Do you eat any (or all) of these three awesome breakfast foods every day?

 

Do you eat breakfast every day?

If you aren’t eating it then would you like a bit of inspiration to start up again?

Did you know that people who skip are up to 5 times more likely to be obese than those who make it a daily habit. According to Precision Nutrition nearly 90% of Americans acknowledge that breakfast is a good idea, still, about half don’t eat it.

If you are working on fat loss and not eating breakfast then we recommend that you get started today.  Did you know when you begin your day with protein it helps with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight loss?.

Consuming protein may help maintain an optimal body composition (in other words, help you stay leaner and more muscular) and a strong immune system, good athletic performance, and a healthy metabolism. It may promote satiety (i.e. make you feel full longer) and consequently help you manage your body weight.

So we are going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts (along with more tips).

 

Breakfast Food #1: Eggs

Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” breakfast food.  And for good reason!

We mean actual whole “eggs”.

Egg whites are mostly protein while the yolks are the real nutritional powerhouses.  Those yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats.

Whole Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.

Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast when you’re running short on time.

And no, the cholesterol in eggs is not associated with an increased risk of arterial or heart diseases.

 

Breakfast Food #2: Nuts and/or Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  Nuts and/or seeds would make a great contribution to breakfast.

You won’t be fooled by “candied” nuts, sweetened nut/seed butters, or chia “cereals” with added sugars – you know we are talking about the real, whole, unsweetened food here.

Nuts and seeds are also the ultimate fast food if you’re running late in the mornings.  Grab a small handful of almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds they are perfect with a bag of sliced apples or pear and a few hard boiled eggs.

We enjoy adding a spoonful of nut/seed butter into our smoothies.  On Tuesday, we shared our Free Smoothie & Juicing Recipe book in our the Be Better You Facebook Group – head on over after you finish the blog and pick it up – everyone is welcome in our coaching group. 

Hint: If you like a creamy latte in the mornings try making one with nut or seed butter.  Just add your regular hot tea and a teaspoon of a creamy nut or seed butter into your blender & blend until frothy.

 

Breakfast Food #3: Veggies

Yes, you already know you really should get protein at every meal including breakfast; but this also applies to veggies.  You know we would be remiss to not recommend veggies at every meal, right?

Veggies are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and water.  You will never go wrong adding them into every single meal of the day so if you don’t already you should definitely try them for breakfast!

And no, you don’t need to have a salad or roasted veggies for breakfast if you don’t want to but you totally can!  You wouldn’t be breaking any “official” breakfast rules or anything like that.

Adding some protein to leftover veggies is a great combination for any meal.  Including breakfast. We oftentimes add a few hand fulls of spinach or greens to our morning smoothie.

We’ve included a delicious recipe below for you to try (and customize) for your next breakfast.

 

Recipe (Eggs & Veggies): Veggie Omelet

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg whites (from carton)
  • ½ cup veggies (grated zucchini and/or sliced mushrooms and/or diced peppers)
  • dash salt, pepper and/or turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon goat or feta cheese on top

Instructions

  1. Add coconut oil to a frying pan and melt on low-medium heat (cast-iron pans are preferred).
  2. In a small bowl beat the egg and egg whites with your vegetables of choice and the spices.
  3. Tilt pan to ensure the bottom is covered with the melted oil.  Pour egg mixture into pan and lightly fry the eggs without stirring.
  4. When the bottom is lightly done flip over in one side and cook until white is no longer runny. Top with cheese and enjoy!

Tip:  Substitute grated, sliced, or diced portion of your favorite vegetable.  Try grated carrots, chopped broccoli, spinach, or cherry tomatoes.

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/eggs-worse-than-fast-food

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/eggs/

https://authoritynutrition.com/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning/

Do you want to know how to mitigate menopause symptoms naturally?

We all know that what you eat and how you move can make a HUGE improvement in some of the symptoms of menopause.  While it can be common for ladies to gain weight at this time of life but please know it doesn’t have to be that way there are action steps you can take on a daily basis to make positive changes in your life.

What do we specifically recommend to help you “eat better and move more”?

Seven Things – here we go:

First – Hydrate:

Drink more water.

The general consensus is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water per day.  And, if you don’t feel you need that much you definitely need to at least drink enough throughout the day so that you’re not thirsty.

We know that’s easy to say but really it’s also easy to do.

Try having a full glass first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything.

Don’t like plain water?  Add in some freshly squeezed lemon, fresh strawberries or chopped frozen fruit.

Prefer tea?  Steep some sliced lemon and/or ginger or your favorite caffeine-free herbal teabag.  This counts toward hydration as well.

You can also keep a large bottle or mug beside you all day wherever you work so it’s always easy to grab and have sips throughout the day to make sure you’re not getting thirsty.  Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink water throughout the day.

Second – Bump up your intake of whole plant foods:

Things like (yes, you guessed it) vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds.  We’re going for quantity here.  Try to include them in every meal and even most (if not all) of your snacks.

Want another reason to eat more plants?

Plant-based diets are associated with fewer hot flashes.  Bonus!

Plus, my recipe below is your “no excuse” solution to getting more veggies wherever you go.

Third – Remember high-quality protein:

While you’re eating all of the wonderful plant foods remember to include some good quality protein (and healthy fats) from eggs, fish, meat, nuts and seeds (and their butters).

With animal foods we’re aiming for quality so try to get organic, wild, and/or pasture-raised if you can.

Fourth – Some things you want to cut back on:

Reducing and/or eliminating alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can have a tremendous impact on balancing your hormones naturally without the help of pharmaceutical medications.

With those increases in hydration, whole plant foods, and quality protein, you simply won’t have as much room for alcohol, caffeine, spicy and processed foods with added salt and sugar.

You already know that’s good news, right?

Fifth – Move:

If you don’t do this already try to move up to 5 hours per week.  You can gradually increase that over time, and believe me, you will thank yourself!

Now, we are not talking about hitting the gym 5-6 days a week. In fact, the best routine for menopausal women is strength training a few days a week and then getting outside for 30-60 minute walks per day to help relieve stress and elevate the level of Vitamin D in the body.

You’ve heard the saying that the best exercise is the one you’ll actually do?

Well, go ahead and do it. 🙂

Sixth – Get enough sleep:

We are talking 7-9 hours per night.  Seriously!

Sometimes menopause can bring on (or ramp up) sleep problems.

The most important thing to do is set a daily routine where you’re relaxing with no screen-time (computers, tablet, phone, tv) at least an hour before your bedtime.  Electronic devices emit strong blue light which can prevent the release of melatonin, your sleep hormone.  Try reading a book or having a bath with Epson salts and lavender oil.  It’s also important to have dim lights in your surroundings to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.  Regular indoor lighting is usually blue light.  Ideally you would use amber or red lights, or even be ultra-stylin’ with blue-blocker sunglasses.

Seventh – Find great stress relieving activities:

Do whatever works for you.  Just make sure you do it regularly as a preventative measure to avoid accumulated stress.

Have you tried meditating, deep breathing, or having a warm Epson salt bath with Lavender essential oil?  What about the newest craze of coloring?

I’ve recently taken to acupuncture and have been ecstatic with the results that I have been getting, I now barely get hot flashes or night sweats.

Remember and we can’t say it enough – slow walking 30 to 60 minutes per day as a form of stress relief will be a game changer.

Conclusion:

You now have an arsenal of great ideas to stave off those menopause symptoms naturally.   It’s important to always remember to communicate with your spouse, partner, or loved ones on how you are feeling. Our bodies are going through tremendous changes and a hand to hold or a hug can be the best medicine on some days.

Now go ahead and make this delicious mason jar salad to eliminate any excuse of not being able to get fresh veggies when you’re out and about.

 

Recipe (Veggie): Mason Jar Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoons sesame oil
  • ½ granny smith apple (diced)
  • 2 radishes (sliced)
  • 1 celery stalks (diced)
  • 3 ounces grilled or rotisserie chicken, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite nuts or seeds (walnuts, slivered almonds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
  • 3 cups of your favorite greens (spinach, kale, mixed greens, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Add first three ingredients to a small bowl & whisk until smooth.
  2. Add apple to dressing (so it’s covered and won’t brown) and divide between two mason jars.
  3. Layer the radishes, celery, nuts/seeds, chicken and greens on top and seal.
  4. When ready to eat shake up the jar, open and enjoy or if you are at home pour it into a large bowl to mix more thoroughly.

Tip:  Wide-mouth jars work best for this ah-mazing way to bring veggies with you wherever you go!

These are all action steps that Coach Shannon takes and we hope you will put them into action for yourself too!

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-menopause

https://authoritynutrition.com/11-natural-menopause-tips/

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause-time-change/what-can-you-do-hot-flashes-and-other-menopausal-symptoms

Do you know the 3 Supplements you should be taking?

We always say that it’s definitely better to get your nutrients from food first but sometimes supplements are necessary and even more so if you are 45 years or older.

Unfortunately there are just some all-too-common nutrients that we simply don’t get enough of. And they’re absolutely critical to optimal health and wellness. Especially as we age.

Rob and I have sifted through the supplements that are available on the market and boiled them down to three that can have the best effect and ones that we take ourselves.  If you are a Vegan then you would want to use a Fish oil alternative, which is made from algae.

Supplement #1: Vitamin D

If you live in North America chances are you are low in vitamin D. It’s the “sunshine vitamin” and we just aren’t able to hang out in shorts every day of the year. Even if we did we’d wisely use a bit of sun protection too.

Vitamin D is very important for everyone but especially women over 45. Want to know why?

It helps to protect our bones!

Vitamin D helps our body absorb and keep the calcium we get from our food and drinks. And we all know that calcium is one of the main things our bones are made of.

Want to know something funny about vitamin D (but it’s true, we promise)?

People who get enough vitamin D tend to fall less frequently. Especially as we get older.

Seriously!

Vitamin D can help your bones stay strong and help you fall less. Win-win!

Supplement #2 Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for over 300 reactions in your body.

Yes, 300!

As with vitamin D it’s very common for us to simply not get enough. Not even the 320 mg per day that’s recommended.

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, low bone density, and even migraines.

Magnesium is found in so many healthy whole foods like beans, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. In fact, the magnesium element is central to a plant’s chlorophyll – it’s actually what causes green plants to be green! And most of us just don’t get enough green plants into our bodies on a regular basis. (You know we have a recipe with green leafies for you below, right?).

Magnesium is a very common supplement and is often added to multivitamins.

Supplement #3 Omega-3s

We’ve all heard that we need to get more omega-3 essential fatty acids, right? They’re good for our hearts, brains, and help to reduce inflammation.

These are all good things when it comes to our health and wellness.

But not all of us are ready, willing, and able to eat fish three times per week.

While fish oil supplements contain the “brain healthy” fats called EPA and DHA, those two are not technically the “essential” fats. The plant omega-3 known as ALA is essential and that is because our bodies can convert ALA into EPA and DHA when necessary.

Omega-3 supplements can be found in forms of flax oil, algae oil, fish oil, or even fish liver oil.

Pro Tip: Fish liver oil (e.g. cod liver oil) also contains vitamin D so check your labels and add the amounts together to know how much vitamin D you’re actually getting.

Conclusion:

Three supplements to consider now that you’re 45 are: vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s.

Always read the supplement labels to see if there are warnings that would make them inappropriate for you. And, of course if you have any medical conditions or take medications or other supplements it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before starting anything new.

Recipe (Vitamin D, Magnesium & Omega-3s): Salmon Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups baby spinach
    1 cup quinoa (cooked)
    1 can wild salmon
    2 tablespoons sesame seeds
    ½ red onion (diced) (optional)
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    dash salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Split spinach, quinoa, wild salmon, sesame seeds, and onion (if using) between two bowls.
  2. Mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice together and pour on top of prepared Buddha bowls.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip: When looking for canned salmon try to get the ones with the most vitamin D and make sure cans are BPA-free. Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.

Please always remember to consult with your physician before starting or taking any supplements.

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

https://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-HealthProfessional/

5 Cholesterol Myths and What You Should Eat Instead

February is American Heart Month and cholesterol plays a very important role in our heart health and longevity. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.

At our training studio the subject of cholesterol comes up quite a bit and we agree that there is a lot of confusion on the subject, but before we jump into some myths let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.

 

Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol

While cholesterol is an actual molecule what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall.  In fact depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart.  Yes, opposite!

So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood.  These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.

They’re grouped into two main categories:

  • HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
  • LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).

And yes, it’s even more complicated than this.  Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.

So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.

 

Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad

Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats.  Not to mention that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.

Talk about an important molecule!

The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.

While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.

 

Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol

Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver.  It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat.  Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)?  ‘Cause that’s where it’s made!

What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces.  After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn’t need to make as much.

 

Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible

As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.  There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.

People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.

 

Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance

We ask that you never start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor first.

And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.

Guess what does?

Nutrition and exercise, baby!

One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies.  And by this we mean a lot, say up to 10 servings a day.  Every day.

The delicious basic salad dressing below below should help you add at least another salad to your day which can easily account for 4 servings if you do it the right way!

You should also exercise, lose excess or risky fat, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats.

Start by adding in the good stuff, like fatty fish – such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids; and healthy fats avocados and olive oil.  Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.

 

Summary:

The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we’re learning more every day.  You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are.  And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.

 

Basic Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons strong brewed Earl Grey tea
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or chives

Instructions:  Skewer the garlic clove with the tines of a fork, and use to vigorously blend oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), tea and mustard. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in fresh herbs. Serves (2) – add on top of your favorite salad and Enjoy!

Tip: Double the batch and store extra in airtight container in the fridge.  Will keep for about a week.

Yours in health,

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-cholesterol

http://summertomato.com/how-to-raise-your-hdl-cholesterol

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-9-biggest-lies-about-dietary-fat-and-cholesterol/

 

5 Tips for Sleeping Better Through the Night

Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

No fear, we have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

 

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.  And  it is important to remember that the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that 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!

Here are 5 Tips for better sleep that you can start tonight:

  • 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.  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).  As an example, choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack) and while you have that orange make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
  • 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. 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 come evening. (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 taking a bat

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

 

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


Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

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)

Instructions:

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, 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 flavor combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

Dedicated to your success,

 

 

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

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