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Dairy-free, gut-friendly, low-sugar smoothie bowl!

You’re in for a yummy and very healthy treat today! I’m about to share a quick and easy recipe with you that is gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, soy-free, high in fiber, protein, and nutrients, low in starch, and gut friendly. Winner!

Taking good care of your gut is one of the wisest investments you can make.

Why?

Your gut is truly at the ROOT of your health.
 
Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. It’s also where 80% or more of your immune system lives.
 
It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, chronic infections, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

Raspberry Smoothie Bowl Benefits

Our recipe this week is a Raspberry Smoothie Bowl by Leanne Vogel. (You can customize it as needed! Use almond milk rather than coconut milk if you do better with less fat; add some extra berries if you need more carbs).

Aside from the fact that raspberries are one of the world’s most consumed berries, you’ll be amazed by how much nutritional value this sweet and juicy fruit brings to the table. So, before we head on to the recipe, let me lay down the two main interesting health benefits raspberries can provide you.
 
1) Raspberries are powerful antioxidants.
 
According to Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, red raspberries in particular contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin, and gallic acid that fight against cancer, heart and circulatory diseases, as well as age-related illnesses. They also contain high content of ellagic acid which prevents inflammation and is known to prevent cancer.
 
How do antioxidants work?
 
During metabolism, your body constantly forms free radicals. A free radical is an atom that lacks electrons in its outer shell and has the ability to bind with another atom to complete it. Free radicals highly react with other substances in an effort to complete the electrons in their outer shell.  In the absence of antioxidants, free radicals would destroy your body in the process of oxidative stress, damaging important molecules in your body and even causing cell death. This now leads to a number of illnesses, namely diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, etc.
 
Free radicals are not at all bad. In fact, your body’s immune system uses them to fight against bacteria that cause diseases. But without antioxidants, free radicals would quickly harm you. Antioxidants give free radicals their needed electrons so that they become neutralized and won’t cause harm to your body. Antioxidants do this without destabilizing themselves.
 
2) Raspberries are good for digestion
 
Raspberries are rich in fiber and water, two things that can help prevent constipation and consequently keep a healthy-functioning digestive tract. According to the Department of Internal Medicine and Nutritional Sciences Program at the University of Kentucky, high fiber intake is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases.

A cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fiber (and 5 net carbs)!

Fiber is very important to your well-being, and even though there is a lot of variation from person to person as to how much is ideal and which food forms are ideal, your gut bugs need some fiber to thrive.

A 2017 study shows that fiber is vital in keeping the gut microbes healthy and functioning well. Fiber feeds your intestinal bacteria, which makes them grow in number and kind (*please note that some gut conditions like SIBO will require special considerations). When this happens, intestinal mucus wall thickens, preventing leaky gut and improving digestion.

As an added benefit, a strong mucosal barrier reduces  inflammation throughout your entire body, not just in your gut.

To learn more about leaky gut and inflammation, you can check out this article I wrote on it.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

-Rebecca

Poo Matters: What You Need to Know about Constipation

Yep. Today we are going to be talking about poop and what some underlying causes of constipation are.

The truth is, we often think imbalance in the diet is to blame when we’re suffering from constipation. It’s true in most circumstances, but we should not forget that there are other factors that play a role.

Let’s understand first why the gut is so important and then how the gut works to have a bowel movement.

Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. It’s also where 80% or more of your immune system lives.

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, chronic infections, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

Nothing will spoil your day like being “backed up” and holding onto waste in your intestines. You don’t feel well physically or mentally when you’re constipated. Let’s take a closer look at what is going in in there.

After you eat, food travels from your stomach to the small intestines or small bowel. After nutrients are absorbed in your small bowel, your body needs to expel the leftover waste. So the small bowel delivers this leftover waste to the colon or large bowel. The colon is a 5- to 6-foot muscular tube that delivers stool to the rectum, and while stool passes along this tube, fluids are removed and absorbed into your body. Your gut needs two important things to carry on this function: pressure and lubrication. Fiber from your diet, muscle tone, physical activity, and a healthy nervous system create the pressure your gut needs to propel stool forward in your digestive tract. The pressure also relaxes the lower sphincter so that stool can pass. Lubrication, on the other hand, is achieved by drinking enough water and hydrating fluids (coffee doesn’t count as it is a diuretic) and eating healthy fats (like olive oil, flax, ghee, avocado, coconut, etc). By the way, having enough hydration is also important for creating pressure.

In addition to considering your intake of fiber, fluids, and healthy fats, remember that transit time– how long the stool sits in your colon–and the amount of water absorbed from the waste also affect the consistency of your stool. These factors are affected by a number of mechanisms.
Let’s explore some of them:

Hormones

Did you know that an adequate progesterone level is required to have a healthy bowel movement? Low progesterone levels can cause your colon to slow down..and the longer the stool stays in the colon, the drier it gets and the more difficult it is to pass through.

Low estrogen also slows down the digestive process. How so? Estrogen keeps cortisol, your primary stress hormone, in check. When cortisol levels rise, your body’s digestive process is impaired and slows down. Similar to low progesterone, this lengthens the time it takes to break down food and slows down evacuation of stool.

I’ve worked with a lot of people who have low thyroid function. In people with low thyroid, metabolism slows down (sometimes significantly!), resulting in the same effects low levels of estrogen and progesterone have on the bowel.

Nervous System

Butterflies in the stomach when you’re nervous happens for an obvious reason: your gut and nervous system are very much in sync. Stress affects the gut and vice versa. As I mentioned earlier, the stress hormone cortisol delays the digestive process. Adding insult to injury, the key nutrients that help you with relaxation and laxation (aka good BM’s), magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C, decrease when stress is high. Not a good combo! You need more nutrients to handle your stress, not less.
By disrupting your nutrients, imbalancing your stress hormones, and nervous system, it comes as no surprise that stress can also cause inflammation in your gut.

Lifestyle

Your body was designed for regular physical activity. That’s why a sedentary lifestyle is precursor to a variety of conditions, including constipation. In order for the muscles of your bowel to contract properly, your body must get the exercise it needs every day. This can be as simple as walking.

Emotions

This goes hand in hand with what we’ve talked about already with your nervous system and stress hormones.  When you experience emotional imbalance, it can cause you stress and/or be caused by stress.  Your body tends to freeze and slow down to protect you. That’s why, in traditional Chinese medicine, constipation is associated with being unable to let things go. With clients who’ve struggled with chronic constipation, exploring emotional holding patterns is an important key.

Now that you know more about what can contribute to constipation, how can you apply this to improving your digestion? What’s a baby step you can take? As they say, progress, no matter how small, is still progress! And I am rooting for you.

In the next newsletter, I will be giving you some tips and actions to fix and support constipation.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

-Rebecca

Soaked Nuts & Seeds

People often ask me if it’s healthy to eat nuts and seeds. My answer?

It depends.

When nuts and seeds are raw or roasted, they are less digestible and absorbable. I’ll explain why.

Nuts and seeds have high amounts of enzyme inhibitors–enzymes are what your body uses to digest foods. When you soak nuts in warm salt water, there are digestive and health benefits. The water helps neutralize many of the enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion as well as increase the bioavailability of many nutrients, especially b-vitamins and protein. The salt helps activate enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.

Within 7-24 hours (depending on the seed or nut), many of the enzyme inhibitors are broken down. Then you can use the oven or dehydrator to make the nuts or seeds nice and crispy (and shelf stable).

The harder the nut or seed, the longer it needs to soak. Here are some good guidelines:

Long-soak nuts (almonds, pistachios, and hazelnuts) need at least 8 hours.

Medium-soak nuts and seeds (pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), 6-7 hours

Short-soak nuts (cashews, macadamias, and pine nuts) have the highest fat content and require only 2 to 4 hours soaking. I recommend not soaking these nuts for longer than 4 hours as it breaks down their healthy oils.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of raw, organic nuts or seeds (it is better to soak one kind per container, not mixed nuts, for example in case of varying soaking time)
  • 3-4 cups of warm filtered water (to cover nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt

What to Do:

  • Place the warm water in a large bowl or jar (half gallon or larger). Add the salt and let dissolve.
  • Add the nuts or seeds, making sure they are completely submerged in the water.
  • Leave uncovered on the counter or other warm place (not the refrigerator) for at least 7 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Rinse in a colander and spread on a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet and add some sea salt if desired. Bake in the oven at the lowest temperature (150-170 F if your oven goes that low) or dehydrate until completely dry. This step is important, as any remaining moisture in the nuts or seeds can cause them to mold. Dehydrating time can often be up to 24 hours. You’ll know they are done when you eat one and it’s nice and crispy (no chewiness).
  • NOTE: If you plan to use nuts or seeds to make homemade almond milk or any other variety, this is the best time, as they are already softened.

10 Health Benefits of Bone Broth Protein Powder Supplements

More great info on bone broth benefits!

Check out this blog post on the health benefits with bone broth and bone broth supplements/powders.

https://www.cognitune.com/bone-broth-benefits/

3 surprising causes of fatigue

Feeling tired often? Today we’re going to look at 3 causes of fatigue that are often overlooked.
Feeling tired is a symptom that something in your body/brain isn’t working the way it was designed to work. It often overlaps (not always) with other symptoms like inflammation, weight imbalance, poor sleep, and gut issues. And in most cases of fatigue, the root cause ties back to gut health.

Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

Without this basic function, your energy doesn’t stand a chance.

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like low energy, gut/digestive issues, excess weight, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Surprising Causes of Fatigue

  1. Adenosine imbalance. Adenosine is a brain chemical that makes you feel relaxed/sleepy. You have lots of receptors on your brain (like locks on a door) for various chemicals including adenosine. Caffeine fits these same receptors! Like a key that can open a door, caffeine’s “key” fits the adenosine locks which blocks adenosine from fitting there and making you feel sleepy. That’s why caffeine is a stimulant. The bad news is that over time your brain adapts to caffeine by increasing both adenosine and adenosine receptors (this is why caffeine withdrawal can feel brutal–eventually your brain will turn back down adenosine production and you feel normal again. There’s much more to this process and if you’d like to geek out on it, click here).
  2. Low orexin. So orexin is your peppy, upbeat, happy brain chemical. When it’s up, you feel alert, focused, and energetic. When it’s low, you feel exhausted, depressed, and sleepy. What crushes orexin levels? Refined sugar, foods/drinks that cause big spikes in blood sugar, caffeine, and inflammation. True, you’ll get an initial spike in energy (from your “reward” brain chemical dopamine”, followed by depletion of orexin and all that goes with it.
  3. Inflammation. Sugar (refined sugar, blood sugar spikes and crashes) leads to increased cytokines from your immune system which suppresses orexin (remember, low orexin=low energy).

For more detail on these brain chemicals and fatigue, check out this podcast. It’s excellent.

There’s plenty you can do with diet and lifestyle to support robust brain chemicals (eat whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible, hydrate, get 7-8 hrs of sleep/night, move your body, etc). And it’s probably not a surprise to read that sugar isn’t a health food!  For many of you, you may know what to do but don’t have a system in place that allows you to do it consistently and experience the benefits: having good energy being one of them.
If you are tired of being on the hamster wheel with your energy or other symptoms and you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Grain-free just got easier!

Every day I talk with people who want to release weight, have better digestion, and better energy. And who wants a temporary fix? Nobody!

A common source of struggle is finding foods that are convenient, tasty, AND promote these health goals. There are tons of recipes out there, but not everyone is willing to make all their meals from scratch or hire someone to do it for them. The good news? Food manufacturers are realizing that around 80% of the population in America does better on a lower carb diet. More and more people are looking for food choices that don’t keep them stuck at a weight they don’t like, with gas and bloating, and looking for an afternoon pick me up because they’re falling asleep at their desk!
For this to become your reality, you’ve got to take care of your gut. I’ll be sharing 3 great options with you in just a moment.

First, why do you need to prioritize your gut so much? Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, think clearly, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive. 

It is my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, mood imbalance, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
 

3 Tasty, Nutritious, Grain-free Foods You Can Buy (and not make yourself!)

  1. Cauliflower Thins by Cali’Flour Foods (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free). Depending on where you live you may or may not find these in a local store but they do sell them on Amazon. I’ve tried both the Classic and Italian Herb flavors and they’re both good. They are a very crunchy cracker, great for dipping in egg salad, tuna, guacamole…you get the idea! They have other products like flatbread and pizza crust (haven’t tried them yet).
  2. Beyond Paleo Pizza Crust (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free). Kept in the frozen food section, 1 box has three 8-inch crusts with a nice herby flavor. These are thin crusts but they don’t fall apart when you pick up a slice, which is great.
  3. ProGranola by Julian Bakery (grain, free, gluten-free, dairy-free, super high in fiber & protein). My breakfast of choice. Simple, tasty, packed with fiber. My favorite flavors are the vanilla cinnamon cluster and espresso cluster.

Now, to be clear, I don’t recommend eating pizza or snacking on crackers every day, but these types of healthy alternatives sure make eating healthier an easier to stick to! It makes it easier when you are having cravings to pick a great option so you sustain your healthy changes over time and don’t yo-yo around.

What foods have you found that have made it delicious and easy for you to eat healthy? Email me at rebecca@choosinghealthnow.com and let me know!

Also, if you’re ready to take your health to the next level FOR GOOD, I’d love to connect with you. Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

Have you heard about sacha inchi?

Gut health is what it’s all about.

You see, your gut is at the root of both health and disease. When your gut health struggles, you’re going to feel it! Maybe you’ll feel it with low energy or poor mood. Maybe you’ll feel it with obvious digestive symptoms. Maybe for you it’s your skin or your weight that’s telling you something isn’t quite right.

You can’t be healthy and free of symptoms if your gut isn’t functioning properly and your gut needs the right foods for YOU in order to thrive.
Your gut is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, and clear out toxins that need clearing out daily so you can thrive.

I care about all of these things because my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.

So what does all this have to do with sacha inchi? Well, sacha inchi is a superfood that delivers all sorts of key nutrients to your gut!

Sacha inchi


Sacha inchi is a seed native to Peru. It’s a complete protein that’s highly digestible, is high in the amino acid tryptophan which you need to make the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fats, and high in fiber (great for satisfying the appetite, promoting healthy blood sugar, and encouraging healthy bowels).
You can enjoy the nutty tasting seeds roasted or in powdered form. They can be added to just about anything from soups, salads, or your favorite smoothies. Some companies like Julian Bakery use them in products like their Pegan Thin food bars.
If you are looking for ways to increase your protein, fiber and healthy fats, sacha inchi is a great option. Look at your local health food store or get some online.

The more you are in touch with nourishing your body, you less deprived you’ll feel…AND the more likely you will want to keep feeling great. You’ll find ways to celebrate and be social that honor your health while still enjoying delicious food.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca

P.S. Do you know someone who is struggling with their weight, digestion/gut, or energy?
Send them my way! They can set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here

Autoimmunity and being “too clean”

Today I’d love to share some helpful information on how you can support your immune system.
You or someone you care about may be struggling with your immune system (and I’m not just talking about getting an occasional cold: I’m talking about autoimmunity). Autoimmunity is when your immune system attacks YOU rather than invading germs. It affects about 14-22 million people in the United States (heart disease, the most common disease in the U.S. affects 22 million).

Examples of autoimmune disease are celiac disease (intestines), inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (intestines), Hashimoto’s and Grave’s (thyroid), multiple sclerosis (nervous system), and eczema and psoriasis (skin).

I’m reading this great book right now called Healthy Gut, Healthy You and there is a whole section on the research behind autoimmunity and hygiene.

Did you know that about 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Since a big part of how I help people to regain their health is through creating foundations for a strong healthy gut, I wanted to share a couple tidbits with you.

Your gut is the root of your health and it is where you take all the good stuff you eat and drink and transform it into the many building blocks your body needs to make energy, sleep well, maintain a healthy weight, build muscle, clear out toxins that need clearing out daily, and have a properly functioning immune system so you can thrive. 

Everything you eat has an impact on your gut health. So does your environment.

Why am I telling you this? Because my passion is to work with people like you whose health symptoms–like gut/digestive issues, excess weight, low energy, and skin & sleep problems–are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy your life.
 

Hygiene and Your Immune System

What we’re realizing is that being too clean and disinfecting everything from our hands multiple times each day to every surface of our work and home could actually be a big problem.

Is it good to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom? Yes. Is it good to wash up before you eat in general? Yes. But the research shows that people “who live in non-Westernized societies have far less inflammatory, autoimmune and allergic diseases” (H. Okada The Hygeine Hypothesis, Clinical & Experimental Immunology).

Using anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, anti-bacterial household cleaners reduce our interaction with bacteria–because they kill them off. And we need bacteria in our lives: our lives depend on it. You are more bacteria then you are human cells! It is now believed that by constantly reducing our exposure to bacteria makes your immune system restless. It is also believed that those who develop autoimmunity or allergies have a strong immune system…but it doesn’t have the constant exposure to dirt and germs it needs to train it to function properly. So when that immune system is really strong, bored and poorly trained from having a sterile environment, it is more prone to react quickly and strongly to your own tissues (autoimmunity).

If you already have developed one or more autoimmune condition, absolutely work with someone who can help you dial in your diet and support gut function. This can help you from anywhere from managing symptoms to going into remission. If you are having symptoms with allergies, skin, gut, energy, weight, poor sleep…well, these are signs that your health needs support. You can make a huge difference to the direction your life and health are headed by taking action now before autoimmune disease develops.

Generally, you can support your body by getting regular contact with nature. Get outside in nature as often as possible. Get your hands dirty if you’re taking a hike. Breathe in the fresh air. Have plants in your home and a pet if you can and aren’t allergic. Your body needs interaction with bacteria! Wash your hands with soap (not anti-bacterial) and warm water.

This is the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much you can do to support your health in addition to this. 
Please contact me if you’d like to explore what you can do to support your health and immune system. I’d love to help you.

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

~Rebecca


P.S. Do you know someone who is struggling with their weight, digestion/gut, or energy?
Send them my way! They can set up a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session with me here and so can you!