5 Ways To Treat IBS Naturally

5 Ways To Treat IBS Naturally

IMAGINE HAVING A CONDITION with symptoms that leave you scrambling to find a bathroom at the worst possible moment OR anxious about traveling because you worry that your constipation will act up OR missing out on important moments in life because of stomach pain.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a widely diagnosed, often misunderstood condition that affects a large percentage of the population.

Symptoms of IBS include gas, bloating, and abdominal pain, accompanied by constipation, diarrhea, or both.

Because there is no recognized cause of IBS in conventional medicine, the standard treatment is to suppress symptoms through the use of drugs, like laxatives and pain meds. Reports of use show low satisfaction with little relief; and many of these drugs cause side effects that are similar to, if not worse than, the IBS symptoms themselves.

The problem with these so called treatments is that they focus on alleviating symptoms of IBS instead of actually fixing the underlying problems.

For the greater part of my life, I suffered from IBS with symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation and severe stomach pain. Most doctors gave me very little hope and none of them attempted to find the root cause of my problem. The common advice was to eat more fiber, avoid coffee and take a laxative.

I know from experience just how frustrating it can be to seek help and healing from your doctor, only to find no answers and possibly have your symptoms poorly managed with pills

In this article, I’m going to share with you 5 natural steps you can take to help treat the root cause of your IBS, so you can begin to enjoy life without daily nagging IBS symptoms.

These steps have been life-changing for me and have allowed me to put over 20 years of IBS behind me. I truly feel they are worth the effort and investment if you are serious about getting your gut healthy and living symptom free!

how to treat IBS naturally, food intolerance

5 Ways to Treat IBS Naturally 

#1: Identify Food Intolerances

Food sensitivities are extremely common among people with IBS and are often responsible for causing symptoms or making them worse. We know that certain food proteins (ie. gluten) can lead to inflammation in sensitive individuals, especially where a leaky gut is already present, and studies show that at least two-thirds of people with IBS show chronic low-grade inflammation. (1, 2)

IBS-like symptoms occur in most people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), making the two conditions nearly indistinguishable in many cases. One study estimated that about one-third of people with IBS have NCGS. (1)

Proteins in dairy, yeast, soy, eggs, and other foods may also contribute to IBS. (2) Removing problematic foods from your diet is an important first step in healing your gut and treating your IBS.

In addition, clinical trials have consistently shown that a low-FODMAP diet can significantly reduce the severity of IBS symptoms. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols and are short-chain carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion.

FODMAPs can cause problems in IBS patients for a couple of reasons. First, unabsorbed FODMAPs draw liquid into the intestines, which can contribute to abdominal discomfort and diarrhea. Second, these unabsorbed FODMAPs are fermented by intestinal bacteria, resulting in gas, bloating, and abdominal distention.

While a low-FODMAP diet can provide safe and immediate relief to those with IBS, it’s important to also address the underlying causes of the IBS and avoid staying on a low-FODMAP diet long term.

The gold standard for identifying food intolerances is an elimination diet. It requires a larger commitment, but it’s cheap and effective, and there are plenty of resources available to guide people through both the elimination phase and the slow reintroduction of foods.

TRY: The Love Your Gut Program. In this program, I coach you through an elimination diet for IBS and teach you how to properly reintroduce foods. 

#2: Support Digestion

Most people with IBS have compromised digestion due to digestive enzyme deficiency.

Digestive enzymes are small proteins that help to break down food. If you are deficient in any of these enzymes, your body may not be breaking down food as well as it should, leading to major issues in the digestive tract and an imbalance in gut bacteria (the “bad” bacteria can outnumber the “good”).

Enzyme deficiency can be caused by a number of factors including a leaky gut, low stomach acid, inflammation from food sensitivities and toxins, chronic stress, genetics, and aging.

Since enzyme deficiency is common in people with IBS, it’s important to support digestion with digestive enzymes. The supplement I use and recommend is Digestzymes. Learn more about Digestzymes here. 

The Ultimate gut Support KIt for IBS

3 key supplements to help treat IBS naturally. You’ll recieve a gut repair formula, digestive enzymes + probiotics.  SAVE $10 + shipping is FREE!

 

#3: Repair Your Gut

Small gaps in the intestinal wall called tight junctions allow water and nutrients to pass through into the bloodstream, while blocking the passage of harmful substances. Intestinal permeability refers to how easily substances pass through the intestinal wall.

Certain external factors, including food, infections, toxins, and stress, can break apart the tight junctions in your intestinal wall.

When the tight junctions of intestinal walls become loose, the gut becomes more permeable, which may allow toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles to pass from the gut into the bloodstream. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as “leaky gut.”

When the gut is “leaky” and bacteria and toxins enter the bloodstream, it can cause widespread inflammation and possibly trigger a reaction from the immune system.

Leaky gut and associated low-grade immune activation affect between 12 and 50 percent of people suffering from IBS. (3, 4, 5)

Supplements that can help re-establish the intestinal barrier and heal a leaky gut include: L-glutamine, MSM and quercetin, N-acetyl glucosamine, nucin, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, chamomile and cat’s claw.

The supplement I use and recommend is GI-Revive since it contains several of the above supplements in an effective blend. Learn more about GI Revive here.

Probiotics can also help repair gut permeability, which brings me to my next step …

#4: Repopulate Your Gut with Good Bacteria

IBS symptoms have been linked to certain changes in the gut bacteria. For example, people with IBS have lower amounts of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in their guts, and higher levels of harmful Streptococcus, E. coli and Clostridium. (6, 7)

Additionally, up to 80% of IBS patients experience bacterial overgrowth in their small intestines (also known as SIBO), which can lead to many of their symptoms. (8)

It’s important to note that certain medications used to treat IBS can damage the healthy bacteria living in the gut. (9)

Changes in the gut flora may influence IBS symptoms which is why probiotics are being increasingly investigated as a treatment option for IBS. Aside from their potential to reshape the gut microbiome, there are several ways probiotics may improve IBS symptoms: changing intestinal motility, reducing gut sensitivity, improving intestinal barrier function, and calming gut inflammation and immune activation, to name a few.

The overwhelming trend is that probiotics have a beneficial impact on people with IBS, and there’s more than enough evidence to support their incorporation into a treatment protocol. (10, 11, 12, 13)

However, not all probiotics are alike. In fact, the term “probiotic” covers many different strains and types of bacteria and yeasts. Their health effects vary depending on the type.

Probiotics that have had positive results in treating IBS in placebo-controlled trials include various Lactobacillus species like L. rhamnosus GG and L. acidophilus, various Bifidobacterium species like B. infantis and B. longum, and mixtures of strains. (14, 15, 16)

ProbioMed 50 contains many of the bacteria species listed above which is why it’s my recommended probiotic for people with IBS. Learn more about ProbioMed 50 here.

stress and IBS

#5: Reduce Stress

It’s very clear that many, if not most, cases of IBS involve physical causes, BUT extensive research on the gut–brain connection shows how impactful mental function is on the gut and digestion.

The digestive system is connected to the brain directly through nerve pathways and also indirectly via the endocrine and immune systems. Stress signals in these pathways can cause changes in intestinal motility and secretion, increased visceral sensitivity and intestinal permeability, and even disruptions of the intestinal microbiota–all of which are symptoms of IBS. (17) Stress can not only trigger IBS symptoms, but often makes them worse and longer-lasting.

Several approaches targeting the gut-brain connection have been studied and found to be effective for treating IBS patients. Here are some well researched strategies that may help:

Yoga

A 2015 study in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine found that people with IBS who took an hour-long yoga class three days a week for 12 weeks had less severe symptoms and improved quality of life. The researchers noted that the combination of yoga postures and breath control exercises worked to help alleviate stress and reduce anxiety related to IBS.

TRY: If you are new to yoga, find a studio near you and start with beginner, gentle or relaxation classes, 1-3 times/week. You can also do a regular at-home yoga practice since there are plenty of online yoga classes available.

Meditation & Breath Work 

In a 2015 study in the journal PLOS ONE, people with IBS attended a weekly relaxation program that included meditation and breathing exercises and were encouraged to practice the routine for 15 to 20 minutes every day at home. After nine weeks, the group reported much lower levels of IBS-related anxiety.

TRY: Download a meditation app on your phone (ie. Headspace, Calm, Aura) and fit 15 to 20 minutes of meditation and/or breathing exercises into your day. You can split this up during the day to make it easier. For example, try a 5-minute meditation before getting out of bed, then a 5-minute breathing exercise mid-day and a 5 to 10 minute meditation before bed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

The goal of CBT is to help you increase awareness of your thoughts and behavior and learn how to change your reactions to stressful situations. A 2015 study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology found that four weeks of CBT sessions reduced symptom severity among IBS patients and that the effect lasted up to three months.

TRY: Google “cognitive behavioral therapist near you” to find a therapist you can work with.

It’s clear that stress reduction and mind-body techniques have an important role to play in treating IBS, and it’s vital for people with IBS to have some way of managing mental stress in order for other treatments, including the ones listed above, to be maximally effective.

how to treat IBS naturally

In summary, there are many effective natural strategies for treating IBS, and these strategies are even more powerful when used together. The strategies described here are low risk and often high reward and thus deserve consideration when treating IBS.

In my work with clients (and my own personal journey), I have seen people who have suffered from symptoms of IBS recover after fixing their diets and implementing the strategies listed in this article. The process is not always quick and easy, but the end result is usually worth the time and energy you invest in your health.

If you are seeking more guidance and support in treating your IBS, I recommend the Love Your Gut Program.

 

Learn more about the Love Your Gut Program + 1:1 health coaching with me. 

The Ultimate gut Support KIt for IBS

Want the supplements recommended in this article? Get The Ultimate Gut Support Kit. Save $10 and shipping is FREE!

Whole Body Collagen for Bone, Joint + Skin

Whole Body Collagen for Bone, Joint + Skin

Collagen is a special type of protein that accounts for as much as 30% of the body’s total protein. In particular, it’s a primary structural component of connective tissue.

It constitutes 75% of skin, 70% of ligaments, 65-80% of tendons, 50% of cartilage, 30% of tooth dentin, 16% of bone, 10-11% of muscle, and is also part of the structure of arteries and veins.

The amino acid composition of dietary collagens is very similar to those in human collagens, making dietary collagen peptides ideal for supporting body collagen turnover and renewal.

Collagen vs. other proteins

Compared to other proteins, collagen has a unique amino acid composition and a distinct role in human anatomy. Collagen proteins are rich in the modified amino acid hydroxyproline (approx. 12%), and they have an unusually high content of glycine and proline (approx. 22% and 13%, respectively).

While other dietary proteins—beef, poultry, or fish, for example—can provide these, collagen itself is a much more concentrated source, and as such, may be a more effective in supporting the strength and flexibility of bones, tendons and cartilage, as well as the appearance of skin and nails, and GI tract health.

Many individuals—the elderly in particular—do not consume adequate protein. Even among those with a higher protein intake, unless nose-to-tail eating is emphasized, the richest sources of collagen—animal skins, bones, and tendons—are not typically part of the modern Western diet.

Since collagen powder can be incorporated into shakes & smoothies, coffee or tea, soups, stews and other foods and beverages, Whole Body Collagen is a convenient way to ensure adequate intake of these unique amino acids, and for those who may need more, such as athletes, aging individuals, and those recovering from injury.

How Whole Body Collagen is different

Whole Body Collagen contains a unique blend of THREE patented collagen peptides (VERISOL®, FORTIGEL®, FORTIBONE®) supported by clinical research showing their efficacy for supporting collagen production, bone strength, joint health and integrity, skin elasticity and more. Basically, this supplement is backed by science and has been proven to work.

skin_collagen_2

VERISOL® for Youthful Skin

VERISOL® can stimulate skin metabolism and counteract the loss of collagenous extracellular matrix from the inside. VERISOL® addresses the main concerns of women with regard to aging skin: elasticity and firmness as well as wrinkles and cellulite. The positive effect of VERISOL® also shows in faster nail growth with reportedly less chipping of fingernails.

One study with more than 100 women aged between 45 and 65 years shows that the oral administration of VERISOL® (2.5 g/day) significantly reduces wrinkles after 4 weeks and leads to a significantly higher skin procollagen concentration.

VERISOL® represents a real alternative to all available anti-aging measures, possibly even including the more drastic measures, due to the relatively short period of time needed to achieve visible effects.

Whole Body Collagen

A unique blend of THREE collagen peptides supported by clinical research showing their efficacy for supporting collagen production, bone strength, joint health, skin elasticity + more.

FORTIGEL® for Join Support

FORTIGEL® is an innovative ingredient for the regeneration of joint cartilage. Collagenous protein makes up nearly 70% of cartilage mass. Optimized specific collagen peptides of FORTIGEL® have been proven to activate the growth of new cartilage by stimulating cells helping to ease joint discomfort and make the joints smooth and mobile. By keeping people physically active and mobile, FORTIGEL® can improve quality of life.

The effectiveness of FORTIGEL® has been scientifically proven in numerous studies. According to published research, orally administered FORTIGEL® is absorbed intestinally and accumulates in cartilage. The ingestion of FORTIGEL® stimulates a statistically significant increase of cartilage tissue metabolism.

weight-woman

FORTIBONE® for Strong Bones

The specific peptides of FORTIBONE® stimulate bone cells to increase the synthesis of bone components such as collagen. They have a kind of ‘signaling effect’ on osteoblasts to counterbalance the collagen degradation in the extracellular bone matrix, which is the essential framework for bone mineralization. In addition FORTIBONE® influences degenerative processes in bones by reducing osteoclast activity. The result is a considerably higher synthesis of collagenous bone matrix.

FORTIBONE® is clinically proven to promote bone health. A single-center, prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded study showed the potential of FORTIBONE®. Over a period of 12 months, 180 women with reduced bone mass participated in a therapy with daily intake of 5 g FORTIBONE® or placebo. Changes in bone mass density were measured in the spine and femoral neck of the participants detected by DXA scans.

FORTIBONE® consumption showed a significant improvement of bone density. The results showed a pronounced increase in BMD (Bone Mineral Density) after FORTIBONE® supplementation in women suffering from osteopenia or osteoporosis. The results indicate an anabolic effect. FORTIBONE® is an interesting option to counteract bone degeneration.

How to use Whole Body Collagen

  • Mix into a glass of water. For best results, add powder prior to adding water.
  • Mix into hot beverages like coffee and tea.
  • Blend into a smoothie (a great addition to the smoothies you can find in my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge)
  • Add to soups, stews, sauces, yogurt, homemade desserts and more.

I recommend 1-2 scoops of Whole Body Collagen daily. 

Whole Body Collagen helps support

• Proper bone density (mass & quality)
• Healthy skin elasticity, thickness, hydration & appearance
• Nail health
• Joint tissue health & function involving cartilage, tendons & ligaments
• Muscle strength
• GI tract health

Whole Body Collagen

A unique blend of THREE collagen peptides supported by clinical research showing their efficacy for supporting collagen production, bone strength, joint health, skin elasticity + more.

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

In a perfect world where women are healthy and feel great, the menstrual cycle and hormone production will happen naturally with no help or intervention – and many of the issues listed below would not exist.

  • Irregular cycle
  • Painful or heavy periods
  • Tender breasts or menstrual headaches
  • Acne
  • Mood swings or anxiety
  • Not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Post-menopausal hormone symptoms
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Infertility
  • Breast or ovarian cysts
  • Breast or ovarian cancer

Unfortunately, in today’s world there are many factors working against healthy female hormones, including:

  • High stress (leading to excess cortisol production)
  • Environmental toxins
  • Low-quality diet and sleep
  • Digestive issues and food sensitivities
  • High caffeine and alcohol consumption

What is seed cycling?

Seed cycling is a systematic way of incorporating seeds into your diet to bring back the important balance of estrogen and progesterone for menstruating, menopausal and post-menopausal women. This simple food-based technique can help to reduce or eliminate many of the hormone related issues that women experience in as little as one or two months.

Seed cycling for hormone balance

How seed cycling helped me 

An irregular cycle, heavy periods, pimples and debilitating cramps were my “normal” for as long as I can remember …

Prior to 16 years old, my cycle was very unpredictable and my period cramps were debilitating, to the point where I had to call my mom and have her pick me up from school because I was in so much pain. Strong pain meds were the only thing that helped to relieve the pain.

My confidence took a hit when I was 14 and started to experience acne. I visited an acne clinic and tried every lotion and potion to help, but nothing seemed to work, so the clinic recommended that I try Accutane. Although Accutane did get rid of my acne, I later learned about the dangers of this medication and it’s long term side effects.

After finishing a course of Accutane, the clinic then recommended that I start on a birth control pill to prevent my acne from returning. As you can see, these doctors were well trained on how to slap one band-aid on top of another.

Being on the birth control pill did control my acne. It also regulated my cycle and significantly reduced my period cramps. BUT I eventually learned that the birth control pill was a band-aid solution to my problems and I was just masking my messed up hormones with a daily pill. 

After 10 years of being on the pill, I made the educated decision to stop. When I stopped the pill, I realized just how messed up my hormones were. My cycle quickly shifted to being irregular (even more so than before the pill) and pimples started to pop up, AGAIN!

At the age of 26, I made some pretty big changes to my diet and lifestyle because of other health challenges I was facing at the time (learn more here). Cleaning up my diet and lifestyle helped to improve my hormones, but I was still missing something.

I didn’t prioritize my hormones at the time mainly because I didn’t realize the importance of them. In addition, my family physician considered my irregular cycle and symptoms as “normal” – and told me that I only need to worry about it if I want to have a baby. Basically, it wasn’t important for me to have healthy hormones and be fertile if I didn’t want kids. Knowing what I know now, this school of thinking is total BS.

A few years later, I came across some great leaders in female health and hormones and discovered seed cycling. Check out some great resources at the end of this article. 

I can honestly say that seed cycling has been a game changer for me – and my hormones. Within one month of seed cycling, my cycle length changed from a wide range of 27-48 days to a consistent 28-31 days (you can see the change in the graph below).

I have to say, even more exciting then a regulated cycle was the change in my skin health. All those annoying pimples that would leave behind months of scarring on my face had all of a sudden stopped popping up. This was a pivotal moment for me – and my self-esteem.

I still experience period cramps, but they’re not disruptive like they use to be; and I now know how to manage my pain/discomfort with more natural approaches. That being said, I’m still working on further fixing my hormones so period cramps become a thing of the past.

seed cycling before and after graph

How to seed cycle 

If you’re menstruating, here’s how to apply seed cycling:

1st day of period – mid-cycle/ovulation: Eat 1-2 tablespoons each of raw, fresh ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. These seeds can naturally increase estrogen levels.

Mid-cycle/ovulation – day prior to period: Eat 1-2 tablespoons each of raw, fresh ground sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. These seeds can naturally stimulate progesterone production.

If you’re pre-menopausal or menopausal, start seed cycle at any time and do two weeks of each seed rotation, as shown above.

How to seed cycle

How I incorporate seed cycling into my life

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that smoothies are an important part of my life and have played a big role in my health journey. So, to keep things simple I just toss seeds into a blender, along with all other smoothie ingredients, and voila – I have a nutrient-dense, hormone balancing meal in 60 seconds!

Want to incorporate seeds into healthy smoothies? Join my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge and I’ll teach you everything you need to know about creating smoothies for weight loss and better health + you’ll receive 16 dessert-inspired smoothies that you can easily add seeds to.

Other ways to incorporate seeds into your diet

  • Stir into yogurt or grind into “NOatmeal”
  • Add on top of salad or blend into salad dressing
  • Create no-bake snacks that include seeds
  • Munch on them as a snack (pumpkin & sunflower seeds)
  • Smoothies (add seeds to this mint chocolate chip, pumpkin pie or easy green smoothie)

Green smoothies

Tips for seed cycling

1. Buy whole, raw seeds and not ground or roasted. The oils inside seeds are very delicate and can oxidize easily, so you should grind your seeds the same day you consume them OR you can grind a batch and store in the freezer for use throughout the week. I also recommend going organic with your seeds if possible.

2. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds can be easily broken down through chewing, so you don’t have to grind these seeds if you’d prefer to chew them. Flax and sesame seeds are smaller, making them difficult to break down through chewing, so you’ll have to grind them before consuming. A coffee grinder works well for this.

3. It’s very important that seeds are thoroughly chewed or ground so they don’t pass through your digestive system completely undigested. Incorporating seeds into smoothies makes seed cycling very easy since the blender will thoroughly grind all seeds.

Seed cycling

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Get started on your journey back to health by joining my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. It’s a simple and natural approach to weight loss & better health. 

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

There are many different approaches to weight loss, health and fitness – so many that it’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to figure out which approach will work best for you.

Looking back, I spent most of my life struggling to maintain my weight through intense and excessive exercise and a “healthy” diet that probably ended up doing more harm than good. Learn more about my health journey HERE.

I did my fair share of experimenting with diets and exercise for weight loss and optimal health, so I’m aware of the frustrations and disappointments that can come about.

I can sympathize with those who feel like they’ve tried it all (and have genuinely put their full heart and energy into programs), but nothing seems to work for them – and if it does, the results are often short-lived.

When working with clients, my approach to sustainable weight loss and health is NOT one-size-fits-all. Each person and body is unique which means customized programs are often the best approach – and yield greater results.

Although the approach you take to health and fitness is important, it’s not the only part of the equation.

The one thing that most healthy and physically fit people have in common is consistent healthy habits.

They don’t dabble in a diet or exercise program for 1-month then stop without rhyme or reason and jump on board another trendy program the following year only to fall off the wagon again.

They’re more consistent than not when it comes to healthy eating, exercise and/or lifestyle practices – whatever their idea of “healthy” is at a given time.

I often get asked the question – “Jen, what’s your secret to always looking healthy and fit?”

Well, my secret in my early 20s is definitely different than my secret today. I’d argue that my current secret is much juicier given that I’m both fit and healthy today vs. just being fit (and not very healthy) years ago.

Without question, my approach to health and weight loss has evolved over the years given new research that has shaped my perspective and opinion.

My years of experimenting and gaining knowledge have led me to a formula of healthy habits that I can say with confidence have allowed me to not only lose extra weight I was holding onto, but also sustain a healthy weight effortlessly – all while gaining back my health.

Check out my top 4 healthy habits for effortless weight loss and better health …

4 ways to effortless weight loss & better health

#1: 7-9 HOURS OF QUALITY SLEEP

Research suggests that 7-9 hours of quality sleep is the ideal dose for feeling good and functioning optimally the next day (although we’re all wired different and some people do report feeling better with less sleep).

According to Chinese medicine, it’s not only how much sleep you get that matters, but also when you get it. The window from 11 PM – 3 AM (which correlates to the liver and gallbladder) is most important in terms of maintaining health, especially as we age. A bedtime of 10:30 PM is recommended so that you are asleep by 11 PM when the liver and gallbladder start to regulate qi (energy), process emotions, balance hormones and detoxify the body – all key players in weight loss.

If you’re a night owl, it may not be realistic to fall asleep by 11 PM in one or two attempts, but small steps can get you closer to this optimal window. Try heading to bed 30-minutes earlier and slowly build on that number over time.

In addition to the above, the quality of your sleep is equally important. 7-9 hours of interrupted sleep (e.g. waking up 5 times to pee then another 3 times because of your snoring partner) probably isn’t going to lead to that “well-rested” feeling the next day.

Sleep should be uninterrupted, deep and in ideal bedroom environment – no artificial lights, room temperature on the cool side, cell phone off or in airplane mode to avoid EMFs, etc.

#2: ONE NUTRIENT-RICH SMOOTHIE A DAY

Let’s face it, life is a chaotic mess most of the time and it’s not always realistic to get 3 healthy meals down the pipe.

Smoothies are a simple, affordable and realistic way to obtain the nutrients your body needs to function optimally, making weight loss and maintenance effortless. They have played a large role in my health journey which is why they made it to my top 4. Learn more about my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge.

I suggest replacing your weakest meal with an easy nutrient-rich smoothie. For most people, breakfast tends to be the weak link given the rush to get to work and/or get the kiddies ready for school.

Most convenient breakfast foods (ie. high-sugar cereals, yogurts, muffins, granola bars, bagels, etc.) don’t put your body into an optimal state to conquer the day.  These nutrient-void “foods” often leave you searching for the next convenient, high-sugar food in order to keep your sugar burning body from collapsing on the office floor.

Replacing one nutrient-void meal with a nutrient-dense smoothie that contains quality protein, healthy fats, and smart carbohydrates (in the right ratios) can make a world of a difference. It truly is a simple step towards weight loss and better health.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

I’ll teach you everything you need to know about making easy, nutrient-rich smoothies that are designed to help you lose weight and feel great. You’ll also recieve over 16 dessert-inspired smoothie recipes!

#3: INTERMITTENT FASTING

Have you ever tried a 12-16 hours fast? Most of us already practice 12-16 hour fasting without even realizing it.

These short and easier fasts are a great opportunity for your body to tap into existing fat stores and focus energy on clean-up and repair of cells (instead of digestion). So, not only is it helpful for weight loss, but also healing your body.

For some, this may sound like the impossible, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.

Here’s an easy way to implement a 12-hour fast:

1) Finish eating your last meal (dinner) between the hours of 6-8 PM (no snacks after dinner, just water or herbal teas if desired).

2) The next day, eat breakfast no sooner than 12 hours from your last meal (if you finished eating dinner at 7 PM, you would have your breakfast at 7 AM). If your dinner hour is earlier or later just adjust your breakfast to 12 hours from that time.

Once a 12-hour fast becomes easy, you can start bumping up the hours between dinner and breakfast until you reach 16 hours. Intermittent fasting can be done as often as you like (or your body allows). Start with 2-3 times per week.

Do you usually eat something soon after waking up? It may take some time and practice to recondition your body to not want/need food upon waking, especially if it’s been a long-standing habit. Try satisfying your hunger with a large glass of water, black coffee or green tea first. This can be an effective way to reduce hunger so you can extend your fasting time.

#4: 20-MINUTE MORNING WALK OR MOVEMENT ROUTINE

Did you know that your body is in fat-burning mode the minute you get out of bed? You can easily amplify the amount of fat stores you burn from your body by adding in a light walk or movement routine first thing in the morning.

Give this a try … Before eating breakfast, head outside for a light 20-minute walk. No jogging, speed walking or anything that jacks up the heart rate – just light movement.

If going outside isn’t an option because of cold weather conditions, I recommend the following:

• Use an indoor cardio machine (treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, rower), if you have one. Just remember to keep the intensity low for 20-minutes.

• Pull out a yoga mat and do some easy sun salutations and stretches for 20-minutes (check out an easy morning flow here).

Aim for 2-3 times per week to start. Once that becomes easy and habit-like, increase to 3-4 times per week and so on.

I usually do a light walk or movement routine in conjunction with my 12-16 hour fast – it’s a powerful fat burning combo!

Is your morning routine already packed with a long list of things-to-do, so even 20-minutes seems like the impossible? Before you write-off walking or movement completely, try fitting in your walk during lunch hour or after dinner. OR join a yoga class after work or dinner. Movement is medicine for the body (and calories burned) no matter what time of the day you decide to do it.

I hope you found this article helpful. Feel free to reach out to me in the comment section below.

Learn about 5 tools/markers for tracking healthy weight loss and positive changes in your health.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Get started on your journey back to health by joining my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. It’s a simple and natural approach to weight loss & better health. 

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

Did you know statistics show that ONLY 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals?

If that’s the case, are the rest of us just S.O.L. then?

Maybe not…

When looking at why some people succeed at goal setting and so many others fail miserably – there is simple science behind how we can keep our resolutions for the new year.

4 practical tips to help you achieve your goals this year

1. Keep it simple!

I’m sure we’ve all heard that one before and probably because the saying couldn’t be more true.

Studies show that avoiding large, overwhelming goals and sticking to small, attainable ones yields higher success rates.

According to psychologist Lynn Bufka – “It is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

So, instead of taking on an entire diet revamp this year, try implementing one small and meaningful diet change (like replacing one low-quality meal a day with a nutrient-rich smoothie).

2. Make it clear and real.

It’s much easier to follow through with a plan that says – “replace your breakfast with one healthy smoothie a day for 14-days” – than a plan that says – “lose some weight this year”.

You need to be specific.

Another example: don’t just say – “I’m going to start exercising.”

Instead, a specific goal would be – “I’m going to attend yoga classes every Tuesday and/or Thursday.”

Vague goals lead to vague resolutions, so set goals you can measure and/or put a check mark beside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Share your goals.

A while back I read a great book by Richard Wiseman titled ’59 seconds – change your life in under a minute’.

He dives deep into the research on key techniques to achieving your goals. This technique stood out to me…

Although keeping your promises to yourself helps ease the fear of failure, it also makes it too easy to avoid changing your life and to stray back to old habits.

Solution: Make your goals known to as many people as possible.

The greater the public declaration of your goals, the more motivated you’ll be to achieve them.

In addition, telling friends and family about your aims is an effective approach to achievement since these people often provide needed support when $#!% hits the fan.

Use social media to your advantage and share your current or next goal (Facebook groups focused on support and community are great for this) – it may just be the motivation you need.

4. Remember your why.

Studies show that those who end up making and maintaining permanent lifestyle changes frequently remind themselves of the benefits associated with achieving their goals.

All it takes is having a checklist of how life would be better once you achieve your goal.

When it comes to weight loss – focus on how good you will look and feel when you drop a pant size instead of putting attention on how not losing weight will mean continued unhappiness about your appearance.

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Is weight loss and better health on your list of New Year’s resolutions?

If so, I encourage you to join my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge to experience a simple and natural approach for weight loss and better health this new year.

Learn more and sign up HERE.

6 Reasons You May Need More Protein

6 Reasons You May Need More Protein

Do you question whether you’re eating too much or too little protein?

The human body is extremely smart and under most circumstances does a good job of telling us what we need through our hunger signals and cravings.

Chris Kresser – an integrative medical doctor in the US – states that when it comes to consuming protein most people eat the right amount for their needs since we are wired to do so. A good recommendation for how much protein one should consume would be – eat as much as you crave.

On average, this number would be around 15% of total calories consumed daily, but there may be times and certain situations that call for you to increase your protein intake anywhere from 20-35% of total calories.

I’ve put together this short article to help you better understand why adequate protein intake is important and specific conditions that may require you to increase your current protein intake.

6 reasons you may need more protein

1. YOU’RE TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT

There’s a large amount of evidence pointing to the fact that high protein diets are effective for fat loss. Reason being – protein is the most satiating macronutrient when compared to carbohydrates and fats.

When you feel satisfied, you’re less likely to over eat and/or eat foods you probably shouldn’t because your body simply doesn’t crave them.

Check out this study showing that increasing protein intake while maintaining carbohydrate content in a diet lowers body weight by decreasing appetite and spontaneous caloric intake.

To summarize: adequate protein intake = balanced hormones = effortless weight loss.

2. YOU’RE STRESSED

If you’re living in today’s hectic and fast-paced world chances are you’re dealing with some level of stress.

It’s important to be aware that stress can come in many shapes and forms: physical stress from a physically demanding job, regular intense exercise or chronic pain, illness or inflammation in the body; mental stress from work demands, family commitments or financial responsibilities; emotional stress from relationship problems, the loss of someone close, personal or family illness or lack of self-care practices.

When your body is in a state of stress, tissues will begin to break down – a ‘wear and tear’ process where collagen proteins are being used up faster than they are being replaced.

Choosing protein sources that are whole and contain high amounts of collagen (like the ones I have recommended in my 14-day smoothie challenge) will help rebuild your tissues therefore helping to mitigate the damage done by the stress response.

In addition, high stress levels can cause imbalances in your blood sugar levels. Adequate protein intake can help to stabilize your blood sugar levels therefore helping to boost energy levels, reduce mood swings, improve sleep and lift brain fog.

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3. YOU’RE A YOGI, GYM GOER OR AN ATHLETE.

When you exercise, your muscle tissues naturally break down so they can rebuild to form stronger muscles. Protein contains essential nutrients for the repair and build process of muscle tissues.

If you want to increase or maintain muscle mass and/or improve performance in your sport/activity, you’ll need adequate protein in your diet.

In addition, rebuilding muscles properly will help to decrease your chances of injury and help your sore muscles heal faster. Protein can be especially helpful after an intense exercise session.

4. YOU’RE GETTING OLDER.

Protein is especially important for the aging population since muscle wasting begins to take place as we get older.

Just because you’re getting up there in age doesn’t mean you can’t continue to build and maintain muscle. That being said, the older you are, the harder it is to process protein which is why you may need more of it.

A higher protein diet can also help to prevent tissue breakdown, which can slow down the aging process and keep your body stronger for longer.

5. YOUR JOINTS ACHE.

Protein – in particular protein sources high in collagen – is vital to many things that keep us young and supple. Unfortunately, our body’s ability to produce collagen diminishes with age, which can lead to the unpleasant feeling of achy joints.

Adding protein high in collagen to your diet (through whole food sources and/or specialized protein powders) can help repair cartilage, ligaments and tendons – and improve joint pain.

Collagen can also help to reduce inflammation and improve range of motion of the joints.

Note: The protein powders I recommend in my 14-day smoothie challenge are high in collagen. PurePaleo Protein is comprised of 70% collagen. There are numerous health benefits associated with the consumption of collagen which is why I sourced out products that contain high amounts.

6. YOU’RE INJURED OR CHRONICALLY ILL.

Traumatic damage to your tissues requires more protein to repair and recover. Protein deficiency can slow down the healing process.

Whether you’re coming out of surgery, trying to heal a wound, recovering from a sport related injury or dealing with chronic illness – you can be certain that increased protein intake will improve your body’s ability to heal.

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If you fit into one or more of the above categories then you may want to consider adding more protein into your diet – whether it be through whole food sources or a high-quality protein powder that can be blended into a smoothie or used in a shake.

My FREE 14-day smoothie challenge is a great starting place for those looking to incorporate more protein into their diet through healthy smoothies.

Most people who have added my nutrient-rich smoothies to their diet have reported noticeable improvements in their health – especially if they have decided to continue with these smoothies after the 14-day challenge.

I feel that one of the main reasons for this improvement in health is the increase in quality protein intake that people are incorporating into their daily diets.

For example, most people decide to replace their breakfast with a smoothie since it’s a quick and easy meal to prepare for the morning rush. Foods that are commonly eaten in the morning (cereal, toast, bagels, granola bars, juice) are not only very high in sugar and carbohydrates, but low in protein and healthy fats.

It’s no wonder why energy levels begin to skyrocket and fat loss begins to happen once you make this simple and healthy change. You’re now consuming whole foods that are nutrient-rich PLUS getting more protein that your body requires for optimal health.

Notes

Females who consume a 2,000-2,200 calorie diet would aim for roughly 85-100g of protein daily. Males who consumes a 3,000 calorie diet would aim for slightly under 150g of protein daily. Remember to increase these numbers if you fall into any of the categories above.

As a general guideline, 4-6 oz (28-50 g) of animal protein per meal should ensure adequate protein intake.

Join my free smoothie Challenge

Get started on your journey back to health by joining my FREE 14-day smoothie challenge. It’s a simple and natural approach to weight loss & better health.