Why Breakfast is Key to Weight Management

breakfast plate with omelette

So you’ve started eating better foods and exercising more but you’re stuck at a weight plateau? Here’s an important question then – are you eating breakfast? Yes, you’ve heard it time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it true?

Consider this – studies have shown that eating a real breakfast (as opposed to meal replacement shakes or processed “diet” foods) can decrease hunger and cravings reducing your risk for obesity and metabolic syndrome. Why? Because breakfast isn’t just breaking your nightly “fast”. What you eat for breakfast sets the tone for food choices throughout the rest of the day. Breakfast is seeming more important now, right?

Let’s say you eat a healthy, well-balanced breakfast. How will you feel after? Full? Satisfied? Energetic? Now what happens when you skip breakfast? We all know the answer to that – afternoon rolls around and we’re starving – resulting in overeating, poor food choices (are you really going to choose broccoli over chocolate when you haven’t eaten in 12+ hours? I’m not.) and all of that leads to weight gain. Weight gain that you’re specifically trying to avoid (not to mention the inevitable guilt you feel over having eaten too much, when all’s said and done).

A recent study found that almost 80% of 3,000 people who lost an average of 70 pounds and kept it off for six years ate breakfast regularly. On the other hand, only 4% of those who never ate breakfast kept the weight off. The only difference between the two groups? The group who lost weight ate breakfast and the other group did not. They both consumed the same number of calories and types of food. Pretty compelling evidence.

Also important to remember is that breakfast shouldn’t be dessert. You might not realize it but many cereals, toaster concoctions, muffins, and the such — even the “healthy” versions — contain as much, if not more, sugar as ice cream. And you wouldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast, right? (Well…maybe once in a blue moon…) What is good to eat are protein-rich foods (eggs, nut butters, protein shakes, or whole grains with nuts) as they’ll steady your blood sugar. Protein-rich breakfasts have been found to make one more full and less inclined towards snacking throughout the day, as it can increase the chemical found in our brain that tells us when to stop eating.

So how important does breakfast sound now? Try it out and see for yourself! If you’re stuck and need some help, contact us: contact us today!

Have Fibromyalgia? Here’s What Might Be the Actual Cause

woman with neck and shoulder pain

Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Or maybe you haven’t but you think you might be a victim of it? It’s estimated that fibromyalgia affects about 10 million people in the U.S. alone.

What is this disease?

Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and cognitive impairment (or what’s more commonly referred to as “brain fog”). Other symptoms of fibromyalgia can include eventual depression and anxiety (chronic pain = depression and depression = more pain, leading to a vicious cycle), stomach issues and sensitivity to medications. Fibromyalgia is a tricky disease and one doctors still don’t know a lot about (including how to treat it). Often traditional medicine treats the symptoms but not the underlying causes, which helps no one. Read on to find out what some of these underlying causes may actually be.

  • Gluten Intolerance – People often think an intolerance to gluten merely results in issues of a digestive nature but more likely an intolerance can show itself with symptoms that are instead neurological, such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue and depression.
  • Candida Overgrowth – Candida is a yeast that lives in your intestines in trace amounts. When overproduced, it breaks down the walls and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues and pain.
  • Vitamin Deficiencies – Magnesium, vitamin D and B12 deficiency are the most common vitamin deficiencies amongst those with fibromyalgia.
  • Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Leaky gut – Did you know that there are more bacteria in and on us than there are of our own cells? When these bacteria get out of whack, we can lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients. SIBO and leaky gut can lead gluten and other food intolerances.
  • Mycotoxins – Mycotoxins are very toxic substances produced by molds.
  • Mercury Toxicity – Mercury is toxic to our bodies (anyone’s) and can be one piece of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia.
  • Adrenal Fatigue – Adrenal fatigue is a result of chronic stress, which is typically caused by food intolerances, Candida, mercury toxicity, vitamin deficiencies or mycotoxins. Add in chronic pain, which is also a stressor to the adrenal glands, and you’ve got a double whammy.
  • Glutathione deficiency – Glutathione is the most critical part of our body’s detoxification system. It gets recycled in our body —unless our toxic burden gets too high, or we lack GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione.

There is no single root cause for fibromyalgia but instead many related ones. You don’t need to suffer needlessly or mask symptoms with pain medication. There are a variety of other things you can try as well, from lifestyle changes to vitamins and supplements. And remember that they’re doing new research on fibromyalgia every day to try to find an actual cure!

For recommendations on holistic strategies and essential nutrients, please contact us.

Natural Alternatives to Sunscreen – The Round Up

natural-sunscreen

In the past week, we’ve spent some time talking about how all sunscreens aren’t created equal and how many of them contain chemicals of which you might not have been aware. Yet you obviously know that too much sun damage can also harm you in the long run. So where’s the middle ground? Here are the top natural alternatives to sunscreen that will help minimize sun damage while not invading your body with harmful man made chemicals.

  • Diet: As always, it’s important to start anything that concerns your body by focusing on your diet. Everything you put in your body controls in some way or another how your body looks and acts. Remember what we said in our last blog? Good skin comes from the inside out. This also means that you can help prepare your skin for the sun through what you eat. Eating foods rich in healthy fats and antioxidants helps protect your skin from damage, including UV damage. That means you should reach for dark, colorful fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids and other powerful antioxidants. Also eat nuts, seeds, coconut oil, avocados, and microalgae for the best omega fatty acids and even some healthy saturated fats.
  • Clothing: Clothing is the easiest and most obvious option for protection. It’s important to get some Vitamin D though, so cover up after about 20 minutes in the sun by wearing something white to reflect rays or even just a sunhat.
  • Astaxanthin: This is what gives salmon their reddish pink coloring. They get it from microalgae that produce astaxanthin to protect themselves from UV rays. Literally a bit of sunscreen in a pill, astaxanthin is protects our skin from solar injuries and even helps prevent DNA from being damaged by ultra violet rays.
  • Sesame Oil: Pure sesame oil can block out approximately 30 percent of the sun’s rays.
    Apply sesame oil to the exposed skin once every one to two hours for maximum sun protection.
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil: This is one of the best seed-oil sunscreens. It averages between 28-50 SPF and blocks the troublesome UVB rays.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can block up to 20% of the sun’s rays. You should apply once an hour for maximum protection.
  • Carrot Seed Oil: Carrot seed oil may be a little harder to find, but it boasts 38-40 SPF.
  • Wheat Germ Oil: Wheat germ oil is naturally moisturizing while touting an SPF of 20.
  • Aloe Vera: Normally we think of aloe vera for application after we’ve been in a sun as it can soothe a sunburn. However, it can also be used as a sunscreen as it, like coconut oil, can block up to 20% of the sun’s rays. Apply every one to two hours.
  • Natural Sunscreens: There are still several sunscreens available on the market that don’t contain harmful ingredients. To find out what they are and which works best for you, check out the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) yearly list of sunscreens that make the cut.
  • Make Your Own Sunscreen: You can even make your own sunscreen by mixing some of the above ingredients with other ingredients like shea butter and beeswax. You can find different recipes online like this one.

Summer shouldn’t be spent worrying about what toxins are getting into your body – summer should be about having fun, vacations, time at the beach and time with your family. Use our sunscreen alternatives and enjoy your summer!

Good Skin Comes from Within!

goodskin

George Orwell once said, “At 50, everyone has the face he deserves.” Why? Because your skin portrays the kind of lifestyle you’ve led and even more so, the type of diet you’ve lived by. How is that possible? You might think that skin problems are on the surface, but most skin problems originate in your body, not just on your skin. The reason for this is because the body is one whole integrated system. This includes your skin. So no matter what condition, disease, or health problem you face, the root causes can be traced back to the same underlying factors such as diet problems (food allergies, leaky gut, etc), a need for detoxification, inflammation and stress.

When it comes to your diet, first and foremost, it’s important to identify what food allergies and sensitivities you might have (such as gluten or dairy). You can do this by doing an elimination diet or a simple blood test. There’s also the matter of the leaky gut. How do you know if you have leaky gut? There are tests your doctor can run but the symptoms include: digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); seasonal allergies or asthma; hormonal imbalances such as PMS or PCOS; diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, psoriasis, or celiac disease; diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia; mood and mind issues such as depression, anxiety, ADD or ADHD; skin issues such as acne, rosacea, or eczema; diagnosis of candida overgrowth; and food allergies or food intolerances. What is leaky gut? Leaky gut occurs when tight junctions in your intestinal lining break apart allowing things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles, and more to escape from your intestines and travel throughout your body via your bloodstream. The main culprits are foods, infections, and toxins. Gluten is the number one cause of leaky gut.

So how can you help your skin when it comes to your diet? After eliminating food allergies, have a look at the foods that will help your skin glow. Antioxidant-rich foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are at the top of the list of skin-boosting foods because they help to fight free radicals, which can contribute to signs of aging. Olive oil and legumes are also beneficial. Omega-3 fats, which are found in fish and fish oils, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are also important for skin health, as they support healthy cell membranes, which will help keep skin cells hydrated and plump. Green tea has also emerged as a powerful beverage for skin health. With both antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties, green tea is protective against harmful oxidative stress. Take probiotics for a healthy gut. Turkey, tuna and brazil nuts are also good because they contain the mineral selenium, which experts say plays a key role in the health of skin cells. And always remember water! In addition to keeping cells hydrated, water helps cells move nutrients in and toxins out, which Lipski says automatically leaves skin looking better.

Some of the above mentioned foods also help fight inflammation. Antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and veggies have anti-inflammatory compounds. And green tea has anti-inflammatory properties as well (not to mention possibly helping to reduce the risk of skin cancer!). The polyphenols in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties that may also be beneficial to skin health overall. Omega-3 fatty acids also fall into the anti-inflammatory category. Another excellent way to fight inflammation? Move! Get out and take a walk around the block, take a yoga class, do anything you enjoy that will get the blood pumping.

Stress is a huge factor in our lives and can have a huge impact on our skin. Emotional stress can take a major toll on the appearance of your skin. Not only does stress lessen your skin’s ability to function properly, putting it at risk of skin diseases and increasing the length of time wounds take to heal, but stress also speeds up the rate of cellular aging, which can make you look older, faster. We know how hard it can be to de-stress, but try your best to carve out some time for yourself where you can be alone everyday. Meditate, read a book, take a walk, call a friend. All of these things can help lower your stress levels.

We know you already know this but we’ll throw it out there anyway, just as a reminder. Do your best to avoid these following things: 1) smoking – smoking damages collagen and elastin while decreasing blood flow to your skin. This makes it difficult for your skin cells to receive enough oxygen and nutrients to stay healthy. The physical act of smoking can also contribute to expression lines around your lips and eyes (from pursing your lips and squinting); 2) drinking alcohol – while an occasional glass of wine is not likely to cause your skin much harm, too much alcohol can damage blood vessels over time, leading to permanently flushed skin or visible blood vessels on your skin’s surface; 3) sugar – eating too much sugar or refined carbs leads to the production of advanced glycation end products. These molecules damage collagen and elastin, and contribute to wrinkles and sagging skin.

And finally detoxify. Detoxification is a fabulous way to look and feel better while eliminating toxins from your body. We have a wonderful detoxification program here at Integrative Wellness Advisors that can really help you get back to basics and feeling great.

Beautiful skin isn’t achieved by what you put on the outside, it’s what you put on the inside that counts!