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.

The Case for Taking Vitamin D Separate from Calcium

Vitamin D is essential to the optimal health of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Studies have found vitamin D supplementation to be beneficial in strengthening bones, boosting the immune system, reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammation (the root of chronic disease), and many other health conditions.

Here’s the paradox: Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism and, when taken simultaneously with a calcium supplement or calcium-fortified food, increases the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. This might seem like a good thing, except that it may be adding to the already excessive calcium levels in the body. We want calcium in our bones, not calcifying our arteries and triggering inflammation that leads to more calcium loss from the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Studies have indicated that adequate vitamin D blood levels lower the risk of fracture and improve bone mineral density.

Other studies show bone loss and calcifications throughout the body when there is an excess of vitamin D, much like an excess of calcium.

Calcium taken alone showed no protection against fractures. Vitamin D taken apart from calcium showed the same degree of protection against fractures as when it was taken with calcium.

Bottom line: We need optimal levels of vitamin D for good health, without supplementing in a way that contributes to excess calcification in the body. Excess vitamin D levels can pull calcium out of bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for many months and slowly released, even after supplementation has been discontinued.

To know if you have optimal levels of vitamin D, have your blood levels checked every two or three months until you are in the optimal range. Then, continue to monitor your levels about every six months.

The current recommended target range for vitamin D levels is between 40 and 80 ng/cc. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a long-term maintenance range of between 50 and 60 ng/cc. The best tests measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form, not vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Read the ingredients on food and beverage labels for the common additive of vitamin D2. Also, consider avoiding these products when calcium has also been added. This is commonly found in plant-based milk alternatives.

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.

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.

Synthetic Food Dyes–the Toxic Truth!

How can something so pretty and colorful be so bad for you?  Synthetic dyes, also known as artificial colors, are made from coal tar and petrochemical residues.  Thousands of foods and drinks contain added colors.  These toxic chemicals can also be recognized by their numbers, like FD&C #5.

Food dyes are proven carcinogens, and some people are more sensitive to their effects, especially children.  The following conditions could possibly be triggered by artificial colors:

attention deficit disorder (ADD)

learning/behavior problems

migraine headaches

colds/flu (the body’s way of detoxifying)

sinus and respiratory problems

joint problems

joint pain

irritability

fatigue

depression

seizures

Those with asthma seem to be particularly sensitive to food dyes, with many fatal and near fatal reactions reported.  Yellow Dye #5 (also known as tartrazine) seems to be the main culprit.  It is a coal tar derivative that belongs to the aspirin family, proving especially dangerous for those with aspirin sensitivity.

The accumulation of these dyes over time can lead to chronic disease, including cancer.  Eating a whole-foods, unprocessed diet can help detoxify and protect the body against damage from toxic chemicals.  Including six or more daily servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good natural defense against disease.

Eat a rainbow of colors found in nature–green spinach, yellow squash, oranges, purple eggplant, red beets, blueberries, and white onions.  These colors contain God’s pharmacy of nutrients to detoxify, repair, and build our health.

Read the ingredients on all packaged foods and drinks!  You’ll find artificial colors in an enormous number of products:

pickles/relish

ice cream/frozen treats

chips/crackers

candies/cookies/snack bars

frozen and canned foods

cereals (especially those marketed to children)

salad dressings/sauces

cake mixes/frostings

sports/energy drinks/sodas/fruit punch

supplements/medications

chewing gum/mints

puddings/yogurt/gelatin

some butter and cheese products

breads/biscuits

pie fillings/canned fruit/maraschino cherries

For more information:  List of food dyes to avoid

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.com/30-day-healthy-start-challenge.html

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.