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!

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!

What Are the Symptoms of Food Allergies?

food-allergies

It’s the end of Allergy Awareness Month here at Integrative Wellness Advisors. Between our site and our Facebook page, we’ve covered what an allergy actually is, what can cause an allergy, (seasonal allergies to pollen or ragweed) and natural remedies for allergies. So to round things up, today we’re going to talk about food allergies and more specifically, how to tell if you have one.

First, food allergies and food intolerances affect nearly everyone at some point. When people have an unpleasant reaction to something they eat, they often think that they have an allergy to the food. Actually, however, only about 1% of adults and 3% of children have clinically proven allergic reactions to food. So what exactly is the difference between an allergy and an intolerance?

Food intolerances are an abnormal response to food, and its symptoms can resemble those of a food allergy. But food intolerances are far more prevalent, occur in a variety of diseases, and are triggered by several different mechanisms, than those of a food allergy. Food intolerance symptoms are generally less serious and are limited to digestive problems. Also food intolerance symptoms generally come on gradually and don’t involve an immune system reaction. If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without trouble. You may also be able to take steps that help prevent a reaction, such as taking a lactose intolerant pill before having dairy. Food intolerances can be caused by a number of things: absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest food; irritable bowel syndrome; food poisoning; sensitivity to food addivites and celiac disease.

Food allergies, however, have different symptoms and can, at times, be deadly. A true food allergy causes an immune system reaction that affects numerous organs in the body and can cause a range of symptoms. Symptoms of a food allergy include: itching in the mouth and difficulty swallowing and breathing; nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; hives, eczema or asthma; and lightheadedness, weakness, and anaphylaxis (a sudden drop in blood pressure). And all of the symptoms of a food allergy occur within a few minutes to an hour of eating. It’s important to see a doctor or allergist if you have food allergy symptoms shortly after eating. If possible, see your doctor when the allergic reaction is occurring. This will help your doctor make a diagnosis.

However, deciding whether you have a food intolerance can be easy by doing a simple elimination diet or a detox. We have a terrific detox program here at Integrative Wellness Advisors and we’d be happy to show you how to naturally treat your food intolerance symptoms.

Why Detox?

detox

Our bodies detoxify everyday.  Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin.  Just as our hearts beat nonstop and our lungs breathe continuously, so our metabolic processes continuously dispose of accumulated toxic matter.  Problems arise however when it comes to the environmental toxins of everyday, modern life.  Pollutants, chemicals and other synthetic materials are more than the body can handle because the body doesn’t know what to do with them.  What then happens is that the body starts storing these toxins outside the regular elimination system so that we don’t get poisoned which means the poisons start building up in our body fat.  Hence the need for a regular detox.  And what better time for a cleansing than now, the start of spring. Just as we tend to do spring cleaning, we can also do with a good spring cleansing.

But how does one detox?  Well, there are several ways you can go about detoxing your body.  You can change up your diet and start eating foods rich in critical nutrients – foods such as pectin-rich apples, blueberries which contain anthocyanins and legumes which have fiber.  You can even replace one meal a day with a green smoothie or green juice (both of which contain plenty of greens).  Or you can go organic – while not every single food you eat must be organic, there are plenty of foods where you’re better off with organic.

Other ways of detoxifying include massage and acupuncture.  We tend to think of massage as a relaxation technique and somewhat of a luxury (there’s no denying massages can get pricy!) but massage also can help rid the body of toxins.  A typical Swedish massage is good, but something more intense and focused like a Sports massage can work even better.  You want to get deep into the muscle tissue to make this work for you. When you push on these pressure points or spots where toxins tend to build up, then you give them a chance to release. This helps you to naturally detox the body and get rid of the things that may have been making you sick.  And remember to drink plenty of water after to flush the toxins out!  When it comes to acupuncture, the idea may seem a little scary (someone sticking large pins all over your body??) but acupuncture can actually be quite relaxing and is wonderful for getting rid of toxins and curing common ailments.  It works by helping to release zones in the body that may be blocked due to toxins or other harmful substances that can contribute to health problems.

This is a holistic practice and highly effective. You will feel better almost instantly and when it comes to a natural cleanse, this can be one of the best tools out there.

There are several dozens of ways to detox but we have a way to get you started.  We’ve designed a special detoxification program that’s built around your busy lifestyle and ease.  It’s not a long program and only requires that you make a few small changes here and there so you are never overwhelmed.  Simply call us today and we can help you start feeling and looking better than ever!