Food and Energy

We all want energy. I can’t recall meeting anyone who didn’t want energy. Food is a necessary component of energy, but it can both provide and rob us of energy. Let’s take a closer look.

Calories are fuel we get from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but “empty” calories can only take us so far. Calories from food that provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber give the body energy to work, play, think, fight off disease, and build healthy cells. In addition, we need enzymes to digest and absorb these nutrients, or they don’t do us much good.

Two key points for more energy: Eat nutrient-dense foods and cultivate a healthy digestive system.

Eat twice as many nutrient-dense plant foods as animal foods. These include unprocessed whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Eat them as closely to the way God created them as possible. Eat a variety of colors for a variety of nutrients.

Proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food depends upon a healthy digestive system. Eating some raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides enzymes for digestion. Most cooked and processed foods contain no enzymes, so the body has to provide them via the pancreas, liver, small intestine, and salivary glands. Too much processed food, over time, can overwork these organs.

Healthy gut bacteria also plays an important role in digestion. Many factors can affect the gut microbiome and lead to digestive issues. Among those are the use of antibiotics and other medications, drinking fluoridated water, eating refined foods (sugar, flour, oils, chemical additives, etc.), artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, MSG, genetically-modified foods, a lack of fiber, water, and nutrients that nourish healthy bacteria, and chronic stress.

Improperly digested foods and an unbalanced microbiome can lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. Chronic inflammation can contribute to a “sick” gut. A “sick” gut interferes with digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of nutrients results in less energy.

Healthy Actions:

Chew food well to give starch-digesting enzymes in saliva time to mix with food before it’s swallowed.

Eat some raw, colorful fruits and veggies every day. Refer to the Dirty Dozen List (ewg.org) to avoid those most heavily sprayed with chemicals.

Eat a handful of raw nuts and/or seeds on most days. Add them to salads, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Eat enough fiber-rich foods to help feed the good bacteria in your gut. Drink enough water. Fiber and water work together to keep the digestive system healthy.

This is a good start! Give your digestive tract time to adjust as you begin to make changes. It may respond with some bloating and other discomforts as it starts to “clean house”. You may need to take a plant-based digestive enzyme with meals and/or a multi-strain probiotic until things settle down.

If you need a plant-based diet with meal plans, grocery shopping lists, recipes, and daily email coaching tips, check out my 6-Week Health Transformation Online Program.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your healthcare provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

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The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory.”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Two Hormones that may be Contributing to Excess Belly Fat

To help balance your appetite, you need balanced levels of the hormones ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin signals hunger and then decreases for approximately three hours after a meal.  When levels remain chronically high, abdominal fat is often formed, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Leptin signals fullness, affecting your appetite and metabolism.  The right amount is beneficial for weight control.  Studies have shown that foods can either block or increase leptin levels.  You neither want too little or too much.

Eating low-nutrient foods (sodas, refined flours, refined sugars, etc.) can block the production of leptin, which can keep you from feeling full and result in overeating.

Eating low-nutrient foods can also, over time, lead to chronically high leptin levels, and the body can become leptin resistant.  This is similar to how chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to insulin resistance.  Most diabetics are also leptin resistant.  Both conditions can contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdomen.

The good news is that losing excess weight helps increase sensitivity to leptin!

Factors that affect ghrelin and leptin levels:

*MSG (monosodium glutamate) can decrease leptin levels (www.msgtruth.org).

*Omega-3 fats found in walnuts, grass-fed meat, wild-caught fish, and seeds (flax, chia, hemp) help balance leptin levels.

*Eating approximately every four hours can help keep ghrelin levels from getting too high so your appetite doesn’t get out of control.

*Eating high-fiber foods can reduce ghrelin by helping you feel full.

*Refined sugars and refined grains increase ghrelin levels.

*Eating too few calories can interfere with ghrelin and leptin levels, actually contributing to weight gain.

*Eating protein at every meal and snack can help lower ghrelin levels.

*Less than seven hours of sleep each night can result in higher ghrelin levels and lower leptin levels.

*Too much stress affects everything, including ghrelin and leptin levels!

My Eat to be Healthy online program is now available!  This is the basic nutrition program that I use with my clients to help them lay a foundation of healthy eating.  I’ve packaged all the PDFs together into a do-it-yourself program, making it extremely cost effective–only $39!

You get 20 PDF documents that you can download to your computer or other device:

Eat to be Healthy Guide to give you a recommended plan of action.

Why Diets Don’t Work

Goal Setting Worksheet

Connecting the Dots template to help you keep track of what you eat and how you feel, along with a link to the Bristol Stool Chart so you can make poop observations.😛

The Healthy Plate Guide (ratio of protein, fat, starchy & non-starchy carbs)

The Healthy Plate Meal Planner Guide template (you can make copies)

and two weeks of Sample Meal Plan Menus

2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Seven Tips for Adding Healthy, Whole Foods

20 Healthy Snack Ideas

Guide to a Rainbow of Nutrients

Mindful Eating Tips

Water Works

Factors Affecting Weight Loss

Label Reading Guidelines

Eating Out Tips

List of Healthy Lifestyle Habits (three pages of recommended habits to learn)

Resources (a list of books, websites, apps, and more to help you eat to be healthy)

Scripture for Memorization and Encouragement (God-power vs. willpower)

As a special bonus, when you purchase this program through the link in this blog, I’ll send you a PDF of my 16-page Learning to be Healthy Recipes.

Of course, you can email me with any questions you have about the program and receive additional support, encouragement, and accountability in the private Facebook group:  www.facebook.com/groups/learningtobehealthywithlisa.

Here’s the link to get your Eat to be Healthy online program:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=U6KKG824BHUDJ

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

 

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Love Your Liver May 17 Challenge!

My grandson, Levi, was born with a diseased liver and had a transplant before he was one year old.  We remember that day, May 17, with prayers of gratitude, along with prayers for the donor family who lost their loved one.  Without a liver transplant, our precious 6 1/2-year-old Levi would not be alive today.

The liver is the largest and hardest working organ in the body.  It must filter and cleanse the bloodstream of toxins, which protects the immune system from overload.  Many people who have auto-immune conditions may have an underlying liver problem.  Reducing the liver’s workload can strengthen the immune system, helping to reduce allergic reactions and digestive problems.

The liver is also a major fat-burning organ.  It helps to regulate the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, making it important for weight loss.

Some signs that may indicate that your liver needs to be strengthened and cleansed include:

Inability to lose weight

Belly fat and/or abdominal bloating

Fatty liver

Gall bladder problems

High blood cholesterol and/or triglycerides

Hemorrhoids/constipation

Easily overheated

Skin problems like rashes or brown spots (“liver spots”)

Bad breath and/or coated tongue

Dark circles under eyes and/or red, itchy eyes

Allergies and/or other immune problems

Advanced signs include yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)

Some factors that can influence liver health include:

A diet high in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, which can lead to a fatty liver

A diet deficient in fresh and raw fruits and vegetables

Toxic food and beverage additives

Alcohol and/or drug abuse

Side effects from prescription drugs

Viruses like hepatitis A, B, and C

Auto-immune disorders (chronic inflammation)

Negative stress and emotions

On May 17, in honor of Levi’s liver transplant, I challenge you to love your liver by choosing foods to help support and cleanse it.  The following list includes foods to help you get started:

Dandelion leaves

Spinach

Parsley

Garlic

Cruciferous vegetables:  cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, horseradish, mustard greens, radish

Apples/apple cider vinegar

Lemons

Beetroot

Carrots

Grapefruit

Artichokes

Fennel

An added bonus is that these foods can help stimulate the liver to burn fat, making them beneficial for weight loss and cases of fatty liver.

Choose at least one fruit and one vegetable from the above list to include in your diet on May 17.  Afterwards, make a plan to add something from this list to your daily diet.  Don’t get in a rut by eating the same foods every day.  Variety is key to a nutrient-dense diet.

Some supplements that may improve liver function include milk thistle, dandelion leaf and root, beetroot, artichoke, turmeric, and lecithin.  Ginger contains lecithin and is anti-inflammatory.

You can find many of these supplements in tea form.  Be sure to choose organic to keep from introducing additional toxins for your liver to filter.

Nature’s Sunshine makes a supplement called LIV-J that contains dandelion leaves, horseradish, beetroot, parsley, fennel, and other herbs to help nourish and cleanse the liver.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

God’s Pharmacy–Ginger

Ginger is commonly found in gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and as a condiment to sushi.  Not only does it add spicy flavor, but ginger contains properties that may benefit your health in more ways than one!

Ginger is affective against influenza viruses and has killed staph bacteria and salmonella in test tubes.

Many find ginger to be a helpful remedy for nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.  You might want to carry some ginger capsules or tea bags when you travel.

Warm ginger tea is helpful for reducing mucus congestion in sinuses, throat, and lungs.  You can use organic ginger tea bags or ground ginger spice, but fresh ginger root is even better.  Peel and grate or chop about 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger root.  Add to 2 cups of boiling water, reduce to simmer, cover, and steep for 30 minutes.  Drink a cup of warm tea every 2 to 3 hours.

Ginger tea or capsules make good digestive aids to help soothe digestion, especially in cases of nervousness, stress, or illness.

Ginger contains lecithin, which helps break down fats, making it useful for the cardiovascular system and weight control.

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial for headaches, joint pain and stiffness, musculoskeletal aches and pains, etc.

Enjoy a cup of warm ginger root tea to help overcome a chill and increase circulation.

Tip:  Ginger is warming and peppermint is cooling.  Combine these two for a nice balance.

Add ground ginger to pancake batter, oatmeal, soup, baked goods, smoothies, and stir-fries.  Use fresh ginger root to spice up fish, chicken, and beef dishes.

Caution:  Avoid ginger if you have peptic ulcers.

One of my favorite reference books:  20,000 Secrets of TEA by Victoria Zak.  I found mine for $5 at Barnes & Noble.  Here’s a link to one on Amazon:

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Healthy Holidays–Mindful Eating Tips!

Celebrating the holidays comes with a certain amount of feasting.  Enjoying God’s abundance, especially when we enjoy it with others, is among life’s greatest pleasures!  Unfortunately, too much feasting can turn a joyful celebration into days or weeks of uncomfortable recovery.

Eating too much puts stress on your body.

Food sensitivities can often result from eating too much at one time.

Food sensitivities can lead to health problems, like indigestion, headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, depression, sinus problems, achy muscles, weight gain, and fluid retention.  You might even feel like you have a cold or the flu!

Here’s some tips for enjoying the holiday abundance without sacrificing your health:

  1.  Don’t “save up” for the big meal or party food by not eating.  This makes it easier to overeat and is harder on digestion.  Instead, eat a healthy snack an hour or two before the event.
  2. Eat smaller amounts more often than too much all at once.  Pay attention to portion sizes (see Mindful Eating Tips).
  3. Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes to help you handle bigger meals.  I carry Papaya Mint chewables in my purse as a natural digestive aid.  (They also make a nice hostess gift.)
  4. Consider taking a multi-strain probiotic capsule at bedtime to support the good bacteria in your intestinal tract.  Too much sugar and alcohol can cause an imbalance, which affects digestion and the immune system.
  5. Avoid eating when stressed, and practice mindful eating.  Download the free Mindful Eating Tips PDF.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Papaya Mint, Proactazyme Plus, Probiotic Eleven)

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

This common ingredient can be a hidden source of inflammation!

Carrageenan is extracted from red seaweed, and it is commonly added as a thickening agent and emulsifier to many organic and non-organic foods.  These include dairy and dairy alternatives, deli meats, dips, cereals, desserts, snacks, frozen pizzas and meals, nutritional drinks, food bars, baby formulas, gum, supplements, and many other packaged foods.  Some rotisserie chickens may contain carrageenan, so check the ingredients label.  Many plant-based milks, like almond, oat, soy, and rice, contain carrageenan.

Carrageenan is often listed as “sea vegetable extract”.

Seaweed extract can also be found in some personal care products, such as toothpaste, facial moisturizer, cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, makeup foundation, and sunscreen.

Red seaweed sounds pretty innocuous, but as usual, the problem happens during processing.  The extraction process changes carrageenan into its inflammatory form, which has been used in scientific studies to induce pain, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and other health problems in rats.

Dr. Joanne Tobacman, an associate professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, has published more than 20 studies on the health effects of carrageenan, and is a public advocate for its removal.  She found that carrageenan as a food additive is capable of causing inflammation, and chronic inflammation can trigger any number of health problems.

Dr. Tobacman also found a connection to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance from chronic, low-dose exposure to carrageenan.

A study was published in January of 2014 by Dr. Tobacman and her colleagues that shows how carrageenan contributes to colon cancer.

Look for products that contain locust bean gum or guar gum instead of carrageenan.

The Remember, it’s the cumulative effects that often lead Cornucopia Institute has created a Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan at https://www.cornucopia.org/shopping-guide-to-avoiding-organic-foods-with-carrageenan/

Remember, it’s the cumulative effects that often lead to health problems, so read the labels, and keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.mealgarden.com/expert/lisahernandez

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.