Sugar Addiction

“Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread” ~ William Dufty, author of Sugar Blues

That is a pretty powerful quote! Sugar causes us to feel euphoric, then without notice we crash. Our blood sugar shoots up, then comes down quickly. Sugar can also cause our body to be deficient in other minerals and nutrients due to the process our body uses to digest sugar.

sugar-dumbSugar is considered an addictive substance for 2 reasons: 1 – Eating a small amount causes us to want more 2 – Suddenly quitting can cause withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue. So how do we avoid sugar? Here are a few tips:

  • Eat a diet rich in whole foods such as lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. These foods have naturally occurring sugars which will not cause your blood sugar to crash. They also supply your body with much needed minerals and nutrients.
  • Avoid foods that are common sources for sugars like soft drinks, candy, cakes and sweets, and processed foods. If you are wanting foods like waffles or cinnamon toast, make your own at home. That way you know exactly what is going into your food, and you can measure the amount accurately. Try using natural sweeteners like honey, stevia, or agave nectar instead of table sugar (also known as sucrose).
  • Be on the look out for sweeteners and their different names. Sugar can be listed as different items on your labels like corn syrup, invert sugar, sucrose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup. If you aren’t sure about an ingredient that is listed, research it. In the age of smart phones, most of us can research this before even leaving the grocery store.

If you want to remove added sugar from your diet completely, slowly wean yourself from it. If you take sugar out of your diet cold turkey to start with, you can experience detox  symptoms that will cause you to fall off the wagon. Try avoiding candy, cakes, and sweets at first. Then cut back on your soda intake, and increase your water intake. Slowly but surely, you will really feel the difference in your energy, mood, and physically as well.

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Should You Go Gluten Free?

t1larg.gluten.foods.giDuring the last year or so, there has been a lot of focus on gluten, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease. But how do you know if you should be gluten free?

First off, what exactly is gluten? It’s a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. So when you are looking at the ingredients list on your food, these may be things you want to keep an eye out for.

But how do you know that you should be avoiding it? Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are different in how your body reacts. With celiac disease, these symptoms may be present on a regular basis. It’s always good to get tested for celiac disease, which will include blood work done by a physician. Gluten intolerance usually takes a little bit of time to kick in, and you may feel symptoms a few hours after eating a product with gluten. You may experience stomach problems like bloating, gas, constipation, etc. You may also experience headaches, depression, eczema, and other symptoms over time if you are suffering from either celiac disease or gluten intolerance. The most accurate way to be diagnosed with celiac disease is through your physician.

One option to see if you are gluten intolerant is to try the elimination diet. If you are experiencing stomach issues on a regular basis, the elimination diet is a great way to see exactly what the cause may be. Try taking out gluten for 7 days straight, and keep a food journal listing what you have eaten. On day 8, bring gluten back in for one day. Take detailed notes about how you and your body feel on that day. The elimination diet is something that can be really helpful when it comes to tackling food allergies and intolerance.  If you are having regular stomach issues and general aches & pains, contact me at sadie@elitehealthcoaching for a free, no-obligation health consultation to see if my services and program are the right choice for you.

How to Increase Your Energy

pranicThe holidays are here and after all the running around, by the time we get home, we just want to stop and sit for a long time. But of course, just because the holidays are here, doesn’t mean everything else comes to a halt. We have work that needs to be done whether it’s around the house, with our career, or even with our relationships. We have to make time for the little things that are truly important to us. These things will all require energy! So here are some tips to help boost your energy and keep it up all day long:

– Eat a diet rich in whole foods that include grains, vegetables, beans, leafy greens, etc.

– Eat plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals

– Avoid processed foods (they can actually decrease your energy)

– Slowly eliminate foods that can give you a false sense of energy like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, etc.

– Get moving! Exercise will boost your endorphins giving you real energy all day! Figure out what is best for you. Experiment with exercising in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Keep notes to see what boosts your energy the most and keeps it up the whole day.

– Drink plenty of water

For more information about natural ways to boost your energy, sign up for my newsletter by clicking here. If you or people you know are interested in an Eating for Energy Class, please email me at sadie@elitehealthcoaching.com. This class can be useful for corporate executives, working parents, stay-at-home parents, or pretty much anyone that is feeling low on energy.

14 Easy & Healthy Snacks

vegetable-and-fruitThe holidays are coming up, which means kids and family galore! Kids will be out of school for a week or two, and family will be visiting throughout the next few weeks. So what is a good way to keep everyone happy without having to stress too much? Snacks! Having healthy, readily available snacks prepared and ready to go will help you enjoy your visitors and be able to relax. Here are a few snack options that are easy to prepare and will store well:

–       Apples with natural peanut butter
–       Rice cakes
–       Hummus served with whole wheat crackers or veggies like carrots, celery, and cucumbers
–       Homemade smoothies
–       Dried fruit
–       Edamame
–       Organic cheese with whole wheat crackers
–       Homemade dips with veggies
–       Sliced fresh fruit i.e. pineapple, strawberries, grapes, raspberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.
–       Air popped popcorn
–       Pretzels
–       Mixed raw, unsalted nuts
–       Make your own trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
–       Granola

This list of snacks can help you get through the holidays and the rest of the year. I know that my kids love cheese and crackers when they get home from school, along with having a lot of precut, fresh fruit on hand. They like the convenience of grabbing on the go, especially when we are running around to different extracurricular activities during the day or have homework where they really need to stay focused. Sometimes taking an hour a week preparing snacks and dinners for the week, can end up saving a lot more time throughout the week.

What are some of your favorite, easy to prepare snacks?

Tips on how to Relax and Exercise

IMorning-Healthy-Exercise-To-Relax-In-Physical1t’s the time of year where we forget about ourselves, and start focusing on others. We are out and about shopping, wrapping gifts, planning & going to parties, and thinking of everyone else. This is a perfect time of year to focus on relaxing and really focus on exercise. Some of the best ways to relax and exercise are finding activities where you can do both.

– The summer is one of the easiest times to relax & get exercise at the same time. In the summer, you can play outside – play tag, go swimming, go hiking, and more.

– During the winter, this can be a little bit harder, but you can still find time to do this. Building forts with kids, get a workout buddy and go to the local gym or local indoor pool.

– Find a partner to help you with your exercise and relaxation program that will help hold you accountable. Nobody wants to cancel on their accountability buddy, unless they absolutely need to. Start with 1-2 times per week, and work your way up to more if you need to.

– Find an exercise that you actually enjoy doing. When people hear the word exercise, they think of how much they don’t/can’t do it. There is always an excuse such as they don’t have enough time. We schedule so many things throughout the day, schedule exercise if you need to. Take 30 minutes a day and see if you can work that into your week 3-5 times per week. Not only will this help you relax, but it will keep your body healthy & help improve your sleep.

– Try a new relaxation technique. People tend to run around working, picking up kids, and running errands, that we forget to relax. The only alone time we get alone time is when we are in the car, bus, or subway, and this isn’t all that relaxing. Schedule time to relax. This can be anything from doing yoga, meditating, finding a quiet corner in your home and reading your favorite magazine. We all have different methods of relaxing. We just have to find what works best for us.

What do you do to relax? What do you do for exercise? How can you incorporate both?