Plant-Based Diets & Mood Disorders

We are closing-in into Christmas, and the new year shortly afterwards. All this time will fly by rather quickly. Before we know it, we will be there and ready – clinking glasses and making toasts to a year gone by!

So, I thought I’d make way for a serious topic, one that requires your attention right before you’re catapulted into merrymaking, holiday planning and enjoying with friends and family. I urge you to keep what I am saying in mind. And maybe even incorporate it as a resolution for the next year.

We women ignore so much about our health. We do absolutely nothing unless we’re truly suffering from something very drastic! Coughs & colds and minor depression are all but usual, and we carry on without a worry. Even insomnia, sleeplessness or some form of sleep disorder is quite common. We smile through all that pain, bearing our duties and responsibilities with grace and sheer willpower.

Unfortunately, many of these small issues we experience collect and continue to take a toll. They accumulate and strike when we are most susceptible. They inhibit our proper functioning and we grow frustrated as we fail task after task. We may blame our spouses, our jobs, or even our societies, but the fact of the matter is – it is our inadequate, unhealthy and innutritious food/diet that is causing this catastrophic failure!

I am recommending a switch to a plant-based whole-food diet. And in this week’s blog post I will explain why?

 

Whole Food Goodness

Vegetables, fruits and nuts – are bursting with polyphenols. These natural plant-based molecules build our immunity and defend us against pathogens. They have been known to protect against cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.

Polyphenols such as curcumin and resveratrol have amazing biological effects, especially on brain function. Plus, plant-based foods contain essential fatty acids such as omega-3 that act as mood stabilizers. They are also rich in bioflavonoids, dietary fibre and antioxidants – All building blocks of good (mental) health.

 

The Gut-Brain Connection

Brain health depends on gut health. There is a clear interlinkage.

The human gut is lined with bacteria called the ‘gut flora’. These tiny microbes reside in the gut feeding on fibre in the food. They help prevent diseases and boost our immunity. A strong and healthy gut generates a feeling of satisfaction, confidence and safety. Similarly, bad microbes can infect our gut and cause inflammation. Gut inflammation is known to enhance aggressive and violent behaviours.

Animal-based foods such as meat, fish and eggs contain a pro-inflammatory mediator called arachidonic acid, which causes gut inflammation. It accumulates over a period of time and causes gut inflammation. Bad food can also encourage the growth of bad microbes and inflammation in the gut. At the same time, gut-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free organic plant-based foods that feed the good bacteria are sources that can counter inflammation and promote mental health.

 

Beating Inflammation

Inflammation is indicative of our body’s ability to protect itself from infection. Acute inflammation occurs when the body is in fight-mode and the immune system is hard at work. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can lead to adverse results.

Chronic brain inflammation has been directly linked with developing psychiatric illnesses such as anxiety and depression. By making small changes to our diet and by adding in the nutrients we are lacking, we should be able to see a big reduction in bodily inflammation. Our immune system will function more effectively and we will stay healthier and live longer.

 

Recommended Approach

For your plant-based diet to be effective it needs to be combined with a few good practices. Here are the broad pointers.

  • Start on a plant-based diet with a high nutrition density.
  • Use high-quality (preferably vegan) EPA to protect fatty acids in your diet.
  • Morning light exposure is essential to balancing your serotonin melatonin axis.
  • Spend a few minutes exercising each day.
  • Meditation, yoga or other calming exercises are a must every day.

If you are already on pharmaceutical drugs or therapy, adding these few steps to your schedule can help you alleviate the problem. A diet is not an alternative to therapy. Discuss all changes to your diet and routine to your trusted health coach before proceeding.

Remember, the right foods protect your intelligence. Fuel your creativity. Prevent you from falling sick. Help you succeed in life. And, that is the dream, isn’t it?

In health & calm,
Gurmayll.

Serving Up a Delectable Christmas Meal Like No One Imagined!

Who doesn’t love the Christmas season?! Mirth and joy are in the air with just a hint of nostalgia for the passing year. Families and friends are gathering, and taking vacations together. There are things to look forward to – planning parties, trips and get-togethers! There are Christmas carols being sung, Christmas trees being decorated and there is a greeting on everyone’s lips. Even the most severe amongst us find a cheery disposition, if only just for the season!

But as soon as we think of all the cooking and catering we have to do…the endless shopping…the growing shopping lists…the chores…the cleaning and organizing…we feel a bit unhinged. With the passing days, the pressure mounts and we feel panicked, cornered and utterly without a clue. We are bound to! There is just so much happening!!

I know exactly how you feel. After all, I have been there myself.

In my post this week I discuss some easy and decidedly delectable meal choices that can spice-up your celebrations. They are simple and can be put together in a jiffy. No need to go scouting to the mall for impossible ingredients and scratch your brain for last-minute ideas…here’s everything you will need. And since I’ve thought of it, I’ve made it super healthy too. Give it a go.

 

1) Christmas Tea Brew

Add a dash of cinnamon or a hint of cardamom to your tea for a magical Christmassy flavour. Just buy the preferred spice and add it as you brew your tea, or mix the spice with your tea leaves and store away in advance! Either way, expect to hear some fantastic compliments on the refreshing drink!

 

2) Spicy Nuts

Nuts make for great snacks! Chop up some onions, tomatoes, capsicums and cucumbers. Add in an assortment of roasted nuts (think variety) and mix in a large bowl. Try a pinch of curry powder and some chilly. Squeeze a little lime. Garnish with sprigs of fresh coriander. These nuts are zingy but, oh, so much fun!

 

3) Organic Wine

While stocking up on your wine go for the local organic variety. Make your wine selection an adventure, who knows you may land on something incredible. The general rule of thumb is to buy a small, largely unknown and locally brewed brand of wine in the range of $15-20. These wines offer you the most value for money. And stay away from big brands. Remember, red wines are a healthier choice.

 

4) Figs with goat cheese

Fruits can be especially nourishing and stimulating on the palate. Explore their sweet and sour flavours. Combine with cheese or quinoa crackers. Or simply slice them up. Be sure to try some of the seasonal fare, like figs that work so well with goat cheese! Umm yum.

 

5) Cacao desserts

Replace chocolate chips with cacao nibs in your cakes and cookies. Sprinkle cacao powder on your dessert as you serve it. There is no doubt about it – cacao is better than cocoa in all possible ways. To incorporate cacao, just hop online and find a cacao recipe that works for you. Then sit back and relax as your loved ones enjoy a healthy dessert.

 

6) Homemade apple pie

There is no beating the satisfaction of a homemade apple pie (or crumble). It will fill your kitchen with an enticing aroma that is also conveniently so Christmassy! Use organic apples sourced from your local farmers market. Serve with fresh cream. It is bound to hit the spot!

 

7) Antipasto platter

How sensational is this idea?! An antipasto platter is all about picking what you love and serving it up on a platter – peasant style! Your choices can be Mediterranean and summery – with marinated olives, feta, dried apricots, red peppers, walnuts and pita bread, or they can be more deli style – with sun-dried tomatoes, asiago cheese, caramelized onions, grilled halloumi, mizuna lettuce, gourmet pears and lavash bread. You can mix and match with an absolute abandon.

 

8) Roasted eggplant salad

Roasted eggplant can be tasty and filling unlike anything else. Serve it as a salad with an olive oil dressing. Or roast your eggplant with a stuffing of your choice.  There are just so many ways to enjoy an eggplant! This one is my favourite – Peel the roasted eggplant and mash into a bowl. Add chopped onions, dollops of pot-set yogurt and salt to taste. Allow it to sit in your fridge before serving.

 

9) Homebrewed beer

Serving your guests your own creation is surely satisfying. And nothing keeps the connection and bond growing like homebrewed beer. If you plan in advance, you may be able to create some light and smooth craft beers to share on the big day!

 

10) Stuffed capsicum

This is another fantastic idea. Marinate and stuff your capsicum whole with cottage cheese and chilli. Grill it lightly on a barbeque for an exotic charred flavour. Enjoy as a filling side or a scrumptious main dish.

Ways To Make Your Halloween Healthy Without Spooking Away The Fun

Halloween is still pretty much that American holiday, but that shouldn’t stop us from having some fun. The weather is fantastic, a little bit of spring still in the air and a tad of summer that’s coming. What’s not to love?! With pumpkin carving, costumes and parties, and lollies by the truckload!

Not to sound like a buzzkill, or in this case “sugar buzzkill”, all that candy and chocolate can be bad for you (and your kids’ health.) As can all the soda and junk-food you pack in the name of merrymaking. It’s not just the sugar, it’s eating a lot of it at once.

Let’s try a healthy take of Halloween this year without, of course, spooking away the fun. It can still be very entertaining I assure you. Just minus the bad parts! I’ve got some ideas, so, here we go…

Happy Halloween folks!

 

Get Creative

Pumpkin carving, decorating your homes, baking and cooking and designing your costumes– everything needs a lot of creative energy! So, get your creative juices flowing and indulge your imagination.

Working with your hands on some crafts, cooking or even arranging and cleaning, can have a positive effect on your health. Think about using your mind differently and tapping into all that potential.

Bring your kids, family and friends onboard. There is lots to do and it can be a shared project. Working together, crafting or baking or simply installing fairy lights in the yard, smiling, laughing and playing around, every little bit can be satisfying. It can all add to your holiday glow.

 

Include Activities

It is often that we focus so much on food and eating that we leave behind any scope for some physical fun. I wouldn’t blame you if you too got carried away and forgot all about it.

But hey, think about including a treasure hunt that will have everyone on their toes, solving a mystery. Or go trick-or-treating with your kids. This is ideal for some supervised-fun over the merriment, sure, but it is also good exercise for you. Plus, there is always the added incentive of catching up with some of your neighbours.

Activities can make occasions such as Halloween enjoyable. And you can burn off some of the extra calories too!

 

Healthy Treats

Sugar-laden lollies are the flavour of the season. And they are everywhere, on supermarket aisles and on the printed pages of catalogues. It can be hard to resist their temptation, but as moms, we know we absolutely must!

Try home cooked treats instead. The net is full of super-easy and convenient snack recipes. There are some that you can make with celery, oranges and edible paint! What can be bad about that?!

Remember you are trying to control the sugar that you and your kids’ intake this season, but beyond that, what you are really trying to do it to have real fun. This means no damage control afterwards with crash diets, and definitely no feeling regret.

 

Talk To Me

As a Health Coach and as a mother of three beautiful girls I’ve had my fair share of Halloween fun. I know exactly what you are going through – trying to not give in and buy the treats off the shelves, trying to keep the snacking moderated, and trying to make the holiday healthy at best. It can be tough. This is why I’ve put together this blog. To give you the right advice at the right time, when it really counts.

Hope you enjoy your ‘healthy’ Halloween. Don’t beat yourself if you can’t make it healthier, just talk to me. Much love to you and your family!

Digestive Enzymes And Why You Need Them?

I am sure we’ve all heard of Digestive Enzymes and/or seen them line the aisles of our local supermarkets. We may even know that they are good for us and that (exaggerated claims aside) they aid us in our digestive processes.

It’s only when deciding their benefits that apply to our specific case? Whether we really need them? And, if we should consider taking them? – that the confusion arises.

After all these questions do warrant our most serious consideration. Overloading our systems with excessive Digestive Enzymes can be as harmful as not taking them at all. And, taking low-quality supplements can create permanent imbalances in our nutritional intake.

So, what is required is a step-by-step understanding of the role Digestive Enzymes play on our health. Particularly, if we suffer from bloating, flatulence, inflammation, chronic gut ailments, disorders of the colon, constipation, diabetes and/or pancreatic disorders. Or even heightened stress. Then their role becomes more prominent, and we need to bolster and support them.

No matter what your ‘Digestive Enzyme’ status is, in this week’s article I have all the answers to help you chart an appropriate response. And, to take that step towards better digestive health.

 

Knowing Your Body

Paying attention and reading the subtle signs our body gives us is an important first step in resolving any issue. For example, if we suffer from food allergies, low-grade inflammation or chronic stress, these conditions could inhibit the body’s enzyme function or production. Timely diagnosis and corrective action can fix the problem, but if you continue to experience these conditions regularly you may permanently hamper your digestive processes.

Ageing also causes the bodily Digestive Enzymes to deplete, and you may require to gently alter your diet to be more suited for your delicate constitution. And you may have to consider supplementing your diet for improved results.

You can easily identify deficiencies – analysing the quality of your sleep at night, how active or sluggish you feel during the day, whether you digest food well or have issues if you experience any pain or discomfort, and how calm and at-ease you feel. There are many other signs, but begin by tuning into your body and understanding its nature!

 

The Role of Digestive Enzymes

The role of our digestive function is to absorb the nutrients from food and make them available for our body’s use. Food is primarily broken down into amino acids – from proteins, simple sugars – from carbohydrates, and fatty acids – from fats. And vitamins, minerals and a variety of other essential compounds are assimilated. Digestive Enzymes facilitate this breakdown.

Digestive Enzymes are produced by the pancreas, small intestine, salivary glands and the stomach. Without them, we can’t process our food, derive nutrition from it and have energy for our everyday functions.

 

Correcting a Deficiency

Digestive Enzymes occur naturally in whole foods – fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains. So, fixing our diet to include a variety of fresh, organic and in-season produce, and moving away from processed and refined foods, can only be a good thing.

However, there are other conditions to consider. For example,

  • Your sensitivity to gluten. Gluten in foods can further aggravate a bad situation.
  • Your tolerance to dairy. Dairy intolerance and allergy can render your digestive processes ineffective.
  • Treating and managing your existing health conditions. This is important while restoring digestive
  • Preservatives and additives in foods. Additives are often added as fillers to improve and enhance the taste of food. These can make your condition worse.
  • Your lifestyle. If your lifestyle is chaotic and stressful, no amount of healthy eating will change the outcomes.
  • Enjoying your meals. Eating healthy is one thing, and eating well is quite another. Take the time to enjoy your meals without any distraction. Do not cram meals with work or eat on the go.
  • Consider supplements. Healthy dietary practices need the support of supplements to be fully effective.

 

Consulting a Health Coach

After implementing healthy dietary practices and taking Digestive Enzyme supplements, you will experience a world of a difference! Your digestion will improve and so will your metabolism. However, it is always best to consider taking on a trusted Health Coach as a guide on your journey.

Taking supplements and following a diet, requires constant attention to your health and your bodily signs. When to take the supplements? How much to take? Where do I buy good supplements from? Are supplements really helping me?

As a Health Coach, I am qualified to advise you on the tests and treatments that you need. Your holistic health and wellness are paramount. So, we’ll discuss your health concerns and uncover hidden deficiencies. We will consider everything that makes you healthy and happy, just so the meals you eat and the foods you enjoy can truly nourish you!

Cacao & Cocoa: Uncover the Difference!

Cacao versus cocoa? Is there any difference really? Or, is it just two ways of saying the same thing? I bet all of us who’ve gone through the ingredients listed on our favourite chocolate bars, have scratched their heads for a while before dismissing the question altogether. Fortunately, I have the answer, and it is tied to the nutritional value of what you’re consuming and how it impacts your health.

If what I just said makes you wonder why you didn’t find out earlier, it’s not too late. In this blog post, I uncover the fascinating differences between Cacao and Cocoa, and what is good to eat!

 

Where does the difference lie?

The Theobroma Cacao tree is the source of all things chocolate, and that includes Cacao as well Cocoa. The fruits on the tree, or the seed pods, contain the cacao beans. Raw beans taste bitter, and (in the very least) are fermented and dried before being available to chocolate makers.

In this minimally-processed state, the beans are called Cacao. Cacao may even be lightly roasted, but when beans are processed further and roasted on high-heat they begin to be called Cocoa. The distinction may be thin, but there is a major loss of nutritional value when beans are roasted at high temperatures.

Here are the process steps in brief:

  1. Fermentation: Beans are allowed to ferment for a few days in cool dark storage facilities inside covered bins. This process allows heightening the chocolatey flavour, texture and aroma.
  2. Drying: The fermented beans are then dried for a few days. Then they are sorted to be processed further or to be used as such in foods.
  3. Roasting: The fermented and dried beans may then be roasted. Heat separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest. This process enhances the flavour further and gives the beans slight sweetness.
  4. Crushing and Grinding: The roasted beans are crushed, ground and turned into a fine liquorous

 

So, is Cacao better?

Purely based on how close Cacao is to the raw state (minimally-processed state) you may say that Cacao is indeed better than Cocoa. Healthwise, it is bursting with antioxidants, essential trace minerals, and flavonoids. It is low GI food that helps you control and regulate your blood sugar. And it even boosts and enhances your brain’s cognitive function. Cacao beans are abundant in minerals such as – magnesium, selenium, chromium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. In fact, they are the richest natural source of magnesium around.

Cocoa has different health benefits to Cacao, and not all goodness is lost in the high-heat roasting process (depending on processing technique). For example, good quality Cocoa will have quite a few minerals and a decent level of antioxidants. While purchasing Cocoa, consider the organic variety. When used in cooking, Cocoa may be a more suitable ingredient as it is sweeter and requires fewer tweaks to meet your taste.

Use Cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips and Cacao powder instead of chocolate powder. Although, you should know that Cacao can be more expensive than Cocoa, and not as widely available too. This means that if the options are slim good quality organic Cocoa can be a handy substitute. It is definitely better than store-bought chocolate!

From nibs, chips, butter, powder, to chocolate bars, Cacao/Cocoa is available in many delectable forms. Generally, the darker the chocolate is, the higher the Cacao content is, making it healthier and more nutritious. Sometimes manufacturers and marketers use the terms loosely and it is better to be aware while making a choice. At other times, quality and where the ingredients are sourced from may dictate why you would pick one product over the other.

 

Why must you consider the dairy-free options?

Dairy may be the single most critical issue with the Cacao or Cocoa you’ve been consuming! Dairy in chocolate effects the way nutrients are absorbed by the body. It may be potent enough to block the consumption of essential phytonutrients and flavonoids.

Store-bought chocolate products may also contain powdered milk as a ‘filler’, and you must read the labels carefully and diligently before picking the right product. Pick dairy-free chocolate! It may be more expensive than the other options, but it is definitely the healthier option to consider.

 

Who doesn’t love chocolate? It is hard to resist its temptation. But remember, chocolate works best as an occasional indulgence! And if you choose wisely between Cacao, Cocoa and chocolate, weighing the pros and cons, and most importantly balancing your choices wisely, it can be a healthy indulgence you can savour!

Whole Fruit Vs. Fruit Juice: Making A Healthy Choice

Fruit juice seems to be a growing fad popular with everyone. People frequently consider drinking fruit juice as a healthy habit! We see juice bars cropping up at every corner and we see them crowded-full, teeming with people from all walks of life enjoying a beverage. This is a worrying symptom of a larger problem. It is easy to over-consume sugar-rich and calorie-laden juice. And if we don’t watch out, soon we’ll all suffer from diabetes, heart conditions, and eventually obesity too.

Let me reiterate – Fruit Juice is not the same as fruit. Not even close.

Fruit juice packs a significant number of fruit sugars, and unlike whole fruit, it doesn’t have the same fibrous or nutritional content. We may have to look closely, through the sheen of the marketing slogans that declare fruit juice to be beyond reproach – healthy and nutritious! And we may have to do our research. But once we have uncovered how poorly fruit juice truly compares to whole fruit, there should be no going back!

 

What makes fruit juice less effective?

When whole fruit is pounded, blended and strained into juice, its nutrition profile changes. Consider the following ways in which fruit juice is less effective on our health:

  1. Whole fruit is a whole package that contains a bit of everything. When we juice the fruit, we rid it of essential fibre and roughage. Fibre adds to the bulk, improves digestion and keeps us feeling full and satiated. Without the fibre, we are only consuming the sugar-rich juice.
  2. Whole fruits contain powerful molecules called flavonoids that boost immunity and promote health. These molecules are found in the skin and pulp of the fruit. Some of these molecules are lost when the fruit is juiced.
  3. Whole fruits also contain trace minerals and vitamins. 10% of these minerals and vitamins are lost when the fruit is processed into juice.
  4. In the case of fruit juice, the sugars (fructose and sucrose) are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This causes an instant spike in the blood sugar levels, similar to that caused by soft drinks and colas.
  5. 100% natural fruit juice contains about 10-11% sugar (natural fruit sugar). This is a high amount of sugar packed in a glassful of juice.
  6. Fruit juice can impact your health adversely, especially if you are trying to control your weight, manage diabetes or beat obesity.
  7. Fruit juices available in the market may contain additives, preservatives, taste enhancers, chemicals and added sugars. Even the more expensive juices are stored in oxygen-depleted tanks for over a year before they are packaged. The loss of taste from the oxygen depletion process is compensated for by adding ‘flavour packs’ to the juice. Compare that with a piece of fresh fruit. Even though the fruit may not be organically grown, it still contains fewer harmful substances than processed and packaged juice.

 

What are Australians choosing: whole fruit or fruit juice?

The question demands our attention! Studies show that while 60% of Australians eat some fruit, only 54% eat enough to meet the recommended limit of two serves a day. The statistic changes drastically when we consider fruit juice:

  • Over 83% of people drink fruit juice at least once a week.
  • Around 34% of consumers are concerned about the amount of sugar in fruit juices, but a striking 76% believe juice is healthy.

 

When is juice good?

Convenience in terms of packaging and year-round availability make juice a good option sometimes. Especially during hot summer months, when juice may help beat the heat with rapid rehydration. Juice is also effective during specific circumstances, when you are sick and recovering, when you are suffering from certain deficiencies and when it is advised and recommended by a healthcare professional.  People often get a variety in their fruit intake through juices than they would otherwise get by eating those many whole fruits!

Also, vegetable and fruit combination juices and smoothies are a whole lot healthier than plain fruit juice. And fresh fruit juice that is squeezed at home is definitely better than a packaged juice box from the store.

 

Bottom line?

It is all too easy to give in to the divine flavours of fruit juices, and over-consume. But it is wise to remember, that they won’t satiate, don’t pack the same nutrition and are calorie-rich. The natural sugars in fruit juices make their effect on the human body comparable to that of soft fizzy drinks. So, at best sip with caution. And if you can, swap it instead – with a piece of fruit and peace of mind!

Meet the Supergrain of the Health-foods Arena: Quinoa

The Incas believed Quinoa to possess magical herbal qualities. They even deemed it sacred, calling it the “mother of all grains”. Fast forward to the current age, and what has always been a popular South American diet has captured the world’s attention today as the superfood of our time! And the trend is quickly catching on.

There are no surprises here though. Quinoa is packed with nutrition! It is a protein-rich food and one of the rare plant-based foods to contain all 9 essential amino acids. It is bursting with nutrients – fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, zinc, calcium, iron, phosphorous, and potassium (to name a few). What is more?! It is also naturally gluten-free!

No wonder supermarkets and stores worldwide are vying to store this fabulous grain, and it is practically available everywhere. Health enthusiasts who’ve adopted Quinoa into their diet are eager to vouch for the goodness and health benefits.

I am sure that is enough to get you excited?! If not, this blog post will definitely turn you around! No matter where you are in your health journey and what your health goals are, Quinoa is good for you. If you’ve always wanted to give Quinoa a try, but have hesitated, here’s your chance to take the refreshing plunge!

 

Not a Cereal Grain. And, Did I Say Gluten-free?

Quinoa is a grain crop, but technically it isn’t a cereal grain. It is rather a seed, that is prepared and eaten quite like a grain. This means it is naturally gluten-free. Additionally, most varieties of Quinoa in the market are organic and non-GMO.

Quinoa is great for people with gluten-intolerance. For these people, it can replace bread and pasta as a staple food. It is nourishing and filling and is a healthy alternative to processed gluten-free foods.

 

Antioxidants to Fight Toxicity

Quinoa is known to be abundant in quercetin and kaempferol, the two vital plant-based flavonoids. These two important molecules have several health benefits. And studies show that they have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties. Sprouting Quinoa may enhance their inherent antioxidant qualities even further.

The antioxidants help flush out harmful free radicals and toxins from the body and reduce the toxin build-up. They keep the skin looking young and reduce the effects of ageing.

 

Loves Your Gut. And, Your Gut Loves It Back

Quinoa has a large amount of fibre content – about 10-16gms fibre per 100gms. This quantity is much higher than what most grains have!

The fibre in Quinoa can help you feel satiated and full earlier and for longer. It can also help in controlling and managing your weight as well as your blood sugar levels. The gut flora feed on the fibrous content to create a prebiotic effect and boost immunity.

 

Low Low Low GI Food

GI or Glycaemic Index is a measure of how quickly the food raises your blood sugar levels when consumed. Quinoa is a low GI food, with a GI of 53. This means that consuming this food does not lead to any rise in the blood sugar level.

Incorporating low GI foods in your diet can keep you unquestioningly fit, healthy and glowing. And away from contacting dangerous health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and even cancer.

 

Quinoa is good for health! It is protein rich and bursting-full of nutrients. Vegetarians and Vegans have a great protein booster and ally in Quinoa. It is versatile, tasty and easy to prepare. So much so that even NASA has caught on – Considering Quinoa as a healthy, quick and hassle-free space-time meal!

Why Magnesium Deficiency Is Such A Big Deal?!

Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body! This includes a plethora of essential enzyme and hormone functions. Magnesium levels in our body impact our metabolism, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, bone and teeth structure and immune function.

Magnesium deficiency is the most overlooked health problem, especially in women who suffer adverse impacts – from sleeplessness, nausea and cramps to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. In several cases, it is because symptoms don’t show until Magnesium levels fall drastically low!

Consuming Magnesium rich foods and dietary supplements may help. The incredible mineral can ease pain, help you de-stress and relax, and boost your energy levels. All while it supports your health and vital bodily functions in the most notable way!

 

Who May Suffer from a Magnesium Deficiency

The question today is not so much about ‘if’ we are deficient, rather about ‘how’ deficient we are. Considering this, the causes of magnesium deficiency may vary, ranging from inadequate dietary intake to loss of magnesium from the body.

People who suffer from alcohol, caffeine and/or nicotine addiction may lose more Magnesium than others. Substance abuse hampers the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. And, stress and a hectic lifestyle may also impact the Magnesium levels in the body.

In short – barring only a significantly small portion of the population, who live near the sea and consume Magnesium rich foods, grown in Magnesium rich soils, drink Magnesium enriched water, live stress-free and alcohol/caffeine/nicotine-free, may not suffer from a deficiency. Unfortunately, all of us others need additional Magnesium.

Women are especially prone with enhanced Magnesium requirements during pregnancy, menstruation and menopause that are hardly ever met.

 

Common Symptoms of Hypomagnesemia

Given the statistics, there is a high chance that you may be deficient, without even realizing it. While some people experience strong symptoms, others may not notice anything at all. The best course of action is to consult with a trusted Health Coach or healthcare professional and follow their advice.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of Magnesium deficiency:

  1. Dullness, lethargy and loss of energy: If you have been experiencing sluggishness and a general dip in your energy levels, it may be due to a Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium supports energy production in the body.
  2. Muscle weakness and cramps: Body aches, cramps and muscle pain are all early symptoms of a Magnesium deficiency. Some people also experience severe migraines and headaches.
  3. PMS symptoms: If you are experiencing increased pain, cramps and spasms during your menstruation, or enhanced stress and mood-swings, it may be due to lower levels of Magnesium.
  4. Nausea and vomiting: Magnesium deficiency may lead to nausea, vomiting and a complete loss of appetite.
  5. Erratic and irregular heartbeat: Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, is a serious symptom of a Magnesium deficiency. In severe cases, people also experience palpitations, an increased risk of stroke or heart failure.

 

Sources of Magnesium

It is very difficult to accurately measure the amount of Magnesium in your body. Healthcare professionals may estimate your Magnesium status based on your diet and health condition.

This is why it is important to meet the recommended dietary limit. For people aged 31 years or older, the recommended limit is:

  • 320mg for females
  • 420mg for males

 

Flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cocoa beans, cacao beans, cashew nuts, hazelnuts and oats are all good sources of Magnesium. Here are some of the best sources and the Magnesium content per 100 grams:

  • Almonds: 270 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds: 262 mg
  • Dark chocolate: 176 mg
  • Peanuts: 168 mg
  • Popcorn: 151 mg

 

Tips to Enhance Magnesium Absorption

Magnesium is a wonderful mineral that plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. Here are some simple, doable tips to increase your magnesium levels through improved absorption:

  1. Eat magnesium-rich foods and meet the required dietary limit.
  2. Eat organic, whole foods. Eat raw or lightly cooked vegetables.
  3. Reduce your intake of calcium-rich foods/supplements (especially two hours before and after meals.)
  4. Avoid high-dose zinc supplements.
  5. Treat your vitamin D deficiency.
  6. Quit or reduce smoking. Similarly, avoid or reduce drinking alcohol.

Get Going And Flush Out Those Toxins!

Feel lean, clean and free. Reboot, refresh and energize. Purge those toxins right out of your system. Let me show you how.

It’s easy to feel dull and lethargic this time of the year. Look out, there is hardly any sunlight. The winter chill is casting a gloom. It’s the perfect weather for toxins to fester. Allergens are on the prowl, and you may have suffered a bout or two of cold or flu already.

Fortunately, I have a remedy that is effective. And, combined with a few easy steps you will be fighting fit to flush out those toxins and beat the winter blues.

 

Our Biological Filtration Systems

Our liver, gut, skin, kidneys and lungs, all work tirelessly as body’s filtration systems. They have a single predominant function – to constantly remove harmful substances from the body.

  1. Our liver is perhaps the single most effective organ for purging out toxins. There are two phases of liver detoxification. In the first phase, the toxins are processed into intermediate free radicals. These free radicals are then rapidly acted upon in the second phase. If there is an imbalance in the way our liver completes the two phases, there may be toxicity build-up in the body.
  2. Our gut has several important functions. It houses the gut flora, that has been known to boost immunity. The gut performs the digestive function and processes toxins too. The fat-soluble toxins that are processed by our liver are handed over to the gut as water-soluble toxins. It’s the gut’s job to expel these toxins.
  3. Our Kidneys perform a vital filtration role. They filter out waste/toxins from our blood and help in regulating blood pressure, electrolyte balance and RBC production in the body.
  4. Our lungs help us breathe in oxygen-rich air and exhale carbon dioxide in exchange. Prolonged carbon dioxide build-up can be harmful, and even lethal. In ridding our body of carbon dioxide, and other allergens and pollutants from the air, our lungs and respiratory system perform an essential life-giving function.
  5. Our skin also has a role to play in keeping our body free from toxins. While our skin protects us from environmental toxins as our first line of defence, the skin and the pores on our skin, are especially convenient for flushing out toxins that mix with sweat. Exercising can help expedite toxin removal through sweat.

 

Read the Signs

Our body is quite capable of detoxifying itself and does so constantly. All our organs are working overtime purging out toxins. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to survive, much less cope with the circumstances.

But the growing toxicity of our environment – the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat – coupled with our sedentary lifestyle, is adding pressure on their performance. Consider how our environment has changed. It is highly polluted. There are so many more allergens lose in the environment now, and we are more susceptible less immune.

Additionally, our life is full of stress from work or even in our personal lives. This stress manifests itself in various ways, and we are either on medication or dealing with our situation using one tactic or another. Smoking, drinking alcohol and substance abuse is rampant. Binge eating and indulgence is considered a solution.

We find we are increasingly alone. Our families and friends are kilometres away as we travel for work or leisure. This loss of real-world human connection and the rise of smartphones as an easy alternative is known to have impacts on our health, immunity and internally, in the way we process toxins.

 

Reduce Your Exposure to Toxins

By embracing a health-centric, environmentally conscious outlook, we can reduce our exposure to toxins. Here are a few simple steps that will help you cope:

  1. Detox. Help your organs perform optimally by strengthening and nourishing them. I have a full-fledged Cleanse program running next month. Find out more here, or in the next segment.
  2. Eat unprocessed, organic and whole foods. Skip buying processed or canned foods. All cans are lined with Bisphenol A, which is a Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP). POPs are potent and can stay in the human body for up to 100 years.
  3. Cook your own food. Use energy-wise appliances and practices. As far as possible grow your own food and herbs. Or buy in-season produce from your local farmers markets.
  4. For cooking, use stainless steel utensils, wooden spatulas or clay pots. Or, in general, alloys that do not leach metals or harmful chemicals into your food. This includes coated pans. Avoid using the microwave for reheating food, or reusing oil.
  5. Drink plenty of fresh natural water. This replenishes your gut and your kidneys. Avoid buying plastic water bottles as they contain BPA too.
  6. Reduce your use of chemicals. Check your household cleaning products, and use alternate remedies such as vinegar and lime as much as possible. The Environmental Working Group’s website is an excellent resource for referencing non-toxic products. Even your cosmetics – shampoos, soaps and creams (everyday items) – are full of chemicals.
  7. Stop your dependence of toxic substances such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. Work out a plan to gradually reduce and then ultimately give-up on these habits.
  8. Go for brisk walks in the garden, and meditate and exercise regularly. Reduce the stress in your life by every means possible. Emotional toxins can be potent too. Smile, listen to music, make real connections, journal and maintain positivity. Don’t hesitate to seek help.
  9. Get proper rest and sleep. Switch off your smartphones and other devices that interrupt your sleep. At mealtime, stay away from television. Concentrate on your meal, on the taste, aroma and texture of food.
  10. Wherever possible replace the use of plastics with natural or organic products, that are environmentally safe. Recycle and reuse. By supporting brands that are engaged in eco-aware and sustainable practices, you may contribute to a lower toxicity footprint for everyone.

 

Join the Cleanse

Staying healthy was perhaps never more difficult. Our organs are under tremendous strain. And our food and lifestyle are missing essential nourishment. If health is your concern, then my semi-annual Cleanse program is perfect for you.

Boost your spirit.  Enhance your energy. Reduce bloating. Clean and nourish your organs. Promote positivity.

Did you know that healthcare practitioners recommend that you detox at least once every six months! Has it been six months since your last detox?

It’s time to pause. Do a cleanse. And help your body rejuvenate.

The cleanse program includes tons of healthy recipes, detox tips and DIY exercises that are meant to boost your health. Join my webinar to learn more…

Bring your body up to speed now! Registrations are open.

Medicinal Fenugreek And Its Amazing Health Benefits

It’s surprising how this remarkable herb – ‘Fenugreek’ has been the world’s best-kept secret for the longest time. It’s found ample use in cooking, where both the seeds as well as the leaves are eaten with relish. It is incorporated in traditional medicine where its powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antidiabetic and antitumorigenic properties are used.

Fenugreek is bursting with nutrition. The crisp, pungent and aromatic flavours of fenugreek give any dish – from savoury fried fenugreek leaves to salad bowls sprinkled with a fistful of tender leaves and even seeds that are ground, powdered and added to spice up curries – a rich wholesome texture. Fenugreek seeds or leaves can also be blended and applied to the skin and scalp. This way it helps to rid skin of unwanted blemishes, hair of dandruff and brings vitality, lustre and health.

Whether fenugreek is eaten or applied externally, its numerous benefits make it indispensable to our health and wellbeing.

 

What is Fenugreek?

The word fenugreek finds its origins in the Latin language. Literally translated, the word means “Greek Hay”. This is tied to the original use of the leaves as animal feed! Its other names – “bird’s foot” and “goat’s horn” are more mysterious.

Fenugreek has been widely used in regions around Southern Europe, Northern Africa and India. And its popularity as a culinary delight and flavouring agent is growing worldwide.

 

Nutritional Info (Per 100g)

  • Calcium – 176mg
  • Calories – 320
  • Copper – 1.1mg
  • Dietary Fibre – 25g
  • Folate – 57mcg
  • Iron – 33mg
  • Magnesium – 191mg
  • Manganese – 1.2mg
  • Niacin – 1.6mg
  • Protein – 23g
  • Phosphorus – 296mg
  • Potassium – 770mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.4mg
  • Selenium – 6.3 mcg
  • Thiamine – 0.3mg
  • Total Carbohydrate – 58g
  • Total Fat – 6.4g
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.6mg
  • Zinc – 2.5mg

 

Fenugreek and Health

Here are some benefits of eating fenugreek:

  1. Improves gut health: From poor liver function to dyspepsia and even major or minor gastric and intestinal issues, incorporating fenugreek into your diet can help alleviate problems. Fenugreek has been used for treating a number of ailments such as Leaky Gut Syndrome, colon and stomach ulcers, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), dysentery, and diarrhea.
  2. Reduces inflammation: Fenugreek has been known to reduce inflammation – both external and internal inflammation. For this reason, and for its benefits to the gut, it is often a part of the ulcerative colitis diet and treatment plan. The rich fibrous content feeds the gut flora and also boosts immunity.
  3. For diabetics: Similar to cinnamon, fenugreek helps in controlling the blood sugar levels and enhancing insulin sensitivity. This is an important property for treating both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that it helps in reducing blood sugar levels by up to 10%.
  4. Enhances brain’s cognitive function: Fenugreek can significantly reduce the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This happens when the enzyme acetylcholinesterase is inhibited, allowing for the enhanced function of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and reduction in the production of proteins that boost plaque development in the brain. Fenugreek also reduces inflammation in and around the brain.
  5. Resets kidney damage: Consuming fenugreek can increase the number of red blood cells that deliver oxygenated blood to the kidneys. Fenugreek also reduces stone formation and increases kidney mass. Coupled with reducing oxidative damage, fenugreek offers support for your kidneys and resets kidney damage.
  6. For women: Fenugreek can help relieve menstrual pain and cramping without any apparent side effects. For pregnant women, fenugreek can serve as an important nutritional supplement, boosting health and delivering vital nutrients to the foetus.
  7. Improves heart health: Fenugreek can lower bad cholesterol in the body, including harmful triglycerides and LDL. It can also help boost the production of good cholesterol in the body, keeping heart-health in check.

 

Some Ways to Include Fenugreek in Your Diet

Here are some ways you can include this magical herb in your diet and benefit from it:

  1. Soak a spoonful of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. In the morning, drain the water and rinse. Consume with a glassful of warm water.
  2. Soak fenugreek leaves in water overnight. In the morning, strain the leaves and drink the water.
  3. Plant fenugreek seeds in a pot. Use the fresh green leaves in your cooking and in salads.
  4. Use powdered fenugreek leaves in cooking. To make the powder, dry leaves in the sun. When they are dry, roast in a pan and squeeze some lemon juice. Crush the leaves into coarse powder.
  5. Use fenugreek paste in cooking. To make the paste, soak seeds in water for a couple of hours. Next, drain the water and rinse seeds. Artisan grind seeds using a stone and mortar. Use the freshly made paste to add flavour to your dishes.