The NUMBER 1 tip for better digestion? SLOW DOWN and CHEW your food!
Eating while we are stressed and “on the go” is one of the biggest factors for poor digestion and digestive upset. By taking deep breaths, sitting down, chewing our food, setting our utensil down, and enjoying our food, we imitate our parasympathetic nervous system – aka “rest and digest”. If we eat in a “fight or flight” or sympathetic state, our body is not prepared to digest food, thus, we experience gas, bloating, undigested food, and poor nutrient absorption. So enjoy your food! Not only will you be more satiated, but you will even feel better.
To coffee or not to coffee? This is one of the biggest debates in the health and wellness industry. My take? Go ORGANIC. Coffee beans are one of the highest sprayed crops, so making sure you have GOOD quality organic coffee is crucial. This will ensure you are able to reap the antioxidant benefits of coffee, and feel great. Just make sure to not consume coffee after noon, and limit it to 1-2 cups.
3pm crash? Rather than grabbing coffee or sugar, try an apple! The crunch of apples sends signals to the brain, giving you a burst of energy. Pair it with some almond or cashew butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a blood sugar stabilizing and satiating snack.
Add SPICES! One of the easiest and most delicious ways to get more nutrients into your diet is to cook with spices! Herbs and spices contain a variety of therapeutic properties, AND make your food taste delicious. It’s basically a WIN-WIN. Just like coffee – we like to use organic spices, as conventional herbs and spices are often heavily sprayed. What are my favorites? I love Simply Organic and Primal Palate.
Night shades – what the heck are they?! Nightshades are a category of food that while to many people are fine, but to some can cause indigestion, heart burn, and inflammation. Night shades include: Tomatoes, peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, sorrel, tomatillos, okra, capsicum, gogi berries, tobacco, gooseberries, cayenne, paprika, So how do you know if you are triggered by night shades? If you experience the above symptoms, try cutting nightshades out of your diet for 1 week and see if your symptoms subside.
Trying to ditch sugar, but need a little sweetness? My top five favorite sugar substitutes are:
o Raw honey: My TOP favorite sugar substitute! Honey has a wide variety of healing and health benefits. It contains amino acids, electrolytes, antioxidants, and even antimicrobial properties. When purchasing honey look for RAW honey, and local if you can! Local honey will even help you when allergy season rolls around, as it helps build up your immune system to local pollens.
o Dates: While honey has the most healing properties, dates have the most vitamins and minerals - and fiber to boot! And since they have fiber, this slows down the absorption of sugar into our blood stream, making it have less of a spike on insulin levels. Similarly, prunes, raisons, and other dried fruits (just look for no sugar added) can also act as a natural sweetener
o Coconut sugar: When baking, coconut sugar is my favorite swap for regular sugar as it’s a 1:1 swap. It is derived from coconuts which contain potassium and electrolytes. I primarily use coconut sugar for baking!
o Maple syrup: Did someone say pancakes? I love using organic Grade B maple syrup (check the label!) for a treat with my pancakes or waffles. Maple syrup has antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, making it another great alternative.
o Stevia: Stevia is derived from a plant, making it a great zero calorie sweetener. Stevia is last on our list, because while this is the only zero calorie sweetener that isn’t harmful to our body, it has become increasingly industrialized due to it’s popularity over the past few years. Looking for more natural brands like Sweet Leaf and Organic Stevia is best. If you are looking to lose weight, stevia is a great option.
Note: While all of these are better options than sugar, being mindful of portion sizes (25 grams or less/day) is important.
We’ve all heard that lemon water is good to drink first thing in the morning. But why the heck should we?!
Here’s why I love starting my day with warm lemon water.
o Enhances immunity: Especially as we get into the chillier months, doing what we can to boost our immune system is essential! The Vitamin C in lemons help support our immunity.
o Detoxification: The acidity in lemons signals our liver to produce bile, which keeps our gastrointestinal tract moving, making it also a great tool if you struggle with constipation
o Skin health: Due to the detoxification benefits, and antioxidants of vitamin C, lemon water is a great tool to help you have glowing skin. It even can help boost collagen – and who doesn’t want that?!
o Boosts energy: Negative ions in lemons increase energy when they enter the digestive tract. So before you reach for your cup of coffee, I always recommend a cup of warm lemon water first!
o Prevents kidney stones: One of the biggest reasons why people develop kidney stones is due to dehydration. Since lemon water helps to hydrate us, it can also promote hydration to help fend off against these painful calcium deposits that can form in the kidneys.
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