How can drinking raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) help you become firm and cute? By re-adjusting your microbiome. Read on to see how.
Benefits of raw ACV
I regularly tell my clients to start their day off with a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) for weight loss and/or gut issues. Why? Because Drinking ACV, daily, has not only been found to help with weight loss but it also helps regulate blood sugar, treat ulcers and reflux, is detoxifying, lowers blood pressure, and much more!
Raw ACV contains high amounts of enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, minerals AND polyphenols making it an overall super tonic!
Prebiotic Super Powers
Amazingly, the polyphenols found in raw ACV have been found to actually help readjust your microbiome for the better. How? They seem to suppress “fat loving bacteria” called Firmicutes (fir-MIH-cue-tees) and allow for growth of better “weight managing” bacteria called Bacteroidetes (BAC-teer-OY-deh-tees) (1).
Research has found that overweight individuals have higher amounts of Firmicutes bacteria in their gut compared to slender individuals. Slender individuals seems to have higher amounts of Bacteroidetes when compared to overweight individuals.
Firmicutes bacteria are built to digest complex carbs and actually increase fat absorption. Firmicutes bacteria may even stimulate you to eat more of these types of foods so that they can be fed. Higher levels of firmicutes have also been found to turn on genes that increase your risk for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (1)! It’s obvious that an overabundance of the bacteria from the “firm and cute family” want you to be anything BUT firm and cute!
However, the polyphenols, found in raw ACV, feed the Bacteroidetes found in your gut, acting as an effective prebiotic. As your amounts of Bacteroidetes improve, your levels of Firmicutes go down.
Repetitive ingestion of prebiotic foods like raw ACV, can help readjust your microbiome, and eventually tip the scales (both internally and externally) for the better.
But I Hate the Stuff!
Struggling with drinking it? Dilute with water (remember use a straw as it’s acidic and overtime will effect teeth enamel) and/or add honey to it. Still struggling with drinking it? Make an active effort to add it into your meals. Use it in your salad dressing, drizzle some on meat and/or soups or mix it in dips. Remember to not heat it, as many of its beneficial properties will be lost if exposed to high heat.
Adding raw ACV to your daily diet is one of the easiest ways to not only help improve your gut bacteria but help improve your overall health as well.
Just another super simple step that you can implement TODAY for better health.
Image Credit: Google Images
Inspiration and Source: Brain Maker: David Perlmutter, MD
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The jury is still out...is coffee good for you or bad for you? Does it mess with your hormones or does it help stabilize them? Does it promote weight loss or cause weight gain? Does it improve memory or hinder memory? Is it hydrating or a diuretic? There are so many conflicting studies on the short and long term effects of coffee that it's hard to know what's true or not. One things definite, our lifestyle habits and genetics both influence how we metabolize coffee. Which makes all the current relevant studies both wrong and right!
Best way to know if coffee is helping you or hurting you? Take your current lifestyle factors into account and pay attention to your body.
With that said, as you continue to drink your coffee, why not turn it into a nutritionally dense beverage? Not only will it give you the energy you want throughout the day (and then some) but will also provide you with additional nutrients your body can use.
Drinking coffee like a superstar (you'll feel like one at least!) is a great way to start your day and/or continue your day AND is a great way to add in beneficial healthy ingredients that your body can use.
One item that I try to avoid buying when grocery shopping for the family is fruit juice. When I DO buy it it has to be organic (to avoid excess pecticide exposure and gmos) but like so many other products, organic does NOT necessarily mean healthy.
Drinking juice, especially on an empty stomach, can totally contribute to long term health issues, particularly for children! *
When consumed on an empty stomach, fruit juice may cause what's called a "spike and crash syndrome." Juice is rated high on the glycemic index (measurement of the effect food and drink have on blood sugar levels) and will induce a quick rise on blood sugar levels, causing it to "spike." Followed by this short term spike there is a corresponding quick drop or "crash." Sometimes, this crash results in an even lower blood sugar level than before drinking it.
Children are especially vulnerable to this phenomenon! We've probably all witnessed this syndrome. Our child guzzles down a glass of juice and within a few minutes, sometimes seconds, they're bouncing off the walls. A few minutes later, they're fatigued, clumsy, grumpy, sometimes even shaky.
Why is this such an unhealthy pattern?
Because glucose spikes produce a surge in insulin and repetitive surges of insulin may set your child up for possible future health issues.
So while I try to not purchase fruit juice, I DO have to pick and choose my battles when it comes to what my kids get to buy at the grocery store. So with that said, this is how I make it "better than."
I add gelatin to it.
This is the brand I use.*
Hydrolysate Collagen is a minimally processed form of gelatin. It is a form of gelatin/protein that has been produced in a way so that the clumping nature found in gelatin is removed. It's tasteless, super easy to digest and completely dissolves without changing the texture or color of the liquid it's been added to. It is a clean source of protein (from grass fed cows) and this added protein blocks and prevents the spike and crash syndrome from occurring within the body.
By slowing down the absorption of fruit juice sugars into the blood stream. By adding this protein in, you're also benefiting growing bones, assisting in better absorption of other types of protein, and providing gut healing nutrition! Best of all, your kids will never be able to tell that it's there!
So while serving juice to my children is not one of my favorite activities (if they know we've bought it, they ask for it till it's gone) I can feel a little bit better about serving it if it has added gelatin to it.
*This does not include cold pressed fresh juices served for short term "medicinal" like purposes.
*This is NOT an affiliate link. Just sharing the product I love.
*Moderation matters. There is such thing as too much of a good thing. See here for more.
Picture this: Its late at night, the house is quiet and you find yourself craving a late night snack. You open your fridge and realize that you can either eat whatever sugary junk you have OR an apple. You decide to eat the apple since it’s a “cleaner” “healthier” snack. You eat the apple and thoroughly enjoy it. But, wait… a few minutes later your TOTALLY craving the sugary junk food snack even MORE than what you were before eating the apple!
Surprisingly, there’s a physiological explanation for this. A recent study (see here) found that apples and some fruit in general seem to trigger the “feel good” area of the brain, the hypothalamus, and its surrounding areas. The key word here is trigger, not satisfy. In other words, fruit just teases this area of the brain looking for immediate satisfaction, so once eaten you’re actually left with an even stronger craving then before!
How does this happen?
It’s all about the sugar. The fructose in fruit, while all natural, actually makes you more vulnerable to severe cravings for what your brain really wants, glucose. Glucose is what feeds and lights up that feel good happy brain area and satisfies us, temporarily at least. It’s worth mentioning that this is the same area that lights up when a drug addict gets their fix…eeek!
Why does this matter?
When were in a craving state we tend to NOT make the healthiest of food choices and instead, just focus on IMMEDIATELY satisfying the craving. This is why you may actually grab that piece of sugary junk after snacking on apple, whereas if you hadn’t eaten that apple beforehand, you may have not eaten the junk.
Should you stop eating fruit then if it will just make you more vulnerable to eating junk?
No. Not necessarily. The nutritional benefits of fruit far outweigh any negatives (always in moderation of course). If you want to satisfy that initial mild craving with a clean snack option and stick with fruit, you can snack on a fruit that is naturally high in glucose. This way, you can continue to maintain your healthy eating habits, and nourish your body in a more nutritionally dense manner without the added inflammation from the processed junk.*
What fruits will effectively satisfy glucose cravings?
Grapes, bananas, cherries, and figs are just a few examples of fruits that are high in glucose.
Regardless, fruit IS better for you than a piece a cake or bowl of ice cream.
Keep in mind that if you’re craving something sweet and you find that you’ve eaten a whole bulk container of grapes from Costco, there is most likely more to your craving then just a physiological brain response and definitely worth exploring in depth with your health coach.
Remember to always pay attention to your body before and after eating. So... if you do find your face in a plate of cake after eating an apple late at night, well, now you know why.
*Always remember to check with your healthcare practitioner when eating high sugar fruits if you have insulin issues.
*Some of the fruits mentioned above have both high fructose AND high glucose. The glucose is what will most likely satisfy your craving. BOTH in excess are bad for the body.
This blog is by no means a clinical, scientific and or a scholarly explanation of the physiology of the brain and or science of sugars. It is just a presentation of my interpretation of info available based off of my own research and experience in regards to eating an apple as a late night snack.
http://www.pnas.org/content/112/20/6509.abstract Differential effects of fructose versus glucose on brain and appetitive responses to food cues and decisions for food rewards
When most people think of eating cooking oils in regards to weight, they think of weight GAIN, and NOT weight loss. While that’s true for the majority of vegetable oils in our diet, coconut oil has been generally linked to weight LOSS which is obviously great news for those trying to lose a few pounds.
The number of benefits reported by individuals using coconut oil are HUGE, ranging from enhancing immunity, boosting thyroid function, improving blood sugar control AND weight loss.
How does it work?
To grossly oversimplify the mechanisms behind it, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of medium-chain fatty acids. Most plant oils are made up of longer chain fatty acids which when digested are typically stored in our adipose tissue, or more commonly known as body fat. Medium chained fatty acid, on the other hand, are transported directly to the liver where they are metabolized more efficiently and effectively by our bodies and do not get deposited in our fat.
Let’s briefly talk about body fat. As we age, we tend to gain body fat around our waists, ESPECIALLY woman. This type of body fat, both external (the spare tire we can see) and internal (called visceral) is extremely detrimental to our health. Particularly visceral body fat, not only because it has been linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but has been shown to cause both metabolic AND hormonal disturbances. Body fat has a mind of its own and releases its own various hormones causing wide spread toxicity AND indirect weight gain. Highly processed cooking oils have been highly implicated in this process. Coconut oil, on the other hand, has actually been found to REDUCE abdominal obesity!
So how do you use it?
There are many ways you can incorporate coconut oil into your diet depending on your taste preferences. Cold pressed virgin coconut oil, TASTES like coconut. Something to keep in mind when cooking with it. Whereas expeller pressed coconut oil does NOT have a coconut flavor. Both are extremely beneficial.
Where do I find it?
Coconut oil is becoming more and more readily available and I’ve seen it at most grocery stores. Especially the cold pressed version. Expeller pressed coconut oil seems to not be as common but I have seen it at Whole Foods, Fruitful Yield and Home Goods. Tropical Traditions, found on line, is my personal favorite. High quality coconut oil can be slightly pricey, especially when compared to other vegetable oils, so buying larger quantities is definitely a more economical route.
How much do I take?
If you cook the majority of your food at home, switching out your current vegetable oil for coconut oil should give you an adequate daily amount. For those who don’t cook, or don’t cook as often, 4 to 2 tablespoons a day, seems to be the norm. Again, bio individuality is key here and if you’re extremely overweight ONLY adding large amount of coconut oil into your diet and not taking anything out of your diet (i.e. adding coconut oil to your coffee but continuing to eat conventional cooking oils) may possibly lead to weight gain. Also, be mindful of your tolerance in regards to the amount of coconut oil you are eating daily.
A side note regarding olive-oil
Remaining true to my Greek heritage, I feel the need to throw out a short personal disclaimer regarding my use of olive oil. The many benefits of high quality extra virgin olive oil are so extensive that it deserves a blog post of its own. With that said, my extra virgin high quality olive oil, straight from my uncle’s olive trees in Greece, continues to be my number one go to oil when I need oil that does NOT need to be exposed to heat. So when it comes to my salads, raw, and steamed vegetables, olive oil is my one and only choice.
Coconut oil is NOT a quick fix for weight loss. Keep in mind that even if you switch out your canola oil for coconut oil in your home backed muffins, for example, if you eat SEVERAL muffins in one sitting, instead of one, you will NOT lose weight and most likely gain it. If you are an overall health conscious individual struggling with a few pounds, slightly tweaking your diet with coconut oil may help push you past your plateau. If you’re trying to lose a significant amount of weight, adding coconut oil to your diet is one of the many healthy dietary changes and add-ons that you most likely need for healthy, SUSTAINABLE weight loss.
You've all heard this repeatedly throughout your lives. As parents you've most likely said it many times to your older kids. But do you actually do it?! And while it goes without saying that chewing your food prevents you from choking, are there additional benefits to it? Absolutely, and significant ones too!
These are just a few example of the benefits of chewing your food. Now, how can you REMEMBER to chew your food?
Eating fast and not chewing your food is a HABIT and takes intention and action to learn to slow down. As children we start off chewing our food very well, keeping it in our mouths as long as needed, swallowing and moving on to the next bite when were ready. My children chew their food slowly and sometimes keep it in their mouths for up to 5 minutes! But as we develop and mature within a fast paced society, our eating habits also become faster and we lose the ability to naturally and instinctively chew and eat slowly. Here are a few tips to help...
Proper chewing is the FIRST step for optimal digestive health AND one of the EASIEST ones to implement into your daily routine! The various benefits acquired from fully chewing your food and practicing mindful eating techniques, make it well worth the time and effort!