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Discover Your Personal Vitamin Rx

It’s difficult to write about natural remedies without addressing a core issue that leads to so many health problems—improper nutrition.

 

Much of the popular American fare (i.e., processed sugary snacks in a box like meal replacement bars, cereal, pop tarts, etc., and fast food burgers and fries) is lacking in necessary vitamins and minerals. Consequently, people tend to eat more in the body’s desperation to obtain nutrients.

 

The problem: More food equals more calorie consumption which can lead to weight gain, which in turn increases the body’s need for nutrition. The resulting vicious cycle can create obesity and starvation because the body’s real nutritional needs aren’t met—in spite of food consumption.

 

Hunger and cravings attack and emotional helplessness and self-flagellation set in. It’s a debilitating process that many can’t understand. Shaming someone for their hunger doesn’t work; it simply exacerbates the problem because the cortisol that comes from the stress of feeling shamed saps the body’s last nutritional stores and whips the adrenals into fatigue. It is like being a lone soldier on the battlefront—without a team to cover one’s back. Isolation leads to more stress and the emotional comfort of food masks the real instigator—nutritional starvation.

 

A billion-dollar diet industry has blossomed and is filled with experts telling people how to eat and what to eat; yet the problem persists. In an earlier post, I share that there is not a perfect diet solution for everyone because our bodies metabolize food differently. While a raw food diet works great for some people, another person may thrive on a protein-based, lower carbohydrate diet. There is a simple metabolic test I recommend in order to find out how your body processes food. I’d beware of any diet or nutrition expert that only advocates one kind of diet plan and that doesn’t give you a metabolic assessment first. See my previous post to learn more: http://kimberlykey.typepad.com/kimberlykey/2014/07/let-your-body-tell-you-what-to-feed-it-understanding-your-personal-metabolism-.html

 

Like the metabolic test that addresses how your body processes food, I have discovered a test that can assess your personal nutrition needs. What really excites me about this test is that it takes any existing medical conditions into consideration and provides nutritional needs based on your current health while giving vitamin & supplement solutions THAT DON’T INTERFERE WITH ANY OF YOUR MEDICATIONS. This is so huge. Even with training in toxicology, I personally get lured into wanting to take additional supplements to fix all of my ailments (or to prevent them) and I can seriously risk taking over the counter ‘natural’ supplements that dangerously interact with each other or with my prescriptions. It’s so difficult because many of the nutrition sales agents (and doctors) can’t keep track of simple contraindications of vitamins and supplements—AND MEDS. This test has a fantastic database with all of this knowledge and can recommend what you need without any dangerous consequences. It’s all HIPPAA compliant and the vitamins and supplements they supply are all top of the line pharmaceutical-grade quality. Best news is the test is for free. After a year of scrutinizing the company, I finally signed up as a distributor, so you can take the free test on my site: KimberlyKey.IDLife.com

 

There’s a 30-day money back guarantee, so try a 29-day challenge…take the test and try the nutritional supplements they recommend for 29 days. See how you feel and notice if cravings have diminished. Take note how your joints feel. Has energy increased? Is skin more supple and are wounds healing faster? Do you find you’re actually eating less and feeling more sated? Have stomachaches and headaches decreased? Has your mood improved? Does the world seem just a little bit better than it did before? That’s what meeting your nutritional needs feels like.:)

 

 Please let me know if you have any questions at Kimberly AT EncompassWF dot com.


Take Two Potassiums and Call Me in the Morning

Romantic dinner picThere’s nothing more anticlimactic to a romantic date over an indulgent dinner than getting swollen feet and legs from too much salt in the meal. Water retention. Not cute. Not comfortable. Not healthy. 

Before you give in to a ruined night and try to seclude yourself from your partner, try taking a potassium chloride supplement and guzzling a large glass of water. In 20 minutes you’ll be restored and the swelling will be gone. You can then resume cuddling  comfortably with your partner and enjoying the rest of your evening.

Potassium is a powerful need that often gets overlooked. Many have heard to eat a banana when dehydrated because the banana has potassium in it. Most people don't drink enough water and suffer from a chronic state of dehydration - and therefore low potassium.

In addition, the downside and danger of low-carb diets is that potassium gets even more depleted in the body. Because the body is in ketosis (fat-burning lypolysis mode instead glucosis), glycogen stores in the muscles are diminished along with the body’s electrolyte balance of potassium, magnesium and chloride. Therefore, low-carb dieters need extra supplementation to restore the balance.

Suffer from high blood pressure? The American Heart Association points out the need for potassium in the diet due to its ability to decrease unhealthy sodium and its powerful ability to relax blood vessel walls, which thereby reduces blood pressure. Nice!

So, while old school docs used to say, “Take two aspirin and call me in the morning,” perhaps the 21st century dictum is to take two potassiums.

Here are the FDA recommendations for Potassium:

Category

Adequate Intake (AI)

CHILDREN

0-6 months

400 mg/day

7-12 months

700 mg/day

1-3 years

3,000 mg/day

4-8 years

3,800 mg/day

9-13 years

4,500 mg/day

14 years and up

4,700 mg/day

ADULTS

18 years and up

4,700 mg/day

Pregnant women

4,700 mg/day

Breastfeeding women

5,100 mg/day

 

While I have heard that potassium is generally low in most people’s diets and that overdose from it can be rare, it can happen - especially in people with kidney disease or heart patients on certain common medications. In such cases, potassium overdose can be life threatening due to potential for fatal heart rhythms. Please consult your doctor to determine your needs and if any of your medications and supplements have any contraindications with each other. 


Substitutes for Satisfying Cravings

Cravings can wreak havoc on a diet. Here’s how to work with them rather than against them.

 

Have you ever experienced any of the following scenarios?

 

~It’s late at night and you’re watching a gripping thriller on your TV and desperately want to munch on potato chips.

 

~It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and you’ve been having fun playing with your kids at the local park and now you want to get ice cream.

 

~You’ve overslept and are running late to work and need a donut to go with the coffee you’re guzzling.

 

In each of these scenarios, a craving gets triggered and that craving often overrides any resolve you may have had in sticking with your healthy diet. In those moments, your primal brain gets activated and senses danger and does everything in its power to override the higher “executive functioning” part of your brain (the part that can delay gratification) and works to ensure that you get your fix.

 


In this case, it’s nourishment. You’re hungry. Craving no doubt. The primal brain can’t distinguish
the health factor of what you want, it can only sense there is hunger and a strong desire, so it’s activated and now you’re in fight or flight response mode (uh, really the FIGHT response). 

 

 

Pizza food craving

It then does what it can to

help you ‘hunt and kill’ so

you can sate your hunger

(cravings).

 

 

 

 

 

Thus, you cave and grab for the bag of chips or stop in at the nearest ice cream parlor or find some source of sugar to pair with the coffee. Or, in the above pic, pounce on the pizza like a puma. It’s a battle that millions of people lose every day (or win depending on how you look at it).

 

(Please note--Addicts and alcoholics have it worse because their brain connections are already wired to bypass certain areas of the brain, causing them to forget negative consequences from their substance use—and, of course, the damage from the substance use causes further brain-processing impairment. If you are suffering from addiction, please go seek help immediately and make sure you receive daily support and reinforcement to compensate for this physiological difference…a one day at a time, every day approach is key.)

 

So, what can you do to override the primal brain reaction and stick to your diet?

 

Stop fighting it. It won’t work.

 

Our primal part of our brain can act like a turbo button that overrides the rest of us—because it is wired to protect us. It’s important to realize this distinction. If you know you are being protected for survival purposes then you can work with the part of the brain that’s designed to protect you.

 

Some common ways of working with the primal brain reactions that can help it to de-escalate so that you can return to the executive functioning part of your brain include calming it down and reassuring you’re okay and safe. Here are a few methods that work really well when you’re angered (and become the scary green Hulk):

 

  • Pausing and looking at your immediate environment and saying the different colors you see which disrupts the escalation process (you can do this silently of course)
  • You can take deep breaths (inhale and exhale deeply to the count of 4)
  • Or you could also release the adrenaline rush by doing push ups or some form of exercise
  • Ask yourself, “what experience does the remind me of from childhood?” and then reassure the little child within you

 

Again these work really well when you’re angered and can help when you’re hungry too, yet in my experience, hunger cravings lasts like a fog rolling in from sea with no sunlight to be seen for days. Eventually people give in and satisfy their craving. Thus, the easiest thing to do is to find a healthy alternative. No, I’m not saying grab an apple. I’m going to suggest that you sate the craving, not the hunger, with a healthy alternative.

 

Cravings and hunger are different. If you are craving a pizza, an apple won’t cut it.  The thing to ask yourself is, “what am I craving?” Is it something sweet, crunchy, salty, chewy, or a happy memory? Then satisfy the craving with a the best yummy substitute you can find or create.

 

Here are some of my favorites alternatives:

 

  • When craving something salty and crunchy, pumpkin seeds in their shell seem to work for me. Not only are they low-varb and full of iron, they remind me of popcorn and I can go to town crunching and crunching. Afterward, I’m totally sated and not desiring popcorn or chips…unless my sweet tooth then gets activated…

 

  • My sweet tooth is my biggest craving monster and often gets treated with a low-carb hot chocolate (I make it with almond milk and stevia and add some cinnamon and cayenne for some spice). I will sometimes pair it with a square of dark chocolate that I let melt in my mouth with each sip of hot chocolate. Of course, I have low-carb paleo cakes that I microwave in a bowl and shakes in a blender made with chocolate or vanilla egg-white protein powder, ice, almond milk and a dollop of almond butter to sate my ice cream craving. I could go on and on, yet you get the point that I make a substitute and my insulin levels are happy and my cravings are met.

 

  • For spaghetti and pizza cravings, I make a low-carb version using spaghetti squash. I add fresh roma tomatoes, basil from my garden and a drizzle of really good olive oil…you’d be surprised how the similar flavors and textures sate the craving.

 

 

This post won’t go into all the recipes here. There are abundant sites online and I’ve sited a few of them in some of my other posts. What is important for you to realize is that sating your craving and finding a win/win solution will work far better and be longer lasting than if you begrudgingly chomp on kale when you are really craving something sweet (although you could bake the kale and top it off with some stevia…or have it in a salad and add some apple cider vinegar and stevia…or just jump in and make a yummy alternative that satisfies what you really want).

 

Please comment if you have any great alternatives that you turn to when the cravings strike! Happy & healthy eating!!

 


Is Your Brain Starved?

Woman holding coconut to drinkWhen I think about all of the motivations for eating healthy—promises of a longer lifespan, reduction in diseases, losing weight and looking better—the one that most appeals to me is improving my brain. If eating can help me remember things better and process information more quickly then I’m getting an immediate payoff and am therefore more motivated to select healthier food options. The other benefits of a good diet are more delayed and as a human living in an era of immediate gratification, I want results now. That’s why I titled this post about the brain because I’m hoping this will wake you up and motivate you to think about the food choices you’re consuming and whether it is going to help or hurt your brain NOW.

In short, fat is our friend. The brain NEEDS fat. Heck, the brain IS fat (at least more than half of it is composed of fat). So, doesn’t it make sense that it requires lubrication? Think about those poor nerves encased in a myelin sheath that never gets fed properly. It’s like a piece of leather left out in the sun. It dries out. It doesn’t work as effectively. Anyone who has ever read The Seal Skin story can apply that lesson here. (It’s a favorite story of mine and I’ve always wanted to reference it!)

The problem with fat is when we our arteries get clogged and health is risked by consuming it. For years, doctors have encouraged lowering fat when one has high cholesterol. Hundreds of beauty magazines have also encouraged low-fat diets for weight loss. We’ve been conditioned and we’ve seen the consequences. (This blog is inspired by the loss of my mother who lived on a low-fat, barely any calories starved existence for years until her metabolism was ruined and then she gave in and ate foods to sate her deprivated body...which led to losing her health and life to obesity and diabetes. That’s a dire consequence! Of course her body was starved and sugar was the quickest fuel, so her body naturally craved it.)

 

  "Your body is either in glucosis or lipolysis." 

Fat is not bad. Consuming fat with sugar is bad. To put it very simply, our bodies can run on two types of fuel—sugar or fat. When we consume higher carbohydrates, our bodies automatically pick the easiest fuel for energy—sugars (carbs), or glucosis. If we limit the carbs and consume fats, we can switch our bodies into lipolysis (fat-burning machines), which is what our bodies actually crave and run more efficiently on, like a fancy Lamborghini that needs high-end oil and fuel to operate optimally.

Numerous studies reveal a low-carb, high fat diet reduces weight loss, curbs health problems, and improves overall nerve and brain functioning—including easing mood disorders like depression. What’s exciting is that researchers are finally studying this issue in more depth and reporting on it. One recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine even revealed that the low-carb, high fat diet produces decreased fat, increased lean body mass, and decreased inflammation (a huge component underlying so many diseases) among Caucasians and African Americans.

The takeaway is to feed your brain with healthy fats and decrease your carbs so that it will actually use the fats you ingest. If you have been living on carbs and sugars for a long time, it will take a little bit of time to heal from the withdrawals, yet you should feel increased energy after a few days.

You may also discover improved digestion. One Paleo blogger provides an interesting analysis of the digestion topic in his post “Does Meat Rot in Your Colon? No. What Does? Beans, Grains, and Vegetables!”

Change your diet for two weeks and see how you feel. Sate your body with healthy fats and see how efficiently your brain works. Then post your results in the comments section. Looking forward to learning how it works for you! Blessed wishes and happy healthy eating!

 

 

 


Resolving the Gluten & Grain Controversy

Golden-Grain-Field_www.FullHDWpp.com_You may have heard of gluten. It seems everyone is sensitive to gluten these days. I’ve heard some people question the legitimacy of gluten intolerance and have suggested it’s just a fad. Maybe. But what if I told you that gluten and its cousins, other grains (which are abundant in “gluten-free” products), might be harming you—whether you feel the consequences or not.

That’s part of the basis of the growing paleo movement. What I like about paleo are the dozens of paleo bloggers that share their personal stories of overcoming illness and weight issues by switching to paleo (check out slimpalate, thepaleomom, or thedomesticman to name a few). While they are truly inspiring, I find that people get totally overwhelmed by the topic, don’t know what to eat or not eat, and just give up.  This post is an attempt to simplify the issue so that you can decide whether you want to eat grains or not.

First, here are a few definitions…

  • Gluten—a protein in grains that gives dough its elastic texture. You may have seen gluten in a bag next to the flour at the grocery store. It’s used for binding and enhancing elasticity in doughs. And gluten can be found in more than just wheat. It is in other cereal grains. Gluten is widely used and in some medications, vitamins, soy sauce, and other condiments, so it’s a stealthy ingredient that can cause a lot of distress for people trying to avoid it.

 

  • Celiac and other diseases that cannot tolerate gluten—people with celiac have an autoimmune disease in their small intestine and it flares up with the introduction of gluten. Other people with digestive disorders like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, endometriosis, and other diseases and digestive disorders can have similar indigestive allergic type reactions to gluten.

 

  • Grains—while there are grains of sand, the grains for this topic are cereal grains such as wheat, rice, corn, millet, oats, rye, barley…and yes, legumes (beans, pulses)…and soy.

 

Paleo stays away from all grains. Knowing that gluten can be in other grains may seem like the reason, but it’s not. Paleo stays away from grains because of the phytic acid contained in grains. Here’s why—phytic acid competes with mineral absorption in the body. Let me explain that in a different way. Ladies, you might be taking fancy calcium supplements to avoid osteoporosis. Men, same thing. Perhaps you’re taking magnesium (a post to come on this essential mineral!) or you’re just taking a plain old multivitamin/mineral supplement. Well, you can just throw those away when you’re ingesting grains because that’s what your body is doing. Yep, like a magnet it attracts that phytic acid to the mineral and flushes those healthy and much needed minerals right out of your body.

Some doctors point to research that vitamin & mineral supplementation passes directly into our urine, so they claim supplements are a waste of money. In fact, it’s a common joke that middle class have the most expensive urine on the planet. I believe that supplementation works and can does get absorbed—when its not competing with other elements in the body like toxins, metals, and phytic acid in grains.

What can you do? Well, the good news is that you have two options. Or three…(the third being that you just keep doing what you’re already doing.)

In my last post, I recommended the book, The Metabolic Typing Diet. The test reveals if your personal metabolism needs a low-carb/high purine protein diet or a high carb/low protein diet or a balanced mix of both. If you are a low-carb/high purine protein type, the paleo no grains approach will work for you. More meats and veggies.

BUT if you are the high carb/low protein type, your solution requires a little bit of work and may explain why all the sage advice in the leading vegan books urge you to soak your grains. Soaking depletes the phytic acid in grains. Eating sprouted foods does the same. See, you can have your cake and eat it too—as long as you soak.

If you’re not still sure what to do, try limiting grains for a couple of weeks and then see how you feel after you reintroduce them. I discovered all kinds of problems when I tried to eat even sprouted grains (I’m also a low carb/high purine protein type though). The pain I experienced keeps me from craving it as much. I have also found a lot of great healthy substitutes. You can check out those paleo sites for ideas.

I hope this helps explain the controversy of gluten and grains. It’s a daily process of discovery. Good wishes and happy healthy eating. You can share any questions or comments in the comments section.