’d love to get to know you better.  Meanwhile, read on……

Here are eight expert tips for you when choosing supplements:

Tip #1: If you’re in a country that licenses or pre-approves supplements (like I am in Canada), then make sure you’re getting the real thing, and not some illegally imported bootleg of a product.

Why?

This is your health, and it’s important enough to make sure you’re getting a product that at least meets the minimum requirements in your country. There are always recalls and safety alerts issued for contaminated supplements, or products that don’t even contain what they say they do.

Don’t get me wrong! This health authority approval is not a perfect gauge of quality, but it does have some benefits worth considering.

How?

In Canada, you would check its approval by making sure it has an 8-digit “NPN” number on the front label. This number means that the company meets the required standards (including quality standards and truthfulness of their labeling). And, if something does go wrong, there is someone who you can complain to (the company or Health Canada’s MedEffect program) and who is responsible (the company).

If you’re not in a country that pre-approves supplements, make sure what you buy meets the regulations of your country. If you have to look up the company or product online or call them, please do it – don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions before you use any health products. If the only address or phone number is not in your country, then steer clear, because if something goes wrong it’s possible that nothing can be done about it.

Tip #2: Read (and heed) the warnings, cautions and contraindications.

Why?

You don’t want a reaction, right?

How?

Check the label for things like:

  • To consult a healthcare practitioner if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or
  • If you have certain medical conditions (e.g. high blood pressure, auto-immune disease, diabetes, ulcers, etc.), or
  • If you are taking certain medications (e.g. like blood thinners or immune suppressants, etc.) or
  • If you are taking other supplements, or
  • If you shouldn’t take it for more than a certain length of time (e.g. 6 or 8 weeks).

Tip #3: Look at the medicinal and non-medicinal ingredients for things you might be allergic to, or have reacted to in the past.

Why?

Just as you would do this with foods and medicines, do this with supplements. Again, you don’t want a reaction, right?

And even if you’ve used a product before, check it each time you buy it. Manufacturers may make changes to ingredients from time to time.

How?

Any credible supplement company will list every active ingredient, as well as the inactive ingredients. The print may be small, but worthwhile.

Info not there? Give them a call. Most reputable companies have a toll-free number on the bottle, or at the very least their website address.

PRO TIP: You can look up any Canadian NPN number on Health Canada’s database here:

https://health-products.canada.ca/lnhpd-bdpsnh/index-eng.jsp

Tip #4: Read the labelled “Indications” or “Uses” (a.k.a. How can this product help me?).

Why?

Be skeptical of health claims. What is the company claiming that their product can help you with? Beware of people  who tell you that this product can help you beyond what’s on the label. If they heard about it, or found it in a book, that may or may not be reliable information.

How?

Don’t be fooled by “sciencey” sounding words.  Ask for scientific studies, or look it up on credible websites that don’t make money from selling supplements (such as Examine, or the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements).

Tip #5: What “dose forms” can you get (i.e. tablets, capsules, powder, liquid, etc.)?

Why?

I personally prefer capsules. This is because tablets and caplets are not very easy to absorb because they’re compacted into a hard rock-like form that sometimes doesn’t break down in your digestive system.

You may prefer powders and liquids as they are easier to swallow and to absorb.  They can go “off” quicker because every time you open the bottle, you’re exposing all of the contents to the oxygen, moisture and microbes in the air. They can also be difficult to get accurate dosing (especially if they need to be shaken well).

Capsules (my preferred form) are powders placed into tiny dissolvable…capsules. You can get vegan capsules or gelatin capsules. They’re not compressed, so they’re more easily absorbed (they’re still loose powder), and the capsule itself provides an extra layer of protection from oxidation and contamination from the air.

How?

The front label should mention this loud and clear. Along with how many are in each bottle.

Tip #6: How much/many do you need for a recommended dose?

Why?

This is important to keep in mind because you may not want to take several capsules per day in order to get the recommended dose. Plus, many (but not all) bottles contain a 30 day supply. This helps you see how much you need to take, as well as the real cost per serving/dose.

How?

Read carefully.

Is the label information based on one capsule, two…maybe six? The amounts of each nutrient listed on the label may be based on each dose, or the entire daily dose.

For example, if a label recommends you take 2 capsules per day, the active ingredient amounts listed may be the total amount in those 2 capsules, unless it says “per 1 capsule”.

Yes, for this one you do need to read carefully.

Tip #7: Check the storage requirements and expiry date.

Why?

These two go hand-in-hand because the expiry date is based on how that supplement degrades over time at certain temperatures, humidity and light exposure.

How?

If the bottle says that it should be refrigerated, make sure it’s in the fridge at the store, or shipped in a refrigerated truck.

If it says to refrigerate after opening, then make sure once that seal is broken, you keep it in your fridge.

If it says to keep out of sunlight, make sure the store/shipping company is doing that, and that you do that too. This is sometimes why supplements are in dark or opaque bottles – to prevent sunlight from degrading it before the expiry date.

And, of course, I wouldn’t recommend taking supplements past their expiry date. After this date the manufacturer does not guarantee the quality or dose of the product.

Tip #8: If you’re trying a new supplement for the first time, start slow.

Why?

Keep an eye out for both positive and negative reactions, and act accordingly.

How?

You don’t have to dive right into a full daily dose on day 1. Try starting with half-doses, or skipping days for a week or two before ramping up to the recommended dose.

I hope these eight tips serve you well!

And remember there is no substitute for a healthy diet.

Still want more information?  I can help. Contact me at tessanp@shaw.ca

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.

A quick guide to reading Nutrition Facts tables

I admit it, I don’t pay much attention to the Canada Food guide but there are many positive changes in the new guide, including changes to food labels to make them easier to understand.

Even though the changes are going in the right direction food labels and the Nutrition Fact tables continue to be a source of confusion for most of us.

Let me ask you. Do you ever look at the Nutrition Facts tables? Do they help you decide which foods to buy or not? Do the numbers even make sense?

To be honest, I don’t think that it’s the most user-friendly or helpful tool. But it’s good to understand it since it’s here to stay.

So let me give you a primer on reading the Nutrition Facts tables, and give you a few hints on the new changes coming soon (you may have noticed some changes already).

~~~~~~

How to Read the New Nutrition Facts Tables

The Nutrition Facts table is on the side of most packaged foods. It’s often found close to the ingredient listing.

The purpose of it is to help consumers make better nutrition decisions. When people can see the number of calories, carbs, sodium, etc. in food, they should be able to eat better, right?

Whether you like the Nutrition Facts table or not, let’s make sure you get the most out of it, since it’s here to stay!

Here’s my four-step crash course on reading the Nutrition Facts table.

Step 1: Serving Size – MOST IMPORTANT

The absolute most important part of the Nutrition Facts table is to note the serving size. Manufacturers often strategically choose the serving size to make the rest of the table look good. Small serving = small calories/fat/carbs. So, it’s tricky.

All the information in the table rests on the amount chosen as the serving size. And, since every manufacturer chooses their own, it’s often difficult to compare two products.

Take Note:

In Canada, in the next few years (between 2017-2022), serving sizes will be more consistent between similar foods. This will make it easier to compare foods. The new labels will also have more realistic serving sizes to reflect the amount that people eat in one sitting, and not be artificially small.

Let’s use an example – plain, unsalted walnuts from Costco.

Walnuts

As you can see, right under the Nutrition Facts header is the serving size. That is a ¼ cup or 30 g. This means that all the numbers underneath it are based on this amount.

FUN EXPERIMENT: Try using a measuring cup to see exactly how much of a certain food equals one serving. You may be surprised at how small it is (imagine a ¼ cup of walnuts).

Step 2: % Daily Value

The % Daily Value (%DV) is based on the recommended daily amount of each nutrient the average adult needs. Ideally, you will get 100% DV for each nutrient every day. This is added up based on all of the foods and drinks you have throughout the day.

NOTE: Since children are smaller and have different nutritional needs if a type of food is intended solely for children under the age of 4, then those foods use a child’s average nutrition needs for the %DV.

The %DV is a guideline, not a rigid rule.

You don’t need to add all of your %DV up for everything you eat all day. Instead, think of anything 5% or less to be a little; and, anything 15% or more to be a lot.

NOTE: Not every nutrient has a %DV. You can see it’s missing for things like cholesterol, sugar, and protein. This is because there isn’t an agreed “official” %DV for that nutrient. The good news is that the new Nutrition Facts tables will include a %DV for sugar. Keep your eyes out for that.

Step 3: Middle of the table (e.g. Calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, potassium, carbohydrates, and protein)

Calories are pretty straight forward. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts has 200 calories.

Fat is bolded for a reason. That 19 g of fat (29% DV) is total fat. That includes the non-bolded items underneath it. Here, 19 g of total fat includes 1.5 g saturated fat, (19 g – 1.5 g = 17.5 g) unsaturated fat, and 0 g trans fat. (Yes, unsaturated fats including mono- and poly-unsaturated are not on the label, so you need to do a quick subtraction).

Cholesterol, sodium, and potassium are all measured in mg. It’s easy to overdo sodium, especially if you grab pre-made, restaurant foods, or snacks. Keep an eye on this number if sodium can be a problem for you (e.g. if your doctor mentioned it, if you have high blood pressure or kidney problems, etc.).

Carbohydrate, like fat, is bolded because it is total carbohydrates. It includes the non-bolded items underneath it like fiber, sugar, and starch (not shown). Here, 30 g of walnuts contain 3 g of carbohydrates; that 3 g are all fiber. There is no sugar or starch. And as you can see, 3 g of fiber is 12% of your daily value for fiber.

Proteins, like calories, are pretty straight forward as well. Here, a ¼ cup (30 g) of walnuts contains 5 g of protein.

Step 4: Bottom of the table (e.g. vitamins & minerals)

The vitamins and minerals listed at the bottom of the table are also straightforward. The new labels will list potassium, calcium, and iron. Potassium is now at the bottom of the table, and vitamins A & C will become optional.

Manufacturers can add other vitamins and minerals to the bottom of their Nutrition Facts table (this is optional). And you’ll notice that some foods contain a lot more vitamins and minerals than others do.

Conclusion

I hope this crash course in the Nutrition Facts table was helpful. While you can take it or leave it when it comes to making food decisions, it’s here to stay. And it will change slightly over the next few years.

Do you have questions about it? Have you seen the new labels with a %DV for sugar? If so, leave me a comment below or send me an email tessanp@shaw.ca

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.

References:

http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/changes-modifications-eng.php

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/understanding-food-labels/percent-daily-value.html

http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/regulatory-guidance-directives-reglementaires/daily-values-valeurs-quotidiennes/guide-eng.php#p1

Is a good night’s sleep the stuff of dreams?

white fabric blanket
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Oh, that elusive sleep.  That time to relax and regenerate.  To heal and repair.

Sleep isn’t just important for your mind and body to have energy and be alert.  Lack of sleep can contribute to serious health issues which you don’t want.

So let me have your attention for this “tip-filled” post on the importance of sleep and how you can get your fair share.  I’ll even throw in an amazing caffeine-free latte recipe for your afternoon “pick me up”.

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation.

Recent studies have provided evidence that there is a direct relationship between inadequate sleep of less than 6 hours per day and increased body mass index in both adults and children.¹

The risk of being overweight or obese is greatly increased in short sleepers – by 50% in the case of men and 34% in the case of women.¹

So, it’s important to be reminded that there is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and nutrition: the better your diet, the better you sleep.   And the better you sleep, the less likely you are to consume foodstuffs that might result in increased weight.¹

This is why the Metabolic Balance® plan develops personalized dietary plans to match the metabolic requirements profile of each individual client.  You can learn more by viewing this brief introductory video  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p1H7LUmulJM or contact me at tessanp@shaw.ca

And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

In addition, lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)

OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it’s easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

  • To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
  • To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  • To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need?  It’s less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it’s recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.  For real!

Try not to skimp!

(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

  • The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Seven. Days. A. Week.  I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
  • Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat. If you want to know which foods are right for you check out the Metabolic Balance® program right here or contact me at tessanp@shaw.ca
  • During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it’s daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
  • Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm. If you want to know why read my post about the effects of caffeine. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be right into the evening hours. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
  • Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 – 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

And for the recipe:

Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates, pitted (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.

Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.

Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

Allergy alert: Please do not consume if you have an allergy or sensitivity to any of the ingredients listed.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

¹ Metabolic Balance® interesting facts about medicine and nutrition. Obesity and sleep – how are they related?

 

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.

My Surprising Addiction

IMG_XCskif

No, it’s not a food and neither is it an illegal substance!

This story is about my love of cross country (XC) skiing.  I hope your’e not too  disappointed.

Perhaps you wanted to read a story about how I overcame my addiction to sugar or carbohydrates or fast foods.  That I had some incredible Aha moment or devastating health crisis that led me to pursue Holistic Nutrition.

Not really, I have always been a healthy living nut and I doubt that that will change any time soon.  I’m not that geeky about it, after all I drink wine.

Besides, I’ve seen first hand the devastating affects of food addiction.  You can read about that in my blog post, saving my sister’s life with food. 

About XC skiing, an activity I was ready to give up not that long ago.  I had been XC skiing for years.  Living in Alberta with all that snow it just seemed like the right thing to do.  Downhill skiing was not appealing; to expensive and too many people on the hills.

I decided I was better suited to XC skiing.  I figure if I could walk I could XC ski.  Wrong!  I spent my time shuffling along the flats (getting nowhere), falling on the down hills and slipping and sliding (mainly backwards) on the uphills.  No one told me that XC ski trails had hills.  I thought the terrain would be flat, not some of the time but all of the time.

It was brutal for about 20 years (I know, it’s embarrassing). I took lessons, but they didn’t seem to help much, well maybe my diagonal glide improved slightly on the flats. I have no idea why I persevered for as long as I did.

Being outside in the winter wonderland was appealing to me and very Canadian.  I wanted to be part of that experience.  And  I’m one of those people who likes to finish what I start.  I don’t give up on things very easily but you’d think after 20 years……Come on!

My Aha moment came when I said to my husband “you know what, I’ve been doing this for years and I’m just not improving.  I think I’ll take up snowshoeing.  At least that way I can still enjoy the snow”.  He shrugged and said “fine, whatever you want”.  I think he was secretly relieved.

I’m not exactly sure when things changed.  Maybe when I discovered this beautiful network of trails about 4 years ago close to where I now live in Kelowna, BC. It’s become by far, my favourite place to ski and there are many choices in the area and I have been to most of them.

It seemed relatively undiscovered, with a quaint main cabin at the trail head and a series of cabins through out the trail system. It’s quite lovely, very peaceful, lots of trees and gorgeous vistas and most important many trails for the novice!  I couldn’t have been happier, I was there, often.  I would ski the easy trails and look on with envy when my husband would take off on one of the more challenging trails. I wanted to go there too.

I once again started to work on improving my ski skills, the herringbone (to get up a hill) and the snow plow (to come down a hill) and of course, the all important diagonal glide.  Then magically it seemed to “just happen”.

Not really, it took time on the ski’s and it seems it was the right time and the right place for me.  Now that’s an intangible I can’t explain.  There is no moral to this story other than sometimes you just have to accept where you are at but also be ready that things can change even when you strongly believe something isn’t possible.

I love this activity, I like that it’s demanding both physically and mentally, I get to enjoy nature, quiet time with myself, the winter season and spending time with like minded people.  No matter how I feel when I start out on a trail, the end result is that I feel happy and energized.

And one more thing, I just skied my first 21 Kilometre trail that had a section clearly stating not for novice skiers.  I hesitated for a moment. My husband saw my hesitation and turned turned to me and said ” you are no longer a novice, let’s go”. I did it and it was amazing.