Nutrition

DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC BLOATING?

weight, Rebecca Lazar - DO YOU SUFFER FROM CHRONIC BLOATING?

If you are constantly bloated seemingly no matter what you eat, have gas pain and discomfort, and feel like you wake up in the morning with a flat stomach but look preggers by the end of the day, read on!

MY IBS STORY:

As a child I suffered from chronic stomach pains but at the time I did not realize that “stomach” pains actually meant “lower intestinal” pains.  After enduring a bunch of medical tests in my teen years, my Doctor told me I had IBS.  He also gave me a post-it note – seriously, you can’t make this stuff up – with a short list of foods to avoid: Caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods, chocolate and popcorn. No explanation, no discussion on anything I was eating (and I was eating a LOT of crap) and no advice on anything else that could help.  Giving up these foods was difficult for me, I was a teenager after all and my Doctor literally took away my 5 favorite food groups, but I tried for about a month.  Not surprisingly, it did not help at all and if you read on, you’ll see why – and not just because the rest of my food intake was a bunch of poor choices.

So, what exactly is IBS?  It stands for “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” and in the medical world basically means, “We can’t find anything seriously wrong with you, but your intestines are irritated for some reason – possibly stress and anxiety and too much spicy food – and we have no way to fix it other than to offer meds that may or may not help, but will probably make your symptoms worse in the long run.”  OK, fine maybe that’s not exactly what it means, but you get the point.

All joking aside, an IBS diagnosis is given when other serious gastrointestinal diseases such as celiac disease, bowel cancer, Chron’s disease and also some gynecological conditions are ruled out.  The most common symptoms of IBS are lower abdominal discomfort, bloating, excessive gas and also alternating diarrhea and constipation.

Well, as it turns out, some folks at Monash University have been researching IBS and these types of symptoms for a long time and have a diet program that really helps.  Even if you haven’t officially been diagnosed with IBS, if you have the symptoms mentioned above and have ruled out other more serious issues, this program is definitely worth a try.  It helped me tremendously and I follow it for several weeks when I have a flare up.  At other times I follow a wholesome, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, gluten-free eating plan with foods made mostly from scratch. By the way, this includes dark chocolate, some awesome spices and even organic popcorn! My old Doctor would have been so disappointed….

WELCOME LOW-FODMAPS

The program I am referring to is the Low-FODMAP diet.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable Olig-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.  These sugars can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine and fermented by bacteria to produce gas.  Current research strongly suggests that this group of sugars contributes to IBS symptoms.

Even though some FODMAPs are poorly absorbed in ALL people – think of what happens when you eat beans, for example – the reason such strong symptoms only occur in those with IBS can be due to a hypersensitivity in the gut and/or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (otherwise known as SIBO)What this means is that in some individuals, the bacteria that are normally located in the large intestine, move up into the small intestine which creates the symptoms of IBS.

Now, not all individuals diagnosed with IBS react to ALL of the different types of FODMAPs.  Some of the FODMAPs can be tested using a special breath test that can determine malabsorption, but others cannot be tested and should simply be avoided to help relieve symptoms.  The test itself is controversial and can have false results but is helpful under the right circumstances.

SOME HIGH-FODMAP FOODS TO AVOID WITH IBS:

  • Fruits such as Apples, Pears, Plums and Watermelon
  • Garlic (garlic infused oil can be used instead: simply cut up 1 whole bulb – not clove – of fresh garlic, add to 1 cup organic cold-pressed olive oil and gently heat on the lowest setting until fragrant; remove from heat, let cool and strain the oil into a glass bottle)
  • Onions (the green part of the spring onion and chives may be used instead, as well an Indian spice called Asafetida powder that has a strong onion/garlic flavor, but I have not personally tried it)
  • Beans
  • FOS: Fructo-oligo-sacharides, often found in Probiotic supplements
  • Nuts such as cashews and pistachios

There are a number of foods to be avoided and others that can be consumed in small quantities at a time such as asparagus, butternut squash, almonds and some dairy products as well as gluten containing grains like wheat and rye.  That being said, in my experience it’s best to avoid ALL gluten containing grains and dairy with IBS. For details on the exact types and quantities of the foods to be limited or avoided, you can download the official Monash University Low Fodmap app or where you can search individual foods or purchase this book.  For breath testing, and/or to discuss your particular health challenges and food sensistive that may also play a role in IBS, contact me for a personalized wellness plan.

Read More

INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

weight, Rebecca Lazar - INGREDIENTS TO AVOID

I’m sure most of you know by now that just because a product is on your grocery store shelf, doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.  We all try to avoid processed candy, cookies and foods we are absolutely certain are not healthy for us or our children.  But what some of you may not know is that many ingredients found in packaged and processed foods are REALLY bad for your health and in some cases downright scary!

Many packaged foods contain additives and preservatives; are made with genetically modified ingredients (always look for the non-GMO-certified label if you are not sure).  These items have detrimental effects on the body, especially if consumed in excess.  It is important to not only read nutritional labels for protein, carbs, sugar and fats, but to read the full list of ingredients as well.  In this way, you will learn which foods are beneficial to your health and which are not.  There are almost always healthier versions of your favorite packaged foods that do not contain these harmful ingredients.  By shopping at health food stores such as Whole Foods or online at www.Vitacost.com you have the ability to make better choices for you and your family. While they may be a little more expensive, the health benefits you will get are well worth it.

The following, while not a complete list, are common food additives to avoid whenever possible:

Additive: 

            Used in:

           Possible Effects:

Acesulfame Potassium, Acesulfame-K (Ace-K)  

Protein powders, Bodybuilding powders, “diet” products.  Usually combined with Aspartame to mask its chemical aftertaste.

Due to containing methylene chloride, may cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight, hypoglycemia and possibly cancer.

Acacia Gum (Gum Arabic)

Chewing gum, candies, frosting, soft drinks & related beverages

Asthma attacks, skin rashes, pregnancy and fetal development problems.

Alginic Acid

Ice cream and other frozen desserts, salad dressings, cheese spreads and dips

Pregnancy complications and birth defects.

Aspartame (brand name Nutrasweet), E951

Diet and sugar-free soft drinks, gum, candy, instant desserts (Jello, puddings), sugar-free gum, drink mixes (Crystal light, Kool Aid), cough syrup

Mental confusion, rashes, depression, anxiety, headaches, nausea, seizures, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, insomnia.

Benzoic Acid

Margarine, beer, pickled vegetables, soft drinks, jelly, jams, fruit juice, barbecue sauce

Asthma attacks, rashes, irritation of eyes and mucuos membranes, hyperactivity in children, neurological disorders

BHA and BHT

Chewing gum, candy, enriched rice, most major grocery store brands of cereal, shortening, desserts & deli meats.

Elevated cholesterol, liver and kidney damage, infertility, sterility, immune disorders, increased susceptibility to carcinogens, behavioral problems in children.

Calcium Chloride

Dairy products

Gastrointestinal irritations

Calcium Disodium EDTA

Mayonnaise, dressing, canned beans, canned potatoes

Blood in urine, intestinal upset, kidney damage, muscle cramping.

Common Food Dyes/Food colouring, especially Yellow #5 (Tartrazine; E102)

Candy, cereal, soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit cocktails, maraschino cherries, cherry pie mix, ice cream, ices, bakery products, American cheese, packaged macaroni & cheese

Hyperactivity & behavioral problems in children (ADD/ ADHD), asthma, migraine headaches, kidney and adrenal damage, allergic reactions

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

Most processed foods, breads, candy, flavored yogurts, salad dressings, cereals, cookies

Increases LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, contributes to the development of obesity and diabetes.

   

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), autolyzed yeast extract

Chinese food, salt substitutes, soups, condiments, bouillon cubes, spices & seasonings, potato chips, frozen dinners, lunch meats

Allergic reactions, headaches, eye inflammation, brain edema, central nervous and vascular system problems, obesity (shuts off the feeling of being full), depression and fatigue.

Potassium Bromate

Some breads

Cancer

Sodium Benzoate & Potassium Sorbate

Soft drinks, packaged spreads such as hummus, tahini, etc., Yogurts

Allergic reaction; “chemical” taste in foods.

Sodium/Potassium Sulfite or Metabisulfite or Sulphites

Dried fruits (if does NOT contain, label must state “sulphite free” or “unsulphited”), wine

Headaches, asthma attacks, allergic reactions such as flushing, redness, itchiness.

Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite

Hot dogs, smoked fish, smoked meats & luncheon meats ie. Pastrami, salami, corned beef

Birth defects, cancer – nitrates can combine with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a highly carcinogenic substance.

Splenda/Sucralose

“Diet” foods, cake mixes and snacks, low-calorie beverages, diet soft drinks

Shrunken thymus, enlarged liver/kidneys (shown in lab rats who consumed Splenda)

Sulphur Dioxide, E220

Beer, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, wine, vinegar, potato products

Bronchial problems, asthma, flushing, tingling sensations, destruction of vitamins B1 & Vitamin E in the body.

Tertiary butydroquinone (TBHG)

Candy bars, baking sprays, fast foods

Childhood behavioral problems.

Trans Fat, Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Margarine, chips, crackers, baked goods & fast foods

Increases LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while decreasing HDL “good” cholesterol, increased risk of heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes, contributes to increased inflammation.

www.RealHealthFit.com

Please feel free to print this list and take it with you when shopping at you local grocery store; look through the food items in your fridge and pantry to see which items contain these ingredients and slowly switch them for healthier products.  Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions regarding this list or if you think other ingredients should be included. 

Read More

WHY EVERY WOMAN SHOULD TRY THE BODY BEAST PROGRAM

When the Beachbody Program Body Beast first came out at the end of 2012, I was extremely hesitant to try it as it seemed like it was designed solely for men, in particular men who just wanted to “get huge!”  Check out this original promo video and you’ll see why it took me a while to dive in.

This would definitely appeal to men and teenage boys everywhere, but many women have a fear of getting bulky muscles and try to avoid heavy weightlifting.  While women don’t have enough testosterone to get “huge,” I was still a little wary mostly due to the fact that the Body Beast guide booklet had no caloric intake equation specifically for women. If I used the calculations in the book I’d be consuming 2800 calories a day, about 800 more than I typically consume…..Yikes!  I also knew I’d either have to decrease the weights on the “leg day” workout or swap it out for another program because heavy weights with squats and lunges have always left me with huge quads, a look I personally don’t like.  (If that doesn’t happen to you or you like the look, then go for it!)

A program with weightlifting, very little cardio, and lots of food where the outcome is a toned, more defined body? A variety of workouts so you never get bored, all in less than an hour a day (sometimes just 35 minutes)?  This program was my dream…..if the workouts were doable and enjoyable, of course!

As it turns out, I really enjoyed the workouts and the training style of Sagi Kalev.  I know that some people don’t like his “musclehead” demeanor, or the fact that English is his second language (he’s Israeli), but honestly it didn’t bother me at all.   Sure, his humor is cheesy, and he seems to make fun of his workout buddies quite often, but who cares?  He knows his stuff, is an excellent motivator and he gets the job done.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM:

The complete program is 90 days.  Each day is divided into a different body part – the first 3 and the last 3 weeks are broken down by Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs, Shoulders, and Cardio while the middle 6 weeks are each individual muscle group – Chest, Back, Legs, Arms and Shoulders.  Since you are working out 6 days a week but there are only 5 different workouts per week, the rest day changes each week.  I didn’t love this aspect of the program, since I’m used to taking a rest day the same day each week but, hey, nothing’s perfect.

There is an option for 2 bonus workouts, Tempo Back & Biceps and Tempo Chest & Triceps.  These are a great addition to the program, especially if you get bored easily and need more variety in your workouts.  The Body Beast workout calendar (see below) includes these workouts as an option to replace some of the Build Back & Bis and/or Build Chest & Tris workouts on the specified days.  The main difference between the workouts is the speed in which you perform each repetition – much slower in the Tempo workouts.  This requires more patience, though, so if you don’t like performing reps at a very slow pace then skip it.

beast calendar

There is an option for a somewhat different schedule, called “Lean Beast” which includes more cardio sessions in the rotation of workouts.  For women, I would only suggest Lean Beast if you have more than 15 lb. to lose, since you will definitely burn more calories at rest with more muscle and therefore lose weight, even on the “Huge Beast” schedule.

The workouts are as challenging as you make them based on the weight you lift, so lift as heavy as you can and keep track of your weights using either the Body Beast app (available with purchase of the program) or the BodyBeast Worksheets. You can take these sheets with you and workout at the gym, which makes it super convenient to stick to the program while traveling.  Sagi does a variety of training sets, such as Pyramid Sets – where the first set is lighter weight, second set is medium weight, third set is heaviest weight etc. and Giant Sets – where different exercises are done back to back.  Therefore, you definitely need a good variety of weights for this program.  Yes, I know it’s an initial investment, but when you think about all the gym membership dollars you would spend on per month, I guarantee that this won’t even come close.  While I personally have separate dumbbells ranging from 3 lb to 35 lb, it’s a lot more space saving, and economical, to get dumbbells like these, which is a favorite among home fitness users:

They range from 3 – 24 lbs, in easy to adjust 3 lb. increments.  If you are more advanced, the PowerBlock Elite Set Dumbell, 50-Pound (pair) would be a better option, as it ranges from 5 – 50 lbs.

Other items to purchase for the best results with this program:

  • Easy Bar with Weight Plates  is used often in the program, but don’t worry if you don’t have the space for it or can’t afford it as there is a modifier who does all the exercises with dumbbells.
  • Weight Bench, an excellent addition to your home gym in general.  You can use a Stability Ball instead, along with the modifier in the program, if you don’t have or don’t want a weight bench.  I have done the program using both, and while I prefer the weight bench, it is definitely doable without it.
  • Pullup Bar with the Pullup Assist is a great way to get started doing pullups; alternatively you can use these well-made B-lines Resistance Bands which comes with a door attachment – just make sure you have a sturdy door frame to use it on!

Beachbody recommends that you take their Performance Line of supplements for Body Beast but I did not do so.  They are a good quality line of products but being sensitive to some of the ingredients, and as a Holistic Nutritionist with access to more affordable supplements, I chose to get my own comparable items.   I did, however, have Beachbody’s Chocolate Vegan Shakeology*every day – my go-to treat with amazing health benefits!

The main difficulty I found with this program, but at the same time a huge pro, is the amount of food you get to eat.  Your body needs this number of calories in order to get strong, lean muscles if you are a woman, or much larger muscles if you are a man.  Since the original calculations were designed for men to get bigger, Sagi came out with an easier, updated version for you ladies out there (also useful for anyone who has a hard time figuring out the original calculation) to make sure you get the exact number of calories you need, with 2 options, based on whether you’d like to get more muscular or get leaner.

Calculate your calorie intake by downloading this Book-of-Beast-Calculator

Once you have this number, simply go to the guide that comes with your program to see how it’s broken down into portions.  It took me some time to get this right, since I had been using Autumn Calebrese’s Portion Control Containers for a while as recommended by some of the other Beachbody Programs and this system is very different.  Just be patient with yourself and you’ll get it in no time.

I found the easiest way to track my food intake was to put my allotted servings on a sheet of paper, photocopy it weekly, and cross each item off as I went along (details are in the booklet as to specifically what amount and type of food equals a serving size).  For the first 2 months, at the 2000 calorie level, mine looked like this, just to give you an idea:

PROTEIN    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT    PROT

FRUIT/CARB LIQ       FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL      FRUIT/CL     FRUIT/CL

LEG/PR LIQ     LEG/PR LIQ

CARB      CARB        CARB      CARB       CARB

VEG/BAL LIQ    VEG/BAL LIQ     VEG/BAL LIQ       VEG/BAL LIQ

FAT        FAT       FAT      FAT

AFTER WORKOUT SHAKE (since I did not use Beachbody’s Base Shake or Fuel Shot, I made my own based on the nutrition content of those products): 330 cal, 23 gr carbs, 58 gr protein

I hope this encourages some of the ladies out there to try this program. I am very happy with the results as I got stronger doing this program and see a lot more overall muscle definition.  Let me know if you have any questions about this program and I would be happy to assist you.  Order the Body Beast program HERE, or the Body Beast Challenge Pack, which comes with a 1 month supply of Shakeology* at a significant savings.  By ordering through this website, you also get ME as your FREE coach to answer any questions you have while doing the program and to help you succeed.  As an added bonus, you get Lucky 7, another Body Beast full-body workout DVD, FREE! happy

*For my orthodox Jewish followers, please note: Shakeology has 2 vegan options – the others are made with whey protein– but it is NOT certified Kosher.  Please consult with your local Rabbi if you have any questions regarding consuming this product for health purposes.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Read More

FIXATE COOKBOOK REVIEW

This cookbook was created and designed by Autumn Calebrese, best known for her Beachbody Programs, 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme and soon to be released The Master’s Hammer and Chisel.  The cookbook was created to be helpful to those doing the 21 Day Fix programs and has become very popular so I decided to go ahead and purchase it to see what all the fuss is about! Although I am a Beachbody coach, I don’t automatically endorse everything that comes from them (shocking, I know) so after making quite a few of the recipes from the book, I thought I’d write a review and share my opinion. Read on for the Good, the Bad and the Verdict:

FIXATE-book-cover

THE GOOD:

  • There are 101 recipes in the book with options for vegan, vegetarian, paleo-friendly and gluten free diets.  All are clearly labelled at the top of the page with either V, VG, PF, GF or a combination thereof.
  • The cookbook has a neat layout, nice design, and beautiful pictures of each completed recipe.
  • The recipes are easy to make and will appeal to anyone looking to eat healthy.  Recipes like Chicken Noodle Soup, Easy Pizza, Raspberry Filled Cookie Bites, and Mexican Taco Meat aren’t likely to scare away people who have never been “healthy” eaters.
  • Simple but extremely useful kitchen tips for those who are new to making healthier food choices.
  • Fantastic Sauces and Dressings Section.
  • Container measurements so you can easily incorporate the recipes into the 21 Day Fix program, as well as complete nutritional information if you are doing your own thing.
  • The beginning of the book has some interesting personal info about Autumn, and while normally I might find this annoying in a cookbook, I found it rather interesting and fun to read.  Autumn is a genuine and likable person, who is never condescending or holier than thou in her wording and approach to healthy eating.
  • Autumn quickly corrected any Nutritional information mistakes found in the book with this updated list in .pdf format.

 

THE BAD:

  • I wasn’t too happy to see recipes that had dairy and soy as part of the ingredient list.  That being said, there weren’t a lot of them and dairy ingredients can always be substituted with non-dairy ones.  On page 22, Autumn explains why she included these ingredients in her cookbook.
  • Several recipes in the book include her grandmas homemade tomato sauce (page 81) to be made from scratch.  The truth is, any organic tomato sauce brand will do and be less of a hassle.  The recipe itself was fine, but not so extraordinary that it needed to be included as part of a few recipes.
  • Some recipes are too simple, to the point of being ridiculous.  Tuna salad scooped into a tomato, Poached egg on a slice of toast with a layer of steamed asparagus or Spreading hummus on a sliced cucumber and rolling it up with sliced red peppers …… Do we really need instructions on how to make any of that?  I suppose if you’ve never stepped foot into a kitchen or really can’t think outside the box, those recipes will be helpful but I felt it was completely unnecessary.

 

THE VERDICT:

Fixate is not a cookbook with recipes that will make you “ooh” and “aah” over all the amazing food but what it does have is healthy, doable and tasty recipes with a clear indication of portions per recipe using Autumn’s 21 Day Fix Food Containers.  Incidentally, if you don’t want to do the fitness program, but are interested in the cookbook, you can purchase the containers separately HERE.

Overall, I would say for the $20 it’s a worthwhile purchase, especially if you are following the program and need new ideas.  On the other hand, if you are an experienced healthy eater it might not be worth it for you.

Recipes I particularly enjoy and make often are the: Quinoa and bean salad (page 63), Toasted kale salad (page 69), Banana oat pancakes (page 95), Vegetable egg cups (page 119), Italian meatballs (page 153), Turkey sloppy joes (page 171), Zuchinni chips (page 203) and Chocolate chip cookies (page 211).  I haven’t made nearly all the recipes, so I am sure there will more to add to the list at a later date.  Share below what you like or dislike about the cookbook; I would love to read your comments and opinions. happy

Read More

HOLISTIC NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS

“I have been getting these headaches lately, what can I take?” Or, “I don’t know why, but my stomach has been bothering me lately I need a supplement to fix it.”  These are a couple of examples of the questions I get asked on a daily basis.  Many people are under the assumption that a Holistic Nutritionist can offer a quick fix to their health problem or a band-aid solution to whatever ails them.  Then again, maybe I should feel honored that people believe I can cure them on the spot!  Unfortunately, it’s usually not as easy as that.  You see, while there are a number of supplements and remedies that can offer quick relief of symptoms, typically the issue has been going on for a while and we need to uncover the cause of the problem in order to find a long-term solution .

When you go the Doctor, his or her main job is to get you out of your discomfort or pain and to make sure you don’t have a serious illness.  A Holistic Nutritionist works in a completely different manner.  Of course, we also want to make sure you don’t have a serious illness, but since we are not trained to determine that, (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked to “diagnose” things) it is always best to consult with your Medical Doctor if you are concerned about a persistent symptom.  On the other hand, if you have had the same symptom(s) for years OR you have already received a diagnosis of your condition, that’s where we come in.  For example, your Doctor may tell you that you have gastric reflux or chronic migraine headaches or high cholesterol, and he/she will want to give you prescription medicine to take every time your “issue” comes up, or even daily to prevent the problem in the first place.  Unfortunately, too often those medicines simply block the problem from surfacing and don’t really “fix” anything; many times, they actually make the problem worse in the long run, or cause new health issues to emerge, as in the case of antacids, corticosteroids, blood pressure lowering medication and others.

medicine-side-effects

So why are so many people tempted to go this route?  Usually because (a) it will get them out of their discomfort quickly, which is certainly understandable so I’m not diminishing that fact; and (b) for some reason I’ve never been able to understand, they are terrified of not listening to the Doctor or trying a healthier alternative before resorting to harmful prescription medications.

Unlike some others in my field, I’m not opposed to Doctors or medicine when required.  Obviously, if you have a raging infection and need antibiotics right away, or are in a tremendous amount of pain or you simply don’t feel comfortable with natural medicine, then you should absolutely follow the treatment plan your Doctor provides.  The issue I have is that more often than not, unnecessary medications or repeated antibiotics are prescribed for chronic health issues when a much simpler treatment plan will correct the imbalance with time.  And that’s the important part: the process can take a while, since it took time for your body to get so out of whack in the first place!  It involves changing your lifestyle, your diet, determining which foods you might be sensitive or allergic to, finding the type and level of toxicities in your environment and the food your ingesting as well as dealing with any emotional factors or hormonal problems that may be contributing to your problem.  This, along with the appropriate vitamins and supplements – which often need to be reviewed and updated every month to ensure progression towards better health – generally takes a lot longer than the the quick fix pill your doctor will provide.  Eventually you will feel better, have more energy and not get the symptoms making you feel like crap in the first place, but it certainly won’t be overnight.

All that being said, in acute mild illnesses or discomfort, such as a cold or sore throat, sinusitis, acute digestive upset, stress due to a particular event, etc., herbal, homeopathic redmedies and essential oils can provide fantastic quick relief in most cases without suppressing the bodies natural functions the way OTC medications do, but when those very same colds or sore throats are chronic, the underlying cause has to be dealt with.

I hope this helps clear up your understanding of Holistic Nutrition and Natural medicine.  Contact me HERE  and I will be happy to help you any way I can. happy

Read More
Page 1 of 612345...Last »