APRIL’S NUTRITION CORNER
Intermittent Fasting and Calorie Restriction
We all pretty much have the same goal in that we want to live a long, healthy, productive life. What if I told you researchers have found a possible fountain of youth within a certain lifestyle and diet? Let’s dive into this panacea of intermittent fasting and ketosis.
Intermittent fasting can be defined as a window of time where you are alternating eating versus not eating. There are several ways to intermittent fast with the most common approaches being food is only consumed within an 8 hour window each day, not eating certain days of the week, alternating normal caloric days with lower caloric days or eating fewer meals a day.
What happens when we fast that shows this a healthy venture?
When we eat our bodies turn food into glucose for fuel. Excess glucose that our body doesn’t need gets stored in the liver. After 10-12 hours glucose stores become low and we will have the “hangries” or become light-headed, irritable or even get a headache. But here is when the good stuff begins. When there is little glycogen left in the liver fat cells are triggered to release fats into your bloodstream. Fats then are converted by the liver into energy for the body and brain to use for fuel. Researchers have shown a 60% increase in using fat for fuel when the body has been fasting for 12-24 hours with the most change at 18+ hours.
Other benefits studied (mostly in animal studies):
- Less demand to produce insulin, (hormone that regulates blood sugar) thus better responsiveness to insulin;
- Lowered BMI with corresponding weight loss and maintenance of desired weight;
- Lowered cardiovascular risk;
- Improved cognitive recall and memory;
- Increased human growth hormone which facilitates muscle growth, gain and fat burning;
- Cellular repair and mitochondrial efficiency processes are improved;
- Aging genes are temporarily “turned off thus slowing down the again process;
- Improved sleep and rebalancing of natural circadian rhythms.
What is Ketosis?
Burning fats for fuel instead of glucose releases ketones into the bloodstream. Keeping in mind that most ketones are released into the body after 18+ hours of fasting. Ketones release a molecule called BDNF. BDNF strengthens neurons and neural connections increasing memory. Subsequently, being in Ketosis has been shown to improve early signs of dementia in as little as 6 weeks. http://www.alzheimersanddementia.com/article/S1552-5260(16)30935-9/abstract
Producing more ketones by eating more fatty foods and lowering carbohydrates does not have the same benefit as fasting. Researchers have shown a 4-fold increase in ketones by altering macro energy sources (fat vs. protein and carbs) vs. a 20-fold increase with intermittent fasting. Uncertain about eating more fatty foods? A recent study at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, showed that mice that feasted on fatty foods for eight hours a day and subsequently fasted for the rest of each day did not become obese or show dangerously high insulin. https://www.salk.edu/news-release/salk-study-may-offer-drug-free-intervention-to-prevent-obesity-and-diabetes/
How do you implement intermittent fasting into your lifestyle?
If you are having trouble losing weight or want to experiment with a calorie restricted diet/intermittent fasting, shift your meal schedule to an 8-hour window each day. An example would be eating breakfast between 9:00 am-10:00 am and dinner at 5:00 pm.
One way that has been successful for myself and my clients, is to start your morning in a fasted state with aerobic exercise. It doesn’t matter what that is as long as you are working your cardiovascular system. You can walk, run, swim, bike, hike, or practice yoga for example, for 30-45 minutes. Drink water to keep hydrated and if you must have some caffeine beforehand have your tea or coffee black. This early morning workout will give a boost to the metabolism and lengthen the fasted state, which enables you to finish up glycogen fuel stores to access fat fuel stores.
Secondly, start eating dinner several hours before you retire. Eating dinner between 5-5:30 pm may seem early but it allows your body to fully digest your food before you lie down for a good nights rest. Your body will have more ability to rest and repair while you sleep.
Intermittent fasting can be a great strategy for weight loss and overall health when approached cautiously. There can be risks associated with intermittent fasting and I would recommend that you use guidance from a qualified healthcare provider who can help determine if it’s right for you. Intermittent fasting should always be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, if you have had eating disorders and during times of increased stress. Additionally, there are health risks associated with diets that are too low-calorie, including nutritional and electrolyte deficiencies.
APRIL’S FITNESS CORNER
The dreaded back pain….how to avoid and how to help.
I recently stumbled upon this article https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/02/26/587735283/lost-art-of-bending-over-how-other-cultures-spare-their-spines?__s=jjx9yemf4pmk9jbbjhvg It reinforced the many times I have tried to tell my yoga students, or myself for that matter, to bend from the HIPS not the waist. This article highlights the importance of how you bend over directly affects your spine health.
Now, you need to keep your hamstrings open and flexible to have successful hip hinging capabilities. So read the article and follow his directions when bending over. Then try this experiment: stretch your hamstrings once a day for 30 days.
How to do:
- Grab a hand towel, necktie or yoga strap and lay on the floor.
- Bend one knee and touch that foot to the ground (more flexible you can straighten that leg while extending the other).
- Place the strap at the sole of the other foot and straighten the leg as much as you can up toward the sky.
- Lengthen your spine by extending your tailbone towards the floor and keep you head and shoulder down.
- Do each leg for 30-45 seconds. You can repeat two times if you have time.
Take a look at this photo and see how I am folded over at the hips, not waist.
So learn and use this proper bend-over technique and open your hamstrings (and hip flexors) to keep back pain at bay!
The second article that I have to share is this one: “Physically Fit Women Almost 90% Less Likely to Develop Dementia.” http://neurosciencenews.com/women-fit-dementia-8638/?__s=jjx9yemf4pmk9jbbjhvg. I hate to say that just as all of us know someone who has, or is dealing with cancer, all of us know someone that has, or is dealing with dementia. To find encouraging news, especially how fitness markers directly correlate with improved brain health is to be shouted out! Put on your sneakers, bike shoes or swim goggles and get that heart rate up! Also remember that being in ketosis has been shown to reduce early stage dementia in as little as 6 weeks. Two strong ways to keep your brain as healthy as your heart!
APRIL’S YOGA/AYURVEDA CORNER
Ayurveda: Sanskrit word translates to mean the Science of Life. Ayurveda is a complete healing science over 5000 years old. As a certified practitioner, I will be diving into this topic each month.
At the heart of Ayurveda’s system is the concept of the three Doshas, or constitutions. Constitutions are made up of the five basic elements. Ether (Space) and Air make up the Vata Dosha, Fire and Water make up the Pitta Dosha and Water and Earth make up the Kapha Dosha. All of us have these elements in us, but all of us have a differing amount. We are born with a specific Dosha makeup called Prakruti and that doesn’t change. External forces constantly push and pull our Prakruti, which is what we look to balance for optimal health.
The beauty of Spring, with it’s blooming flowers, emerging leaves and rain showers is in Ayurveda the Kapha time of year. Spring is a time of new beginnings and a chance to release stored energy from the winter. This release of excess Kapha energy can cause a variety of imbalances such as mucus buildup in the sinus, lungs and colon, excess weight, water retention, feelings of heaviness, fatigue and lethargy. As Kapha is a combination of Water and Earth elements, Kapha’s function in the body is structure and growth, (cells and growth hormones) as well as lubrication, (fluids) and immune functions from the thymus gland.
Kapha’s qualities or characteristics are oily, cold, heavy, dense and smooth. To help balance out this excess of Kapha energy we move towards the opposite qualities since like increases like. Examples of opposite qualities are dry, warm, light, fluid, sharp. Below are several ways that you can help eliminate the excess Kapha in your system:
- Wake up before 6 am. Kapha time of day is 6-10 am. If you sleep past 6am you will experience more grogginess and it will be harder to get up.
- Increase more pungent foods and spices (chili peppers, onions, ginger, cumin, garlic, radish, cauliflower), bitter foods and spices (dark leafy greens, brussel sprouts, olives, grapefruit, cabbage) and astringent foods and spices (beans, sprouts, most raw veggies, lemon, berries, cranberries, pomegranate, echinacea) into your diet and reduce oily, sour, salty and sweet foods, herbs and spices.
- Use warming spices such as cardamom, cloves, fennel, thyme, oregano, turmeric, ginger and myrrh.
- Reduce or avoid dairy.
- Avoid ice-cold drinks.
- Diuretics can be helpful with water retention so increase parsley, fennel, cilantro, garlic, grapefruit, cabbage and greens. You can implement a green juice with extra parsley, watercress, nettles and dandelion greens.
- Sweat more. Sweating is helpful in eliminating water and cleaning the blood and lymphatic system.
- Increase your intensity in your fitness routine. Do more Vinyasa flowing classes or Hot Yoga for sweating and movement; increase your pace or do intervals when running, swimming or cycling.
- Body brush. Dry body brushing is a very effective way to move the lymphatic system and get rid of stubborn cellulite if done regularly and the right way (towards the heart and lymph nodes).
- Use Kapha balancing essential oils to help move fluids and increase circulation. Some of these oils are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, orange, valerian, lemongrass, spearmint, peppermint, eucalyptus, camphor, rose, jasmine, hibiscus and sandalwood.
- Use essential oils in the following ways:
- Make a mixture of a neutral carrier body oil (sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil or jojoba oil) with essential oils to blend and apply to skin immediately out of the shower or bath.
- Use in the shower instead of a body wash (oil will work better anyway and the steam will allow deeper penetration into the body).
- Use as a steam with hot water and take a towel over your face to open up the sinuses.
- Add a few drops to a warm bath with Epsom salts to relax at night.
UPCOMING NOURISH YOUR HEALTH CLASSES
Clean Eating Program: April 2-29th
Let me start by defining what clean eating means to me, and how I went about designing a clean eating program. Clean eating follows these principles:
- A diet based on seasonal, colorful, nutrient-dense foods.
- More alkaline forming foods versus acidic forming foods.
- These meals include vegetables cooked or “dressed” with healthy fats, a smart amount of high-quality protein and low-glycemic carbohydrates.
- Food that makes you feel good, light and “clean”
- No refined flours or grains, no added sugars, no trans-fats, no gluten, no nitrates, chemical additives, colors or dyes, no GMO’s, no over processed foods.
- Limited dairy: only hormone-free, full-fat goat or sheep’s milk cheeses, ghee and or raw cow’s milk products.
During this clean eating program you do cook the majority of your own food. The purpose of this is:
- So you know what is in your food.
- You understand what it takes to keep yourself well fed.
- You will form new habits food prepping and cooking that will go beyond the 30 days.
- You rekindle or find the pleasure of cooking your own healthful meals.
I supply weekly menus with corresponding recipes and a grocery lists. The meal plan will have two meals a day, (breakfast and dinner) and two snack options. You will have carryover meals that will serve as the next days lunch or give space to provide an opportunity for an away from home meal.
The cost for this program is $140 for four weeks. Weekly menus are emailed by Friday afternoon so you can shop and food prep over the weekend. You will receive two 30-minute phone-coaching sessions during the program for Q&A and support.
- Weight loss
- Better sleep
- Clearer skin
- Lowered blood pressure and cholesterol
- Improved eating habits
Testimonials from prior Clean Eating Program clients:
“I really enjoyed trying new ingredients and recipes and it made me happy to be including higher quality foods in meals for both myself and my family. It was great to have leftovers so often”.
“I tried out new and diverse recipes. I did more meal prep and got my eating back on track.”
Example Recipes from April’s Clean Eating Program:
ADZUKI BEAN and SEA VEGETABLE SOUP
Ingredients: 1 cup adzuki beans, soaked for 8 to 12 hours, 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil, 1/2 onion, diced, 3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed, 1-inch piece of ginger, grated, 2 to 3 carrots, diced, 1 to 2 stalks celery, diced, 4 to 6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced, 1 to 2 strips wakame, broken into small pieces, 8 cups water or homemade stock, 2 teaspoons sea salt (omit or lessen if you are using a salted stock). Optional Garnishes: chopped cilantro, sesame oil, rice vinegar, coconut aminos, gluten-free miso
Directions: Sauté the diced onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, or until softened. If you are making this recipe on the stove, then add the remaining ingredients to a 3 to 4-quart pot cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. If you are using a crock pot, then add the sautéed onions to the pot and then add the remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.
To test and see if the beans are cooked you can take a few out and mash them between your fingers. They should be soft and mash easily. If not, continue to cook until done. Serve hot with optional garnishes Source: http://www.NourishingMeals.com
CRUNCHY QUINOA and CABBAGE SALAD
Servings: Serves 6
Ingredients: 1 cup tricolor quinoa, 2 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for cooking quinoa, 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage, 1 carrot, sliced into thin rounds, 5 radishes, thinly sliced, 3 scallions, chopped, 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar or rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon coconut palm sugar, Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, Freshly ground black pepper, 1-1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, toasted 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Directions: Place quinoa pot or rice cooker with water and pinch of salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer covered until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool before fluffing.
Place cabbage in large bowl and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Firmly massage cabbage until it breaks down and softens (will reduce to about half original volume). Add carrot, radishes and scallions and toss. Fold in quinoa and set aside.
In small skillet over medium heat, dry-roast mustard seeds until lightly browned and just starting to pop. Remove from heat and whisk in olive oil, vinegar, coconut sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper.
Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Fold in tomatoes, sunflower seeds and parsley and serve.
Until May’s Nourishing Newsletter……
“Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu” translated to mean “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
Have a great month friends and enjoy your health!