My Top 5 Supplement Recommendations

I’ve gotten a lot of interest in questions since I sent out last week’s newsletter on why taking supplements is important. So today I wanted to follow up on the most frequently asked question: what supplements do you recommend?
First though, I have to share that, if you know me well, read my book, or if you’ve worked with me, you know that I am not a fan of any “one-size-fits-all” recommendations! That makes answering this question a bit tricky, so I am going to broadly address this question and I want you to apply it to what you know about yourself through your own experience which includes if you are working with a doctor or other practitioner–I always recommend a customized approach!

Supplements are not a replacement for a poor diet but are meant to boost the nutrition coming from a healthy diet. When choosing any supplement to take, consider how this supplement is supporting your body as a whole.

Generally, the most commonly needed supplements by an average American include:

  1. Multivitamins – According to the CDC, the majority of Americans don’t meet their nutrition needs from diet alone. According to a CDC analysis of data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, only 9% of adults ate the recommended amount of vegetables and 12% of adults ate the recommended amount of fruit. Results showed that consumption was lower among men, young adults, and adults with lower incomes. Aside from that, the produce we consume today has lower levels of essential vitamins and minerals than the produce a decade ago because of soil depletion. I use Synergy-Com #3 from UltraLife.

Supporting a nutritious diet with a multivitamin supplement will ensure that the body has all the needed nutrients to function optimally.

  1. Fish Oil – Fish oil is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for regulating inflammation. Omega-3 has countless benefits and is necessary to achieve cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and musculoskeletal health. In fact, in 2006, a study found that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are a safer option for treating nonsurgical neck and back pain. Typically, individuals need to supplement 500-900mg of omega 3-fatty acids to meet optimal levels (I use Microbiome Labs’ Gut-Specific Fish Oil). Three servings of fatty fish, such as salmon and anchovies, per week, will provide the Omega 3’s your body needs. 
  1. Magnesium – Did you know that magnesium is required for more than 600 enzyme reactions in the body? That’s how important magnesium is, but according to the World Health Organization, Americans don’t meet the FDA’s Recommended Dietary Intake. People who are deficient in magnesium may suffer from poor vitamin D metabolism, weakening of the bones, irregularities in heartbeat and blood pressure, problems with blood sugar, irritability and anxiety, fatigue, and muscle cramps and twitches. There are several forms of magnesium that address various needs (i.e. magnesium l-threonate is great for brain health and cognition; magnesium glycinate is great for sleep, magnesium malate is great for energy and muscle soreness, etc).
  2. Vitamin D – This vitamin supports bone health, mood, and immune function. Your body produces vitamin D through sun exposure, but it can be a challenge to meet the required 600 IUs of vitamin D per day. Factors such as limited sun exposure during winter months, old age, darker skin pigmentation, and the use of sunscreen and clothes that cover the skin from the sun all limit the body’s ability to meet its vitamin D demands. These are the reasons why you might need to take vitamin D supplements. According to studies, adequate vitamin D levels are associated with decreased stress fractures, decreased injuries in athletes, and decreased rates of upper respiratory tract infections. I’m a fan of liquid Vit D like Douglas Labs’.
  3. Probiotics – Knowing that all health issues stem from the gut, who wouldn’t want a healthy gut? And probiotics are the key to a healthy gut. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut. If there are imbalances in your gut microbiome, it can create nutritional imbalances due to poor absorption even though you consume a healthy diet and take supplements. According to research, supplementation with probiotics supports healthy immune response, regulation of inflammation, brain health, and weight management. Remember, it all starts with the gut. For more guidance on probiotics, click here.

 Takeaways

Eating nutritious foods and living a healthy lifestyle is the best foundation for thriving health. However, as I’ve pointed out last week, there are plenty of examples why supplementing is important, especially amongst certain populations to fill in the gaps in daily nutrient needs.
Please also note that nutritional supplements are not regulated, so there can be huge differences in the quality of different brands. It is best to discuss your options with a health expert. 

If you’d like to explore your health or nutrient needs and how you can take your health to the next level, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

Top 3 Reasons To Take Supplements

Your body needs vitamins and minerals in order to develop and function optimally.  Ideally, you get these nutrients you need to thrive from your food, however, today I’m going to share with you why most of us need more nutrients than our current food supply provides as well as some particular situations in which your body needs more of certain nutrients to thrive.

1. You have dietary restrictions. Most people that come to me for health support are on or have been on some sort of restricted diet either due to allergies, intolerances, or in an effort to reduce symptoms. While it is a good idea to avoid a food if it makes you feel poorly, sometimes we end up restricting entire food groups that provide a lot of nutrition for an extended period of time and it is important to make sure you find alternatives to provide those nutrients.

For example, dairy products are a great source of calcium and vitamin D, so it’s really easy to meet your recommended dietary allowance if you eat dairy foods. If you are on paleo and dairy-free diets, it becomes trickier. Foods that can provide these nutrients in ample quantities are fish with soft bones such as sardines with the bones, high intake of low-oxalate vegetables like broccoli, kale, bok choy, eggs and getting daily sunshine (for Vit D). During the winter, I still supplement with a few drops of liquid VItamin D. If you have been told that you have weak bones or bone loss, you may benefit from taking a supplement that contains a combo of bone building nutrients like K2 (MK4 and MK7 are two types of natural vitamin K2) and Vitamin D.    2. Your food lacks nutrients due to soil depletion caused by commercial farming.

According to the USDA records, the nutritional values of fruits and veggies today are below what you could get in the 1970s! Farmed soil is becoming depleted of nutrients producing fruits and veggies that are also lacking in essential vitamins and minerals.

  • We are also exposed to more toxins every day.

If you can’t meet your needed nutrients through food to efficiently remove these toxins from your body, then supplements are an excellent choice.

My belief is that pretty much everyone would benefit from taking a high quality daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement to cover their nutritional bases because of soil depletion and increased toxic burden.

3. You have increased nutrient demands due to a condition or older age.

There are many conditions that increase the body’s need for certain nutrients. A disease or chronic condition or even something acute like a cold could increase your need for much higher Vit C, Zinc, and/or Magnesium, for example.
Also, as you age, your demand for certain vitamins and minerals increases. 

Those over 50 years old need more calciumvitamin D, and vitamin B12. This is because calcium is lost rapidly through bones, and there is higher risk for developing bone conditions such as osteoporosis. 1200 milligrams of calcium daily through food and/or supplements is recommended.

Older adults also tend to have a decreased ability to absorb vitamin B12 because low stomach acid becomes more common with age and stomach acid is essential to being able to process vitamins like B12.

When a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, her nutrient demand also increases to support her health, the healthy development of her fetus, and the production of milk to nourish her infant. 

For expecting mothers, a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and DHA (for the baby’s brain development) is recommended.

Takeaways

Eating nutritious foods and living a healthy lifestyle is the best foundation for thriving health. However, as I’ve pointed out, there are plenty of examples why supplementing is important, especially amongst certain populations to fill in the gaps in daily nutrient needs.

If you’d like to explore your health or nutrient needs and how you can take your health to the next level, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

Improve Insulin Sensitivity with These 10 Tips! 

Wouldn’t you want to know if your habits were making you likely to develop a disease? I sure hope you answered yes! But sometimes you don’t necessarily know that. So, my focus today is to empower you with some diet and lifestyle habits that can help you prevent conditions like insulin resistance and diabetes. 

What is Insulin?

First of all, what is insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin’s purpose is to help glucose (from your food) go inside your cells to be converted into energy. Your body uses this energy to maintain all your basic functions…or to be stored as fat and used in the future. 


What is Insulin Resistance?

If your body does not respond to the effects of insulin, glucose stays in your blood instead of entering the cells. Since this really isn’t good for your body, your pancreas will send out even more insulin to get the job done. The loss of ability of your body to listen to insulin the first time it “knocks on your door”, so to speak, and to knock louder and louder until your answer is called insulin resistance. Over time, the consistent build-up of glucose in the blood leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes.


What is Insulin Resistance?

If your body does not respond to the effects of insulin, glucose stays in your blood instead of entering the cells. Since this really isn’t good for your body, your pancreas will send out even more insulin to get the job done. The loss of ability of your body to listen to insulin the first time it “knocks on your door”, so to speak, and to knock louder and louder until your answer is called insulin resistance. Over time, the consistent build-up of glucose in the blood leads to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

What is Insulin Sensitivity?

So to prevent insulin resistance and diabetes, we need to be sensitive to insulin. Being sensitive to insulin means that your body responds well to the effects of insulin (aka “answers the door” after the first knock). When there is a glucose in the blood, what is supposed to happen is that your pancreas will release insulin…and that insulin helps glucose to enter the cells, resulting in a decrease in blood glucose level (a return to balance or homeostasis).

Who’s at Risk for Insulin Resistance?

Some people are more prone to develop resistance to insulin. There are factors that may contribute to that, including:

  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • A high-carb diet
  • Obese or overweight
  • Binge drinking of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep issues (Poor sleeping habits)
  • Sleep apnea (a condition when breathing stops and restarts during sleep)

10 Tips to Improve Insulin Sensitivity

To prevent insulin resistance, the following are science-backed lifestyle changes:

  1. Sleep more. – Having more Zs is linked to preventing insulin resistance.
  2. Move your body daily – Exercise helps glucose move into the muscles and be used. Aside from that, exercise can help you burn excess fat, reducing another risk factor for insulin resistance. Aim for 10k steps and accumulate at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. 
  3. Manage stress – Stress keeps your blood sugar and hormones high (cortisol and insulin). Manage stress by HeartMath, meditation, exercise, etc.
  4. Hydrate with water, instead of drinking sweet beverages.
  5. Increase fiber in your diet. – Veggies, fruit, legumes, chia seeds, and oat bran are all good sources of fiber.
  6. Eat more foods rich in antioxidants. – Antioxidants prevent inflammation and boost insulin sensitivity. Fresh foods like blueberries, broccoli, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, cloves and cinnamon, and many herbs are loaded with antioxidants.
  7. Decrease processed carbohydrates in your diet. – Eat unprocessed carbs (like veggies, fruits, beans, root veggies) instead of processed carbs like crackers, pasta, bread, and cereal–processed carbs often lead to sugar spikes in the blood. If you are going to eat them, pair them with protein, keep the portion of the carbs small and infrequent.
  8. Take supplements that can help with insulin sensitivity such as magnesium.
  9. Lessen eating sweets. – Avoid eating candies, cakes, cookies, and sugary beverages.
  10. When cooking, use herbs and spices. – Cinnamon, ginger, and garlic are all great for helping to reduce inflammation (inflammation to lead to higher blood sugar!).

In a nutshell, practice the habit of living a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget the basic things like exercise, proper sleep, and a well-balanced diet–they go a long way! Instead of eating processed sweets and carbs, eat more fruits and veggies because they contain natural sugars and are loaded with nutrients. And if you want dessert, check here for MUCH healthier options!

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

The Benefits and Side Effects of Biotin

The secret to healthy hair, brilliant skin and strong nails lies in a balanced diet that is made up of a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, and plenty of water.
The highlight of today’s newsletter is a micronutrient called biotin or vitamin B7. Many people swear that biotin has improved their hair, nails, and skin. Let’s take a deeper look.

What is Biotin?

Biotin is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H (which stands for Haar and Haut, the German words for hair and skin). It is a water-soluble vitamin…meaning, it is carried to your body’s tissues but your body does not store it. 
 

Where Can We Get Biotin?

Various foods are a good source of biotin. You can get them from eggs, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, and seeds. And your gut microbes also produce biotin.

What Is the Role of Biotin in the Body?

Biotin is an essential vitamin. We can’t live without it. It is involved in many metabolic processes such as converting glucose, fats, and proteins into nutrients and energy. Biotin also supports cardiovascular health as well as the proper functioning of your brain and nerves.

Biotin also plays an essential role in maintaining healthy skin because enzymes that nourish the skin rely on biotin. 

In addition, studies show that biotin helps decrease blood sugar levels among insulin-dependent diabetic patients.

What Are the Symptoms of Biotin Deficiency? 

While biotin deficiency is rare in the U.S., symptoms of deficiency include brittle nails, hair loss, and red, scaly skin rashes.

Those same symptoms can also be caused by iron deficiency or a thyroid issue.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 30 micrograms (mcg) is the adequate daily intake for adults (19 years of age and older), and this amount is easily achieved through the diet.

So what happens if you take supplemental biotin without having a deficiency?
 

What Happens When You Take Too Much Biotin?

Since biotin is water-soluble, it is easily eliminated from the body through urine and the chance of vitamin toxicity is pretty low. And as I mentioned, it is pretty easy to get biotin from your diet. 

Taking a lot of extra biotin may interfere with some lab results such as thyroid hormone tests, so before any blood work is done, it is important to let your practitioner know about any medications or supplements you are taking.

Other negative side effects of excessive biotin intake are: 

  • Acne breakouts and changes in skin tone and texture – Too much biotin can hinder the absorption of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) which is essential in fighting acne.
  • Signs of allergic reaction such as skin rashes, watery eyes, and congestion – These happen when you are allergic to an ingredient or additive in some biotin supplements.
  • Nausea, cramping, diarrhea, or indigestion – They usually occur when biotin is taken on an empty stomach. So if you are taking biotin, make sure that you eat first.
  • Interactions with medications like anticonvulsants.
  • Blood sugar level alterations – Mentioned earlier, biotin can decrease glucose levels in the blood. Consequently, this can also result to abnormally low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) among insulin-dependent diabetic patients.

How to Take Biotin Safely?

As I mentioned, if you eat an unprocessed diet with plenty of protein, you are likely meeting your biotin needs. Different age groups have different RDAs (Recommended Daily Allowance):

  • 5 mcg daily for infants
  • 6–8 mcg daily for infants ages 7 months to 3 years old
  • 12–20 mcg daily for children ages 4–13 years old
  • 25 mcg for adolescents
  • 30 mcg for male and female adults over 19 years old
  • 30 mcg for pregnant women

For hair loss, the amount of biotin recommended is a lot higher: 2,500-3,000 mcg. It’s best to start slowly and work your way up.
If you are pregnant, drink a lot of alcohol, a smoker, or have a kidney disease, have undergone stomach surgery, have been taking antibiotics or anti-seizure drugs, or have digestive disorders, please discuss with your healthcare provider before supplementing.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

Cauliflower “Fried” Rice

I’m excited to share this yummy and healthy recipe with you today! First, a reminder that I have 2 events coming up and you’re invited. The first is this upcoming Saturday, Sept 24th in person at Park Avenue Fitness’s Health Fair! Come see me and some other top notch practitioners (details here). Second, I’ll be teaching a masterclass on weight release Oct 4th (details here). I would love to see you at one or both of these events!

So back to today’s recipe. I modified this from skinnytaste (their original recipe here).


Ingredients:

  • Two 1-lb bags organic fresh or frozen riced cauliflower (or you can make your own pulsing cauli florets in a food processor…I’d guess 2 heads worth). If using frozen, defrost an hour before cooking
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen organic peas
  • 1 cup diced organic carrots
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T ghee
  • 3 T tamari
  • 2 eggs (scrambled)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: top with sesame seeds

How to:

  • Add ghee to large wok or pan, medium heat
  • Once pan is warm and ghee melted, add onions
  • Stir and cook onions until almost translucent and then add carrots and garlic
  • Cook for several minutes and then add cauliflower, stir well.
  • Mix in the sesame oil, tamari, peas, salt and pepper then cover with a lid for about 5 mins
  • While cooking, scramble up the eggs.
  • Uncover, add eggs, stir well and check cauli and carrots for texture (I prefer al dente but if you like it more well cooked, cook until desired texture–leave uncovered so the cauliflower doesn’t become mushy.
  • Enjoy!


We absolutely love this recipe at our house. I hope you do too! Pro tip: if you or other family members prefer less spice or flavor, you can leave out the sesame oil and/or tamari and let them add it as desired to their own serving.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

Tips for Staying Hydrated and Cool

With many of us feeling the heat this week, I wanted to share some tips to help you stay healthy and hydrated.

What temp

I know it can feel SO good to drink something cold when you feel hot…and that is totally okay to do. However, room temperature liquids actually allow your body to hydrate (use the water) faster. So consider that if you haven’t been drinking much water or if you are sweating a lot to take in room temperature liquid first and then maybe follow up with something colder. The important part is to regularly drink liquids throughout the day (we aren’t camels!). Your body needs about half your body weight in ounces of water daily…and its best when you drink throughout the day. If you struggle to stay hydrated and you have a very strong preference for drinking cold drinks, that’s okay–just know that your body needs to bring the liquid up to body temperature before it can be used.

What to drink

Hands down, the best thing to drink to hydrate you and build your health is clean, filtered water. However, there are lots of perfectly good ways to make hydrating more appealing.
Adding in small amounts of mint, cucumber, citrus, ice cubes with something fun frozen inside (like mint, citrus, or berries) can make drinking water more interesting. Fizzy water can also be a good option (check out this link to see which brands have the least “forever chemicals“)
Iced herbal teas are another great option to help you stay hydrated. Caffeine leads to water and mineral/electrolyte loss so go for non-caffeinated herbal teas.

Electrolytes?

If you are sweating a lot, exercising for longer than an hour, or on a keto diet, you may want to add some electrolytes to your water. These are minerals that are lost through metabolism and sweating that your diet often supplies but if you are losing a lot of water, your food and water may not be able to replenish your optimal mineral levels fast enough (you’ll feel tired, crabby, maybe dizzy, have more muscle cramps, etc). When choosing electrolytes, there are many good options out there–check the ingredients! They should be simple ingredients like sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and a healthy sweetener like stevia (avoid food coloring and artificial sweeteners). Some brands I think are decent are Key Nutrients Recovery Plus, Seeking Health’s optimal electrolyte powder, Activation Products trace minerals, Nuun, LMNT, Natural Calm that you add sea salt and No Salt potassium salt to.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

Tips to Relieve Anxiety and Boost Energy

Real quick, I have 2 events coming up that I want to make sure you know about, one in-person and the other online. The first is that I am participating in Park Avenue Fitness’s Health Fair! Come see me and some other top notch practitioners Sat, Sept 24th (details here). Second, I’ll be teaching a masterclass on weight release Oct 4th (details here). I would love to see you at one or both of these events!

Anxiety is becoming more and more common than in the previous years. In fact, recent studies concluded that more than 31% of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetimes. Anxiety disorders are also more prevalent in women than men.

If you are looking for relief from anxiety, check out the following tips. And there’s a bonus: these tips will also help you boost your energy!


  1. Establish a good sleeping habit.

Anxiety and sleep are always connected. When you are worried and fearful, it is harder for you to fall asleep. On the other hand, if you don’t have well-rested sleep, you will have a decreased ability to process stress and react in a proper way (resilience). 

According to Eti Ben Simon, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Human Sleep Science at UC Berkeley, deep sleep restores the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety.

In order to accomplish good sleep (and enough of it), you first have to work on your sleeping pattern. 

Make sure to “set your body clock”. Train your body to wake up and sleep on schedule–yes, you need a bedtime that you stick to! To help you feel relaxed and ready to sleep, your room should be dim lit and cool. Also, avoid blue light at night, so stay away from screen a couple of hours or so before bedtime. You can learn more about the benefits of reducing blue light at night (as well as blue blocking glasses) here

  1. Exercise regularly 

Aside from diverting your focus to exercise instead of the thing that is making you anxious, speeding up your heart rate during exercise changes your brain’s chemistry. Important neurochemicals, like serotonin, that support a positive mood are released.Also, when you exercise, the frontal regions of your brain are also activated. They help control your amygdala, the part of your brain that reacts to everything as a perceived threat to your survival. Your amygdala is like a filter or a security guard that sees everything as a possible threat. Exercise helps create more balance within this hyper-vigilant part of your brain and your frontal brain (in charge of higher level functioning, planning, goal achievement, organizing).

  1. Have sufficient vitamin D and other essential minerals such as vitamin B12 or iron

Vitamin D is as important to your mental health as it is to your physical health. Your body makes vitamin D with the help of sun exposure. You can also get vitamin D from your diet (fatty fish and seafood especially). But if you still have low levels of vitamin D, consider taking supplements. Studies about vitamin D have found that supplementation can improve anxiety symptoms.

In addition to low vitamin D, insufficient essential minerals can lead to fatigue and mood-related conditions. 

  1. Consistently eat an anti-inflammatory diet

Healthy foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, and fish and other proteins are high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and phytochemicals that protect the brain from disease. 

Additionally, focusing your foods on protein, produce, and healthy fats provide other health benefits such as improving your blood sugar levels, gut health, and decreasing your risk for obesity.

  1. Drink soothing herbal teas and use essential oils 

Try incorporating herbal teas such as chamomile tea in your routine. Chamomile lowers inflammation, improves sleep, and helps in digestion. It’s a caffeine-free alternative for green tea.

For essential oils, lavender is known to help ease feelings of anxiety. You can diffuse it before bedtime to help you relax and fall asleep. You can also dilute it in a carrier oil and place a drop or two at the back of your ears or temples anytime of the day that you feel you need to calm down. 

  1. Take supplements that support positive mood

For example, omega-3 fish oil, according to a review published in 2018, may help ease anxiety symptoms in people diagnosed with a range of physical and mental health problems.

Adaptogens are a great option, too. These are plants or mushrooms that help your body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue, and overall well-being. Examples are Ashwagandha, Panax ginseng (aka Asian ginseng), lemon balm, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, and Rhodiola Rosea.

I hope that these tips are helpful for you!

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

A Healthier Version of Canola Oil

Historically, I have been very anti-canola oil (and you’ll see why in just a moment). However, new research sheds light on some exceptions.

Canola (Brassica napus L.) was created in Canada by crossbreeding the rapeseed plant. The name “canola” comes from “Canada” and “ola,” which means oil. Rapeseed has high erucic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that is dangerous to humans. Canola was bred so that the erucic acid is reduced. As of today, the erucic content of canola is only less than 2%.

Canola oil earned its bad reputation because it is generally assumed to be refined, solvent-extracted, and extremely processed. Aside from that, around 90% of the world’s canola crop is genetically modified.

GMO vs Non-GMO Canola

Although most canola oil is sourced from GMOs, let me clarify that breeding plant varieties (for example, from rapeseed to canola) is different from genetically modifying it. Breeding has been done for thousands of years, while genetic modification is a recent development.

Despite the fact that most sources of canola oil are GMOs, there are still non-GMO sources out there.

An organization called the Non-GMO Project provides a Non-GMO Project Verified seal for products that passed industry best standards for GMO avoidance. So if a product, such as canola oil, has this seal, then that product is non-GMO.

Canola Oil Processing

So while it is great that non-GMO canola oil exists, there are plenty of other ways that canola oil is often processed which makes it harmful to your health. 

The traditional method and commercial processing of canola oil involves heating and using chemical solvents (making “refined canola oil“). But cold-pressed oils are extracted through mechanical means alone–no heating is involved. The oil is slowly extracted by crushing the canola seeds slowly.

Canola is actually considered one of the RBD oils: Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized.

There’s always an issue of safety if a food is highly processed. In the case of canola, the process calls for hexane, a solvent to extract the maximum amount of oil from the seed. Although, there are only trace levels of hexane in canola oil and is stated that trace amounts  “should” not be harmful, you could ask yourself if you’re willing to take that risk (for myself, hard pass).

Another issue is the trans-fat content of canola oil because trans fats are related to a number of health conditions. When the oil is deodorized, it is subjected to temperatures of more than 200 degrees Celsius. Heating bleached oil transforms natural unsaturated fatty acids into trans fats and reduces the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.

So if we change the story–that is when we source canola oil from an organic, non-GMO crop, process it through cold-press, and make it chemical-free (low-heat refined)–can it be healthy?

What’s the deal with Omega’s?

One of the benefits of canola oil is its decent omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio. Omega-3 helps prevent a number of health conditions such as heart diseases, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, general inflammation, and Alzheimer’s disease. Canola oil has a 2:1 ratio (twice as much Omega 6 than Omega 3), which is certainly better than sunflower which has a 40:1 ratio, corn oil that has an 83:1 ratio, and soybean oil that has an 8:1 ratio! However, even olive oil and avocado oil are higher in omega 6 than 3 (10:1 and 13:1 respectively), so 2:1 for canola begins to look better (for those particular omega ratios) when you consider all of that.

Here’s what I am taking away from all this–use a variety of oils in your diet and do your best to choose the highest quality options as often as possible. 

Because canola oil is often used in SO many foods (salad dressings, sauces, mayos, many packaged foods), knowing that there are some acceptable options allows for more choices to be on the table (pun intended).

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

New Research on Diet & Lifestyle Tools for Overcoming Cancer Cells

Have you heard about Galectin-3 and how it helps cancer to spread?

Galectin-3 is a member of the lectin family, a type of protein that binds carbohydrates. Galectin-3 plays an important role in binding cells together as well as in the interaction between the cell and the extracellular matrix (what is outside of the cell). The lectin family has been quite famous in the dieting world in connection with obesity, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune diseases.

In relation to cancer, a number of research studies have proven the role of galectin-3 in cancer progression and metastasis. Additionally and SUPER interesting is how galectin-3 production goes up when we are in survival mode (fight-or-flight response): when the body perceives itself to be under threat, it produces more galectin-3! This increased production triggers inflammatory responses that power up cancer and other chronic diseases.If you’ve been reading my newsletters for awhile (or have eyes and ears!), you’re well aware that stress is linked to pretty much every disease…so this galectin-3 discovery makes perfect sense.

Nowadays, most people are under constant stress. We live in a fast-paced world, we’re exposed to more and more pollution in our food supply, water and environment…our attention is pulled in many directions: This has led many of us to feel like we are in a state of struggle and survival rather than thriving. I know so many people who have a hard time “turning off” at night…giving yourself permission to say yes to rest or sleep because there’s always something else to get done. Survival mode is unhealthy when it is “the new normal”. Humans are not designed to stay in this red-alert state. The consequences are disastrous. Being in this state for too long leads to inflammation, degeneration, cancer progression, and the development of many other chronic conditions.

Galectin-3–Cancer’s Security Guard

Cancer cells use galectin-3 for its own benefit:

  • It helps tumor cells bind together, develop blood supply, metastasize, and evade the immune system. 
  • It also prevents the death of cancer cells (a process called apoptosis) by forming a protective barrier/shield around tumors to protect them from your own immune system!

Having a deeper understanding of and addressing galectin-3, may allow us to increase the effectiveness of how we treat cancer.

So the big question now is how do we decrease (or stop) galectin-3?
 

2 Proven Methods to Address Unhealthy Galectin-3

  • Modified Citrus Pectin – MCP is a natural supplement derived from citrus peel pith. There is an extensive number of published data by Harvard and NIH to support this claim.  MCP can enter the bloodstream from the digestive tract, and bind to the carbohydrate receptors of galectin-3, disarming it. 
  • Meditation – We’ve got to move out of survival mode! According to an NIH study, our thoughts modulate the expression of inflammatory genes. After 60 days of daily meditation practice, galectin-3 levels among heart disease patients dramatically decreased compared to the original baseline. Remember that galectin-3 acts like a master alarm when the body is under stress. When stress is reduced through regular meditation, galectin-3 levels will also decrease.

feel inspired by these discoveries on how galectin-3 acts as a master regulator of the health and disease spectrum…and how this knowledge leads us right back to the empowering message that your self-care matters. Your body and mind work together to create health.  True, we have more stressors than ever, but we also have more tools and support than ever.

Your health is your greatest wealth. Use your tools to help you THRIVE.

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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

A Key to Boosting Energy

Do you need more energy? Do you easily get tired or dizzy?

Fatigue or weakness is a common symptom in many people, especially the aging population. But just because it is common doesn’t mean it is normal. Fatigue or weakness may be caused by a lack of nutrients, hormonal imbalance, or even lack of enzymes or digestive function. While symptoms are bothersome, they are your body’s way of getting your attention to communicate that something isn’t working the way it should.

There are biomarkers that are associated with fatigue, and among them are ferritin and hemoglobin. I’ll explain.

Ferritin is a protein produced in your body with the primary purpose of binding to iron and storing it in the tissues. So your ferritin level is a really a good indicator of how much iron you have. Hemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen into all cells of your body, and iron is an essential mineral that is part of hemoglobin. Low levels of ferritin and hemoglobin mean there’s a deficiency of iron in your body.

So how does a lack of iron affect your energy levels?

If you lack iron, your blood carries less oxygen to your muscles and vital organs (including your brain). This affects your overall function and well-being, and you may feel weak and lethargic. Since oxygen is required by your cells to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy, you will be less likely to use energy efficiently during exercise or even during normal activities. 

Typical symptoms of low hemoglobin in the blood include weakness, shortness of breath, fast and irregular heartbeat, headache, cold hands and feet, and pale or yellow skin. Since people with low hemoglobin are weaker, they tend to be at high risk for injury. Those with low levels of ferritin are also affected by poor concentration.

It is advisable to check your hemoglobin levels through a blood test (many doctors will do this if you ask). If you have a chronic illness, are pregnant, have problems with the kidney or liver, or have iron deficiency anemia, chances are you have low hemoglobin levels. However, it is possible to have low hemoglobin without any underlying cause.

You will be diagnosed with low hemoglobin if you fall into the following ranges:

Male – less than 13.5 grams per deciliter (g/dL) of hemoglobin in the blood

Female – less than 12 g/dL

Normal ranges of hemoglobin are:

Male – 13.5-17.5 g/dL

Female -12-15.5 g/dL

If you need to increase your ferritin and hemoglobin levels, here are some tips:

1. Increase intake of iron-rich foods and supplement

Take note that there are two types of dietary iron: heme and non-heme. Heme has a high level of hemoglobin, and you can source it best in meat, especially red meat. While non-heme is found in plants. The majority of our dietary iron comes from non-heme sources such as rice, wheat, oats, nuts, and fruits. 

Heme iron is easily absorbed compared to non-heme (and Vitamin C helps the iron uptake). If you are a vegetarian, bear in mind that the absorption rate of non-heme iron is only 2-20% compared to the 15-35% absorption rate of heme iron. Thus, you may also consider taking iron supplements.

The dosage of iron supplements depends on your level of hemoglobin, so it is best to discuss this with your health provider.

2. Increase folate intake

Folate is a natural form of vitamin B9 that is mostly found in dark leafy greens. It is essential in producing hemoglobin, particularly in making heme–the part of hemoglobin that carries oxygen. So if you are folate deficient, your red blood cells are incapable of reaching maturity, resulting in folate-deficiency anemia and low hemoglobin levels.

3. Increase absorption of iron

To maximize iron absorption, also increase foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene in your diet. Fish, liver, and squash are some foods rich in vitamin A, while carrots, sweet potatoes, and mangoes are rich in beta-carotene. Additionally, as I mentioned already, Vitamin C also increases iron absorption, so there’s another good reason to eat fruits and veggies daily.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

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