A few years ago I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Not only were the majority of my goals unrealistic, but I never actually devised an action plan on how exactly I was going to achieve them. This led to a downward spiral of me slipping up (usually within the first month or two), devising an excuse for why my slip up was acceptable, making more slip-ups, getting mad for not accomplishing the goal as I hoped, and finally giving up on my resolution altogether. I decided I needed to change up my methods.
For the past few years, I have reflected on the year prior to determine what areas of my health tended to slack the most. Did I drink enough water? Was I more stressed then usual? How was my sleep?
After identifying several areas of improvement I set a specific goal for each, followed by 3-4 actions steps on how I specifically plan to achieve each goal. I then choose the goal most important to me to start, and when I feel I have adequately improve my habit, I will reward myself by starting on the next goal!
As increasingly more studies have been published demonstrating the importance of gastrointestinal (GI) or “gut” health on our overall well being, naturally the popularity of methods to improve gut health has also become more mainstream. Enter probiotics. The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization defines probiotics as “living microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts confer health benefits on the host”.
We have 10 times as many microbes in our body than we do human cells, and around 1000 different species. Some species have been associated with different health benefits, and the benefits of these little organisms have been known since 1907, when Elie Metchnikoff published a report linking the longevity of Bulgarians with consumption of fermented milk products containing Lactobacilli. Ever since, foods and supplements containing probiotics have been widely marketed and consumed.
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As we start to slide into cool fall and frigid winter days, there is one thing the majority of us living in the northern states have in common – less sun exposure. This poses a major issue as direct sun exposure is the most simple and effective way to boost and maintain your vitamin D level (plus it’s free!).
Most are aware of vitamin D’s role in healthy bones, as your body needs adequate vitamin D levels to absorb calcium and phosphorus and therefore, maintain normal bone mineralization. However, as it also plays a role in cellular communication, this vitamin is involved in hundreds of other bodily functions including immune function, prevention of cognitive decline and mental impairment, and cardiovascular function. It has also been shown to provide anti-cancer effects, particularly regarding colon, breast and prostate cancers!
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Avocados have gained massive popularity in recent years, and for good reason! They are unique in that they are virtually the only fruit (yes, they are a fruit!) that is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also extremely nutrient dense as one serving, or 1/3 of an avocado, contains 20 different vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin E and magnesium. One serving also contains 3 grams of fiber which, along with fat, helps stabilize blood sugar and keep you full for longer.
Continue reading “Avocado Cracker Recipe”
You may be thinking or have even been told, “Cholesterol is a type of lipid, so to lower cholesterol levels you need to cut back on fatty foods.” This is not necessarily the case. In fact, the opposite may be true.
In 2014, a meta-analysis of 72 studies and over 600,000 participants investigated the impact of fatty acid consumption on cardiovascular disease. The investigators concluded that saturated fat intake was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, this was not the case for trans-fat, the most harmful type of fat shown to stimulate abnormal cholesterol levels and promote full-body inflammation.
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The increasing popularity of organic agriculture has been a source of confusion to many. What are the benefits? Is organic actually better? Could the crops and livestock feed be contaminated with herbicides and pesticides from neighboring non-organic farms? These are all valid questions in which I will help you navigate in this post.
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