June 15, 2018 + Diet
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Overeating may lead to excess workload for your digestion which may cause gas and bloating. It can also accelerate the aging process. The normal process of eating and digesting will produce free radicals which will be accentuated by overeating. Free radicals are molecular fragments that damage your cells and genetic material by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is one of the culprits behind accelerated aging.
Free radicals are generated by many factors such as drinking alcohol and sunlight exposure. They are also the by-product of your metabolic wear and tear. This means the higher the caloric intake, the faster you age.
One thing you can do to stay youthful and healthy longer is to maintain a healthy portion size. This will keep your digestion healthy and help combat premature aging. However, starving yourself for too long will not keep you youthful. Under-eating will deprive you of nutrients and antioxidants that are needed for defense against oxidative stress.
Rid yourself of calories you don’t need, such as free radical producing processed sugar and alcohol, and replace them with colourful antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Great news, in case you didn’t know, there is no need to count calories or points to lose weight. That’s time consuming and ineffective in the long run.
It really doesn’t matter what diet you follow. You can choose to be on a carbohydrate-rich diet, on high protein diet, on a ketogenic diet, on a eat-pomegranates-on- Sundays-while -standing-on-one-leg diet (ok that last one was just to see if you are still paying attention), it doesn’t matter. All you need to do is choose real foods and eat mindfully and you will lose weight and will keep it off. That’s what we believe here at Weight Well. And now a new research published in the Journal of American Medical Association shows this as well. In this study, the type of diet or the participants’ genetic make-up were not a factor in the success of their weight loss. What mattered was the quality of food that was chosen.
In our video, The Secret To Permanent Weight Loss, we also talk about the diet not being important. We talk about the importance of whole nutritious food and not counting calories.
Here are our three golden rules for successful weight loss:
- Eat whole foods: If it comes in a package it probably has been processed.
- Eat slowly: This is a great way to feel full while eating less.
- Eat until you are satisfied but not stuffed: Listen to your body. When you feel like you are no longer hungry, simply stop eating. The excess pleasure calories you consume are what packs on the pounds.
Low calorie, low carbohydrate diets do help shed weight faster, but the goal is to be consistent and not regain the weight. If you don’t have a deadline for your weight loss goal, choose eating whole foods mindfully and ditch the diet mentality. It’s just a nicer way of bringing out the best of you.
Please consult your health care practitioner before starting any weight loss program.
When they first realize they are sensitive to dairy, many people experience anxiety about eliminating it from their diet. This is partly because we’ve been told for decades that to grow up strong and healthy and to stay that way, we need to include multiple servings of cow’s milk and milk products in our diet.
But, let’s dig deeper. Here are some of the typical questions I hear in my practice.
Can a diet still be healthy and well balanced if we eliminate an entire food group?
Every food group in Canada’s Food Guide contains a variety of food items-except for the milk and alternatives group. That group includes soy milk, but aside from that, the majority of the food items are made from cow’s milk. We don’t see anything like that in the grain, fruit and vegetable, or meat and alternatives groups. Each of those groups is comprised of a wide variety of food items, not just one. Giving cow’s milk such importance is not justified. It makes about as much sense as it would to say that broccoli should have its own food group, solely because of its enormous array of well-known nutrients. It just doesn’t make sense. So, the issue is not that you are eliminating an entire food group. In reality, you are eliminating just one food item.
But hasn’t diary been part of Canada’s food guide for over half a century, and a dietary staple for far longer?
I’m side-stepping the fact that our food is by no means the same as it was many years ago. That’s an entire discussion by itself. But I would ask, “Just because something has been one way for a long time, is that a good enough reason for it to stay the same?” The one and only reason something should remain unchanged is because it continues to promote well-being.
Isn’t there proof that cow’s milk is good for us?
When you look at the research, the answer is controversial at best. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests poor health outcome for those who consume the largest amount of dairy.
Here are just a couple of research findings that show the lack of validity for pushing cow’s milk as a superfood:
Children who drink too much dairy are at risk of iron deficiency anemia. (Research supported by SickKids Hospital)
Dermatologists have determined that a dietary regimen that includes intake of dairy, for some, contributes to the development of acne. Acta Dermato-Venereologica. 2012 May;92(3):228-31.
What about preventing osteoporosis?
A study was published in 2014 showing that women who drank more milk not only had a higher incidence of bone fractures, but also had a higher rate of death. (BMJ 2014; 349 doi Published 28 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6015)
According to the literature, the United States has a higher rate of hip fractures than Latin America, Africa, China, and Hong Kong. Here in North America, as a population, we consume a lot more dairy than most other countries, yet we have one of the highest rates of bone fractures globally. If calcium and dairy consumption were the key to preventing osteoporosis, then we would see that reflected in the studies. But, instead, we see the opposite.
Wouldn’t cutting out diary cause nutrient deficiency?
Milk’s claim to fame is its high content of calcium along with few other minerals and vitamins, which are listed in the table below. I have also listed non-dairy alternatives that contain high amount of the same nutrients.
|Nutrients Found in Milk||Alternatives to Milk|
|Calcium||Dried basil, soybean sprouts, dried figs, broccoli, bok choy, almonds, tahini, sardines with bones, salmon with bones, blackstrap molasses|
|Potassium||Bananas, spinach, beet greens, winter squash, sweet potatoes, white beans|
|Phosphorous||Scallops, sardines, salmon, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds|
|Vitamin D||Sunshine, beef, salmon, snapper
Note: The dairy industry claims milk is high in vitamin D. In actuality, there is not much vitamin D found naturally in cow’s milk. Milk is therefore fortified with vitamin D.
|Vitamin A||Sweet potatoes, carrots
Note: A few bites of sweet potato or carrot will give you more vitamin A than a whole glass of milk.
|Vitamin B2||Soybeans, beet greens, spinach, almonds, beef, lamb|
|Vitamin B3||Mushrooms, passion fruit, avocados, peanuts, legumes, chicken, turkey, salmon|
What’s the takeaway?
Cow’s milk is not necessary for anyone, at any age-unless you are a growing calf.
No matter how many celebrities with milk moustaches promote the “goodness” of milk, the benefits of milk are overinflated and unsubstantiated.
Substituting other food items for milk will not cause nutritional deficiency. In fact, it will correct our populations’ significant deficiency in fiber and antioxidants, which greatly contribute to many illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
Also, if you eliminate dairy and the after a month, reintroduce it back into your diet and you notice, no change for the better in your condition, then, keep dairy in your diet. Eliminating dairy and replacing it with other high nutrient foods is only a suggestion for those who are symptomatic when consuming dairy products .
Are milk and milk products such as cheese and yogurt good for you? Yes and no.
There is a subset of the population who can incorporate dairy into their diet in moderation without any problems, but tin my clinical experience, they are not the majority. In my opinion, not just some people-but most people-have a mild to severe form of dairy sensitivity. Some people are acutely aware of the harm dairy does to their bodies, as the negative effects are instantaneous and impossible to ignore. Others are unaware of it, since the symptoms are mild, delayed, or vague in nature.
Then there are those people who are aware of, but also in denial of, any problems caused by their own dairy consumption. And who can blame them? Everyone knows how great ice cream is on a hot summer day, or how convenient and delicious a bowl of yogurt with cut-up fresh fruit can be.
Dairy sensitivity is not the same as dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. Here is an explanation of each condition:
Dairy allergy, if severe enough, is a life-threatening condition. Those who have it, usually are acutely aware of it. And they avoid dairy at all cost. They usually carry an EpiPen® with them, in case of inadvertent contact with any traces of dairy. The symptoms come on within minutes, and can last more than a day.
Lactose intolerance is an inadequate amount of the enzyme needed to break down lactose (a sugar, not a protein, found in milk and milk products). The symptoms a patient might experience can be mild or intense. Those with lactose intolerance will typically experience digestive complaints such as gas, bloating, pain, loose stools, diarrhea, and in some instances nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually begin within 2 hours of ingesting dairy products.
Dairy protein sensitivity is an array of symptoms, which include, but are not limited to:
- Skin conditions: eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea, rashes
- Cognitive symptoms: brain fog, inability to concentrate well
- Digestive symptoms: constipation, diarrhea, loose stools, gas, cramps, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Infections and inflammations: sinusitis, ear infections, sore throat, arthritis
- Other direct and indirect symptoms: migraines, weight gain, water retention, worsening of seasonal allergies, hormonal imbalance.
The symptoms of dairy sensitivity can be delayed and can depend on the amount of dairy consumed, which makes pinpointing the condition very tricky.
However, in my clinical experience, many patients suffering from one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms were helped only after eliminating dairy from their diet.
In my opinion, dairy sensitivity is more common and more damaging than most people realize. This doesn’t mean you have to give up yogurt or cheese forever. It just means that, if you have dairy sensitivity and as a result you are symptomatic, you should try to be mindful about the amount of dairy you consume.
So, how would I answer the question, “is dairy good for you?” The answer depends on whether your body can break it down and digest it well without any negative symptoms.
Hunger is one of the main obstacles to losing weight easily. We all get hungry and that’s a fact, but the desire to eat may not always originate from body’s need for energy.
Sometimes, you want to eat simply by watching someone else eat or as soon as you walk by your favourite restaurant. Sometimes we eat because we are low in energy or have low blood sugar and sometimes we eat for social reasons, for pleasure, or just because we are bored.
Even how we feel hunger can be complex. Some start to feel shaky or irritable when hungry and others may feel a slight discomfort in their abdomen.
There is a sophisticated interplay between our brain, body, psychology, and environmental cues that determines when and what we eat and how we feel hunger.
Here are a few reasons why someone may eat; and these have nothing to do with needing the energy that can be provided by food:
- Feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or fear and needing a distraction.
- Out of habit.
- Social expectations. For example, socializing with friends that always comprises of eating food.
- Social traditions – eating cake at a birthday party is a good social tradition that we all happily engage in.
- Cultural influences – an example of this would be soothing a crying friend over a breakup, mostly depicted by eating from a bucket of ice cream. This is not true for every culture, but it is true at least in North America.
- Being conditioned from the young age to associate food with reward.
- Lack of sleep.
- Eating for pleasure.
By simply giving yourself a couple of minutes to stop before you eat, by asking yourself “what do I really need right now?”, and by giving yourself the permission to wait for the answer, can be a powerful method of controlling your urges to eat as opposed to being controlled by them.
Need more tips on how to lose weight safely and permanently? Check out our program. Next session starts on June 5.
Matcha is a stone ground green tea powder, packed with anti-oxidants, fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins. Matcha helps fight inflammation and free-radicals which are all crucial during your weight loss journey. Matcha can even help lower cholesterol, provide an energy boost and prevent disease. In fact, one glass of matcha is equivalent to 10 glasses of green tea! WOW! Add it to some almond paste, and you got a super healthy, energizer snack!
- 1 cup almonds
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 2 tsp matcha powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes for decoration
- In a food processor ground the almonds. (You can also simply get almond flour from the bulk store, but it won’t be as fresh and flavourful as the one you make at home.)
- Add in all your ingredients and mix until you get a sticky paste.
- Form round balls in your hands and roll them in coconut flakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the balls to harden. Enjoy!
~ Makes 9 servings
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Meet Leptin and Gherlin, your hunger hormones. They control how much you eat, when you eat and even what you eat. In a nutshell, they shape your appetite and hunger which can play a huge role when it comes to weight loss.
Gherlin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. When you feel your stomach growling, that’s the gherlin telling you it’s time to eat. The more ghrelin your body produces, the more you get hungry.
Leptin, on the other hand, is the ‘stop’ hormone telling us to stop eating. This is the hormone we want more of when working on weight loss.
So it’s safe to say that more ghrelin + less leptin = weight gain
The question is, why would we produce more gherlin and less leptin in the first place?
One of the reasons would be lack of sleep. Not having adequate sleep each night can raise the production of gherlin and lower the production of leptin. No wonder, when we feel sleep deprived we tend to reach for foods, and not any kind of food, but the heavy junky fatty type. It’s because our hormones have fell off the wagon and are screaming for help. Higher amounts of gherlin and low levels of leptin will reduce the amount of calories we burn, slow down our metabolism and increase the fat storage in the body.
So what to do? Let’s concentrate on improving our quality of sleep. We will discuss sleep in more detail in our next blog, but until then, here is a great exercise you can try if you have a difficult time falling asleep:
The Waterfall Yoga Pose – also known as the ‘legs up the wall’ pose.
- Lie down on the floor with sit-bones as close as possible to the wall
- Raise your legs up the wall
- Close your eyes, take deep breaths and relax
This pose is wonderful for helping you fall asleep; it relaxes the body, slows down the heartbeat, and calms the mind and the nervous system – all important aspects to a sound sleep.
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What do you do when you want dessert, but you want to keep it weight loss friendly? Is there such a thing as healthy dessert? At Weight Well we believe that you can still indulge in a bit of chocolate while trimming your waistline. This mousse contains some of very special ingredients from our Weight Well Food List to help you trim your waistline while indulging is some yummy goodness.
Try it for yourself! You get the benefits of healthy fats from avocado and coconut, the super-antioxidant properties of raw cacao, the fiber from chia seeds, the energy boost from ground coffee beans, and the immune boosting enzymes of delicious raw honey.
- ½ ripe avocado
- 1 can of organic coconut cream (I use Earth’s Choice)
- Seeds of ½ a vanilla bean or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 2 tbsp of coconut water from the can
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Cacao nibs, ground coffee, coconut and blueberries for decoration
- Turn the coconut can upside down and chill it in the fridge overnight. When you open the can, the creamy part will be on the top. Use the cream part only for the mousse.
- Add all other ingredients to the cream and blend with a hand blender into a smooth creamy consistency.
- Sprinkle with some cacao nibs, ground coconut and coffee, add a few optional berries and enjoy!
~ Serves 2
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Many of us are only looking at the number on the scale and forgetting how valuable muscle mass is to our overall well being and looks. One reason is that muscles burn calories for you. Wouldn’t you agree that is a really good thing to have?
Also, we all want to look lean and strong. We don’t want to lose a bunch of weight and end up looking soft and weak. Instead of wearing Spanx to look flawless in our dresses, with some muscle definition, the same look can be achieved minus the feeling of suffocation and discomfort.
Keeping active and making sure you are having adequate amount of protein in your diet are crucial factors in maintaining your muscle mass so to look and feel amazing!
Now, we are not talking about going to the gym and bulking up like the Hulk….unless you want to! What we are saying is ensuring you are keeping somewhat active to keep your muscles engaged. You can do this by going to the gym or playing sports or as simple as going for walks, doing some yoga, or even gardening. It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. However, always be mindful of your limitations when engaging in any activity.
Next is to be aware of the amount of protein in your diet. How much protein should you have daily? That’s a really good question. The answer depends on a few factors, such as your health condition and your level of activity. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have some protein with each meal of the size of deck of cards. For example, you can have chicken, beef, fish, turkey, eggs, legumes, or tofu.
Remember if you lose weight without miniating your muscle mass, your metabolism will drop and it becomes very difficult to lose weight or even maintain you the weight loss that you have worked so hard to achieve.
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