Healthy gut bacteria are essential for a healthy metabolism

We used to play in the dirt.  We used to eat foods with a little mold on them.  We used to let beverages sit out to ferment.  Nowadays, we hate to be dirty, we throw bread away at the first sign of mold and we refrigerate everything.  Not to mention the overabundance of antimicrobial/antibacterial cleaning products we use.  Oh, and don’t forget about the rampant (and often unnecessary) use of antibiotics.  Our super-hygienic environment has severely limited our exposure to our bacterial friends who inhabit our lower gastrointestinal tract—and this has had a very negative impact on our health.  Just think about all the times you took antibiotics (which also kill off the good bacteria in our bodies) without using probiotic foods or supplements to replace them.  This can have severe repercussions on our health and metabolism. When we do not have a healthy gut bacteria it can lead to a condition called dysbiosis, which, in general terms, basically means that we don’t have the right balance of bacteria in our GI tract.  Our body wants a certain percentage of lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and saccharomyces just to name a few types.  When we don’t have the right balance, we don’t properly breakdown and absorb nutrients or provide the right fuel for our colonic cells.  It’s important here to note that these lower GI bacteria do not just sit there and do nothing.  In fact, they are so extremely necessary that if we did not have these little friends with us at all times, we would not survive.  These bacteria break down food, provide energy in the form of short chain...

Smooth Digestion is Key for Fat Loss

The way we digest food tells us a lot about how well our metabolism is functioning.  Smooth digestion = an efficient metabolism and one that can burn fat well.  Remember: gas, bloating, heart burn and indigestion are not normal.   Read on to see how well your digestion stacks up. Food enters our mouth… At this point, not a heck of a lot of digestion is taking place.  However, our taste buds can relay messages to our brain letting us know the type of food we are consuming (is it sweet?  is it bitter?  is it fatty? etc).  This assists the rest of our digestive system in getting prepped for the food to enter our bodies.  This is also where artificial sweeteners can really throw off our hormones.  When our tongue tastes something like saccharin (a super super sweet artificial sweetener), our brain gets the message that we are eating a ton of sugar and we need to release a lot of insulin (in the cephalic-phase insulin response) in order to be able to control this sugar assault we are about to go through.  Insulin is a storing and locking hormone so essentially we are preparing our body to go into storage mode.  Not necessarily how we want things to be if we are looking to burn fat. What about chewing… Chewing is actually a very important thing.   So take time to taste your food and chew it!!  This helps the release of appropriate digestive enzymes.  You are signaling to your stomach that food is on its way.  It also helps slow down our eating which will lead...

10 Things To Focus On For Fat Loss

1.  Insulin needs to stay in check if our body is going to release fat from storage.  We keep insulin in check by only sparingly eating starches (rice, potatoes, etc), and sugar (muffins, donuts, cookies, icecream, etc).  These things should take up no more than about 1/2 cup per meal at first. 2.  Focus on consuming fat-burning foods as often as your body needs them.  Fat burning foods are protein (especially grass-fed meat, wild caught fish and pastured eggs), fibrous veggies (lightly steamed or roasted broccoli, kale, spinach, green beans, etc), starches in small amounts (sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa, etc) and healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters, cheese if tolerated, etc).  Listen to hunger signals and feed your body before you get starving.  If we get too hungry, our body will overcompensate during the rest of the day.  This could lead to cravings and uncontrollable late-night eating. 3.  Balanced hormones allow your body to burn fat.  By eating the way we listed in #2, your body will have a balanced hormonal profile.  We need to eat that way and avoid foods that we have discovered are inflammatory to us (foods that cause water retention, sluggishness, bloating, etc).  When we eat in a hormonally balanced way, we use fat as a fuel source instead of relying on sugar.  It takes about 3 weeks of eating as listed in #2 to become an efficient fat-burner, especially if you were eating a Standard American Diet before. 4. Balanced hormones is very important but calories still matter.  Don’t expect to lose fat if you over eat fat burning foods.  We still need to create a caloric deficit each day in order for our body...

What To Do When a Plateau Strikes

I know that plateaus stink when you are trying so hard to lose body fat.  Read on to learn why they happen and what you can do to get your body back in fat-burning mode. What is needed for the body to lose fat? The body needs to have two things in order to burn body fat: 1.  Hormone balance.  You get balanced hormones through eating an anti-inflammatory diet, getting lots of restorative sleep, exercising appropriately and reducing stress.  If hormones are not balanced, then you may lose weight in the short term but will do more damage to your body in the long run as well as pretty much guarantee that all the weight you lost will get put back on eventually. 2.  A caloric deficit.  In other words, you need to be consuming fewer calories than you burn.  This is best when done through appropriate eating and not excessive exercise.  In fact, excessive exercise can lead to hormonal imbalances.  The body needs a caloric deficit to burn fat because it needs a reason to tap into fat as a fuel source. What is a weight loss plateau and why is it normal? A weight loss plateau occurs when the body is no longer burning more calories than you take in.  This is a very normal thing that can occur when we are looking to lose body fat.  The body tries to be as efficient as possible.  Therefore, after a while it will start to recognize that you are eating less calories than you were before or maybe you are more active and burning more calories than you were...

How stress and sitting make you fat

 Stress plus sitting = easy fat storing… Health issues with constant stress… I have previously talked about how much stress can impact our body’s ability to burn fat.  Stress can have a HUGE negative hormonal impact on the body.  Let’s define what things can stress the human body.  First off, you have your day to day stresses:  issues that come up at work, problems in relationships, traffic jams, a super busy day, etc.  These are, for the most part, acute incidences that our body can handle quickly and we can continue on with our day.  However, these can easily turn into chronic stress.  Chronic stress are things such as a bad relationship, financial problems, a very busy job/family life, over-exercising, never allowing yourself any time to relax and restore.  With acute stress, our body releases bursts of cortisol, adrenalin and other stress hormones that help us with our fight or flight response.  These are the hormones that help us swerve out of the way of a squirrel in the road or give us a big energy burst needed to complete an important project at work.  This is healthy stress.  This is stress that our body has evolved to handle. So when does stress become a problem?  It becomes a problem when we are constantly exposed to it day in and day out, every single day, over and over again, like a broken record.  When we constantly face stress that never goes away (bad relationship, constant problems at work, financial issues), our body has to constantly produce stress hormones.  When we have a constant production of cortisol, we are putting...

How Fit is Your Liver?

How Fit is Your Liver A few things need to be made clear as to why detoxing our environment can help boost our metabolism.  First, everything we breathe or put into or onto our bodies needs to be detoxified and processed by our liver.  This means fragrances, lotions, air sprays, etc all need to be broken down and detoxified.  If you think about how much of this sort of stuff we come into contact with on a daily basis, that means our liver has to do a ton of work all the time!  Poor liver. Here’s what else our liver does: 1.)  Makes thyroid hormone (which helps determine how fast our metabolism is) 2. ) Packages up the nutrients we eat and ships them out to our bloodstream to be used by other parts of our body 3.)  Helps produce bile for the digestion of fats 4.) Serves as a storage site for excess vitamins and minerals And much more!! Ultimately, if we force our liver to do so much detoxifying of our blood because we surround ourselves with chemicals, it cannot do its other essential metabolism boosting jobs as well.  This can really lead to a super-sluggish metabolism and other imbalances. What to do about it: 1.)  Remove cleaning chemicals from your life as much as possible:  change cleaning solutions to all natural versions.  This is a great blog for natural cleaning and personal care products that you can make at home:  http://wellnessmama.com/ 2.)  Filter your water:  we get so much exposure to chemicals via our water source.  Tap water is usually very contaminated.  Try to drink filtered water...

Why Cheating on Your Diet is Good for You

Why Cheating on Your Diet is Good for Fat Loss The weekend is often a time when we are tempted by less than nutritious treats and goodies.  Is it ok to indulge in them?  Well, actually, yes it is.  I’ll give you some quick science below as to why but then I’ll jump to the fun part:  how to cheat and make it beneficial for your body. Why eating (lots) more calories one or even two days per week is good for you: When we are trying to lose body fat, we need to have two things happening at the same time (1) hormonal balance and (2) a caloric deficit.  If we have these two things happening we should be losing body fat at a successful rate.  The hormone balance happens when we are eating a whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet like we do.  The caloric deficit can come from eating fewer calories, exercising (preferably with strength training) or both. Now, here is the catch, when we are in a caloric deficit for too long, our body goes into “starvation mode”.  In sciency terms it is called “adaptive thermogenesis,” which basically means our metabolism slows way down.  This is an adaptive mechanism from way back in the day when food would be scarce for extended periods of time.  During these scarce periods, our body stopped focusing on less important tasks like skin cell turnover and hair growth and focused only on essential roles such as brain function and heart function. Therefore, too much of a caloric deficit for too long really slows down the metabolism and is counter to our goal of losing body fat. So...

Inflammation and Fat Loss

We all hear this buzz word in the media: INFLAMMATION.  Let’s break it down a bit and figure out the following: ~What is inflammation?  Inflammation can happen in two ways.  One is called acute inflammation and it is our body’s way to heal us if we sprain an ankle, cut our finger or catch a virus.  Our immune system kicks into high gear to rush all of its healing cells and molecules to the site of injury.  This can manifest itself as heat, swelling and pain (like when we sprain an ankle) or as a cough and fever (when we have an illness).  Acute inflammation is good inflammation because it is short lived and our body is healed as a result. The inflammation we need to watch out for is chronic, low grade inflammation.  It is the underlying cause of most chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, cancer and more.  Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation does not show up as swelling or a fever.  It is much more sneaky than that.  In response to chronic stress (examples: poor sleep, eating inflammatory foods, being under lots of stress at work), the body releases stress molecules into the bloodstream.  However, instead of healing the infection or ankle sprain, these molecules just hang out and start to cause damage.  They can damage our arteries and lead to heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.  They can damage our joints and lead to arthritis.  Regardless of how they damage our bodies, it is never a good thing. ~Why is it bad? Low grade chronic inflammation is bad because it causes our immune system to be on constant alert.  This constant...

Smooth Digestion is Key for a Healthy Metabolism

Smooth Digestion is Key for Fat Loss The way we digest food tells us a lot about how well our metabolism is functioning.  Smooth digestion = an efficient metabolism and one that can burn fat well.   Remember: gas, bloating, heart burn and indigestion are not normal.  They are signs that something is off with what you are eating.  Read on to see how well your digestion stacks up. Food enters our mouth… At this point, not a heck of a lot of digestion is taking place.  However, our taste buds can relay messages to our brain letting us know the type of food we are consuming (is it sweet?  is it bitter?  is it fatty? etc).  This assists the rest of our digestive system in getting prepped for the food to enter our bodies.  This is also where artificial sweeteners can really throw off our hormones.  When our tongue tastes something like saccharin (a super super sweet artificial sweetener), our brain gets the message that we are eating a ton of sugar and we need to release a lot of insulin (in the cephalic-phase insulin response) in order to be able to control this sugar assault we are about to go through.  Insulin is a storing and locking hormone so essentially we are preparing our body to go into storage mode.  Not necessarily how we want things to be if we are looking to burn fat. What about chewing… Chewing is actually a very important thing.   So take time to taste your food and chew it!!  This helps the release of appropriate digestive enzymes.  You are signaling...

8 Important Fat Loss Lessons

Changing my eating habits has been such an amazing journey for me.  I want to share with you 8 things I’ve learned about eating for sustainable fat loss. 1.  Insulin needs to stay in check if our body is going to release fat from storage.   Insulin is a storage hormone and when it is present in our bloodstream, we are way more likely to store fat and build muscle than we are to burn fat.  We keep insulin in check by only sparingly eating starches and sugar.  The amount will vary for everyone but usually keeping your starchy/sugary carbs below 100g per day is a good place to start. 2.  Focus on consuming fat-burning foods as often as your body needs them.  Fat burning foods are foods that are anti-inflammatory, non-insulin releasing and keep our hormones balanced.  Examples are lean protein (especially grass-fed meat, wild caught fish and pastured eggs), organic non-starchy veggies (lightly steamed or roasted broccoli, kale, spinach, green beans, peppers, cucumbers etc), starches as tolerated (sweet potatoes, carrots, quinoa, etc) and healthy fats (butter, coconut oil, nuts and nut butters, etc).  Listen to hunger signals and feed your body before you get too hungry. 3.  Balanced hormones allow your body to burn fat.  By eating the way we listed in #2, your body will have a balanced hormonal profile.  This will allow you to use fat as a fuel source instead of relying on you next sugar fix.  It takes about 3 weeks of eating as listed in #2 to become an efficient fat-burner, especially if you were eating a Standard American Diet before. 4.  Calories do matter…but...