Healthy Eating: ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’

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All too often I hear from people who want to make healthy changes to their diet, but they are lost. They are bombarded with information on the internet, from television ads, magazines and even their doctors. The key is to make small, simple changes, that one can follow not just for a few weeks but as part of a maintainable, healthy lifestyle. So the theme of this post is going back to the K.I.S.S. principle we all learnt back in school: ‘Keep It Simple Stupid”. I have broken down 5 simple steps to implement to begin the journey of healthier eating.

 

#1) Drink more water. Water is THE most important tool for your bodily functions. You can live longer without food than you can water for a reason. In today’s world, we seem to overconsume food and under consume water. The human body is very good at adapting to decreased water consumption, but these adaptations are merely for survival and are not optimal for long periods. Unfortunately, most people are chronically dehydrated without even knowing, leading them to symptoms such as have poor energy, increased hunger, poor elimination, dry skin, and toxic build up to name a few. One easy way to know whether you are well hydrated or not is to check out the colour of your urine, that’s right, look before you flush! If your urine is NOT clear and virtually colourless, you need to drink more water. So if you are well hydrated, you should be seeing minimal amounts of yellow in your urine if at all (keep in mind if you take a supplement or vitamin that can make urine yellow because of excess vit B’s and C in the urine). Avoid soda’s, pops, commercial juices, fancy starbuck’s drinks, and energy drinks. Stick to water, and herbal teas are great as well!

#2) Eat more fresh food. This is super simple, we all know fresh homemade food is better than the drive-thru. Try to minimize and eliminate foods that come from a drive by window, or that only require the microwave. The most nourishing food is freshly cooked or prepared to eat. This will include food that is raw, but also food that is cooked, steamed, baked, roasted or sauteed but not fried in oil or destroyed in a microwave! (I hate microwaves…). Just think, what would you rather eat, your grandma’s lasagna made from scratch OR a frozen lasagna? Let’s just say neither will help you fit into your skinny jeans but grandma’s will be much more wholesome.

#3) Eat local and seasonal produce. This is not only good for your health, but also good for the planet, local economy and your pocket! Fruits and vegetables that are in season offer the most nutrients and they actually help your body adapt to that current season. Plus, the less distance a fruit or vegetable has to travel before it gets to your plate, the more of its original nutrients will be intact. This also helps keep variety in your diet which is very important! Berries are great but they do not grow all year round, same goes for apples, enjoy each while they are in season in abundance. Aim to be eating atleast one fruit or vegetable at every meal/snack. 5-8 servings is the goal! (one serving is a handful).

#4) Be careful with your condiments. Read your ingredients! The most typically used condiments that are not great for our health are commercial soy sauce, relish, mayonnaise, table salt, margarine, and sour cream to name a few. Rather than using these items to flavour your food, opt for the healthier options such as spices which can offer a variety of actual health benefits (ie. garlic is great for fighting colds and flus). Opt for wheat free or organic soy sauce (Bragg’s is the best!) which has no additives or preservatives. Sea salt is good in moderation, cracked pepper is also great for seasoning without consequences. Opt for healthier fats to flavour your food such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. And keep in mind if you are using good quality, fresh in season foods, your meals will always taste better!

#5) Don’t overeat. Although you may be in denial, obesity is a major issue for so many of our health concerns and costs our health care system a lot of money! This suggestion not necessarily just for people who want to lose weight, even if you are happy with your weight, it is best to make sure you do not eat too much at once for optimal health. Eating past your body’s satiation point can leave you feeling sluggish but can also wreak havoc on your digestive tract and cause inflammation in the body. It’s best to eat just until you are satisfied, but not stuffed, and simply save your leftovers for another meal. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full, it’s so simple it’s stupid!

There you have it! 5 simple ways to start eating better and improve your health without doing anything crazy! I hope you find this helpful and please share this with anyone you know who may be feeling overwhelmed but would like to start eating healthier.

Thank you for reading!

-Holistic Hayley πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Days Coffee Free Skin Results

So as I elluded to on my Instagram I have been struggling with worse than usual acne breakouts for the past year and looking at my lifestyle and diet not a lot has changed, I eat quite well obviously with some leniency and exercise and sweat regularly and wash my face right after, and have been working on managing my stress. I use natural products as well and exfoliated regularly. The one thing that has changed in my life is I’ve started drinking coffee! Not because I need the caffeine necessarily but because I enjoy it, and only buy fairtrade. I had been drinking about 1-2 cups per day for the past year and I have been dealing with way more inflamed and aggravated pimples as well as pimples in abnormal areas for me like my chin, jawline, and cheek bones. Through my studies I always knew coffee wasn’t great for the body for a few reasons, one of those being the caffeine increases your cortisol. Of course I was in denial that it was affecting me because I enjoyed it but I finally noticed my energy was lower than usual and my skin breakouts had to be something I was ingesting, and after re-learning that coffee actually increases your cortisol and spikes your blood sugar it can increase the production of acne aggravating hormones as well. Coffee also depletes various minerals and vitamins in the body such as zinc, vitC and Bvits which are essential to skin health. So I finally decided to take a break from coffee and after just 7 days great things have happened! My skin is way less irritated, less inflamed, my breakouts are healing and I’ve had hardly any new pimples pop up, because of this I’ve been more confident to wear less makeup or none at all! And my energy levels throughout the day feel like they used to years ago when I had endless energy! Here are some photos of how bad my skin was and how it was today after 7 days no coffee!

Before:

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 I was trying to stay positive and smile abit for these photos but they are painful to look at 😦 . Not to mention when you have inflamed acne you can not only see it but you can feel it! Not fun!
Now, After 7 days no coffee and no makeup:


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My skin is still not perfect but has greatly improved and feels better! For those of you who have flawless skin all the time never take your skin for granted because you are so fortunate! It was very hard for me to make this photos public but if my self trial helps someone else struggling with Acne then it is worth it! If you also struggle with acne and want to figure out a strategy that will help it to heal including holistic meal and supplement recommendations just send me an email hzedel@gmail.com πŸ™‚ I would love to help!

New Supps and Pullups

 

Just a short video showing you my recent vegan supplement purchases. Raw Fusion Proteins in Banana Nut and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge! Both are delicious! Then I also got some Creatine HCl and plant-based fermented BCAA’s from Kaged Muscle. FYI the BCAA’s smell and taste like crap but I guess thats what happens when you order vegan, unflavoured BCAAs 😦

Secondly, Pullups are something Ive been working on for the last year and a half. I initially found it very hard to make progress and then I injured myself, turns out you need to stretch your back and shoulders when your constantly doing pushups, burpees and pullups! DUH! Anyways so with the help of my amazing chiropractor and foam rolling and stretching my back and shoulders are slowly but surely getting better and are now more mobile. I was pretty happy with my assisted pullups today, this was the first set with the thinnest band which really just helps me on the initial pull which I find to be the hardest part of pullups. I was able to do 6 and lets count that last one as a 3/4 one πŸ˜› I plan to make my next video a full upper body workout so stay tuned!

4 Foods you may think you need to eliminate and 4 Foods that you really should

Potatoes:

Many people associate potatoes as being bad for their figures or simply as an unhealthy option. Truthfully, it is everything that we tend to put on or eat potatoes with that is bad! Mayonnaise, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Sour Cream, Steak, Tons of Salt, Bacon and Bacon bits, and Canola Oil and the foods we should really be eliminating. Fact: Potatoes are tubers; they grow underground off the root after the plant has grown and flowered. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins (esp. folic acid, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Their fat content is barely existent, and they are approximately 2/3 starch and 10% protein. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, sauteed or turned into soups and when enjoyed without their usual fattening suspects can be part of a healthy diet.

Nuts:

I have heard some people who are trying to lose weight say “Oh I can’t have nuts, their way too fattening” yet their think eating red meat and dairy products is helping them and that is simply ignorance. Nuts are rich in plant protein and unsaturated fats, and when eaten raw, and unsalted they are low in sodium, provide a mix of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals. Raw nuts should also be stored in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Nuts are best eaten in small portions (handful) as a snack to ward off cravings for things such a chocolate, or soaked and made into easily digested nut milk! Nuts also make a great apres-workout snack to replenish your muscles. Again, rather than blaming nuts for being fat, try reducing your consumption of animal fats.

Dates, Bananas, and other Tropical Fruits:

Since when did anyone think that a piece of sweet, delicious fruit was bad for your figure? Cause they’re not! Now of course you should ensure you have a varied diet and not eat the same foods all year round everyday, but sweet fruits can be a part of any healthy diet. Fruits contain a diverse amount of nutrients individually, and they also contain lots of healthy fibre. The fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of its natural sugars so that they don’t spike our blood sugar levels like refined cane sugar would. Fruits also have many other good qualities, Dates for instance are surprisingly concentrated in iron, and also boast good quantities of niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Bananas not only make a great pre-workout/activity snack with their pure carbohydrate content, they also provide potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Instead of worrying about how much sugar is in an innocent piece of fruit, try to avoid any food that contains refined cane sugar or corn syrup, two of the biggest blood sugar disruptors.

Whole grains:

A whole rant could be done on the misinformation out there about grains, but I’ll keep this short.  Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide us with sustained energy for our busy lives. They are rich sources of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals. Now lets keep in mind wheat is not the only grain out there, and if something is gluten free it is not necessarily healthy. Healthy wholegrains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn. These are healthiest in their unprocessed, organic form. With the exception of quinoa which is already a complete protein, whole grains can be eaten in conjunction with legumes in our diet to provide all the necessary amino acids for a healthy body. Instead of avoiding grains all together and doing the whole “caveman” diet simply avoid refined processed grain products like white bread, packaged cookies, white rice and crackers.

Reference:

Haas, E.M. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. NY: Ten Speed Press

You don’t need meat to get all of your essential amino acids!

If anyone tells you that you need to eat meat, they are severely mistaken. You can get all the protein you need, and then some, from things that come out of the ground, not a slaughterhouse.

The words β€œcomplete” and β€œincomplete” protein simply mean that a food either has equal amounts of all amino acids (complete) or has less of one or more amino acids (incomplete). It does NOT mean that any amino acid(s) is or are missing entirely from that food, just that some may be present in lower amounts. This means that to get adequate protein (all essential amino acids) from plants, you simply have to eat a variety of different plant proteins and more of them! Who doesn’t want to eat more? And NO you don’t have to make special combinations at every meal, just make sure you’re eating a variety of whole grains and the following throughout your diet:

Quinoa:Β Quinoa is very high in protein!Β It is considered one of the complete plant proteins because it contains good levels of all essential amino acids. And it also has good amounts of iron, calcium, B vitamins, and other minerals, so eat some!

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Sprouts: when a seed, grain, or legume is sprouted its protein content increases by 15-30%, that’s awesome! This is because during the sprouting process some of the carbohydrate component gets converted into protein. Sprouts are also richer in other nutrients so they are a very good choice, but best eaten raw! Also try sprouting at home! Check out this site.

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Soybeans:Β though they are in the legume family they deserve some special mention, they contain good levels of all amino acids and are high in protein (one of the best sources of vegan protein). It is important to make sure your soy is organic and non-GMO because unfortunately a lot of the ones grown in our world are tampered with! And yes, males can safely enjoy non-GMO soybeans as well and they will not develop breasts, that is a myth! Also my favorite way to enjoy the nourishing properties of soybeans: smoked organic tofu!

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Peanuts: they are 20% protein! And did you know that peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut! It is best to refrigerate your peanuts to prevent them from rancidity, and getting them raw is best, or in the form of natural peanut butter (no not the Kraft brand with teddy bears on it, sorry).

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Legumes: This includes all peas and beans and lentils! These are a great protein source and are inexpensive! They are great to combine with brown rice and vegetables for a yummy dinner. Or combine them with quinoa for an even bigger protein kick!

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So now you know where us vegans get our protein so you no longer have to ask! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

Reference: β€œStaying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine (21st century edition)”, 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD.Β 

Better Digestion with a few simple rules

Food Combining for Optimal Digestion and Better Health

1: Eat Fruit by itself, only with other fruits, or with greens in a smoothie. For example, eat fruit on an empty stomach (the morning is perfect) and not after a meal, while having a piece of fruit after dinner is better than a sugary, fatty dessert, it will not digest properly and may cause some tummy issues.

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2: Do not combine high protein foods with carbohydrates, i.e. protein powder with fruit in a smoothie, a typical burger with fries, or pretty much mixing any meat with a grain or bread is a no no, one of the reasons your digestion is typically better when you are vegan πŸ˜‰ .

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Examples of what IS good: tofu with veggies, quinoa with veggies, brown rice (yes brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that also has good quality protein) with veggies, tempeh with veggies, hummus with veggies, beans with veggies, or if you do eat animal products combining those with veggies as well is okay.

tofu, quinoa, and veggies

When it comes to starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, it is best to eat those with another complex carbohydrate (i.e. grain) or with vegetables.

Following these guidelines will definitely give you better digestion, and better overall health because your food will be digested, absorbed, and eliminated in a smoother way. Now I will admit I don’t ALWAYS follow these guidelines, but if you do at least most of the time you will still benefit from it πŸ™‚

Reference: β€œStaying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD.Β 

Top 10 nutrients for healthy skin!

One of the main reasons I initially became so interested in nutrition years back was to make my skin as nice, clear, and healthy as possible. So here are my top ten nutrients for clear, healthy, glowing skin! Enjoy! *keep in mind that all of the sources listed here are plant-based, because I am vegan, so I am recommending foods that I would personally eat, though some of these nutrients are available in animal products, I don’t worry about that. πŸ™‚

1: Water! : If your body is dehydrated, your face will be too! Water keeps our skin hydrated and healthy and helps flush toxins out of the body.

Sources: Uhh… the tap! (if you live in BC tap water is usually safe) or you can get a filter for your faucet. What ever you do please don’t buy bottled water! Buy a water bottle!

2: Fibre: it keeps toxins from accumulating in the colon and keeps “things” moving smoothly. If your digestive system is backed up, your skin will be negatively effected. Good digestion = good skin.

Sources: Anything that comes from the ground! (i.e.. plants!) Eat some fruit, veggies, grains, beans, whatever.

3: EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): these are important for growth and keeping the skin moisturized, soft, and young. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits for acne. You will want to focus mostly on getting lots of the Omega 3’s, because Omega 6’s are not needed in as high amounts and are more common.

Sources (Omega 3’s): flaxseeds & oil, chia seeds & oil, pumpkin seeds & oil.

(Omega 6’s): most plant oils, including canola, corn, peanut, sesame, safflower, and sunflower oils.

4: B-vitamins: these guys are essential for many bodily functions, and also essential for keeping the skin in good condition.

Sources: nutritional yeast, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, as well as leafy greens.

5: Vitamin C: as an antioxidant, it helps prevent oxidation, and aids in the formation and maintenance of collagen.

Sources: citrus fruits, papaya, cantaloupes, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and almost any other fruit or veggie will have some.

6: Zinc: this mineral helps maintain body levels of vitamin A, aids in collagen formation, improves wound healing, and also helps the skin’s oil glands function. Zinc is one of the main anti-acne nutrients.

Sources: Whole grains, such as whole wheat, rye, oats, pecans, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds. NOTE FOR GIRLS: taking birth control pills ( or having an IUD) increases your body’s need for Zinc, so load up!

7: Vitamin A (beta-carotene): an antioxidant that also stimulates growth in the base layer of the skin, and helps protect the skin from cancer cell development. Beneficial in healing acne, along side zinc and vitamin E.

Sources: yellow & orange fruits and veggies, such as peppers, carrots, mangos, apricots etc. as well as dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.

8: Vitamin E: acts as an antioxidant, stabilizing cell membranes and protecting tissues including the skin from oxidation.

Sources: the oil components of all grains, seeds, and nuts, as well as cold pressed vegetable oils and soybeans.

9: Selenium: this mineral is an antioxidant as well that protects cell membranes and tissues , including the skin, and helps slow the aging process. It works synergistically with vitamin E to serve these functions.

Sources: brazil nuts, barley, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice.

10: Silica (aka silicon): silica is a mineral that promotes strength and firmness in the body tissues, including the skin.

Sources: whole wheat, oats, and brown rice. also in lettuce, cucumber, avocados, strawberries, onions, and dark greens.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have questions! πŸ™‚

References: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD.Β