How To Boost Your Immune System

How To Boost Your Immune System

Cold and flu season is upon us—but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Check out these tips on how to boost your immune system and resilience.

An important part of preventing and treating illness is being good to your body.

There are several steps you can take that will strengthen your immune system and not only decrease the chances that you’ll get sick in the first place, but help to reduce the intensity and shorten the duration of any cold or flu you do get.

Instead of just suppressing symptoms, these tips will actually improve the function of your immune system as well as attack the bacteria and/or viruses themselves.

Continue reading and learn how to boost your immune system naturally this cold and flu season.

foods to boost your immune system

How To Boost Your Immune System

#1: Eat A Nutrient-Rich Diet

The nutrients you get from food are essential to keeping your immune system functioning properly. Focus on plenty of vegetables, fruit, high-quality protein and healthy fats–and avoid alcohol, processed foods, sugar + any foods you have a sensitivity to. Also, maintain adequate hydration since water helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells.

Here are foods that emphasize nutrients essential to optimal immune system function:

Zinc – seafood, pumpkin seeds, sea vegetables, beans, lentils, and legumes
Vitamin D – salmon, fatty fish, egg yolks, cheese (if tolerable), mushrooms
Omega-3s – to support anti-inflammatory status (if you’re consuming less than 1lb of oily fish weekly, I recommend supplementing with a high-quality fish oil)
Vitamin C – oranges, papayas, strawberries, kiwi, organic leafy green vegetables (spinach, bok choy, kale), broccoli, bell peppers
Vitamin A – liver, cod liver oil, mackerel, salmon; beta-carotene: sweet potato, winter squash, kale, collards, carrots
Fresh garlic – crush garlic and wait up to 60 seconds to enhance formation of allicin
Protein – the amino acids in protein help build and maintain immune cells, and skimping on this macronutrient may lower your body’s ability to fight infections. Higher protein intake can be achieved by supplementing with a high-quality protein powder.

#2: Wash Your Hands

Studies have shown that frequent hand-washing is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves during cold & flu season. Wash your hands every time you arrive at a destination while out and about, and first thing when you get home.

No sink? Opt for a alcohol-based hand sanitizer, rather than an antibacterial one. Why? Well, those antibacterial ones contain chemicals that disrupt your hormones and can make dangerous mutant super-germs!

#3: Move Your Body

Walking, lifting weights, stretching, and yoga are all examples of movement that can support your health. Movement helps the lymphatic system circulate, which is where your immune cells travel.

Exercise also increases the release of endorphins (a group of hormones that reduce pain and create feelings of pleasure) making it a great way to manage stress. Since stress negatively impacts our immune system, this is another way exercise can improve immune response.

Give yourself just 20 minutes each to keep your immune system in shape. If you feel you’re coming down with something or your energy is very low, take it easy. Remember to avoid excess exercise during times of immune challenge.

yoga for immune support

#4: Get Plenty Of Sleep & Relaxation

Sleep and immunity are closely tied. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough quality sleep are more prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. Getting adequate rest may strengthen your natural immunity. 7-9 hours of quality sleep is best. Keep in mind, you may sleep more when sick to allow your immune system to better fight the illness.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, get a jump on it now and start something like Magnesium Glycinate to help support your body in falling and staying asleep. If you need extra support, try a natural sleep aid. I also recommend limiting screen time an hour before bed, as the blue light emitted from your phone, TV, and computer may disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Other sleep hygiene tips include sleeping in a completely dark room, going to bed at the same time every night, and exercising regularly.

Lastly, if you’re feeling stressed, make space for relaxation in your day. It’s much harder for your immune system to do its job when you’re stressed. Try stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, breath work & biofeedback to help you relax.

#5: Supplement Wisely

Before diving in, it’s important to remember that supplements should be supplemental to a healthy diet. Vitamins and supplements should not be used as a replacement for a healthy diet, BUT they can be used to help fill the gaps in your diet. There are several nutrients that are essential for immune health. Many people don’t get enough of these nutrients through their diets. But even if you are getting enough, taking additional amounts of them when people around you are sick, or if you’re already sick, can be very helpful.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all.
Dose & Duration: Take 1 tsp once a day (1-2 g) on an empty stomach for prevention, and 1 tsp twice a day (2-4 g) for treatment.
Recommendation: Liposomal Vitamin C or C+BioFizz. (Note: Liposomal forms are best absorbed).

Vitamin D + K

Vitamin D is critical for immune function. A deficiency in this nutrient may compromise immune response and increase your risk of infection and disease.
Dose & Duration: Take 0.5-1 mL (1000-2000 IU) per day to support immune function, especially if you’re not getting regular sun exposure.
Recommendation: Emulsi-D3 Synergy.

Probiotics

80% of your immune system is found in your gut, which is why supporting your gut with healthy bacteria is crucial.
Dose & Duration: Take 1 capsule per day with a meal for maintenance of a healthy gut and immune function. Increase to 2 capsules daily if you’re coming down with a cold or flu—and continue taking this dose if you do get sick.
Recommendation: ProbioMed 50.

Zinc

Zinc helps your immune system by aiding in the production of immune cells, like T-cells and white blood cells, that help your body fight off invaders.
Dose & Duration: Take 1 capsule (30 mg) per day if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu—and continue taking it if you do get sick.
Recommendation: Zinc Supreme.

Garlic

Allicillin (the active compound found in garlic) helps to support the immune system by preventing the overgrowth of unfriendly organisms. Traditionally used in herbal medicine to help relieve the symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections.
Dose & Duration: Take 1 softgel twice daily if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu—and continue taking it if you do get sick.
Recommendation: Allicillin.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry is a medicinal plant with a long tradition of use as an herbal antiviral. It’s one of the most effective botanicals for strengthening immune function and preventing colds and flus.
Dose & Duration: Take 1 tsp twice daily if you feel like you’re coming down with a cold or flu—and continue taking it if you do get sick.
Recommendation: Suro Organic Elderberry Syrup.

All supplements linked to above have been GMP certified and put through rigorous product testing (by a third party). This means that all supplements have the identity, strength, composition, quality and purity that appear on the label.

This content on how to boost your immune system is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Boost your immune system

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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. 

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#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. 

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

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

Seed cycling for hormone balance is simple, easy & natural! This approach can be helpful for menstruating, menopausal and post-menopausal women.

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.

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 for hormone balance

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

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 for hormone balance

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.

Healthy Snacks When You’re On The Go

Healthy Snacks When You’re On The Go

In this article, you’ll find a list of my favourite healthy snacks for when you’re on the go. These snacks are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, industrial vegetable and seed oils, artificial sugar and sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients. If you’re following a paleo, low-carb, keto, AIP or plant-based diet, there’s lots of great options here for you.

How often do you find yourself in the air, on the road, behind a desk or running errands with no healthy food options when your hunger pains strike?

In today’s fast-paced world it’s easy to get suckered into the overwhelming amount of crappy snack options. Not only are people pressed for time these days, but they’re also short on places to get good quality food and snacks.

Keeping your kitchen stocked with easy ‘grab and go’ snacks is a great way to avoid getting caught in old eating patterns.

Below, you’ll find a list of snack foods that I keep my cupboards, fridge and freezer stocked with. On days when I’m on the go, I pack my bag with a couple of these items in case hunger strikes and I’m still far from home.

healthy snacks when you're on the go

Healthy Snacks When You’re On The Go

Healthy Homemade Recipes

Homemade Snack Recipes

Healthy Protein & Snack Bars

Healthy Protein & Snack Bars

What’s your favourite healthy snack? Let me know in the comment section below.

SmartSweets: Healthy sugar free candy to satisfy your sweet tooth

SmartSweets: Healthy sugar free candy to satisfy your sweet tooth

Do you remember the days when you use to ride your pedal bike out to the local convenience store, pull out couch change from your pockets and go to town on Sour Keys, Fun Dip, Ring Pops, Big Foot – and a giant Freezie if you had enough coin?!?!

If I had to draw “Jen’s Food Plate” (from age 4 to 24), I’m certain 50% of that plate consisted of candy. No doubt about it, I was hooked on the white crystals.

Going back to my little Jen days, I remember Halloween (and the months following) being a VERY stressful time of the year for me. I turned into a top secret agent trying to hide my hard earned candy from my three sugar hungry brothers!

I’d hide out under tables and in closets munching on Mars bars and Skittles, hoping that no one would see me or the killer hiding spots I had for my sack of gold (aka. plastic grocery bag of sugar). AND if my brothers managed to find and tap into my stash, little Jen grew mean and Sour Ball green!

My days of popping Cherry Blasters should have ended in my teens, BUT instead, University was the peak of my sugar addiction! I remember late night candy runs to the 7 Eleven down the street from my dorm. My roommates and I would load up on bags of candy to get us through our late night study sessions.

Then check out this brilliant move I made … during my last years of school, I moved into a condo that had a Tutti Frutti candy store attached to it! Let’s just say, things spiraled down at that point – and it didn’t look as pretty as the spiral on a Lollipop.

You might be wondering what happened after my University days? Well, the muffin top growing out of my jeans was enough for me to kick my 20 + years of sugar addiction. “Jen’s Food Plate” from age 25 onward changed drastically – and so did my health because of it.

Knowing what I know now, I realize that all the refined sugar I was consuming (in combination with other low-quality foods) had a lot to do with issues I was dealing with like acne, psoriasis, messed up and painful periods, mood swings, fatigue, weight gain, and IBS.

I was able to correct many of these issues by cleaning up my diet and steering clear of “foods” that contained refined sugars. I never want to go down the path of sugar addiction again so I do my best to avoid foods that may be a trigger for me.

FAQ ..

Q: Do you miss candy?
A: Um, ya! Who wouldn’t?! ?

Q: Was it hard to kick your sugar cravings?
A: Yes, but only for the first 2-weeks or so, then I was able to re-engage with society. ?

Q: What do you eat now when you crave candy while binge watching Game of Thrones with your BF?
A: SmartSweets!!! ?

That’s right, I eat candy again – and I’m proud of it!

I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be munching on a bag of Gummy Bears or Sweet Fish (my personal favourite) and not feel guilty or shitty for it.

SmartSweets are brilliant – and I highly recommend them if you’re looking for a healthy, sugar free candy to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Here’s why SmartSweets are my go-to candy:

  • Free from added sugar & sugar alcohols
  • ONLY 3 grams of natural sugar per bag
  • 28 grams of dietary fiber per bag
  • ONLY 80-90 calories per bag
  • No artificial colours or flavours
  • Non-GMO and soy free
  • Gluten & dairy free
  • Paleo, vegan & keto friendly
  • IBS & gut friendly
  • Founded in Canada

Find awesome online prices on SmartSweets HERE!

Or find them in-store using the SmartSweets store locator.

img_2549

VARIETIES & INGREDIENTS:

FRUITY GUMMY BEARS: Soluble fibre from tapioca, gelatin, chicory root fibre, citric acid, malic acid, fruit and vegetable juice (for colour), natural fruit flavour, coconut oil, stevia leaf extract, carnauba wax. GET IT HERE!

SOUR GUMMY BEARS: Soluble fibre from tapioca, chicory root fiber, gelatin, lactic acid, citric acid, rice flour, malic acid, fumaric acid, natural fruit flavor, fruit and vegetable juice (for color), coconut oil, stevia, carnauba wax. GET IT HERE!

SWEET FISH: Soluble fibre from tapioca, pectin, natural fruit flavor, citric acid, malic acid, carrageenan, fruity and vegetable juice (for color), coconut oil, stevia leaf extract, carnauba wax. GET IT HERE!

SOUR BLAST BUDDIES: Soluble fibre from tapioca, lactic acid, pectin, chicory root fiber, rice flour, fumaric acid, malic acid, citric acid, fruity and vegetable juice (for color), natural fruit flavor, coconut oil, carrageenan, spirulina extract (for color), stevia leaf extract, carnauba wax. GET IT HERE!

Healthy Costco Food: Best healthy foods with BIG savings

Healthy Costco Food: Best healthy foods with BIG savings

In this post you’ll find a list of healthy Costco food at jaw dropping prices. The foods listed below are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, GMO, industrial vegetable and seed oils, artificial sugar and sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients. If you’re following a paleo, low-carb, keto, AIP, plant-based or organic diet, there’s lots of great options here for you.

OMG, I recently discovered a magical place called Costco!

I know I know, you’re probably thinking – “Has this chick been hiding under a rock her entire life?”

OK, so I knew Costco existed, but I never thought to venture into it to find healthy food options. Little did I know, Costco not only caters towards health conscious people like me (and you), but they also offer AMAZING prices that had me screaming “START THE CAR!!!”

The lists below are healthy Costco foods that I discovered at jaw-dropping prices!

Healthy Costco food with BIG SAVINGS …

💚 = Great for smoothies

FRESH

  • fresh organic spinach 312g ($4.59) 💚 TIP: purchase 2-3 containers, transfer spinach to freezer bags and freeze for later use 
  • organic kombucha
  • organic free-range eggs, 24 large ($10.49)
  • organic spring mix salad 312g ($4.59)
  • organic cooked + vacuum-packed beets 💚

Costco spinach

FROZEN

  • pesticide-free frozen blueberries 1.5kg ($10.99) 💚
  • organic frozen strawberries 2kg ($12.99) 💚
  • organic frozen raspberries 1.5kg ($14.99) 💚
  • other frozen organic fruit + berries 💚
  • frozen avocado chunks 3kg ($17.99) 💚
  • pesticide free frozen broccoli + other frozen veggies 💚
  • frozen organic riced cauliflower 3lb ($8.99)

Healthy Costco food_frozen

PANTRY

  • organic virgin coconut oil 2.3kg ($17.49) 💚
  • avocado oil 1lt ($13.99)
  • coconut oil/keto mayo 710ml ($10.99)
  • organic extra virgin olive oil
  • organic green olives 1L ($9.49)
  • organic apple cider vinegar 1.9lt ($8.69)
  • organic dates 794g ($7.99) 💚
  • almond flour 1.36kg ($15.99)
  • almond butter 765g 💚
  • organic cocoa powder 700g ($9.99) 💚
  • organic coffee + matcha green tea

Healthy Costco Food_pantry items

SNACKS & TREATS

  • SmartSweets, 5 packs ($11.99)
  • grain free granola bars, 16 bars ($19.99)
  • RX Bar, 14 bars ($20.99)
  • organic coconut chips 800g ($7.99)
  • organic dark chocolate, Keto Snaps 420g ($10.99)
  • organic & regular raw nuts and seeds (awesome variety) 💚

Healthy Costco Food_snacks

NOTE: Please keep in mind that prices may change. I will do my best to update the prices in this post regularly to reflect current store pricing. The prices above are in-store (not online). I shop at Costco in the GTA, Ontario. 

TAKEAWAY MESSAGE: If you’re looking for ways to make healthy eating more affordable and sustainable for you and your family then Costco is a GREAT solution.

Not only does this wholesale store carry a variety of organic products, but most of the brands are reputable companies that prioritize quality – and once again the prices are truly unbeatable!

Would love to hear about some of the great finds you’ve discovered at Costco along with pricing. Just leave a comment below.

Not near a Costco?

Many of these items can be found at costco.ca at a slightly higher price.

P.S. A special thanks to my BF for opening my eyes to a part of Costco I didn’t know about – and most importantly, dealing with my “kid in a candy store” behaviour as I lost my Costco virginity. You da best! xoxo

This post was updated on Oct 8, 2020.

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