Category Archive Blog

The Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet is a 7 to 10 day treatment that is often effective for:

  • IBS
  • SIBO
  • Certain auto-immune conditions/diseases like (potentially) rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or eczema
  • Fibromyalgia or other health issues that are triggered by certain foods
  • Frequent migraines that appear to be triggered after certain meals

The low-FODMAP diet is thought to work by reducing fermentation in the gut. Fermentation happens when naturally-occurring gut bacteria break down certain foods, and produce gases such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane as by-products. In people who are susceptible, this fermentation process can trigger uncomfortable gut symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and constipation.

It is less restrictive than the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD).

FODMAP is an acronym for:

  • Fermentable – fermentable foods (e.g., prebiotics)
  • Oligosaccharides – Beans and various vegetables.
  • Disaccharides – e.g., sucrose, lactose, etc.
  • Monosaccharides – primarily fructose
  • And
  • Polyols – these are sugar alcohols often used as sweeteners. Some examples are xylitol, maltitol, and erythritol

 

Foods to Eat on The Low FODMAP Diet

  • Meats, Poultry, Eggs, Fish: Chicken, fish, eggs, pork, shellfish, turkey, beef, lamb, all other meats
  • Vegetables: Cucumbers, carrots, celery, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, squash, yams, tomatoes, zucchini, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, bean sprouts, collards, spaghetti squash, olives, green beans, rutabaga, spinach, ginger root, radish, turnips, corn, mushrooms
  • Fruit (limit to one serving daily): Bananas, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, honeydew, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, orange, pineapple, rhubarb, passion fruit, kiwifruit, dragon fruit, papaya
  • Dairy products (low lactose): Lactose free dairy, half and half, lactose free cream cheese, lactose free cottage, cheddar, parmesan, fermented yoghurt, dark chocolate
  • Non-dairy alternatives: Almond milk, rice milk, nuts, nut butters, seeds, hemp milk
  • Grains (wheat free): Wheat free grains and flours without a ton of fibre: breads, noodles, pasta, waffles, tortillas, pancakes, quinoa, rice, cream of rice, oats, sourdough bread, soba noodles
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea, gin, vodka, wine, whiskey
  • Seasonings/Condiments: Basil, cilantro, coriander, lemongrass, parsley, mint, sage, thyme, homemade bone broth, chives, flaxseed, margarine, mayonnaise, olive oil, pepper, salt, sugar, mustard, vinegar, balsamic vinegar, pure maple syrup, vanilla

The Low FODMAP Diet Excludes the following foods:

  • Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leaks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots.
  • Fruit: Apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, cherries, canned fruit, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, watermelon.
  • Dairy products: Milk (from cows, goats and sheep), ice cream, most yogurts, sour cream, whipped cream, custard, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc).
  • Non-dairy alternatives: Coconut cream, beans, hummus, pistachios, soy products, coconut milk, black eyed peas, fava beans, kidney beans
  • Legumes: Beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans.
  • Grains: wheat, barley, rye, bread, pasta, most breakfast cereals, tortillas, waffles, pancakes, crackers, biscuits.
  • Beverages: Beer, rum, fortified wines, soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup, milk, soy milk, fruit juices.
  • Sweeteners: Fructose, honey, high fructose corn syrup, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, sorbitol.

Following the low FODMAP diet is a short-term treatment to reduce symptoms of IBS and SIBO. A lot of the excluded foods are very beneficial for feeding the good bacteria in your gut such as the vegetables, fruits and legumes. Also dairy products can boost levels of the good bacteria lactobacillus in the gut. Therefore I would not recommend continuing the diet in the long-term.

 

 

For more information on the low FODMAP diet, contact Kate for a free 15 minute discovery call.

 

References: 

https://www.ihcanconferences.co.uk/digestive-enzymes-clinical-considerations-in-ibs-sibo-dysbiosis-and-the-leaky-gu

https://www.bupa.co.uk/newsroom/ourviews/fodmap-diet-for-ibs

https://sibosurvivor.com/sibo-die

Nutrients for Underactive Thyroid

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones. Thyroid hormones help your body regulate a few things – not a big deal – just the metabolism of ALL cells. And this is critical for having the energy to live your life.

(Yes, your thyroid IS a big deal!)

Furthermore it’s estimated that at least 3.7% of UK adults have an underactive thyroid.

When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, you have what’s called hypothyroidism. This can result in the slowing down of your metabolism and chronic fatigue. Some of the other symptoms can include weight gain, forgetfulness, dry hair and skin, constipation and feeling cold.

You can get a diagnosis of underactive thyroid from a blood test from your health professional.

How does the thyroid become underactive?

There are many reasons why your thyroid may become underactive. The most common is autoimmunity, where the immune cells attack other cells in the body. In this case, the cells of the thyroid gland.

It can also be the result of low levels of iodine, which is an essential mineral.

Below I explain about nutrients for underactive thyroid.

Nutrients for underactive thyroid

Enough iodine from food – you will find iodine naturally in fish and seafood. Other foods that contain iodine are navy beans, potatoes, and eggs. Sometimes levels of natural iodine depend on the amount of iodine in the soil. Also you will find that iodine is also added (i.e., fortified) to some foods.

Enough selenium from food – selenium is another essential mineral to support the thyroid. Selenium-rich foods include Brazil nuts, mushrooms, meat, and fish.

Enough protein – One of the common symptoms of thyroid issues is fatigue. If this is the case, one thing you can eat more of is protein. Protein keeps you feeling full for longer and has plenty of B vitamins to support your adrenals and energy production.

Gluten-free – Try going gluten-free. There is evidence of a link between underactive thyroid and gluten sensitivity. There may be a “cross-reactivity” where the immune cells that are sensitised to gluten can attack the thyroid cells by mistake. This is essentially how autoimmunity works and can affect more than just your thyroid. Also you could request to get tested for coeliac disease if you are experiencing thyroid issues.

Lifestyle upgrade – additionally tiredness and fatigue are very common when it comes to thyroid issues. In this case, it’s important to get enough quality sleep and reduce stress.

Conclusion

If you have concerns about your thyroid, then ask to be tested. That along with asking for testing for coeliac disease can help to confirm your best plan to move forward in good health.

Foods to support your thyroid include iodine- and selenium-containing foods and gluten-free foods. Don’t forget to eat enough protein to help boost your metabolism.

If you want to supplement with iodine, you should work with a qualified health professional.

Also regular exercise, quality sleep, and stress-reduction are all part of the holistic approach to supporting your thyroid.

Do you or someone you know have concerns about your thyroid? What diet and lifestyle factors have you got the most benefit from? Let me know by commenting below.

Contact

Finally for more information on using nutrition to support your thyroid, contact Kate for a free 15 minute phone consultation.

References:

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

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/the-best-diet-for-an-underactive-thyroid/

http://www.who.int/elena/titles/iodine_pregnancy/en/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/meal-plan-for-hypothyroidism-and-weight-loss/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/meal-plan-for-hypothyroidism-and-weight-loss-week-2/

Nutrition for Supporting the Adrenal Glands

With the stressful pace of modern living in the West, the adrenal glands can struggle to keep up! Your adrenal glands secrete adrenaline and other stress hormones to help you to cope with stress. When you are feeling exhausted, your adrenals give you the energy to keep going!

With constant stress, your adrenals are continuously being stimulated until they crash. This is when you can experience adrenal fatigue.

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • Unable to get out of bed in the morning
  • Feeling constantly exhausted
  • Craving salty foods
  • Feel wired in the evening and unable to sleep.

People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME) often have adrenal fatigue leaving them bed bound.

So how can you use nutrition for supporting the adrenal glands?

Nutrition for Supporting the Adrenal Glands:

  • Vitamin C – boosts your adrenal glands
  • B vitamins – give you energy and help your adrenals to keep going.
  • Himalayan Pink Salt – salt supports your adrenal glands. Also Himalayan pink salt is rich in other minerals to support your adrenals. Add a pinch of this salt to all your meals.
  • Potassium – is another mineral that boosts your adrenal glands. Also it balances the sodium:potassium ratio in your cells to allow more nutrients into the cells. You can get potassium from foods including bananas, mangoes, spinach, sweet potato, acorn squash and coconut water.
  • Ashwaganda – is a herb to that helps you adapt to stress.

Foods to Avoid for Adrenal Fatigue:

  • Caffeinated foods and drinks – such as tea, coffee and chocolate all drive your adrenals to exhaustion and are best avoided.
  • Sugary foods – such as cakes, biscuits and sweets all spike your blood sugar and soon after you crash as your blood sugar drops. This puts a strain on your adrenal glands.

For more information on using nutrition for supporting your adrenal glands, contact Kate for a free 15 minute phone chat.

 

How To Go Dairy-Free

If you’re reading this, then you’re likely or are considering how to go dairy-free . You may have a food intolerance, have been told to eliminate dairy, or just want to have less of it.

Either way, dairy is not an essential nutrient, and there are lots of things you can have instead. Dairy foods include not just milk, but also yoghurt, butter, parmesan, and ice cream!

Calcium is important for bone health and there is a good amount in dairy products but don’t worry.  There are lots of other foods that contain calcium such as broccoli, almonds, tahini, salmon, collard greens and spinach.

Dairy-free products are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays you can easily find them in the grocery store. But read your labels! Some contain way too much sugar, or other ingredients you may not want to eat or drink.

Read below to learn how to go dairy-free.

I’ve put together some simple recipes to make delicious dairy-free foods right in your kitchen. Go ahead and try my dairy substitutes.

Delicious dairy-free milk

Dairy-free milk is so easy to make and flavour yourself. You can make milk out of just about any nut or seed. You can even make alternative milk out of grains like rice, oats, or quinoa. And you can flavour them too.

It just takes a high-powered blender, some water, and cheesecloth to filter out any remaining bits.

For flavouring, you can add a pinch of cinnamon, cardamom, or vanilla extract. You can also sweeten your milk with soaked dates, maple syrup, or honey.

To make a super-simple dairy-free milk just soak ½ cup of almonds, cashew, coconut, or even hemp seeds for a few hours (if you have the time). Soaking is optional, but it makes the blending process easier and the final milk creamier. Then drain the soaking water, rinse, and add to a blender with 2 cups of fresh water. Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute). Add your flavourings, if desired. Then strain through a nut milk bag, fine mesh strainer, or a few layers of cheesecloth.

If you want to make a dairy-free cream, just blend your nuts, seeds and/or grains with 1 cup of water instead of 2 for a thicker, creamier, dairy-free milk.

Delicious dairy-free yoghurt

Technically, with the right yoghurt starter probiotic culture, you can make yoghurt out of any dairy-free milk. The most common one to ferment into yoghurt is coconut milk. But you can use almond milk or other nut or seed milk.

The trick here is with the fermentation. Follow the instructions on the label of the yoghurt starter culture, and enjoy delicious dairy-free yoghurt in a few days.

Delicious dairy-free butter alternatives 

Have you tried coconut oil? It’s a great dairy-free substitute for butter. You can fry with it, or even bake with it. You can even use it to pop popping corn in a pot on your stove.

I love the mild flavour of coconut oil in anything I bake with bananas. It tastes better than butter anyway.

Delicious dairy-free parmesan

If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much it tastes like grated parmesan. Plus, it contains some B vitamins as well.

It’s a salty, cheesy, flaky powder that you can use wherever you want to add a pop of savoury flavour to any dish.

TIP: After you’ve popped your popcorn, sprinkle it with a bit of nutritional yeast for a salty, cheesy flavour.

Delicious dairy-free puddings

Did you know you can make a delicious and thick pudding without dairy? That’s right; the plant kingdom has some natural thickeners that are full of fibre.

You can make a chocolate pudding with avocado. Take one whole avocado and blend it up with ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup dairy-free milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Then add dairy-free milk to thin if desired.

For chocolate chia pudding, use ⅓ cup chia seeds and place in food processor with 1.5 cups dairy-free milk. Wait for 5-10 minutes until the seeds soak up the liquid. Then add ¼ cup cocoa powder, tsp vanilla extract, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Blend into a smooth pudding.

Delicious dairy-free ice cream

Chocolate almond ice cream is another delicious dessert made with frozen bananas. I’ve included the recipe for this below.

Conclusion

Dairy-free is easy! Making delicious dairy-free yoghurt, milk, butter, parmesan flavour, and even pudding and ice cream is simple.

Are you going to try any of these recipes? Do you have a great one to share as well?

Reply to this email and let me know.

Recipe (dairy-free): Chocolate Almond Ice Cream

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 bananas, chopped and frozen

1 tbsp cacao powder, unsweetened

2 tbsp almond butter, unsweetened

Instructions​​​​​​​

Add chopped frozen bananas to a food processor. Pulse or lightly blend until almost smooth. Add cacao powder and nut butter. Pulse or lightly blend until mixed.

Serve immediately & enjoy!

Tip: Try different nut and/or seed butter. Or instead of cocoa powder and/or seed butter, use just the bananas with a ½ cup of frozen berries. The recipe combinations are endless.

 

Finally for more information on how to go dairy free and dairy free substitutes, contact Kate to book an appointment today.

 

What is Leaky Gut?

“Leaky gut” is a popular topic in the health and wellness spheres these days. It’s been blamed for many symptoms and conditions that seem to be all-too-common. Allergies, intolerances, joint pain, even autoimmune diseases can all be linked back to leaky gut. But what is leaky gut? What causes it? What kinds of issues are related to it? And most of all, what can you eat for leaky gut?

What is leaky gut?

Simply put, your “gut” (a.k.a. “intestinal tract”) is a tube that makes up part of your digestive system. It’s not as simple as a hose or pipe; it’s an amazing tube made of live cells tightly bound together. Your gut helps your body absorb fluids and nutrients, digests your food, and houses billions of friendly gut microbes.

It’s also selective to what it allows past its barrier. Your intestinal tract purposefully keeps some things from being absorbed, so they pass right on through to the other end to be eliminated as waste. You don’t want to absorb many harmful microbes or toxins into your body, right?

FUN FACT: About 70-80% of our immune system is housed around our gut, so it’s ready for foreign invaders.

Absorption of fluids and nutrients happens when they’re allowed through this cellular tube into the circulation. And this is great! As long as what’s being absorbed are fluids and nutrients. The blood and lymph then carry the nutrients to your liver, and then around to the rest of your body; this is so that all your cells, all the way to your toenails, get the nutrition they need to be healthy and grow.

How does a gut become “leaky?”

Your gut can become leaky if the cells get damaged, or if the bonds that hold the cells together get damaged. Leaky gut can be caused or worsened by a number of diet and lifestyle factors. Dietary factors like too much sugar or alcohol or even eating things that you’re intolerant to can all contribute to leaky gut.

Lifestyle factors like stress, lack of sleep, infections, and some medications can also be culprits in this area. Sometimes, if the balance of gut microbes inside the gut is thrown off, this can also contribute to a leaky gut.

Any contributing factors that alter the balance in your gut may cause our gut to become “permeable” or leak. At this point incompletely digested nutrients, microbes (infectious or friendly), toxins, or waste products can more easily get into our bodies.

Scientifically speaking, a “leaky gut” is known as “intestinal permeability.” This means that our intestines are permeable and allow things through that they normally would keep out. They “leak.”

As you can imagine, this is not a good thing.

How do I know if I have leaky gut?

What are the symptoms of a leaky gut?

Because so much of your immune system is around your gut, the immune cells quickly recognize a “foreign invader” and start their response. This is normal and good if the gut is working properly and not allowing too many things to “leak” in.

But when that happens too much, and the immune system starts responding, the notorious inflammation starts. Once the immune system starts responding it can look like allergies, food intolerances, and even autoimmune diseases.

Because the first place affected is the gut, there are a number of symptoms right there. Things such as:

  • abdominal pain,
  • bloating,
  • gas,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • heartburn,
  • constipation
  • or diarrhoea.

Not to mention that if foods, even healthy foods, aren’t properly digested, their nutrients aren’t properly absorbed. Poor absorption can lead to lack of essential vitamins and minerals for the optimal health of every cell in your body.

Some of the symptoms can also occur on the skin:

  • Acne,
  • dry skin,
  • itchiness,
  • rashes,
  • eczema,
  • and hives

Even rosacea and psoriasis can be linked here due to their autoimmune component.

It’s possible that even some neurological symptoms are linked with leaky gut. For example:

  • brain fog,
  • fatigue,
  • headaches,
  • inability to sleep,
  • and general moodiness.

Finally, a number of chronic inflammatory diseases are thought to be linked with a leaky gut. Things like Crohn’s, colitis, Coeliac disease, IBS, and MS. Even things like heart disease and stroke are possibilities.

What to eat for leaky gut

The general recommendation is to stop eating inflammatory foods and eat more gut-soothing foods.

Incorporating a gut-soothing diet means cutting out grains, legumes, and dairy. Add to that list, food additives, alcohol, and refined sugars.

  • In their place, add in more green leafy and cruciferous veggies. These are full of nutrients and contain fibre to help feed your friendly gut microbes.
  • You also want to add more sources of vitamin D which can come from fish and egg yolks, and also from the sun.
  • Eat more probiotic foods like sauerkraut, dairy-free yoghurt, and kombucha (fermented tea).
  • You need to make sure you’re getting enough essential omega-3 fats found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel.
  • Finally, make sure you’re getting some coconut oil and bone broth. Coconut oil has special fats called MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), and bone broth has essential amino acids.

Conclusion

Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability” can happen when your gut gets damaged due to too much sugar and alcohol, or eating foods you’re intolerant to. It can also be from stress, lack of sleep, or imbalance in your friendly gut microbes. The symptoms of leaky gut are vast – spanning from digestive woes to skin conditions, even to autoimmune conditions.

It’s important to cut out problem foods and drinks and add in more gut-soothing things like green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, and probiotic foods. It’s also important to ensure you’re getting enough omega-3 fats, vitamin D, and amino acids.

If you need help tailoring a diet, feel free to respond to this email and I can get you on your way.

Recipe (gut soothing): Slow-Cooked Chicken Bone Broth

Serves 6-8

Instructions

1 whole chicken, cooked, bones with or without meat
3 carrots, chopped
2 celery, chopped
4 bay leaves
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Herbs and spices as desired (salt, pepper, paprika, parsley)
2 handfuls spinach

Instructions

1 – Place chicken bones, and meat if using, into a slow cooker.
2 – Add chopped vegetables, vinegar, and herbs/spices.
3 – Cover with hot water (about 2 litres/8 cups).
4 – Cook for 8 hours on medium or overnight on low.
5 – Add spinach 30 minutes before serving.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can strain it before serving, or serve it with the cooked vegetables as soup.

References:

https://www.thepaleomom.com/what-is-leaky-gut-and-how-can-it-cause/

https://www.thepaleomom.com/what-should-you-eat-to-heal-leaky-gut/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-nutrition-gut-health

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-leaky-gut-real#section3

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/leaky-gut-syndrome/

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/837168

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/531603

Stress Management Techniques

Stress is a major problem in our society with our busy lives.

Here are some Stress Management Techniques for you to try:

Journalling

Spending some time every day writing out your thoughts can help to relieve stress. You can use journalling to list the things you’re grateful for, this is known as gratitude journalling. Also you can use it as a “brain dump” to get all of your thoughts and ideas out of your head to soothe your mind. You can use “ever since” journalling to describe your life after you reach your goals.

Reading

It’s one thing to read to learn something that you have to learn, or to advance your knowledge. And, you can also read for pure pleasure. To get caught up in a story and just relax.

Colouring

Colouring books are all the rage! When you colour in pages with lots of detail and tiny areas, it helps you to relax. Something that can take you hours. You can always opt for something simple, like kids colouring pages too. The idea is the same. Repeated movements and focusing on the art you’re creating can help to clear your mind.

Knitting or crocheting (or other crafts)

Knitting, crocheting or other yarn activities are a great way to de-stress; this is a skill that comes in all levels from beginner to advanced. You can choose a quick little rectangular scarf to make, or a detailed sweater. You can choose the pattern, size, and yarn. Once you get into the flow of these skills, they’re great to do when you’re feeling stressed. Not only can they relax your mind to focus on your work, but you can end up warming yourself or others with the products you create.

Gentle exercise

Gently moving your body is another great way to de-stress. Activities that are slower and less intensive are ideal. Things like walking, yoga, stretching, or tai chi can all be great ways to relax your mind and improve your strength and balance at the same time.

Sleep in or take a nap

A common cause of increased stress hormones is lack of sleep. Too little sleep and too much stress go hand-in-hand. So, getting enough good quality sleep is important to help you break free from stress without having to meditate.

Pamper yourself

Maybe you love getting massages or mani/pedi’s? Maybe you love a long bath or lighting candles? Perhaps you can add your favourite relaxing music to the mix for a pampering evening? Spending some time to pamper yourself regularly is great for your mind, body, and spirit.

Spend time in nature

You don’t have to head away for vacation to relax in nature. While a calm beautiful beach or cabin in the woods may be amazing, you don’t have to go that far. Even spending time on the grass at your local park or playground, or walking on a wooded trail in your neighbourhood can do the trick.

Make time for people and pets you love

It’s so important to spend time with family, friends, and pets whom you love. New research is coming out about the health issues related to loneliness. Reach out and plan to hang out with your besties, or even offer to take your neighbour’s dog for a walk in the park.

Conclusion

Stress reduction is the goal. Try journalling, reading, colouring, knitting/crocheting, gentle exercise, sleep, pampering yourself, spending time in nature, and making time for people and pets you love.

Have other great ideas? Let me know what helps you de-stress in the comments below.

Recipe (calming): Lavender Essential Oil

Instructions to inhale directly

Add up to 6 drops of undiluted essential oil to a handkerchief/tissue and inhale occasionally. Use up to 3 times per day.

Instruction for steam inhalation

Add 3 – 12 drops of undiluted essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Inhale slowly and deeply for 5 – 10 minutes. Use up to 3 times per day.

Tip: Lavender isn’t the only calming essential oil. You can also use angelica, balsam, benzoin, bitter orange, cedarwood, celery, chamomile, cornmint, cumin, curry, frankincense, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, labdanum, laurel, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, palmarosa, parsley, patchouli, peppermint, rose, rosewood, sage, sandalwood, scotch pine, spearmint, star anise, sweet basil, sweet orange, thyme, or ylang ylang.

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/getting-control-stress

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-power-and-prevalence-of-loneliness-2017011310977

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress/relaxation.htm

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/do-essential-oils-work/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/

http://relaxlikeaboss.com/relaxation-techniques/

http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=aromatherap&lang=eng

For more information on stress management, contact Kate here.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Protein is not just for great skin, hair, and nails; it’s critical for health. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to repair damage, digest food, fight infections, build muscle and bone, create hormones, and even think and have good moods. Higher protein diets can help fight high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Not to mention protein’s great benefits for metabolism boosting, satiety (feeling full after a meal), and weight management.

Protein is important, and this is a given.

There are a few factors to consider when calculating how much protein we need. I go through those calculations with you. Then I list the amount of protein in some common foods.

How much protein do I need?

There isn’t a real rule that applies equally to everyone. There are a few factors to consider when figuring out how much protein you need.

Start with the minimum recommendation of 0.8 g/kg (0.36 g/lb) per day.

So, for a 68 kg (150 lb) healthy non-athlete adult, this is about 55 g protein/day.

Mind you, this is a minimum to prevent protein deficiency. It’s not optimal for good repair, digestion, immune function, muscle/bone building, hormones, thinking and great moods. It’s not enough for athletes, the elderly, or those recovering from an injury, or an illness such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, either. If you fall into one of these camps, you may need to increase the minimum protein intake. Aim closer to 1.3 g/kg (0.6 g/lb) per day.

Athletes need more protein for their energy and muscle mass. Seniors need more to help ward off muscle and bone loss that’s common in old age. And injured people need more for recovery and healing.

How much protein is too much?

As with fat and carbohydrates, eating too much protein can cause weight gain. Extra protein can be converted into sugar or fat in the body. The interesting thing about protein is that it isn’t as easily or quickly converted as carbohydrates or fat; this is because of its “thermic effect.” The thermic effect is the amount of energy required to digest, absorb, transport and store a nutrient. To digest protein, your body needs to spend energy (i.e., burn calories). More calories than when metabolising fats or carbohydrates.

If you’re concerned that high protein intake harms healthy kidneys, don’t be. If your kidneys are healthy, they are more than capable of filtering out excess amino acids from the blood. The problem only occurs in people who already have kidney issues.

FUN FACT: Plant proteins are especially safe for kidney health.

How much protein is in food?

  • A 3.5 oz chicken breast has 31 g protein.
  • A 3.5 oz salmon has 20 g protein.
  • ½ cup cooked beans contain 6-9 g protein.
  • A large egg contains 6 g protein.
  • ¼ cup nuts contains 4-7 g protein.
  • 1 medium baked potato contains 3 g protein.

Conclusion

Protein is an essential nutrient we should all get enough of. How much protein do I need? “Enough” is about 0.8 – 1.3 g/kg (0.36 – 0.6 g/lb) per day. If you’re a healthy non-athlete adult, you can aim for the lower level. If you’re an athlete, senior, or injured person, aim for the higher level.

Too much protein can cause weight gain, so it’s best to have just enough.

I’d love to know: Are you one of those people who needs more protein? Leave a comment and let me know.

Recipe (high-protein): Baked Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp paprika

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a layer of parchment paper on a baking dish.

Place the chicken breasts in the prepared dish. Brush on both sides with olive oil.
In a small bowl, mix spices until combined. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the chicken on both sides.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to at least 165°F at the thickest part.
Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Serve with lots of veggies.

For more information about protein or if you are interested in purchasing my high protein vegetarian or non-vegetarian meal plan, contact Kate on 07562868342 or send a message in the contact form below! I would love to hear from you.

Golden Milk Recipe

Turmeric is a rhizome that grows under the ground like ginger. It has a rich, bright orange color and is used in many foods. Originally used in Southeast Asia, it’s a vital component for traditional curries. You can find dried powdered turmeric in the spice aisle of just about any grocery store. Sometimes they carry the fresh rhizome too (it looks like ginger root, but smaller).

Turmeric contains an amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound called “curcumin.” The amount of this bioactive compound is around 3-7% by weight of turmeric. Curcumin has been studied like crazy for its health benefits. Many of these studies test curcumin at up to 100x more than that of a traditional diet that includes turmeric.

Health Benefits of Turmeric

There are dozens of clinical studies using curcumin extract (which is way more concentrated than ground turmeric).

Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound. It fights inflammation at the molecular level. Some studies even show it can work as well as certain anti-inflammatory medications (but without the side effects).

Curcumin is an antioxidant compound. It can neutralise free radicals before they wreak havoc on our biomolecules. Curcumin also boosts our natural antioxidant enzymes.

These two functions of reducing inflammation and oxidation have amazing health benefits. Chronic inflammation plays a major role in so many conditions. Including heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, dementia, mood disorders, arthritis pain, etc.

Curcumin has other amazing functions too:

  • Boosts our levels of “Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor” (like a natural growth hormone for your brain) which is great for brain health.
  • Improves “endothelial” function” (the inner lining of our blood vessels) which is great for heart health.
  • Reduces growth of cancer cells by reducing angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (the spread of cancer), and even contributes to the death of cancer cells.

Do you think these make turmeric deserve the “miracle spice” title?

How to get the most out of your turmeric

Curcumin is not easily absorbed by your gut. For one thing, it’s fat soluble. So, as with fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamins A, D, E, and K), you can increase absorption by eating it with a fat-containing meal.

The second trick to get the most out of your turmeric is eating it with pepper. Interestingly, a compound in black pepper (piperine) enhances absorption of curcumin, by a whopping 2,000%!

Conclusion

Turmeric is a delicious spice, and it’s “active ingredient” curcumin is a great health-booster.

Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are great to bust chronic inflammation. It also has other amazing health benefits, like brain- and heart-boosting properties, and even cancer-fighting properties.

Curcumin supplements can be great for your health, but they’re not for everyone. Check the label or speak with your practitioner before taking it.

I want to know: What’s your favourite turmeric recipe? Try my golden milk recipe and let me know in the comments below.

Golden Milk Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk
100ml hot water
1 ½ tsp turmeric, ground
¼ tsp cinnamon, ground
½ tsp honey

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan. Stir to combine.

Warm over medium heat, stirring frequently. Heat until hot, but not boiling.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can substitute 2 cups of almond milk instead of the 1 cup coconut milk and 1 cup water.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Do you feel tired all the time? Are you unable get up in the morning? You may have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). Below I talk more about the illness and what causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Firstly to get a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome you will undergo multiple testing. After all avenues have been ruled out then you can be diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you have a group of symptoms including:

  • Debilitating tiredness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Brain fog
  • Poor concentration
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Digestive problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fast or irregular heart beat
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Poor exercise recovery

Currently around 250,000 people suffer with the illness in the UK. Women more commonly get this chronic illness, especially between the ages of 20-45.

What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

There are many root causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is a complex condition. It is caused by a combination of factors that over time have weakened your body. Furthermore many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome find that a very stressful event triggered their illness. Below I have listed some of the common triggers to chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Unprocessed emotional trauma e.g. divorce
  • Physical trauma e.g. car accident
  • Chronic stress
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Viral infections e.g. Epstein barr virus / glandular fever
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Parasites
  • Exposure to a lot of electrical equipment (EMFs)
  • Sleeping on a geopathically stressed site
  • Heavy metal toxicity, especially mercury exposure
  • Liver congestion
  • Poor diet deficient in minerals such as magnesium
  • Food intolerances, commonly to gluten or cow’s milk

However in my experience with ME/CFS patients, the main root cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a high sugar diet. This leads to a suppressed immune system, viruses and a Candida overgrowth. In my new 12 Week Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Recovery Programme we tackle the root cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with 12 week low sugar meal plans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), contact Kate on 07562 868342 or info@kateoriordan.com for a free 15 minute chat.

Mood Boosting Foods

No question that what you eat can affect how you feel, right?

Mental health and brain health are complex. So are the foods we eat, and the ways our bodies interact with those foods. While, we don’t know the exact mechanisms how food and nutrition help, we know a few ways food impacts our moods.

First, what we eat becomes the raw materials for our neurotransmitters. “Neurotransmitters” are biochemical messengers that allow our nerve cells to communicate (ever heard of serotonin?). They are important not just for thinking and memory, but also for mental health.

Second, what we eat affects our blood sugar. And having unstable blood sugar levels can contribute to mood swings.

Let’s talk about mood-boosting and mood boosting foods.

Mood boosting foods

Some nutrient deficiencies look like mental health problems; this includes deficiencies in B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the mineral selenium. So, getting enough vitamins, minerals, (and other things like antioxidants) are key. These nutrients not only reduce inflammation but also fuel the biochemical reactions in our bodies. Including those that create neurotransmitters. So make sure you’re eating a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, studies show that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables are the happiest.

Also pay special attention to vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin), as it’s not naturally occurring in too many foods. Selenium is an essential mineral found in Brazil nuts, walnuts, cod, and poultry. Try to add some of those to your weekly diet.

Second, make sure you get enough protein. Protein is your body’s main supply of amino acids. Amino acids are very important for mood issues because they are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. Protein also helps to regulate blood sugar. I recommend eating protein with every meal; this includes dark green leafy vegetables, eggs, poultry, and meat.

Third, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and quinoa are great too. They allow better absorption of key amino acids like tryptophan. Tryptophan is used by your body to make serotonin (your “happy hormone”) and melatonin (your “sleepy” hormone). So, if you want to relax, try these in the evening.

Fourth, fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids (nuts, seeds, and algae) are also mood-boosting. Omega-3s are definitely “brain food” and may help to ease some symptoms.

FUN FACT: One study showed that giving one multi-vitamin and one omega-3 fish oil tablet per day to prison inmates reduced the incidence of violent behaviour by 50%!

Last but not least, make sure you’re hydrated. Mild dehydration can cause mood issues as well.

 

Mood Busting Foods

You won’t be surprised to hear me say processed foods are mood-busters, right? One study suggests that eating a lot of processed foods devoid of nutrients can increase your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent! This is on top of the research that shows nutrient deficiencies can look like mental health problems.

“But it makes me feel good!”

Yes, some of these mood busters can make you feel better temporarily. Some big food companies study how to maximise the “pleasure” centres with the perfect amount of sugar, salt, and fat. Not to mention the colour, texture, and taste; they can light up our taste buds and make us feel good… for now.

A few other things to avoid are:

  • Alcohol (nervous system depressant)
  • Caffeine (may worsen anxious feelings and ability to sleep)
  • Sugar (messes with your blood sugar and can worsen inflammation).

Conclusion

Bad moods can lead to bad eating habits; and, bad eating habits can lead to bad moods. If you need a mood boost, stick to minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables (including leafy greens), nuts and seeds, eggs, fish, poultry, and meat. Avoid common mood-busting foods like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar.

And remember, sometimes “feel good” junk foods, only make you feel good temporarily. So, try my newest recipe for fruit salad, below.

Recipe (Mood Boosting): Fruit Salad

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

300g watermelon, cubed
300g cantaloupe melon, cubed
150g blueberries, fresh
150g blackberries, fresh
300g green grapes

Instructions

Place all fruit in a large bowl and gently toss.

Serve and enjoy!

Tip: Substitute or add any ready-to-eat fruit, like chopped peaches, or raspberries.

 

For more information on mood boosting foods, contact Kate for a free 15 minute consultation!